Best Bike To Build An Old School Bobber
21 replies to this topic
Posted 2010-08-27 17:03:36
Ok, so I am still new to motorcycles, and relatively new to Thailand. So my question is, what kind of bike would be suitable to build an old school bobber similar to these:
Basically, I want something light, maneuverable, with some kick to it. I thought of trying to use a Phantom, but am not sure it will work. I am leaning toward a V-Twin, like the Steed, but want it to be light. Maybe 250cc or more. I will probably use it exclusively for city driving in Bangkok, but may take the occasional 100-200 kilometer run. I have a 200cc Phantom and a 400cc Steed, and definitely like the power of the larger motor. In the future I will probably upgrade the Steed to a 600 or something else larger. Now I am looking to sell the Phantom, and want a quick runner to replace it.
I am mechanically inclined and know my way around cars, but motorcycles are new to me. I can't do welding myself, but could do assembly. Anyone seen anything like this around Thailand? It seems that the locals prefer either giant custom choppers, or heavy cruisers with side bags and engine guards and such. Not what I am looking for, and I haven't found a bobber for sale either. BTW, I don't want a suicide shifter or the ape hangers on 2 of those photos, but the rest of them look good.
Posted 2010-08-27 17:15:13
I have an old Virago xv 750 and am sure this would be one of the bikes which would be very suitable to do this.
BTW the last picture is best
Tiger/Sachs Club - Mbox
Posted 2010-08-27 17:50:40
The Yamaha SR 400 would definitely be a good bobber. Lots of people transformed the SR in cafe racers, choppers and bobbers and there is a huge following in Thailand. Lots of spare parts and aftermarket stuff. Great, reliable engine, lightweight bike with good handling, pretty easy to transform into whatever you fancy.
Only downside is the paperwork. SR's without green books cost around 50-60.000, but a no-no in Bkk. Green books can be bought for an additional 35000, but they're not 100%, meaning they've been recycled from older/other bikes and numbers have been magically changed to match. So for a semi-legal bike you would have to spend around 90000 Baht pre-bobberization.
Posted 2010-08-27 19:36:18
Yeah, I totally forgot to mention, I live and work in BKK, so a legal bike, plated with a genuine green book is a must. That is why I was leaning toward the Steed or Phantom. There is an old Kawasaki I see quite often, small, older looking. They have plates. I don't know if they are "legal" though. Anyone know what they are? I think only 1 cylinder. But, any other options? I see alot of old bikes, Rebels and Viragos, but can they have a legal book?
Posted 2010-08-27 19:37:05
Well, the rider was the only reason why I included the last one......
Posted 2010-08-27 20:04:06
You was too fast for me there Mr.Mezcal!
This is some thing i found in the sticks in April , interesting enough to take pictures of was my thougt!
Posted 2010-08-27 20:31:15
I actually found my virago 750 on mocyc.com with a clean green book(owner was coincidentally from the province i live and spoke very good english for a Thai national)...it is not the norm to find a clean green book but it is possible...just needs a bit patience and checking on a few websites.
steed could be a idea as i am sure you get spares very easy ...but i was not so happy with the power/torque from the 400 cc vtwin steed/shadow & virago here. 600 steed is alright but not easy to be found .
i think the sr 400 is also very nice to make a project....but all of the sr 400 i ever see have no plates or green book.
Good luck in finding a project bike ...and let us know how it goes,
Tiger/Sachs Club - Mbox
( PS: sent you an PM)
Posted 2010-08-28 08:47:26
Yeah, for Thailand the SR400 would get my vote too. Infinitely customizable and very easy to work on. Legal SR400s are rare but they do exist. Friends Highway Club in Chonburi has some amazing SR400s:
My personal favorite- Cafe Racer:
Keep your eyes open on Mocyc.com and you may find a legal SR400. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Posted 2010-08-28 08:52:52
Can you chop a bike in Thailand if it has legal green book etc don't they have frame number in them? because I think the best looking bobbers are the ones with custom frames not weld on hard tails
Posted 2010-08-28 09:30:25
By all means build a custom frame if that is what you want. Just transfer the factory frame serial number to the custom frame by cutting it off the old frame and welding onto the new frame. Grind, sand smooth, paint and - Viola - new frame with the same number. The 'Pencil Rub on Paper' style of number recording will match exactly.
Posted 2010-08-28 11:23:40
Yep, and slip the guy at the DMV a little tip at the next inspection and you should have no problems
Posted 2010-08-28 12:08:25
Seen a SR400 done bobber with ape hangers close to me, if I see again I will get a pic..
Sounds a bit iffy as a single thumper tho !!
Posted 2010-08-29 18:12:34
You know, I asked my insurance office to handle it all for me, and they did for no charge. They reported my plate lost, got a new one, with a new real green book, all for nothing extra than buying the insurance from them. Best part, they didn't even ask about doing an emissions test, inspection, anything. They just barely glanced at the frame and motor serial numbers to make sure they matched the book, and away I went. I tipped my insurance guy 300 baht for his service, since he had come from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok to arrange it for me. Easy as pie.
Posted 2010-08-29 18:14:04
I love the first 4 bikes. The cafe racer is not my cup of tea. I will keep my eyes peeled and keep you updated. Thanks all.
Posted 2010-08-30 11:53:15
If a bike already has a book, its trivial to replace it.. Its getting a book first time thats a nightmare.
Posted 2010-09-09 19:58:32
Quite frankly, for a dam_n good bike, tho old, I'd look for a Honda GL400 Transverse V-Twin Direct Drive bike. They were sold mostly as CX/GL500's in the USA and Europe and as they have been downsized to 400cc for the Asian markets, the cranks, bearings, etc, which were made for the 500 and 650 series bikes should last forever, but then again, money may not be an issue for you.
Furthermore, they can be had for less than 40,000 baht with legal book in Thailand all day long. Parts are not that bad and readily available in the US particularly and Europe quite easily and there are very active forums for those who need help with just about anything. A lot of these bikes are being resurrected in the US.
Look for a Transistorized engine, '81 and later, otherwise your likely looking at a new CDI box at some time in the future, a Czechoslovakian company is making them and they can be had through a group buy for about 140 USD or so. Easy to work on if you're into wrenching
Check out this site: CX/GL500 Forum and do a Google search for CX500 Bobber. Lots of nice examples of what people are doing with these. Also Google Thailand GL400 for bikes for sale and pictures of bikes here
Yes, I'm a bit partial....I own one here and love it, goes like a bat outta hel_l and sounds great. Not a Bobber/Rat/Cafe bike, but here it is:
Lots can be done with this bike and for not too much money. Good luck.
Posted 2010-09-09 20:08:48
I must admit I never heard about this bike, but I googled for CX500 Bobber and out came some amazing pics, both bobbers and cafe's. Really cool and I love the engine style.
Posted 2010-09-09 21:01:58
Thai Gl400'sThai Gl400's
Click this link to see what the Thai imagination has done to these great bikes: Thai Gl400's. Not all are bobbers, but they are nice. Actually a pretty decent following in Thailand and for less than a new Honda Wave and 1/3 or 1/4 less than a Steed or Shadow400cc its no wonder why. They are a steal at these prices, but that just my opinion.
Strong bikes they are with basic maintenance. The London Dispatch riders only fairly recently discontinued their use after nearly two decades of use. Mr. Honda really wanted to make a statement with these bikes, and over-engineered it. After all, a push rod bike revving to 10K (and it does) with the power band between 6-8k. WOW!!! He even put Turbo Charging on some 500 and 650 cc models.
But then again....I'm partial.
Posted 2010-09-09 22:04:21
"Furthermore, they can be had for less than 40,000 baht with legal book in Thailand all day long"
Ummm not sure that THIS is an accurate statement. I admit i haven't been looking for THAT bike. But i've only ever seen 3 for sale on MOCYC in the last year. So if you have other sources of all day long legal green book Honda gl400's I'm all ears.
But then again....your partial.
Posted 2010-09-10 00:17:20
I'd suggest you Google 'Thailand Honda GL400" and check the results. True, most are in Thai but with some friendly Thai help, you'll find them. I bought mine a year ago for less than 40K with Legal Book. An American died about the same time and had a legal one with a spare parts bike for just under 50K.
They are there......spend more time looking. Sure, there aren't as many available as CB400's or Steeds etc. But they are around, I've seem ten or so on the road here in and around Chiang Mai and one in a big bike repair shop which is the owners "not for sale'' bike. Most who have them covet them and don't want to part with them, they turn heads. If you really really want one, I'll keep my eyes open. Let me know.
If I had the money, I'd buy everyone I could find.......
But then, yes.....I am partial:whistling:!!!
Posted 2010-09-10 15:03:05
In my SR-500 times in the 80s + 90s the CX-500 was the favourite enemy. It was the greatest fun to ride just on the backwheel over an intersection, while the CXs were waiting at the redlight. I had a CX aswell. It is a very very reliable motorbike, but also very very ugly. To built a bobber from this, is a shame.
Posted 2010-09-11 09:19:43
I would say that bike if FAR more suited to a cafe conversion than a bobber.
I mean anything can be made into anything with enough work.. But just says cafe far more..
Personally I love the CB550 cafe conversions that are out there.. Could see doing one for a pet / project bike for tinkering time.