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Since the question was essentially "what do you think", here's my 2 cents. I am of the mindset that classic cars/MCs are only stock/original once. If a bike is in good shape or really great shape i do cringe when someone on the forum states they will build a custom out of it. As one poster stated there are enough basket cases to go around if you want to make a custom, leave the nice ones alone. Conversely, i get the warm fuzzies when someone on the forum brings home a basket case and or a chopped up unfinished, poorly executed "custom" someone started that had no clue what they were doing and abandoned it.

The few examples that pics were posted above are really fine examples of custom bikes and i do like them a lot, they are very nicely done but i think that is the exception not the norm.

It is a free country as the saying goes and it's your bike and you can do what you want with it. The shame to me is a hacked up shotty build that may never be finished or worse yet never ridden again. Bringing a basket case back to life is a noble deed IMO whether stock or custom.
 

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Other than the engine and drive train, it doesn’t appear there is any stock left. So what do you do a bike like that?
this was a stock bike I built in to this cafe racer.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
If you're old enough to legally drink, you're too old for a cafe racer (see post #26).

We are only caretakers of well-designed and quality-built machines. Think longer-term and respect the designers, engineers and production-line workers. Which bike is more likely to ultimately survive for future generations to enjoy - a "custom" or a well-cared for or restored original?
 

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I don’t care, either way!

Long time dead....
 

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If you're old enough to legally drink, you're too old for a cafe racer (see post #26).

We are only caretakers of well-designed and quality-built machines. Think longer-term and respect the designers, engineers and production-line workers. Which bike is more likely to ultimately survive for future generations to enjoy - a "custom" or a well-cared for or restored original?
Why too old? I'm 57. I enjoy building them and riding them.

Would you restore the dreck in my photos?

be honest now....
 

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The engineers, designers and production line workers were paid employees and didn't expect anything from future owners of their products. We should be more concerned about respecting the laws of physics and how they relate to the way the changes will make the bike work.

As for restoration and what future generations will enjoy, I've seen a few videos on YouTube about restoring old custom cars to the condition they were in when they were initially customized so I think that there is a very good chance that both customs and restorations will be enjoyed, and often by the same people.

But poorly thought out customs aren't likely to last much past the point where the flaws become apparent unless a subsequent owner deals with them.....
 

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Discussion Starter #48 (Edited)
Why too old? I'm 57. I enjoy building them and riding them.

Would you restore the dreck in my photos?

be honest now....

Restore no (use is as a parts bike maybe). How much incremental effort would it take to restore compared to a well-done custom?
 

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Nobody has mentioned the related genre closest to my heart, RAT BIKES! Generally harmless mostly aesthetic modifications carried to the point of ridiculousness. Liberally sprinkled with rust. One advantage of RAT BIKES is it's much more difficult to start with a nice bike than a wreck. My previous GL650i (non cap letters in the model name are a form of customization in themseles IMO) was named Rusty. One advantage of Rusty was that he was ever evolving, sort of a "living customization"? In a very eco-friendly sort of way, maybe that's "devolving"?
 

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Discussion Starter #50
The engineers, designers and production line workers were paid employees and didn't expect anything from future owners of their products. We should be more concerned about respecting the laws of physics and how they relate to the way the changes will make the bike work.

As for restoration and what future generations will enjoy, I've seen a few videos on YouTube about restoring old custom cars to the condition they were in when they were initially customized so I think that there is a very good chance that both customs and restorations will be enjoyed, and often by the same people.

But poorly thought out customs aren't likely to last much past the point where the flaws become apparent unless a subsequent owner deals with them.....
The engineers, designers and production line workers may have been paid employees but they weren't robots either (at least not back then). You don't have to be an employer to take pride in your work or respect the work of others.

Millions of VW Beetles were produced and were treated like the CX500, left to rot or modified beyond recognition. The most desired examples are now the originals. It took decades before they were appreciated.
 

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Something you miss is that the Beetles that were modified often ended up used more than they would have been if left original AND the reason the originals are now most desirable is that there aren't many left. If very few had been modified those could have become the most desirable.
 

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This discussion wouldnt have progressed this far on the FaceBook page I moderate. Cafe vs original always becomes a shit fight and the discussion gets stomped on as soon as it gets even a little nasty.
Very emotive discussion , and often used as a venting session.
I have a foot in both camps too.
 

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I wanted a CX500D to chop up into a cafe bike.
i found one A few years for $800 delivered. It was last run in 1994, more than 20 years of sitting. I thought a perfect to chop. It got delivered. I cleaned the dust and dirt off and polished her up. Holy cow man the bike looked new. It only had 3200 miles on the clock new tires, carbs cleaned and gas tank coated the bike was a runner. I get so many comments about the bike it get embarrassing.
now I did pick up a basket case non-runner for free. The bike is clean and rust free. Maybe next summer she will get customized or maybe not. I think you can get more money for a nice bike while letting a dreamer think about turning into a cafe bike. Sweet dreams
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Something you miss is that the Beetles that were modified often ended up used more than they would have been if left original AND the reason the originals are now most desirable is that there aren't many left. If very few had been modified those could have become the most desirable.
The lesson of the Beetle is that they were considered of little to no value for decades. That is why there are only a fraction of originals left.

Imagine an original and a modified sitting unmolested under a tarp being discovered and uncovered in 2070. The original would be referred to as a "barn find". The modified would be referred to as "a shame someone did that". We are just the fortunate caretakers for a brief time.
 

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I am building a cafe racer out of a bike that has a great engine, but otherwise was on its way to the scrapyard.

Got it for $650 from a really nice guy that was trying to restore it as a project with his nephew. He knew they would never finish it and were looking to unload it.

When he and I chatted, he knew this bike was going to get a second lease on life, and provide some happiness for someone (me).

I knew I wanted to make a 1 of 1 cafe bike after seeing some of the examples here in the states and in Europe that I really loved.

When I searched I found some candidates around the 2k mark, but they were all amazing bikes that needed to be brought back to original vintage and not down my rabbit hole.

Ideally I'd love to have my cafe bike, a few of my other builds and a nice little cx500 cruiser that I can just hop on and go.

I see these posts pop up every now and again, and when I build bikes I join forums of enthusiasts with the intention to learn the ins and outs, but also the personalities that come w the bikes and the passion the owners have.

Also when I build, I take a ton of notes and pictures so I can help others that are pursuing their interests in these bikes.

A restored bike that gets people talking about the vintage and well done cafe bikes that get people talking about the bikes both serve the same purpose.

To bring others along the journey of what these bikes were and where they can go.

I will say, I do enjoy the people I've come across during this build more-so than the BMW crowd.

While I loved my K75 build, man were the people on a forum I won't mention just full of hot air and hate.
 

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I don't think the controversy lies in the "cafe vs stock" debate. It's old, frequent, and always has 3 camps...cafe, stock, don't care. It always peters down into silence.
The controversy arises when someone starts a post with....and I'm going to liberally paraphrase:
I don't understand why someone would not think like me, and would act like a dickhead? What do you think?
Well, of course you don't understand. If you understood EVERYTHING you would be a god. Regardless of one's views, and this is a forum intended to express after all, tolerance of other views is really something to strive to understand.
But it's just bikes, and all bikes are better than, say, cars...or people - after all.
 
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