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 Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build

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Chill

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PostSubject: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat May 11, 2013 4:15 am

Honda CX 500 Café Build

I've been wanting to do a Café project for a while and finally decided on a CX500 after discovering a barn find, a 1981 CX500B (last of the twin shock models) . She's a bit rough cosmetically but the frame is solid with no rust and the engine runs as sweet as a nut. Low mileage at 16,000 - that's an average of about 500 a year.

The plan is to build this with my son and teach him mechanics (we did a 2 stroke scooter last year but time to do a proper bike Laughing ), and then ride it to the 2014 IoM TT - which means it's going to have to be a two seater Café racer (it's going to be a challenge to get the seat to look right scratch ).

I have some ideas on how the build will go, but will make a lot of it up as I go along. Whilst it's never going to be a sports bike, I'm going to try and improve the handling and make sure she can do a ton.

Here she is

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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat May 11, 2013 4:36 am

I have already started ripping her down (by the looks of it I also need to tidy the garage Laughing ).



I'm probably going to do this in an unconventional way by rebuilding the front (wheel, suspension, brakes and clocks), then the rear (wheel, suspension, swing arm etc), the engine & battery relocation, and then finally paint and seat.

Here's a close up of the front wheel (a bit of work required)

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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat May 11, 2013 5:20 am

I was planning of using some Hagon shocks, but the bike came fitted with some lovely Marzocchi Strada piggy back shocks. These were standard fitment on late 70's/early 80s Ducati's, Hesketh's and even the last of the Meriden Triumph Bonneville's, so they have some pedigree.

I need to get a rebuild kit, repaint the body, and probably get the springs powder coated (unless I can source some new original springs).





It also came fitted with a Motad 2 into 1 exhaust, which is in mint condition. This is a bit quiet and I prefer the look of megaphone's, so this will get eBayed.



I will probably fit something like a pair of these

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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat May 11, 2013 5:57 am

Fork Rebuild

The forks were in reasonable condition, but to try and improve the handing of the bike, I have stripped them down and rebuild them. The were tested and found to be straight. Whist rebuilding them, they were fitted with some Hagon progressive springs, some 15 wt Silkolene Pro RSF 15 suspension fluid (a bit overkill but I had half a bottle lying around) and new seals.



Someone had painted the fork legs and the paint was flaking off, so they were stripped of the paint and the bare alloy polished up.



Whilst I had the forks apart, everything was soaked and thoroughly cleaned in a mix of AFT fluid and acetone. Fitted some gaiters as well.



These were then finished by adding some lovely custom made alloy headlamp brackets (quality items that are adjustable if you have replaced the head bearings with taper roller ones - and even come fitted with O rings to create a nice seal), I managed to source from caferacerkits.co.uk. These managed to cover the slight pitting that was on the top of the fork tubes.



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PostSubject: Front Wheel Refurb   Sat May 11, 2013 6:14 am

I thought about converting the wheels to spoked ones, but the standard fit Comstar's are fairly iconic (one of the 1st tubeless wheels fitted to a production bike), so these were refurbed.

It would have been too tricky to take them back to the bare allow and polish them up (plus they may look a bit too bling, so they were repainted with some alloy wheel paint).

Whilst I was at it I changed the wheel bearings and seals. They did have some fairly new (but rubbish) Koyo bearings fitted but some clown had damaged one of the dust shields hammering them in. They were fitted with some quality SKF bearings, and to prevent any damage I made my own bearing tool from some threaded bar, some suitably sizes washers and a couple of nuts.

Having measured the discs, they appeared fairly new. To improve the looks and wet weather braking, I got the disks drilled by the very helpful John @ the wingovations.com Honda Goldwing fan web site, who very kindly created a template for CX500 discs for me - so any other CX500 owner that wants their discs drilling drop John a line.



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PostSubject: Taper Roller Headset Upgrade   Sat May 11, 2013 7:06 am

Taper Roller Headset Upgrade

Whilst the forks were off, I decided to upgrade the headset bearings with some taper roller bearings. I prefer Timken roller bearings, but having measured the headset tube, I found that I would require non standard bearings, so I had to settle for some AllBalls racing bearings (which to be fair look half decent quality), which came with some nice dust shields (better than the stock Honda one's).



It was a nightmare getting the old lower bearing cup off the steering stem - I had to resort to sticking the stem in the freezer and then heating up the bearing cup before I could tap it off with a drift.



The new bearings were smothered in some quality Rocol Sapphire bearing grease (probably a bit overkill for this application, as it is usually used for bearings revolving several thousand times a minute in a hostile environment).






The lower bearings were tapped on using a drift (on top of the thin spacer supplied with the bearing kit.



The bearing cups were pressed into the head tube with my home made bearing press (I have seen these damaged when hammered into place).

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PostSubject: Instrument Binnacle    Sat May 11, 2013 8:44 am

Instrument Binnacle

To give it a real Café racer look, the standard instrument binnacle, headlamp & nacelle/fairing have been removed. I wanted to retain the standard speedo because of the low mileage, so was thinking of getting something fabricated to hold the instruments in. I managed to find an off the shelf item at caferacerkits which is a pretty elegant solution and utilises the original wiring harness (with a few modifications), the only downside was I have lost the temperature guage.



The speedo, rev counter, and lamp/harness were all removed and cleaned.





I have fitted some 12V led's and spliced them onto the original wiring. I have neutral, high beam, overheating (I had to replace the temperature sender with one from a Subaru), oil and an extra one to signal when the fan is on (as I intend fitting an electric fan).



Here's the finished binnacle (I still need to tidy the garage Laughing )





The next job will be to fit a new headlight. I have one from a Yamaha RD350LC which fits, plus there's plenty of room to tuck all the loose wires in.
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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Mon May 13, 2013 12:43 am

Beautifully detailed build, but haven't heard any mention of your Sorcerer's Apprentice, did he do what mine did with the Honda I built, take one look at the cold and drafty garage and retire to the comfort of his pc?

Keep up the good work (and the photos!)
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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:44 am

pauliexjr wrote:
Beautifully detailed build, but haven't heard any mention of your Sorcerer's Apprentice, did he do what mine did with the Honda I built, take one look at the cold and drafty garage and retire to the comfort of his pc?

Keep up the good work (and the photos!)

Cheers Paulie - the sorcerer's apprentice is helpful, and was invaluable when we bled the brakes and when we removed/refitted the engine.

I've not had chance to update this diary but the build has still been making progress. Unfortunately I have suffered a memory card failure in my camera, so lost some pictures.

Here's a picture of the completed front end (the carrier bag on the handle bars contains all of the electrics). The front mudguard is the original one cut down by hand (grinder) and powder coated. A Tarozzi fork brace has also been fitted.

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PostSubject: Marzocchi Strada Shock Refurb   Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:05 am

I've spent some time rebuilding the Marzocchi Strada shocks. All the seals have been replaced, the springs powder coated, bodies painted, new bushes and new decals applied. They have been refilled with some quality suspension fluid (Fuchs Silkolene Pro RSF 5w).






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PostSubject: Radiator refurb and electric fan conversion   Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:15 am

Radiator refurb and electric fan conversion

Whilst the radiator was off the bike, it has been flushed and repainted. I also decided to polish up the brass top part of the radiator rather than repaint it and it looks very smart. I also decided to do an electric fan conversion while the rad was off, fitting a Ducati 748 fan. I decided to locate it directly onto the rad so I could save a fit of weight by junking the old fan shroud. At the same time, the hoses were replaced (a cut down Gates car hose), and stainless steel hose clips were fitted. The radiator cap was also replaced with a polished stainless steel one from an MG BGT/Mini Cooper.

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PostSubject: Radiator pics   Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:23 am

Some more pics of the radiator






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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:37 am

Coming on good:)  Slowly turning the worlds ugliest motorcycle into something pretty cool tongue 
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PostSubject: Engine & Frame Repaint   Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:53 am

Engine & Frame Repaint

I thought about having the frame powder coated but to be honest, all it needed was a lick of paint. I decided to paint it with Hammerite smooth anti rust paint.

The engine was also dropped from the bike and repainted. I did want to polish it back to the bare alloy but because of all the nooks and crannies, I don't think I could have done it properly. The engine was repainted using some silver alloy wheel paint.

The valve/rocker covers were beyond help, so these were replaced with some sourced from ebay and polished up. Whilst the engine was out, the tacho cable was replaced - what a pig of a job this was, the cam cover had to be removed so I could get the screw out (replaced the screw with a stainless steel hex bolt, just in case it ever needs doing again).











Engine going back in







I've also, stripped the carbs down and cleaned them up. The jets have also been changed to 90/120's, as I plan to fit pod filters and some free flowing exhausts.
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PostSubject: Rear Hugger/Swing Arm/Bevel Box   Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:10 am

Rear Hugger/Swing Arm/Bevel Box


The next job is to finish off the back end. The bevel box has been repainted, re-greased and flushed/refilled with some Motul synthetic 75W90 oil.

I need to get a bracket welded onto the swinging arm, then it can be repainted and refitted (the bearings will also need replacing, so I have some fresh NSK ones ready).

The wheel was repainted (thankfully the bearings look almost new - quality NSK ones), the brake shoes also looked new. To top it off a new Avon Roadrider tyre has been fitted (this had to be done, so I could line up the rear hugger and work out where the bracket needed to be welded).







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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:22 am

RussJ wrote:
Coming on good:)   Slowly turning the worlds ugliest motorcycle into something pretty cool tongue 

Thanks Russ, she was a particularly ugly example of an ugly bike Laughing Hopefully by the time i'm finnished with her, she should be the prettiest girl at the dance (and racy with it).
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PostSubject: Re: Honda CX 500 1st Café Racer Build   Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:34 am


I've been rubbish at updating this build. To be fair though, I have been fairly busy with other things and have just been tinkering around with things.

The carbs have been stripped, cleaned & balanced (just need to polish the carb bodies). Whilst I had them apart the jets were upgraded (guessed at 90/120), to match the pod air filters and free flowing exhaust (seen some nice Norton Pea Shooter replicas that should fit), the bike will be going on the dyno when finished, so it might get re-jetted again.

I've also been tinkering around with the footpegs. Rather than going for rear sets (I want a slightly more relaxing riding position), I decided to swap the standard rupper pegs for some alloy ones from a Yamaha R1. They fitted without too much modification - a little bit of grinding of the pegs & brackets, some tweaking of the springs and the rear brackets needed drilling out for the R1 pin to fit. The finished result looks pretty good. As this is going to be a two seater (probably more Cafe Cruiser than Cafe Racer), rear pegs have been fitted.




This is how they look on the bike



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PostSubject: Swinging Arm Assembley   Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:52 am

Things also got delayed due to the swinging arm going missing (a long story, but I gave it to a mate to weld the hugger bracket on and he found a bit of rot, so gave it to a local fabricator to weld - the trouble was my mate disappeared off to Spain and I didn't know where he had dropped it off).

As I mentioned, there was a bit of rot underneath the swinging arm, so it was completely cut out and a new piece fabricated and welded into place (along with the hugger bracket). It was then cleaned up and painted.






It's now beginning to look like I'm making some progress, now the rear end has been refitted.








The next job is to sort out the electrics and relocate the battery where the collector box was. Then sort the fuel tank (the original was too far gone, so I have picked a replacement up off ebay), prep it and paint it. Fit the exhausts, then hopefully fire her up. Then decide what I am going to do with the seat.
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