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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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