Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by EXO, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. EXO

    EXO Adventurer

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    I got a 1981 Suzuki Gs650gl for free. It needs new case bearings and carb gaskets. Is it worth making it into a bobber or cafe racer? I mean it only needs a few parts but its pretty clean and only has 2,400 original miles. I just don't know if you can lower a shaft drive bike. Any help and insite would be great.
    #1
  2. Fictitious

    Fictitious Been here awhile

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    I'm confused about what you mean by, "is it worth it?" Do you really want a cafe or a bobber? If yes then yes it might be "worth" it. Making it a cafe or bobber will kill any value the bike has though. I'd say don't do it if it's in nice shape at all.
    #2
  3. EXO

    EXO Adventurer

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    I want a cafe or bobber I like the styles of both but I don't know what direction to go. I want it to be done right I just can't find anyone who has made these into a cafe or bobber. Also I found struts online could I use those so I don't have to cut my frame and weld it to make it a hard tail.
    #3
  4. PAULIBIKER

    PAULIBIKER Been here awhile

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    Sometimes free is too much...............

    I got one for free once. 6 months & $2000 later I had a bike worth $1000.:rofl
    #4
  5. EXO

    EXO Adventurer

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    If i do convert it i dont plan on selling it anytime fast. I mean how much could you sell a bone stock 81 gs650 for anyways? i bet not even 500 bucks.
    #5
  6. kruzuki

    kruzuki Gear in the Machine

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    2400 original miles and 'case bearings' are shot? What up widdat?

    Otherwise, I always though a well-sorted GS-L model would make a cool bobber.
    #6
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Aspiring advrider

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    This. :norton
    #7
  8. EXO

    EXO Adventurer

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    the guy says case bearings but i dont know till i tear it apart. i have been looking and im leaning towards a bobber.
    #8
  9. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    This is only an opinion.........part it out and use the proceeds to buy something that is running. You'd also have the ability to find a platform that has a following for the type of build that you want (ready-made aftermarket parts, build threads to get ideas/ advice from, etc.).
    #9
  10. EXO

    EXO Adventurer

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    thats an idea but everyone around here is selling there xs450 for around 1800-2200 bone stock. i looked at one and the guy said im asking 2600 firm for it and i was like umm why? his exact words were " this bike is a gold mine everyone want to convert them into a bobber or cafe I just dont have the money to do it so im going to over charge" i walked away.
    #10
  11. RBnite

    RBnite Been here awhile

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    why take it apart? does it turn over? clean the carbs and see how/if it will run
    #11
  12. pennswoodsed

    pennswoodsed lizards,bugs and me

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    This ^
    #12
  13. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Where are you located? Around here a good clean, running GS650 of that vintage would likely go for around $1200 give or take a bit. Unfotunately,there is nothing special at all about it to make it collectible as a restoration. IMHO, the transverse fours are more asthetically suited to be converted to cafe style than to bobbers.

    THe "case bearing" thing is a ????. WHat case bearings? THere are a number of bearings set into the cases, so what are they talking about.


    As for the money, there always seems to be more than a fair share of 'flipper, low baller' types abound. THe prices they claim or quote are rock bottom. You know, they claim they ain't never paid more than $400 for a
    running bike. TO them it is all about the money.

    TO other its more about the passion, the joy and satisfaction one gets restoring or customizing a bike. SOme do itfor a reasonable amount of money, others spend way more than the finished project will be worth. But its there hobby, something they do for reasons other than money.

    Its up to each to decide what it is they are looking for in buying an older bike and what they expect to get out of it.
    #13
  14. RBnite

    RBnite Been here awhile

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    even if the engine seems frozen, take the plugs out-carefully- and squirt some WD-40 down the cylinders. Many projects I have done had some surface rust on one cylinder. won't take much to get it going. Then if it is missing or won't start at all then tear it apart! Time and money?? what else you got to do besides hang out on forums?

    ;-)
    #14
  15. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Worth it...never.
    Building almost any bike into something else is almost never going to be a break even or money maker.
    Cutting up any bike, even a free bike will almost always cost you morfe than it will ever be worth.
    That said, if it is what you WANT, then, it IS worth it to you.
    I build things for ME.I am building a '96 RT into a dual sport/ADV bike. It was worth maybe $4k which is about what I paid for it 10k miles ago. So far I have about $1000 into parts and pieces with a few hundred bucks left to make it what I want. I have alot of time and fabbing involved. I hope to re-coup a few dollars from selling off the tupperware and wheels, forks, shocks, bars....but will no where near cover what I have spent so far.
    What will I ever be able to sell it for should I decide to sell it...peanuts, Probably would be better parting it out if I ever want to sell it.
    Probably take a $2-3K hit if I decide I do not like it...but I WANT to build it, so it is worth it to me.
    Motorcycles in general are almost NEVER a money making deal anyway. We buy them, ride them, sell them for less. It is the gas savings, or the fun factor, stress reliever, head clearing, smile envoking, attitude adjusting that we love about them and are willing to spend the money on.

    If you really WANT this bike as a bobber or cafe...then it IS worth it. If it is just something you think you will build and sell...NEVER worth it.
    JMHO though.
    #15
  16. Pablo83

    Pablo83 Sleep, Wrench, Ride

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    If you've been thinking about building a custom bike, it's a great idea to start with a free bike. That way if you get into it an decide it's not for you, you haven't lost a lot of money. Just make sure you get a title before you put any effort into the bike.

    Here's my free '86 Honda Rebel 450 (Before):
    [​IMG]

    After - This was my first custom bike build. It took years. I sold it for $2200 and probably had less than $1000 in parts into it.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a $400 bike I got from the pawn shop:
    [​IMG]

    This build took a little less than a year. It's worth a more now than a mint version of the stock bike would be worth.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a $400 '75 CB400F that I bought last fall:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's what it looked like a month later (I've had a lot of bike building experience since that Rebel). I sold this one for $2500.
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Now add your cost up for those builds and include labor costs. As with most builds, labor costs will easily and often far exceed parts/supplies.



    Nice job on those bikes, BTW.
    #17
  18. Pablo83

    Pablo83 Sleep, Wrench, Ride

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    You're absolutely right.

    That last one I made $30/hr which was a goal I was trying to hit, but on the first 5 or 6 bikes I built/restored I probably made $3/hr. I'm just trying to tell the OP that if he wants to know what it's like to build a custom bike, a free bike is the right one to start with.

    Happy St. Patty's Day! :freaky
    #18
  19. zap2504

    zap2504 Dave E.

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    +100! Especially since this is a Suzuki GS series. I believe these had roller bearing cranks. Also - this is the motherlode for Suzuki GS info: http://www.thegsresources.com/

    Generally speaking, the "L" series Suzukis (or Honda Customs, Kawasaki LTDs, Yamaha Maxims, etc.) more lend themselves to a bobber mod than cafe due to the small rear wheels, stepped seats, long forks and forward-mounted front axles.
    #19
  20. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

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    The smaller Suzook inline 4s had plain bearing cranks.
    #20