Early streetfighter motorcycles were inspired by the UK’s café racer movement that thrived in the 50’s and 60’s.
Though they are close cousins and often the same model bike could be very similar in appearance, one would be regarded a café racer and the other a streetfighter. The differences are subtle but instantly reconizable by the oficionado.
Replacing crashed bodywork costs big bucks so having none makes sense. And frequently these bikes were modified 70’s and 80’s Japanese big-bore superbikes with no fairings to begin with. Or had fairings but were bought second-hand with cosmetic damage so the body-work would be gone or removed, creating the signature streetfighter look.
So bear with me if I've previously said that necessity is the mother of invention. Makes economic sense to me.
Most mods for streetfighters include radically raised rear sub-frames with solo seats, beefed up suspension front and back, bigger brakes, bigger rear sprockets for acceleration at the expense of top speed, dual front headlights, engine mods for a torquey powerband, chrome and paint work.
Popular classic Japanese fighters include the Kawasaki KZ900,1000 and Z1 series, Suzuki GS1000 superbikes, early Suzuki GSXR streetfighters, and so on into the modern era. Today factories build ready-made streetfighters such as the Ducati Monster and Triumph Speed Triple.
A few manufacturers make a modern version of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle that lends itself to customization and have become a popular basis for the classic streetfighter.
This Honda CB1100F prototype could be a wicked Streetfighter with some flat bars, a raked-up seat and a bit of a clean-up. Use your imagination, because if they don't build it, that's all we'll have.
Have a look at the left-sweeping headers on this prototype. Talk about memories of the Honda CB400f and it's classic design!
But with a modern 1100cc motor, well, how can you not wish?
Yamaha Sakura prototype
Once again, this prototype Yamaha Sakura could easily be made into a classy and tough streetfighter with the right mods. Superbike bars and a chopped-off back end to start. Photoshop it in your head and see what you can come up with!
But there's many more Yamaha streetfighters that have had radical transformations from regular old universal Japanese motorcycles into superb streetbikes with pedigree, tough looks and great function. The eighties series of FZ bikes comes to mind but we'll find some earlier ones too.
The Yamaha SR500 motor seen on the right has been stripped down to it's bare essentials. it's a perfect basis for a classic Japanese streetfighter motor.
And of course it's been done. See more Yamaha streetfighters on this link.
See below for a tough looking 1983 Suzuki Harris Magnum streetfighter:
This has one of the last GSX-R1100 oil cooled engines. It's got Dynojet stage 3's, straight through exhaust and Dymag alloy wheels.
Also ,Brembo discs with GSXR calipers (rear has original Brembo), adjustable De Carbon rear shock and original Harris Mag 1 frame/swing arm and alloy fuel tank.
Recent sprockets and chain (spare new Talon rear sprocket inc.) Stainless steel elecric box, battery box, chain guard and frame guard.
Share your classic streetfighter build-up pics and stories here!
Send me before and after pics, and the story behind the build!
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