'83 gr650 first time Cafe Racer

Any modification on your bike, if possible with photo's
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Joined: 17 Oct 2012, 17:50

'83 gr650 first time Cafe Racer

Postby Ebates » 30 Apr 2013, 01:04

Just spent the week in sunny Vermont, USA working on the bike. I don't think it made it to serious Cafe Racer status, but since it's the first work (albeit pretty basic) I"ve ever done on a motorcycle (or a car?!) I'm still pretty darn proud of it. I saw "Dan's 83 Cafe GR" and "Kwazy's gr650 Cafe Racer" and they both looked great and I said I have to do something like that. So I basically modeled it after those guys' bikes with all their helpful progress pictures, so big thanks to both of them for putting those up.
I hope others feel inspired to do some work if they're interested, it was a really great feeling making it into what I wanted it to be.
Sorry if this post is a little long and indulgent, it's my first time doing any work and I'm still riding the high.

Here are some pictures to go with the story:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95350924@N ... 367932433/

Started with an '83 gr650, blue and silver. Now It was a fine bike to start with, bought it with about 11,000km on it, everything working well. The thing is, it felt like I was still driving the other guy's bike, and I had to make it mine. So finally the time and weather were right, and I embarked on the project.

I had been told my roommate, and quietly agreed, that my bike "looked like a soccer jersey" (no offense to the other original GR riders out there!), so I knew painting was going to be the first step towards making it mine. Started by removing the tank and side panels and went for the "$50 paint job" (http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master ... paint.html). Opted for a basic Gloss Black, thinking maybe in the future if it comes out ok I could add some detailing down the road.Two coats of thinned out Rustoleum with a roller every day for a week, with wet sanding every morning. This left plenty of time for the rest- removing the fairing was first. It worked fine, but was just too big and had to go.

Next went to work on the signals, which proved to be the most time consuming part of the whole project. The front signals were pretty easy, but the rear signals went through several phases. First up I needed to find longer hollow threaded tubes that the lights attach to the frame with to run the electrics through them, since the rack mounting the givi case was too long for what was provided with the new signals. Naturally this piece was impossible to find, took me 4 hardwares stores to get it (although I'm pretty sure the first one ended up having them, as I discovered later in the week to my regret). These I had to screw into the plastic on the new signals with a tension wrench. Once attached, I then discovered that the provided wiring was too short. So I headed back to the store, picked up some butt splices and more wire and spliced in longer wiring. The hardware store guys and I got pretty familiar throughout the week. All signals working at this point. Great (for now).

Went to work on the bars, which were actually very easy. I had been apprehensive about those since there's some important stuff on there, but I shouldn't have been, everything just hangs there easy off and on. I bought some superbike bars since I wasn't sure if Clubman bars would be too low. A good choice as it turns out, since the superbike's when mounted upside down hit the tank, and I wasn't ready to custom dent the tank just yet (and it was getting painted anyways). Luckily I had started painting the fairings first so I could still test out the bars with the tank in place and avoided having to remount them later. So the Eurobars went on right side up which I admitted still looked better than the old ones, took off the old mirrors and added a bar-end.

The second to last day before the paint was ready I found some saddlebags on craigslist. Headed out and picked those up (in a car, blah), and met a really great guy in the process. Cool. That was actually a great experience of buying both the bike and the bags on craigslist. Both time met some really cool people that were fun to talk to and had great stories from riding and working on bikes when they were young etc.

I returned home, ready to get the big frame and givi case off the back. Naturally, now that the frame is removed the custom signal attachments I made are too long, so I have to unscrew them and put back in the original parts. Grr. With the signals in place though, the bags don't sit right. Duhh. The theme of this build was a general lack of foresight, and I felt like I ended up doing everything at least twice. However, since I was literally waiting for the paint to dry and just happy to be outside in Vermont on vacation, I remained surprisingly patient for the whole process.

Unfortunately the day of mounting the saddlebags was also the day that the paint was ready, so I was no longer patient and was dying to ride it. Luckily it only took the rest of the morning/eternity to rig up a final mount for the rear signals- a metal bar sticking out the back that held them on away from the saddlebags, and in a stroke of uncharacteristic foresight (because my dad thought of it) also managed to rig a bar heading straight down to keep the bags out of the wheels off the same nut. Nice. Naturally at this point the left signal stopped working due to being thrown around and connected and disconnected for a week nonstop, and I nearly ran out of butt splices getting it all rigged together again, but finally it turned on and I was good to go.

Did a quick polish and buff as mentioned in the $50 paint job, but at this point I was tearing out my hair I was so eager to ride. It had been gorgeous all week and I had been content just to be working on it, but now the road was calling. Poured the gas back in that I had taken out to paint, and with my heart in my throat started it up, sure that some paint or something had gotten into the tank and I would be stuck at home. No fear! It started up and I threw on my gear and headed north, 3 hours of gorgeous riding back to montreal. Super happy to be riding finally and proud of the whole experience. Even though there was no major mechanical work, it was still a blast to do and I'm psyched to show it off.
Adventures await!


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