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 CB550 F2 project

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iancb550



Posts : 17
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: CB550 F2 project   Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:30 am

Hi all, only just joined and I wondered if I could ask your opinions. I wanted to convert a 1978 CB550 Super sport into a cafe racer, the bike has done 22k miles and has an MOT at the moment and in full working order, the owner wants 1,395 for it. It has quite poor paint on the tank but all original, would you guys say that is a good price / expensive?

Ideally I am just hoping to make cosmetic changes initially, clubman handlebars and then a re-spray and potentially a new rounded tail. Do you think it's a reasonable project for someone who's done very little mechanically on bikes before.
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:45 am

Is this the wrong place for questions about projects?
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bezza.7753



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Location : Bournemouth

PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:23 pm

Hi there the price of the bike is about right, its not cheap and its not expensive thats if it is all ok and running well but to be safe compare the price to others on ebay,gumtree and other sites. If you can look at the bike i would reccomend it especially as its 34 years old and you never know what gremlins are lurking below the tank. Also any bike that has points and plugs you want to take special care to look at signs that they may have been neglected to adjust in the past so i.e. make sure its firing nicely and not missing at all because if its been pinking(pre or late ignition) for any length of time one of the cylinders will be low on compression and it will do the engine no good and you may end up with a bit of a lemon.

For that price I really would make sure its all sweet and as for cafe racing it honda's are a fantastic bike as a first cafe racer project as there are masses of add on bits that you can buy at a good price that will transform the look and feel of the bike. Also to add if you buy the bike and you feel its to much of a project you can always resell it and you will probaly make your money back. It could be a great little project and cb550 are very popular so if you run into any problems you can always refur to specialised sites or forums just like this one and they are sure to help you with anything that comes up.

I hope that helps if you have any other problems just write another thread and somone will help.

Good luck and all the best
Simon

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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:00 pm

Hi Simon thank you for your reply, that's great Very Happy I have been thinking of doing something like this for over a year hopefully it will still be available when I go over to see it this week. It has just had a full service new spark plugs, filter and oil change and a years MOT with no advisories so I thought that was rather good. There is a bit of rust on the spokes, hoping just to be able to polish that out with some of that anti rust cream.

I wasn't planning on going as far as a lot of people seem to with the powder coating of the frame etc, it looks massively expensive doing a full strip down and rebuild but maybe in a couple of years when I have the skills to do more of it.

My only past experience with older bikes was an NC30 that I changed simple things like the battery, regulator, oil, filter, air filter and things like that (Honda changed hundreds of other parts hehe). Hopefully this one won't be quite as problematic as the NC Very Happy
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pauliexjr

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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:30 am

Hi Ian and welcome, no it's not the wrong place to ask about projects, it's just a quiet site at times. People sign in, make a few posts then vanish!

As for your CB, price is mid-range as Simon said, there are lots of aftermarket bits for the CBs, many of them come from the US and you need to watch the import duty as that can hike the final prices.

Take a look at Steve Carpenters site for some inspiration http://www.cb750cafe.com/carpy.php although he mainly deals in CB750s the bikes are almost identical, and for DIY questions and support get yourself on to the Honda SOHC (single overhead cam) forum http://www.sohc.co.uk where you'll find lots of like minded souls (just don't tell them you're cafe'ing it!)

Good luck and post piccies.
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gone fishin



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:29 am

go for it cb..s are great and easy enough to work on
get yourself a workshop service manual try to avoid the haynes as they tend not to have much detail
as for price thats always hard without seeing and hearing the bike it would only have been worth half that a couple of years ago but with the surge of interest in jap classics of late i would offer between 900-1100 its january everybodys skint
miffa
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:32 am

Cheers Paulie. Hopefully I will be able to go and see it tomorrow and see if I can haggle a bit on price. Do you get many cafe style seats that can still accomodate a pillion by the way?
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:42 am

Cheers too miffa, hopefully he will listen to offers around that price, he did say he was open to sensible offers.
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BBSparky



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:06 am

Sounds like a good base. Dont be too put off by your lack of knowledge in modifying bikes. When i did my first one i had never even worked on a bike before! now im happy to strip my latest one completely down and rebuild. It doesnt need to be expensive if you keep your eye out for bargains and as long as your not in a rush to get it finished then you will find that a lot of things can be done on a shoestring Very Happy

My current project should end up coming in under £500 including buying the bike as i have been able to sell on that parts that i have taken off the bike and held out for bargains on the bits i wanted. Also got the powder coating done quite cheaply as i did all the prep and left it with them to fit in when they had time rather than rushing them for it.

This forum can be a little quiet at times as its still fairly new but there is some great skill and knowledge on here ( just look at some of the bikes being built! ) and normally if nobody knows the actual answer they can point you in the direction of someone who does.

Enjoy!
Marc
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pauliexjr

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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:26 am

iancb550 wrote:
Cheers Paulie. Hopefully I will be able to go and see it tomorrow and see if I can haggle a bit on price. Do you get many cafe style seats that can still accomodate a pillion by the way?

Yes, there's a few around, check out E-bay, just type in cafe racer and see what goodies come up.
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:35 am

That's great cheers all, looking forward to sifting through the bits at the stafford show and places and finding the bits and bobs modify it.

My uncle has an engineering place that also does powder coating by the way down near Hemel Hempstead if it helps anyone, I will find out how much he usually charges for bike bits. I think he also does bead blasting etc.
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bezza.7753



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:33 am

Yeah thats the way to do it recycle old bits from shows, ebay anywhere you can find them i make my stuff for my bikes out of anything i can use whether it came of a bike or not. Also to answer your question about pillion cafe racer seats you can get them they are usally the original seat just modified to look more cafe racerish. If you look at my thread ("yamaha sr125 project" im not trying to advertise mine Laughing ) you will see ive used the original seat and it still looks like a mean cafe racer even without a "proper cafe racer seat"and because the seat has that rear end up shape it still looks the part and yet i can accomadate a pillion if need be. Just as paulie said have a look at cb750 bits and sites i know on ebay they do a cafe racer seat which can support a pillion and looks the part but is for a cb750 and as Paulie said they are almost identical so it may strap right on to your bike and even if didn't it wouldn't take much to. Also thanks for the info on your uncle its always good to know of reliable places that are able to do powder coating ive had to deal with some right idiots in the past when it comes to just painting a frame but thats another story lol. Anyways make sure to put up a post on weather you buy the bike or not and if you do post a few pics i think im not just speaking for myself when i say picture evidence of a bike is always welcome.
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BBSparky



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:46 am

Agreed, always nice to look at pics of bikes Very Happy and good luck cheers
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:38 am

Cheers Bezza, your SR125 looks quality, looks rather loud too. I will definitely be putting some pictures up as I go if he accepts a bit less for it. The sites posted have been interesting, there are some great looking cafe builds, hoping to keep mine quite simple and still use it everyday for work if possible. Do you guys ever go to rallies or classic events with yours?
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bezza.7753



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:24 pm

Yeah thats the best way to start keep it simple and add to it as you feel comfitable And ive been to a few classic events over the years but not many i live in bournemouth and in the neighboring town poole they have a bike night on tuesdays which i pop down to every so often but other then that ive bearly been to any shows over the years with my bikes i really should go to a few Laughing .
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bezza.7753



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:02 pm

Ive just been reading through a thread that devonrider has put up and there's a show in Calne, north Wiltshire in july and he wants to get a load of us from the forum with cafe racers to go up and meet as a group im gonaa make sure im there and and im sure quite a few others will if you get the cb or another bike and you cafe racer it you can go to a show for yourself and show of your creation and see what its like for yourself. Well its not for a while yet but if you intrested at all heres the link http://caferacer.forumotion.com/t292-motorcycle-show-meet-up#1978 have a look and see what you think.


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pauliexjr

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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:41 pm

As I live about 14 miles West of Edinburgh I don't think I'll make it, but fair play guys, a meet with pictures would be fantastic for the forum, people, bikes and faces.... sweet!
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bezza.7753



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:31 am

I have to admit paulie that is abit of a way to go Laughing however if you do decide to have a moment of madness and you do come im sure it will be worth it even if its got to be what about 400 miles away from the show. Well theres plenty of time until then so i hope you change you mind and make the epic journey.
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:40 am

It's a fair trot from Derbyshire but I'd like to give it a go, got family down that way that I can stop over at so that sounds good. The guy selling the CB was busy working tonight so I have to wait until tomorrow now to go over and have a proper look which is a bit of a shame but hopefully it will go ok in the end.
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Got the bike!   Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:26 am

Yay, got the bike today, though when I got it back I realised the edge of the centre stand is missing so it has rendered the stand rather useless. The side stand is totally fine luckily Smile

I tried to remove the centre stand but am having a bit of trouble, I got the small pin out, but then couldnt get the large pivot bolt to shift an inch, tried banging it through with a flathead screwdriver wrapped in rags and a rubber mallet. Am I doing something wrong?

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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:25 am

I've also found a target to aim for, something like this bike: -

Hopefully relatively small modifications, turning the handlebars upside down / clubman handlebars, and changing the seat. Then adding the rearsets, I would probably not change the pipes to be black either, what do you guys think?

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pauliexjr

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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:09 am

iancb550 wrote:
Yay, got the bike today, though when I got it back I realised the edge of the centre stand is missing so it has rendered the stand rather useless. The side stand is totally fine luckily Smile

I tried to remove the centre stand but am having a bit of trouble, I got the small pin out, but then couldnt get the large pivot bolt to shift an inch, tried banging it through with a flathead screwdriver wrapped in rags and a rubber mallet. Am I doing something wrong?

Great looking starting point Ian!

Have you taken the spring off the stand? It keeps everything under tension so may make removing it a pain. I'd also try using a drift slightly smallet than the pivot, with a big hammer rather than a rubber mallet and screwdriver, you're less likely to burr the edges that way which will make replacing it easier (assuming you want to!)

As for your inspiration, that looks nice. Chrome pipes vs black? It's all subjective and down to personal taste and abilities. I would only say I doubt turning the handlebars upside down is going to give you a true cafe racer look, better going for ace bars or proper clip-ons, I know it's extra expense, but it will look better IMO.
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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:30 am

Cheers Paulie, it's running well so far too, needs a bit of choke and a touch of throttle in the morning but once its up and running it seems rather solid.

I think I will go for the proper drop handlebars, the clubman type ones I think rather than clip ons because I don't want to be too uncomfortable for some proper distances.

Hoping to get back onto the centre stand removal this week, but had some fun just trying to buy tax disc holder today, seemed no where had any except a rip off 14 quid one from Halfords, finally managed to get a £2.99 one from Hein Gericke Very Happy

By the way in-case anyone else has this issue I did also ask on the sohc forum and SohRon posted these images, an awful lot more shiny than my frame that's for sure: -



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bezza.7753



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:08 am

Hi there Ian the bike is looking in great condition Very Happy i think its probally best to keep the modifications small and add to them when you see fit. Also i have to agree with paulie you cant beat a proper set of clip ons or ace bars. I think clip ons are a better bet as ace type handle bars are set to a certain height and thats it as where clip ons you can adjust to suit your riding style but they are abit more pricey but ive had both types and if you set clip ons up right they dont have to sit that low and they are quite comfitable but if you get a chance to see both in real life have a proper look as pictures can tell a differnt story sometimes.

I make my own now but before i had the tools necasary to do so i used to buy clip ons from a company called Bardney racing (actually the set ive got on my sr project are from them) and they can make a set of custom made clip ons for any size suspension for £37 which is pretty cheap im sure there are cheaper but they are well made and look the part and for that price its a good service and there next day derlivery.

Again I have to agree with paulie a rubber mallet and a flat end screw driver will do more bad then good it will probally need a fair bit of wacking and wd40 or some type of penetrating fluid before it will come out. Any part that is on the bottom of a bike is being most exposed to the crap of the road being thrown up at it so after 34 odd years of abuse bits need alot of persuasion (aka hammer alot of tea and alot of patience) welcome to the joy of working on machines that are now considerd classics.

The main thing is make the bike how you like it even if everyone else thinks its not there cup of tea cafe racers to me are the most personal type of bike they are a reflection of how you think a standard bike that can go's and handles better should look like.



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iancb550



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PostSubject: Re: CB550 F2 project   Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:26 pm

Cheers Bezza, £37 sounds ok, it would be nice to see a few in person as you say, not actually ever seen any cafe racers at any of the places I have been on bikes before.

Hopefully now I know the bolts need to come out completely for the pin to slide through it should come out. I didn't realise they were still clamping it so hard even though they were loosened.

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