Café Racer!

Finally had an evening to work with the bike, so that I could install the new cafe racer seat and the led flashers. And I’m loving it! I had earlier began to doubt if the new handlebar wasn’t such a good idea, as after a few days to work my back started to hurt. I wasn’t feeling that comfortable… But now with the much lower cafe seat I’m sitting much more upright again, and it feels really great. Didn’t stretch the back and neck as much. Also what’s nice is that with the new seat I can reach the ground with my both feet, heels on the ground. Didn’t like sitting as high as earlier. I might consider some day also upgrading to shorter rear shocks so that I can lower myself just a little bit more (maybe by 2-3cm). But I’m not sure if I want to mess with the driving geometry, as now the bike feels quite perfect. Honda had it “just right” the day they made this bike.

As I installed the new seat I had to create some sort of mount for the license plate. I took a bit of aluminum, cut it into shape and drilled some holes and bolted it on the small license plate holder that came with the seat. Still a bit rough, but I’ll finish it later on and I’ll paint it black. Also placed an adhesive reflector above the license plate, as our law requires to have one, even if I don’t see the point (the led tail lights are pretty bright). I’m planning on taping it below the seat, just above the license plate. Now “it’s just there”.

Kinda feels like the handling has just improved again a little bit. And not sure if this has anything to do with the mods, but this morning I made a new record low in energy consumption when getting to work, as I only used 52Wh/km even if I didn’t spare in acceleration. But I’ve lost some weight too. So maybe that really did help… The bike does feel lighter, but I think that’s mostly due to better seating position.

Took a while to figure out the wiring for the tail led lights, as they had both the tail/brake lights and turn signals integrated into one unit. They are really great quality, with solid chrome plated aluminum bodies. They weren’t cheap, but man are they pretty… Although I still need to figure out how I’ll remove the old flasher mount supports that are wrapped around the forks. I’m afraid I’ll need to remove the forks so that I can do that. That’ll have to wait until the bike is stored for winter. Then I’ll rebuild the whole instrument cluster and install new headlight mounts. Now the headlight is sitting too high, which looks a bit “goofy” to me.

Something I also did was that I wired the new handlebar on/off switch as a safety feature, which controls the power for solenoid through a relay. It will shut down the motor, but keeps everything else powered on.

PS. I know it doesn’t “do the ton” (reach 100mph), which the “true” cafe racers require from their bikes. If I switched to different sprocket ratio it could possibly reach it, at the cost of low end acceleration and energy consumption. But this bike is geared for city use, not to break speed limits. So I might never test it out. But hey, we’re in Europe. So why 100kph wouldn’t be enough? ;)

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4 thoughts on “Café Racer!

  1. Looking good! The rear reflector came in handy once when my gas bike didn’t work properly on a trip I did couple of summers ago. It was raining and pitch black and the bike would only go about 60 km/h. When I finally got home I noticed that the rear light had gone out and the only thing preventing people driving over me had been the reflector…

  2. Heh. Yesterday evening I worked in total pitch black, with just a forehead LED lamp. What I noticed is that the register plate reflects just as well. But the red reflector might be good to be there, as it’s RED and you’ll know it’s the rear end of the bike, not the headlight (which the register plate could be mistaken for).

  3. Thanks! And it will only get better. ;-) Especially the fiberglass fairings I’m about to fabricate should do wonders to the battery box compartment.

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