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Hello everyone. My dad gave me this Special 2 a few days ago and I’m struggling to decide what to do with it. I love both cafe bikes and bobbers. The issue is I’m by no means a bike builder but I’m not into the “dad bike” look.
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you would do with it.

*Also, ignore the “tank art”. Some adults never grow up (it was me).


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Welcome! If you're under 40 and like to ride, I'd lean toward a cafe style. If you're more into stylin' well then bobber.

As for me, I'm old, but not yet grown up and a little schitzo, so.......
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you would do with it.

They can be made to look and feel sportier with just a few bolt on parts, no need to cut up the frame or make any permanent alterations.

Things like installing a lower, flatter handlebar, and some bar end mirrors. The exhaust can be changed, the seat, you can swap the tail light and turn signals for smaller, sportier units. The list goes on. But first things first, as Jim mentioned, these bikes typically need a lot of sorting out to get where they are running good, carburetors, ignition, charging system, go through the wiring harness from end to end, shining up connections and looking for broken wires and bad repair work.
I wouldn’t buy anything cosmetic until I had it running good.
Good luck with your project! 🙂
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That bike looks like a real good bike with minimal effort. Cherish it.

want to change the dad look while you sort the bike out. These seats are the clip on type. You would need to change over the clip on seat system from your seat..

Ignore the 78 part of the add. The seas on this page are for your 81H model

Lower set of handle bars with a low profile seat transforms the stance and style. Gets away from the Dad look and also gives you a bike that runs when sorted and changes can be made on the hop as ideas come and go.

Like anything it is always a good idea to take the time to get a feel of what you have, sometimes you have to wait til it speaks to you in time as ideas come and go.

If you are happy to ride it with a new profile seat and bars time and the bike will tell you
Just found this thread and would agree with all above - set of lower European-style bars, different seat and you're well on the way to a different look and feel of motorbike. And as @Mailman says, check & clean the carbs, check for rust in the tank, replace the fuel, check the wiring. Most unreliability with old bikes is old wiring. Probably a good idea to do a service and oil change. Probably a good idea to change the tyres - if they are old, they might look fine but will have hardened over the years and have no grip left. Looks like a nice project and I'm jealous coz it's got wire spoked wheels - mine has cast. Good luck!
I saw you asking about handlebars, I think you would like these, made by Emgo. You would also have to buy a shorter clutch cable and front brake line and tidy up the now excessively long wiring.
Note they are the same handlebars pictured with the bar end mirrors above.


This is my '81 Special. Other than wheels and a few chrome bits, it's identical to yours. The side covers are off and it shows here all stock, except for the handlebar, which is Triumph T140 from back in the 70s.

My recommendation is that you go through the bike and service it in its entirety. Change brake fluid, fork oil, engine oil, clean screens and so forth. There is much to be done to a bike that has been sitting that long. Get it running perfectly. Fix the glitches. Make nice with it. Once you have it sorted, you'll know more about what you want to do. I think doing otherwise is likely to have you left with a pile of parts and wasted money. This is my experienced opinion. You might decide you don't like it or you love it. Fix and ride first. A stock bike is easy to sell. A failed project is what people like me haul off for no money.

Welcome aboard and best wishes.
Nice bike! I have a Special II and have done mods to essentially make it my own (The list is countless). But you can literally do a lot of cosmetic and handling changes and still be able to revert back to stock if you ever wanted to.

Beyond getting it running good, for me, on of the biggest changes that makes a big improvement to the Special model is to swap out the rear rim/tire for a standard model (18" rim vs. 16"). They are a direct swap and then with a set of longer rear shocks and new rubber, the bike will handle a lot better in my opinion.

Good luck with your build.
Welcome. Yeah, nice complete bike. The Specials will always have a bit of a Dad vibe but loosing the seat, backrest and Buckhorn bars will get you closer to a"cool uncle" the spoked wheels on the Special 2 are a plus for me. Calling dibs on that seat if you go that route. Keep me posted. Also give the carburetor s a thorough cleaning before you run the bike too much. Have fun.


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That's essentially what I did to my '83 Special, changed the bars and seat, and I'm pretty happy with the looks now .....



Of course, I've done lots more as well (exhaust, brakes, suspension) but just the handlebar change alone makes a world of difference. My recommendation is the Euro bar bend. The way they droop down slightly on the ends makes them really comfortable. It also allows the stock angled Special MC to sit almost level .....