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.


  1. There's actually one for sale out here in Manhattan, yet they don't advertise it as a Ryca I don't think. And they want WAY to much for it: $8,000. Takes the fun out of it IMO. Can pay full price for a used one, buy the kit, and still come up maybe just over half that asking price.

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