How much does it cost to build a cafe racer motorcycle?

How much does it cost to build a cafe racer motorcycle?

so how much does it cost to build a cafe
racer well the absolute honest answer is anything you want to pay pretty much
you’ve got two ways of building a cafe racer bike, you’ve got the cheap
way and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that that’s pretty much what
i’ve done myself and there’s the ridiculously expensive way so you can go
out and buy all new really expensive parts for your bike. So lately as I’ve
been nearing the end of my build I’ve had so many questions on youtube from people
asking me how much have I spent on this on this project and until this weekend i
have no idea, as as you build something you spend 50 quid here 60 quid
there and you know it doesn’t really hit you or you don’t really make a mental
note of how much so I’ve tallied everything up together and it’s pretty scary bearing in mind that this is the cheap
way I’ve done it, some parts are good and I’ve done a lot of work myself like
spraying the tank so i think that the biggest cost probably my error in judgment when i bought the bike,
i bought bike around eighty percent complete and the parts that are
missing most of the electrics which cost an absolute fortune and then
mechanical bits like brake calipers , kicks stand, and then the levers, all
these you’re probably going to change anyway
unless you’re keeping the bike true to its original form you probably will
change it along the line so here is my list so as I’m reading these out I’m going to put a tally down here and that will be in british pounds i’ll also put the
conversion rate of the US dollar for whatever it is today next to it so at least all the the
international folks like you guys in America could actually see how much it
is. So we’ve got the bike first of all it’s 400 pounds off ebay i could have
probably of bought a better bike for a couple hundred pounds more and it
probably would have bought my costs down drastically that’s definitely a piece of advice to
to make note of the rear seat and hump and both came together the leather and
the actual plastics that was a hundred and twenty pounds the rear hope the steel hoop that was 35 pounds the rear shocks now they were hundred pounds which isn’t
a bad price for a pair really, and they make the bike, i think i think if you want to
update your bike, give it a bit more of a of the modern and mean look than the the
rear shocks then these are definitely something that needed to address especially seeing
as my original ones for the rusty to buggery, the powder coating hundred
fifty quid absolutely money well spent if that
could be my one advice to anyone doing their own cafe racer build is to
powdercoat the frame it comes back looking brand spanking new and no matter
how good you are with the spray can or anything it’s it’s going to give you
a durability and that finish you know you’re going to be kicking it with your
boots, stones chipping away at it the this is definitely the the one thing I would
advise anyone to do, the speedo that was 20 pounds the taco a bit dearer, that’s 40 pounds the steel
to make the elections tray at the back that’s about 20 quid for that the rubber
bushes – well the rubber mounts to hold the tank in place the petrol or gas tank in place, so those they were 8 quid, absolutely broke the bank the battery, again this is an absolute
must for me if wanted I could advise anyone to do and that’s to invest in a
decent battery now I went for a ballistic evo eight,
which is a lithium-ion battery, it’s a dry battery, so you can mount it upside down
face up left right anyway which way but loose and you’re not going to have the problem where you know your battery fuel cell leaking if it’s
if it’s an acid-base battery and as well like I’ve done you can hide it under the seat
if you want to you don’t have it up right right in the middle of the frame where that
void should be you’ve got the handlebars the clip on
bars there were 55 pounds pretty expensive for what they are but they
look nice the head like brackets 15 quid for those, the headlights itself 30 quid, the indicators so that was 30 quid so that’s 15 quid a pair which
really isn’t bad, ignition coils now they were 30 quid a piece, your relay 30 quid, that’s for the indicators, your
condenser that was 40 quid that was an aftermarket parts from ebay,
your ignition points, I change all those for 25 quid, and the other option is
to buy an electric ignition so that’s probably going to be about hundred twenty quid for you, so if you want to save 95 quid, just change the points your self and just deal with it, deal with setting your points it’s a bit of a pain in the arse, for an extra 95 quid you could argue it’s probably worth it this entire to you, the gasket set which
is 80 pounds, for the leavers they were 70 quid, pretty expensive the throttle 20 quid the cable so this
is your clutch, your tacho and your speedo 50 quid, your brake pipes, the braided hydraulic brake pipes, they were 60 quid
for a pair again not bad, the silencers
were 70 quid for the two silencers which again I thought was pretty reasonable at
35 quid each, fuel tap this is stupid schoolboy error i bought motorbike
thinking that again you know the vital bits will be complete, it
comes with the tank you’d automatically assume there’s going to be a fuel tap
stuck onto that, silly me it doesn’t have a fuel tap for a Suzuki GS
550 looking, you know at motorbike dealers around here they’re asking 120 quid, but luckily I managed to find a part for a similar bike which needed a
bit of cutting, so that came to 45 quid the oil filter has to be changed obviously when you’re changing oil, 10
quid the brake caliper for the front of 35 quid the rear brake calipers 45 quid,
the chain 80 quid now i went for a special x-ring chain I’m going to make a video possibly in
the next couple weeks about the difference between an o-ring an x-ring
chain personally i’d always go for an x-ring again I’ll explain why in that video. The
front sprocket was 15 pounds the real light was 20 pounds, the exhaust
itself which didn’t come with a bike, I had to order that from America, again it was
cheapest place even with the delivery and I was a hundred twenty pounds the rear brakes switch was five pounds the bolts all over the bike, I replaced
every single bolt with a new alan hex bolt and they were 30 quid, the rear
brake reservoir which didn’t come with the bike that was 25 pounds the kickstand originally the bike was a
4 branch manifold into 1 exhaust going out to the left hand side
I think it was, as i was going for the new twin pipes, Ineeded a centre stand,
again that was 12 pounds of Ebay, the air filters, 4 of them at ten pounds
each that’s 40 quid, the rubber bar grips they were 15 quid, the front rubber
gators, 12 pounds and they go on the front forks, the rear sorry, the tacho gear, again this is
the little gear system that fits in front wheel and goes up to the tacho, it
just measures the speed measures the speed the bikes traveling
at, that was eight pounds, spark plugs and leads 60 pounds, and now we go into the
little extras as it were, the sand papers five pounds the paint was 70 quid, the
filler was 10 pounds now that was for the tank itself, grinding disks and I used
a heck of a lot of them, came to 14 pounds bolt extraction, when I bought the bike the exhaust where the exhaust manifold went
into the engine at some point the bolts have been cracked and broken off and
that was a right pain in the bum for me to get someone
to professionally extractable and then put some threaded sleeves in
and that was 70 pounds, again for the job that they did to remove two bolts it’s not too bad you can’t complain
about that and the exhaust welding, now has a certain knack to creating exhausts it’s not something I like to do it this
is a little hole in it that you going to cause there’s no end of problems for
yourself so that was 60 pounds, now all together roughly my tally should say
it here but I think it’s just over two and a half thousand pounds that’s for the entire bike, you could
possibly buy yourself a nice triumph for one of those, but where’s the joy? Part of the passion and enjoyment of
building cafe racers is to do this work yourself you stand back at the end of
the day and you look at it, so hopefully this is a good indication of how much to
spend on a bike if you are thinking of starting your own cafe racer it’s not put anyone off as with anything it’s an expensive hobby if you’re going
to be building cars if you’re gonna be racing motocross you know you’ve got costs that leaked
all that so that’s what you enjoy doing and it is
what you want to try go for it is why i say. My ethos is all
about buying bikes that need that last chance before they go off to the scrap heap or bikes that have been abused or cut up by people before and left to rot there’s always life in a bike unless
it’s been in a crash and then you’ve got bent frame, in that case it’s the
scrap heap but that’s it for me, so just an update
on my own bike and next week I’ll be putting up a video about the ignition
points and the carburettors are stripped out the carburettors and I realized that they’re an absolute mess only one out of the four jets had a hole
through it just explain quickly we need holes in
jets otherwise no fuel is going to go anywhere, so three Jets are blocked they’re all going to be clean yet
thoroughly clean there was an oxidation inside the Jets
you can see where the copper had turned green so not a good sign had been
no petrol in those for years. so in the meanwhile don’t forget to
subscribe down there wherever it comes up

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. How a cheapass does it: Buy a broken honda CBR from eBay, buy the motor of a cbr from eBay, have a working bike for under 1000 bucks. Profit.

  2. my grandpa built several motorcycles, he made a drag bike for Bonneville salt flats and raced it there. hes making me a racing bike right now. I want to build a cafe racer so badly. I guess this will be out next project

  3. Let's be honest, it can cost 2000, even less if you have parts or find them dirt cheap. Or it can cost 50 000. If you buy like ultra high end parts and pay someone to do it all

  4. Great videos! You made me take the step to build a cafe racer. I bought a GS750 for $350. Where did you order all the bolts since you stated you replaced all of them?

  5. I messaged you 1 time about my 1981 Yamaha Xj550 seca I got wrecked. I paid $15 US at a salvage auction for it and it runs good but needs government inspection before it can be licensed  should I get inspected before I build?
    I set a budget of  $1300 for project is that reasonable.

  6. My advice – There's no shame in picking up a Yamaha sr400 for about $3500 new, or a used Triumph Bonnie.
    When you're shopping, have a list of mods in the front of your mind, and if you can find a lightly damaged bike that needs those parts, jump it.
    I picked up an 05 Bonnie that was dropped. Tank, bars, footpegs, exhaust and some covers were a little banged up, but I was already planning to change all of that anyway.
    A lot of the modern classics have a range of direct bolt-on pieces, so what I paid up front for the bike and parts, I saved in time and labor down the road. The only things that I had to pay a specialist for were grinding and rewelding the cheap-o Thailand tank I bought, and cutting and re-welding my fairing mount where it bolted to the headstock.
    Picked up the bike for $2k after taxes and title, and finished it just under $5k. People sometimes mistake it for a new $12k Thruxton. Bike looks ace, starts every time, runs great, and I could ride it at any stage of the build process.

  7. My advice – There's no shame in picking up a Yamaha sr400 for about $3500 new, or a used Triumph Bonnie.
    When you're shopping, have a list of mods in the front of your mind, and if you can find a lightly damaged bike that needs those parts, jump it.
    I picked up an 05 Bonnie that was dropped. Tank, bars, footpegs, exhaust and some covers were a little banged up, but I was already planning to change all of that anyway.
    A lot of the modern classics have a range of direct bolt-on pieces, so what I paid up front for the bike and parts, I saved in time and labor down the road. The only things that I had to pay a specialist for were grinding and rewelding the cheap-o Thailand tank I bought, and cutting and re-welding my fairing mount where it bolted to the headstock.
    Picked up the bike for $2k after taxes and title, and finished it just under $5k. People sometimes mistake it for a new $12k Thruxton. Bike looks ace, starts every time, runs great, and I could ride it at any stage of the build process.

  8. Thinking of getting a monster 821 and lowering the handle bars, removing mirrors, and changing the seat to make it look more care racer style

  9. Sounds like a pretty reasonable price for a bike, much more so for a hobby that's probably been a source of passion for you.

  10. Damn, I would like to make a modern Cafe racer, something based on the Street Twin, but then starting with the Street Cup already is much cheaper, add ohlins shocks and forks and the price is near the Thruxton R… which also has twin brakes…

  11. Please remove the background music. You have great info and content, but the background music just detracts from the content and makes it harder to hear and digest. Your content is great – you don't need the music

  12. I originally wanted a motorcycle for school and work. (because its cheaper than a car) My friend told me about Café bikes and I think they are cool. building one seems like fun. Thing is, I have no knowledge about Motorcycles… nothing. Any tips or suggestions? I'm currently thinking about a Yamaha Virago as a base. Nice video!

  13. Omg you sure did rack your self up a bill just to build that bike. Wow thats some dedication from scratch bar bones build.


  15. Thanks for the videos, I love the "honesty" in them. How much does a Cafe Bike cost to build? Well how long is a piece of string? Here in South Africa we don't have easy access to all the cool Cafe bits and bobs…..

  16. About 2500 bucks. start with a bike that's worth building.
    Iron American Dream on YouTube Share it. Take a ride across the promised land. Ride a Harley


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  19. I was wondering what size tires you would fit on, say a yamaha virago or honda cg, and would you need a whole new wheel with different spokes to accommodate this. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  20. How much does it cost to build a cafe racer ?

    If you are planning a build the answer is – more than you budget for.
    If you have completed a build the answer is – best never to add it up.
    If you wife asks the answer is "Oh only about $800 all up"

  21. The hardest bit of bike modding I've found is finding conversion brackets for calipers. CRF250LRally, 320mm front disk plus Brembo 40mm fit calipers. Nightmare.

  22. So I went and saw a bike(chinese) which needed a lot of tlc just to be roadworthy worth about £500 then you account in the paint etc. I could swap my ps4 for it and a bit of cash say worth about £250.

    The thing is, there could be a lot more wrong with the bike, should I leave it?

    Overall it would cost me just over a grand or so. Is a chinese bike really worth investing so much into?

  23. Pretty much ? But your right, you can make it as crazy as you want. We have just build a cafe racer based on the Yamaha XV1000 ourselfs , whereas the first episode of this series called "Building the Brute" now is online: Please let me know what you think of it 😉

  24. Hi there. I love the way you are building this bike. Keep up the good work! Was it a direct fit for the rear shocks or were there adjustment to be made.
    Cheers mate.

  25. I would love to have someone like you to bounce problems off of to help me on my 62 cafe racer. Carborator is a leak and throttle sticks like mad. Cheers

  26. To give another perspective, I've found a mint condition 1978 GS550E. Without modern wheels and breaks, and a modern front end my project is going to cost ~$2,560.00 after tax and shipping + 1k for the bike. Assuming I'm not going to build the following: With new 3.5×17" spoked wheels, GSXR brakes, hubs, a custom triple clamp, and hub bearings I'm looking at ~$5560.00. This is all assuming I don't fabricate any of the parts myself. I found a lot of the items that are for sale on cafe racer parts sites on Chinese manufacturer's eBay stores (but without the branding) for 1/10th-1/2 the cost.

  27. I wish I had time for a build. I’m trying to find something pretty much done. Gotta sacrifice somehow. Thanks for the video!

  28. I'm building a GS550 cafe racer and looking for a seat and cowl. Can you tell me where you got your cowl from? It would be a great help.

  29. Wow. I spent 3500USD on my bike. 03 Harley 883r, and almost 3000USD on the RYCA cafe racer kit for it. Shoulda done that differently… hindsight is always 20/20 I guess

  30. I started my cb650 with a spray of starter fluid, and it stated so I know it has spark and compression. I cleaned the carbs but I can't get it started again. I think the jets are clogged and was thinking of letting them soak a pot of simply green and hot water. Or maybe buying an Ultra Sonic bath to get the low speed jets to open. I suspect I have rust coming from inside the gas tank and that is what is getting in the carbs. Any advise on how to really get these things clean?

  31. I think that is good price to pay for such a nice bike and you know the history cos you built it .my one will take time and I wil probably spend the same but I don't care its never going to be for sale.and your right bikes do need that last chance to look great again ✋?

  32. Either master the audio from your video footage WITH your intro audio, or normalize the tag audio to match the video. The volume jump at the front makes it VERY FUCKING ANNOYING.

  33. Show the bike, show the bike, show the bike!

    Dude, this videos are up for a long time, and I just found this one, and I’m clicking through dozens of build videos just to get a glimpse of the finished bike. I’ve seen your logo for as many seconds as I’ve seen the bike!

  34. That's a great breakdown of how much we love to get it the way we want it. Definitely should have started with a "whole" bike. In my experience building the last couple of years, if it's all there and you don't sheer it off cuz it's so rusty it breaks, you can salvage a lot. Re-freshing rubber bits or recycling leftover parts from other builds that just happen to fit on is great!

     If you got a shitty $500 bike with a title that's money you can make back, if that's what your interested in doing.

    It's sad though when you'll make something pretty darn sweet and then you need to oh, let it go cuz you have too many bikes… you'll probably never get your money back.

  35. Jip agree with the peeps from South Africa. To buy stuff is really expensive here as the sellers know that what you want is not readily available. I'm doing a XV400 racer and the one dude wanted R4500 ( +- $319 ) for a wiring loom…
    Problem solved…. I'm making one myself. Not easy but with some effort and time it will be done…..

  36. That doesn't seem too bad TBH, ignoring the cost of your labour (your time has value!). I bought a CB750 for £2500 that had duck tape where welds should have been, carbs that needed rebuilding, still has starting issues. So like for like, I'd always buy the project, because the 'running' bikes always need work anyway!

  37. More than 3.5 lakhs of Indian rupees but thankfully we can do a pretty good job under 1 lakh, that is about 1000 dollars

  38. I bought a 1980 Honda CM400 last september for $800 and have spent the last few months furiously researching every little piece that I want to customize. I've spent just over $2200 on parts/supplies so far and only have the mufflers and a few small bits left to purchase. I stripped it to the frame and painted everything, it's turned out beautifully so far. I can't wait to finish it so I can show it off and ride it again in a few short weeks!

    This channel has been a big inspiration for me and has been a big help! Hats off and many thanks to you!

  39. Top video. An idea for a future video (unless I missed it) is a video of where to find good parts and the basics such as forks hoop seat.

  40. Great vid just the info I needed straight talking what's the bike worth dun I've Honda 400 four with the same plan hope to see a small profit

  41. 2500 Pounds/3500 US dollars…..really isn't that much when you end up with a bike that YOU built to YOUR taste and YOUR riding habits. I know a woman who spent more than that for a PURSE…..yes…a PURSE….a $5000 PURSE…something to carry her tampons and hair brush in. I would much rather drop $3500 into building a Cafe Racer that is uniquely mine than into a purse….not that I would ever buy a purse since I am a man and believe that men should not carry anything that even remotely looks like a purse.

    Love the American flag pillow! USA USA USA….sorry I'm an American and love my country…even if I don't trust the government…but then again…I'm an American…and we have never been fond of governments trying to tell us how to live our lives. Don't Tread On Me….it's in our blood!

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