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  1. #1

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    Feb 2015
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    Default V-Twin or inline four......

    So I'm trying to figure out what bike I want to "short-chop/bob." First things first.. when I say short-chop/bob I mean this:

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    ..minus the handle bars..they're cool and all just not my style.

    Now that we have that out of the way..I know that I want to build it off of a rolling chassis. I would much rather put in the work and make it mine than just buying something "turn key" so to speak.

    What would be the best thing for me to jump into?
    I'm really partial to Honda CB750 because they're so easy to find, I've always ridden Honda motorcycles (I race a CBR600rr now), and the motor is apparently a total workhorse. The only issue is that when I think of a bike like the one in the picture above the last thing that comes into my mind is an inline four engine. I'm not knocking them or anything its just that engine doesn't fit the persona that I have for "short-chop/bobber" motorcycles. Call me stereotypical thats ok.

    My ideal motor would be something in the v-twin family. Low RPMs, endless* amounts of torque, and last but definitely not least the low rumble. With that being said I now have no idea what motorcycle to look for. Harley is going to be basically out of the question unless by some miracle I found one as cheap as the CB750, other than that I'm at a loss. Older bikes aren't my strong suit..

    Is being that picky over the v-twin or the inline four totally irrational?

    Thanks for your patience folks..

  2. #2
    Wolfie
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    ...generally, the longer the stroke vs bore will gibe ya more torque....older Harleys do that.....however, Jappers with DOHC and such can mimic the same and seem to last longer....and honestly, bub, you answered yer own question....

    You really dont know WHAT you wanna build.....my suggestion if its your first build is to ger "whatever" and do it up....get practice....flip it ...by then you'll know better what ya really want.....

  3. #3
    Wolfie
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    Not fer nuthin....go to yer local scapyard (auto salvage)....even if it aint got a title....get some POS to practice on......I did in 1975.....now I can build anything....

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    Not fer nuthin....go to yer local scapyard (auto salvage)....even if it aint got a title....get some POS to practice on......I did in 1975.....now I can build anything....
    Yeah thats what I though about doing if I couldn't find anything on craigslist. The only thing I'm hesitant about would be whether or not the frame was solid. I'll definitely give it a shot though.

  5. #5
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    Yea get your practice in on a Jap bike.

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    you can chop any bike. Whether its a good or bad bike to chop is up to you. The cb750 is one of those bikes that is a big fad right now so they are a little pricey, just like the xs650.

    everything really depends on the resources that you have (tools, work space, knowledge), what you want to do (just bolt stuff on, make things) and how much you want to spend.

    If you dont have alot of money and take awhile to learn new things you might want to stay away from an iron head (they are usually the cheapest harley). IMO jap bikes are cheaper and generally last longer, the bad part is for most of them you cant just order all the stuff you want off the internet and get it brand new on your doorstep.

    If you are racing a bike i assume you have a workspace and some knowledge. Pick up a wrecked cbr or rc51, build a frame and go stomp some sons of anarchy guys on geezer glides talking shit.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathmetaldan View Post
    you can chop any bike. Whether its a good or bad bike to chop is up to you. The cb750 is one of those bikes that is a big fad right now so they are a little pricey, just like the xs650.

    everything really depends on the resources that you have (tools, work space, knowledge), what you want to do (just bolt stuff on, make things) and how much you want to spend.

    If you dont have alot of money and take awhile to learn new things you might want to stay away from an iron head (they are usually the cheapest harley). IMO jap bikes are cheaper and generally last longer, the bad part is for most of them you cant just order all the stuff you want off the internet and get it brand new on your doorstep.

    If you are racing a bike i assume you have a workspace and some knowledge. Pick up a wrecked cbr or rc51, build a frame and go stomp some sons of anarchy guys on geezer glides talking shit.
    The rc51 would be a lot of fun. I have some knowledge on how to get a motor running and squared away, but this whole custom frame business is a totally new ballpark for me. You don't just customize your frame in club racing. Provided I could draw up some plans (pencil and computer paper..) and explain what I want my dad could weld something up. Something tells me fabbing a frame isn't that easy though..

    I like the fact that I would be able to find stuff for the CB750 or XS650 and the fact that they would be relatively inexpensive..but I'm seriously not a fan of the kinda bulky inline four awkwardly sitting out of the frame. I never thought I would use bulky to describe an inline four... What I'm trying to say is that if theres a v-twin version of the CB750 or XS650 out there then I want to look into that.

    Meanwhile I just found a XS650 rigid frame for $425 I think its worth looking into..

  8. #8
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    if you do some research into frame building calculations, frame building is exactly that easy.


    edit: I am assuming your father knows how to weld and measure.
    Last edited by deathmetaldan; 02-12-2015 at 12:39 AM.

  9. #9
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    im not sure how much of a die hard honda fan you are but making gsxr choppers is something that is happening often now. You can buy a pre made frame, the nice thing is that you could find a gsxr OR a bandit engine to stuff into it.

    http://www.cycleonemanufacturing.com...cleframes.html

    that company also does alot of cb stuff

  10. #10

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    Well..to try and put this to bed. I think I've figured out what to do. I think that I can find a VT600\Yamaha V-Star or so and go from there. That way I can work off of something that probably runs more reliably (less hassle on my end). That way I can focus more on the cosmetics like the frame, tank, handle bars, etc, etc, etc....
    You know.. the stuff that matters

  11. #11
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    CB750 is the bike I always recommend for guys looking to ride something custom. I wasn't aware that they were as hip as the cat a couple posts back mentioned but they always come and go on the cool scale. They are damn near bullet proof and reliable as can be with minimal maintenance needed. Ride it around stock to get your bearings on the top heavy motor, add some bars and change the seat around and ride it as a cafe, pull the motor out and put it in a aftermarket hard tail frame and jam it around with some friends, by then if you haven't fell in love with it, sell it to a buddy for what you paid for it.

    The problem with the V-Twin stuff (of which I own as well) is that you wrench as much, if not more, than you ride and usually people think their parts are worth more because they're for a Harley instead of a Honda. The more affordable ride would be the Ironhead but that old girl likes to be looked at more than ride from my experience. My guess is that if your heart is set at "riding" and seeing if this type of bike suits you, get a CB750 or Kawi KZ; if you're set on a V-Twin then look into the Evo Sporty motors as they are far more friendly than the Ironhead Sporty.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    ...generally, the longer the stroke vs bore will gibe ya more torque....older Harleys do that.....however, Jappers with DOHC and such can mimic the same and seem to last longer....and honestly, bub, you answered yer own question....

    You really dont know WHAT you wanna build.....my suggestion if its your first build is to ger "whatever" and do it up....get practice....flip it ...by then you'll know better what ya really want.....
    This.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwood View Post
    Well..to try and put this to bed. I think I've figured out what to do. I think that I can find a VT600\Yamaha V-Star or so and go from there. That way I can work off of something that probably runs more reliably (less hassle on my end). That way I can focus more on the cosmetics like the frame, tank, handle bars, etc, etc, etc....
    You know.. the stuff that matters
    I think you should try to find a Sportster. More expensive than a Japanese bike, yes, but they can be had for pretty cheap if you look, and they look about a million times better than the Jap engines, IMO. No offense to the guys running Japanese V-twins, I just think the HD motors look better and definitely sound way better. They're super easy to work on and are plenty reliable if taken care of ie. regular maintenance (oil changes, basically).
    Once thing to consider is that the HD engines only have 1 carb, which means they're easy to tune. Jap bikes, as far as I know, have 2 or 4 which makes tuning more tricky.

    A sporty will look a lot more like the shovel in your pic than a jap v twin, and it makes more sense in my mind to buy along the lines of what you want rather than just something that is kind of similar cause it's cheaper. A shovel can be had for pretty reasonable prices too if you're patient, but nowhere near as low cost as a sporty.
    I got my donor sporty ('03 1200S but in rough cosmetic condition) for $3000 after a lot of looking, and I'm in Canada so prices are higher here than in the USA (I think).
    If you're patient, I bet you could find an 883 for $3K or less.

    Something else to consider is salvage auctions. There are plenty of bikes out there that have been wrecked and have good drive trains and such. You could pick up a wrecked sporty for under $1000, do a weld on hard tail, might have to get new fork tubes or something like that depending on the damage, then use all the stock brakes, wheels etc etc...that approach would likely be the cheapest. Sometimes there's even "wrecked" bikes with perfect frames and such, and just the tins and pipes are bent and dented and scratched.

    Just some thoughts

  14. #14

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    +1 salvage auction. Also agree with using a v-twin motor. Inline 4 motors are personally my least favorite motor from a feeling and power/torque curve aspect. Ultimately you'll hopefully be ridding the bike and how it feels to you is going to matter as much as looks in the end.

  15. #15
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    i went with a honda vlx600 as my first try at some customising. a lot of people have them so it could be considered kinda cookie cutter-ish, but they're easy to find deals on and accomplish ending up with something pretty decent without feeling like i bit off more than i can chew.

  16. #16
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    anything
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfie View Post
    not fer nuthin....go to yer local scapyard (auto salvage)....even if it aint got a title....get some pos to practice on......i did in 1975.....now i can build anything....

  17. #17
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    Whatever floats your boat, they all demand attention..

  18. #18

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    The fastest rising player on the scene is the bigger Viragos. Do any damn thing you want with the framing, great torque band, marvelous clutch, reliable as hell. The V Stars are based there. No stinking radiators. You can buy a complete donor bike with a good engine for cheap-cheap. They have pretty damn good charging systems, too. Best of all, they are shafties, so easy as pie to assemble, no sprocket/chain alignment BS. Simple and clean. You can use a traditional wrap around full frame, or run it right thru the engine as the factory did. Do a google search for Virago chopper, and click on images, see what ya think.

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    Evo Sporties are comparable in reliability to Japanese hardware and simple to work on, but v-twin Hondas are excellent machines.

    I don't care for the buzz of vertical twins as a main ride. I'd be fine with a good inline four of which there are many. Kawasaki Z bikes in good shape are getting hard to find but they are terrific classic engines.

    Get decent displacement whatever you do since big 'uns can be had cheap as little ones and the work involved is the same. Torque is Good.

    Avoid oddball or very old engines in most cases. Aftermarket and factory parts support make life much nicer.

    Avoid anything that needs an engine rebuild for your first chop. Motorcycles are like women. While it may be it may be fun to dismember and play with the oily dripping parts, the usual objective is to ride one that's functional.

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