You've got 10 seconds to guess which 650cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine and steel cradle frame form the basis of this Ryca CS-1 cafe racer. Hint: it's got a low-maintenance belt final drive. Got it? No you don't. It's not anything dirt-based and it's not anything from Milwaukee.
Los Angeles-based Ryca Motors has figured out a way to easily convert a

Suzuki S40 to a cafe racer. The conversion doesn't even require welding.

That's right, this is a Boulevard.

Starting with Suzuki's lamest cruiser, Ryca fits a low-profile fuel

tank, a cafe seat assembly, rearsets, clip-ons and all the associated

bits and pieces that make the above go-together. They'll build it for

you or sell you the parts so you can do it yourself. The complete

conversion kits costs $3,200, paying them to do the work adds labor to

that price. Brand new S40s cost $4,899, but you can find low-mileage

used ones for considerably less.

The result is a product that's completely unique in the market place. A

reliable, economical (the S40 returns 63mpg), relatively affordable

beginner bike that actually manages to be credible and extremely

desirable. It's new, but that big thumper and the fact that you can

assemble it yourself mean it has character. In short, the CS-1 is the

antidote to anodyne, out-dated, low-spec beginner bikes like the

Kawasaki Ninja 250 or, as Roland Sands would say, it's not "gay balls"

like a Suzuki Gladius.

The 652cc single-cylinder in the S40 makes 34bhp and 34lb/ft of torque.

We don't have a weight figure on the CS-1, but the stock Suzuki weighs

about 372lbs (dry) and we'd imagine that doesn't change much. That means

the Ryca isn't going to be terribly fast, but does have enough power to

comfortably cruise at high speeds on the highway and will probably top

out just north of 100mph. That's a performance level ideal for new

riders. Upgrading the suspension, brakes and motor as a rider grows into

the bike should be relatively easy, affordable and rewarding.

Converting the S40 looks seriously easy. The only time you'll have to do

anything but undo/redo bolts is when it comes time to trim the seat

tube a little bit, something you can probably do easily with a Dremel or

other easily available cutting tools.

This adds up to a nearly ideal first-bike experience. A person in their

20s sees a bike they actually want to own, they get their hands dirty

building it themselves, the end result is reliable and safe, that bike

isn't so fast they scare themselves out of riding within a year and,

voila, lifetime biker.


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