Frequently Asked Questions
Top Questions (Quick Links)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Crew at Dime City Cycles receives hundreds of emails and calls daily when it comes to customers looking for parts or ideas to build their own custom bike - be it a Cafe Racer, Bobber, Brat, Vintage Restoration or Modern Classic. Given the scope and range of motorcycles out there, combined with the thousands of parts we have available, you can image that "general" questions like these can tend to be a bit difficult to answer...especially since our crystal ball is out of commission due to a pit-bike racing incident in the new warehouse.
What we like to explain to our customers is that most items on our site (with the exception of model/brand specific parts) are meant to be universal in nature and can technically be installed on any motorcycle. In many cases, the parts were designed with 60's, 70, and 80's bikes in mind and tend to favor installation in that year range. It is simply a question of the time it takes to make that item fit your specific bike, and your personal skill sets as it pertains to fabrication.
That said, the next thing that we tell our customers is to NEVER compromise your vision due to ease of installation. In the end, you're short changing yourself and the bike you’re building. If you can't make something work there's nothing wrong with asking for help or even paying for it from a professional. Nevertheless, you'll be that much prouder and happier to ride your vintage speed machine if you at least gave it a try on your own. Never be afraid to fail, and in the end, don't ever forget, it's just a pile of metal and fiberglass. There's nothing you can do that can't be undone by someone else at a later date to help get you out of a bind. Unless, of course, if you're building a replica of the Purple Rain bike...that's a lost cause and you're on your own, bub.
Whether it be breaking an engine down and rebuilding it, or fiber-glassing your own custom seat, you can do it. Even if you've never done it before. All it takes is patience and the desire to learn. Resources like DOTHETON.com are the best place to explore and see what others are doing. Looking to build a set of rearsets using our controls and linkage kit, but you're not sure what to do about the brake pivot? Spending an afternoon on DOTHETON.com can net you the photos and details posted by others to accomplish your goal along with dozens of other things you never thought you needed to know. And besides, isn't that better than finishing your TPS report while you're at work?
What are you guys trying to tell me here? That you don't want to help me?
No, not at all. We're simply sharing with you the way that we learned and the things that helped shape our skill-sets. It's like the age-old adage of, "teach a man to fish..." You know the one. While we're perfectly capable of pointing out a Dunstall tank, black grips, bar-end mirrors and all the other bits and pieces it takes to build a custom garage built bike, we feel obligated to the Gods of Speed to help keep the "custom" part alive and well. In the end, your bike should be a reflection of what you want to see and ride, not ours. You dig?
Now, to help with that whole process, we've gone and invested thousands of hours and kegs of Miller High Life into building the single most user-friendly and informative website in the industry. Of course, if you are in need of pistons for an Ariel Square Four, then we commend you; however, you will need to find a custom machine shop and light a few candles at church. For most everyone else, we should have what you need. In fact, if you've got a commonly produced bike like a Honda CB450 or an XS650, you'll find it very easy to find everything you need. Simply select "Bike Parts" from the top of our website, then select your manufacturer brand, and from there hover over the different categories we've created. Take a look at the screen shot below to see what we're talking about. Easy breezy!
Combining and Adding Items to your Order - In some cases orders can be combined and items can be added to an existing order. However we do not capture credit card numbers or any payment info from the original orders. So it's much simpler if you place a new order, then call us or email us with the new order number and ask us to combine it with the other original order. If there is any overage in shipping we will then credit it back to the second order.
Are Blinkers, Grips, Barends, ETC...sold as pairs? - Unless otherwise noted in the description as being sold individually you can rest assured that items like blinkers, grips and such as sold as pairs and the pricing properly reflects that. Yes, we know...that's the best news you've gotten since you found out she wasn't pregnant.
DOT or NOT Approved? - Some of the products DCC carries may not be DOT approved, so what does this mean? Well it’s simple, in the case of helmets, if your state requires a helmet by law, then the helmet must be DOT approved to keep you from getting a ticket. Also if it’s DOT approved you can be assured that it’s a helmet built to a standard that should protect your noggin should you get clobbered. States like Florida don’t require a helmet, so that means we can put anything we want on our heads including any novelty helmet, or a flower pot. Same with lights. If they are not DOT approved and your state requires turn signals for example, some of our markers may not pass inspection. So basically checkout your state laws and check our product descriptions to help keep you legal. In the end, DCC will not be liable for any tickets, damage or problems you get into. It’s on you, hombre.
Universal Cafe Racer Seats - When it comes to mounting a solo seat on your Cafe Racer it's best to assume that any of our seats will work. While some bikes will require more modification than others, you can technically fit one of our seats to any bike out there. Granted, it's definitely easier with the 60's and 70's style bikes with flat straight frames, but you can fit on to a more modern bike with a little time and effort.
We recommend fitting the tank you're going to use along with figuring where the back section of the frame will end. Either leaving it open, closing it off with something home grown, or one of our signature rear loops. Once you have that laid out you can look at the dimensions we provide for each seat and determine which model fits closest based on the length, width, et cetera. Make sense?
When it comes to installing it we recommend taking a time-out at DOTHETON.com to see how others have documented their installs. You'll find everything from using the factory hinges, to making simple brackets and using DZUS clips, to using our universal seat installation kit. In the end, you should be able to come up with a method that will work for you particular speed machine.
Universal Rear Sets - Ahh rearsets, one of the single most defining elements of building a Cafe Racer! Whether you choose Loaded Guns, our DCC Fully-indexable's or another brand, you're going to have to come up with a linkage system for both the shifter and brake side that will work for your particular installation. In short, there really isn't a "universal" kit that has everything you need so we're going to break it down here and point you in the right direction. You dig?
The first thing to think about is positioning of the pegs. Most people take the easier route and mount the pegs where their passenger pegs currently sit. This is fine, but there are a couple of things you should know besides the obvious, "you can't take momma for a ride." The best location for fitment of your rearsets is actually directly below your balls, yes ladies, we said it "balls." Now, stop your giggling.
For the best possible control and comfort you're going to want to sit on your bike (once you have your seat-pan installed) and put a slight bend in your knee. From there, look to where you heal is, making sure it's in a vertical line with your boys; mark that spot on your frame. From there you'll want to fabricate a bracket to come off the frame where you can mount your rearset assembly.
Once you've physically got your controls in place it's time to move to the linkage. On the shifter side, it's pretty easy... Just grab our universal linkage kit and cut it to length allowing it to connect to your shifter rosette on the transmission output. In some cases, you can get away with cutting and grinding on the stock one and them drilling a 6mm hole in it to connect the HEIM joint for the linkage. If you can't, grab one of our universal options and you should be able to make that fit. Just keep in mind; you want the linkage rod to be straight from back to front as it will give you the smoothest action.
On the brake side, this is where things get a little more difficult. Since there are so many different types of brake pivots and positions out there on the different bikes it really is hard to say what will work with your machine. In this case, the best possible advice we can give is to head over to DOTHETON.com and take a look at how others have done it. You might not find your exact bike, but in looking through the threads you will find others that will give you ideas and direction to completing yours.
Universal Tank Fitment - The Cafe Racer fuel tank! One of the most important elements to your build! If you're planning on going with an aftermarket fiberglass or aluminum tank the answer to your question of "Will this tank fit my bike?" is a resounding "Yes!" The key, though, is your level of commitment to making it fit. In no way shape or form are any of the tanks we sell "bolt-on" with the myriad of frame styles, seat configurations and other elements that make up the cache of bikes people are customizing - it is simply impossible to make a universal mounting kit.
Have no fear though, our trusty little speed demon, with a little patience, some research and either some fabrication work on your part or someone else you know or enlist, you can fit a custom to tank to your bike. In the end, you may need to make some brackets, move some wires or make some adjustments here and there, but you'll be all the more happy for it, trust us! There's nothing like fitting a classic Cafe style tank to a custom bike. When married up with a one-up bump stop seat, it's really about as good as it gets.
Now, all the tanks we sell have pretty wide tunnels so they will accept almost any frame out there. The key, though, is to not lose sight of your vision. If you've made up your mind that you want a specific tank on your bike, get it and figure out a way to make it fit. One of the best resources to see how others have mounted tanks is DOTHETON.com. You're guaranteed to find plenty of examples which will inspire you.
"What if I can't weld?" you're saying right now...No worries, because if you can come up with the brackets by picking up some metal from Home Depot and cutting it with an angle grinder you can prepare everything and find someone locally to weld it up for you. Now, we suggest picking up a welder and learning, but if that's not your option there's no shame in hiring someone else for their services. In many places you can even find mobile welding trucks who'll come right to your house and weld it up in your garage.
In the end, if you order a tank from us and for whatever reason seem to strike out on the above mentioned solutions we will take it back. That is, so long as it's not had fuel put in it or has any scratches or damage from installation attempts. No worries there! Aslo please note, our tanks have not been DOT approved and may not sit well with your states inspection centers.
Mikuni Carb Fitment - We get a lot of folks looking to ditch the rusted and crusted carbs found on most of these old bikes. In many cases you can, with massive amounts of work and precision tuning, get the older stock CV style carbs to work, but in the end...you'll end up wishing you'd just tossed them and grabbed a set of Mikuni's. In short, adding a set of Mikuni's is one of the best upgrades you can do to your little ground pounder. They have gains in engineering and performance since the CV style carbs are cable driven, which makes a huge difference in performance and daily reliability.
We sell a few different sizes and here's a basic rule of thumb guide for what will work for your bike:
Regardless of what size you purchase, you will also need to grab one of the universal 2-into-1 cables (you can modify a stock one) along with a set of choke pulls because in most cases the flip levers get in the way and end up needing to be discarded. Aside from that, we recommend getting a few different sizes up and down on the main and secondary jets along with the Mikuni tuning manual as it's worth its weight in gold. (We list what they come with in the description.) And finally, a set of velocity stacks or pod filters depending on what you're shooting for. Velocity stacks do give a slight performance gain, but if you're in a dirty or dusty climate you may want to consider filters.
The VM30's are good for 350's, 400's and 440's, though some folks prefer VM32's. For 450's and 500's the VM32's are the ticket in our minds. Most guys think they need VM34's because they've built their motor's with a bore-over kit and some light porting, but in the end, even with custom cams and all the gold you really don't need VM34's. Those should really only be used in custom applications where you're combing two intakes into one or doing a wild turbo setup or some other kind of forced induction. For smaller bikes that require a single carb we can special order the other size Mikuni's available as well, just ask us!
Why are we telling you this? Because once you run gas through a carb we can't take it back... Get it? Make the right choice the first time, Ace.
We sell them in stock flavor (Mikuni specifications), and we also have a nice pre-jetted solution that's tuned and works almost flawlessly on most small displacement twins. Our good friend and racer, Scott Turner, turned us on to the secret mix and we've been using it ever since!
Aside from that, you'll just need a few hours and some patience to get them dialed in. From there, it's up to you if you're gonna hit the TON or not!
Jetting Basics - One of the most common questions we get asked here at Dime City is - "If I get a new muffler and pod filters for my bike will I need to jet it and if so, to what?" It's as though The Gods of Speed have a dark sense of humor, we feel. Because in the end, if you have two identical bikes and do the same modifications to intake and exhaust there's a good chance you'll find yourself having to jet one just a tad different. Maybe a bigger jet or a different position on the needle clip. Regardless, with these old bikes something a simple as cam wear difference can change the jets required.
So, the quick and dirty answer is - "Yes, you might need to jet your bike." The secondary part of that though just isn't as cut and dry, and in an effort to help guide you here's some basics we've come up with to help get your little TON-UP speed machine heading down the road as fast as possible...
Before you even get to the jets you'll need to do a couple of quick things to ensure you're starting off with a good clean slate. The most important thing here is timing - you MUST make sure your bike is properly timed. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions and make sure it's tick-tock. From there, you're going to need to remove the filters on your carburetors and check to make sure the cable is pulling them up in sync. Otherwise, you'll be getting miss-matched air fuel at different ranges and the bike will never run right.
Most carburetors have adjuster nuts on the top where the cable goes through the slide. You'll want to turn these all the way and then back them out slowly in unison until you feel the slack gone when you first roll the throttle. From there, get a good look at them both and rotate your throttle, both slides should raise at the exact same time and at the same rate. If you can't see both of them at the same time an alternative method is to look at one and put a finger on the other and "feel" it come up.
Alright, now on to the jetting!
First things first - you need to make sure the bike is running right in stock (current) trim. If it's not, changing your pipes or filters isn't going to fix it. Once you have a solid base line and you know it's runs well take your carbs apart and note the numbers on the main and secondary (could be called main and pilot) jet's. Once you have those it's down to basics, and by that we mean if you're adding more air (pod filters or velocity stacks) and increasing the exhaust flow (mufflers) you're going to need to add fuel.
The best suggestion we can offer is to purchase 2 sizes down on both jets and then 3 sizes up. Once you install your new filters or v-stacks and exhaust take a note of how the bike is running. Get a piece of paper, back of a cereal box or a friends back and write down the jet configuration and the response the bike gives you through the entire range of throttle. Does it blow black or white smoke? Do you smell a lot of fuel? Is acceleration flat or sporadic in low, mid and high range? All of these things need to be noted and recorded so you can refer to something when you move on to the next step which is changing out the jets.
You'll want to go ahead right off the bat and up your main and secondary by once size and take it for a spin. How does it run? You may get lucky and not have to a do a single other thing. If that's the case, go buy a lotto ticket because today's your lucky day, pal. If the bike feels like it's bogging a bit on the low end you probably didn't need to increase the secondary, if you get to the top end and it goes flat or doesn't accelerate like it should, you probably need to go up one more on the main jet. So swap out the main for one larger and go back to stock on the secondary. Take it for a spin...
Repeat this process with the different combinations recording your notes until you find one that the bike runs pretty well at, well enough to ride if you had to. From there you'll want to work with your needle clip in the slide. By lowering the needle you add more fuel to the entire range of the throttle. Raising it allows less fuel. See where we're going with this? If you adjust it up and the bike gets better you're going in the right direction - the same for lower. Got it?
Once you have it setup to where the bike runs good and pulls well through the entire range it's time to go for a nice long ride. But first, be sure to pull your plugs and clean them with a wire wheel and some sand paper; you really need a clean pallet to work with for this next step. You're going to want to run for about 50 miles consecutively and then check the plugs referring to the chart below to determine if the bike is running properly, or too rich or lean.
If the bike is too rich, turn the air adjuster screw to the left to allow more air to enter the carburetor and vice versa if it's running too lean. Be careful though, on most carburetors turning just a 1/8 of a turn can make a huge difference. We recommend making an adjustment, cleaning the plugs and then taking another nice long ride repeating until you get the plugs looking nice and brown or light gray.
In the end, the only way to get your bike tuned perfect is to take it to a professional tuner who can use a dyno while monitoring the air/fuel ratio. You can expect to pay upwards of $150 to have this done, but it is worth it. As a final step, we also like to have the bike tuned once we get it as best as we can via touch and feel.
A Note on stock Mikuni Jetting:
250 Main, 40 Pilot, 6F5 jet needle, 2.0 Air Jet, 159 P-5 needle jet
VM30 pre-jetted for CB350's
150 main jet, 3.0 slide, P-0 needle jet, 2.0 air, 50 pilot, and 6F4 needle
200 main, 35 pilot, 6DP17 jet needle, 2.0 air jet, 159 Q-6 needle jet
VM32 Pre-jetted for CB450's
185 main, 35 pilot, 6DH7 jet needle, 2.0 air jet, 159 P-5 needle jet,