Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Great Idea

The CS-1 Cafe racer.  First let me rant.

The Yamaha XS500 has had a cult following for a while now.  Plenty have been modded into cafe racers and with a thumper on board the classic motorcycle experience isn't lost.

Those who have built a few bikes and experimented with setups may have found that the radical look of a cafe racer does come at a price - loss of comfort and reliability.  It is pretty much a given that as soon as one begins altering the stock ergonomics of a bike, handling and comfort could just as easily suffer as improve.  Modding an engine is great fun and a good learning experience but the same holds true.  How many projects have been ruined by someone being a little too optimistic or adding an engine part that is actually inappropriate for what is the desired outcome.  Reliability is the first to suffer and frankly a new sound or shifted power band can often mask an overall decrease in performance.

I have hardly the desire to turn from the classic bikes and join the Harley or Goldwing fraternity but at least they ride!  The older I get, the less comfortable these cafe bikes become.  In addition, the one-off look of a heavily modified bike attracts enough attention that I can not leave one alone for too long.  Riding to work is no longer an option.  The result?  3-4 running bikes and only about 100 miles last year!   The ergo of flat bars, padded seat, and belt drive on a bike with unique but almost production look begins to sound not so bad.

What these guys are doing is right up our alley - for the time being.  A bike that has the look, has decent performance, and is reliable.  I'm not advocating this kit nor a world of retro rod bikes - I typically shun the old "....classic look with modern mechanics..." trip but this should serve as inspiration to us regardless of the base model one starts with.

I say until it takes off and becomes a dealer option where there are  several lined up at each MC show, all looking identical, it will be just unusual enough to be cool.