Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shopping Spree

  I haven't touched the bike at all for the last week and a half or so. I screwed up my shoulder a few weeks ago and it got worse from all the activity. Doc said to take off work and don't agitate it. Taking anti-inflammatory pills and icing the heck out of it. 
  However, I did get my Christmas bonus check...WOO! I went to to the DMV and transferred the title for the CX500 to my name. NO problems, thank goodness. Then I spent a lot of time on the interwebs looking for parts. Here's the list...

  My seat...

  I found this site Texavina.com that makes cafe motorcycle seats for many different bikes. Prices are good but shipping is expensive. They ship from their manufacturing facility in Vietnam. They also do custom work. They make a seat that is very close to what I want..

It's just a bit tall and maybe too wide. I also want to do red stitching around the border seams and down the back seams.
I contacted Truong there through emails and asked if he could make a seat similar to the one that Moto-Mucci did on his CX Cafe. I told him I would be cutting the rear frame area and not using the original seat mounts. I sent him pictures of that custom made seat and also a picture that I over-layed drawings indicating the areas I wanted red stitching.

He said he could do that. He'll be using the seat pattern from their current product (top picture) and modifying it to be lower and come straight back instead of curving down in the rear and using the red stitching in the areas I indicated. He's working on it this week and said he will send me a picture before they ship it to me. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Shocks, mirrors, tail light, headlight brackets...

 Dime City Cycles is a great source for just about anything you need to build a cafe racer. Check out their project bikes. Super sweet. They have been featured many times on Cafe Racer TV. Excellent work. I found a set of rear shocks here. They are a bit lower than my stock shocks and will look and perform a whole lot better too.

"Retro-Slim" Black & Chrome Eye to Eye Shock Absorbers - (320mm/12.50")

I also picked out a set of these bar end mirrors.

Authentic Japanese "Napoleon" Style Bar-end Mirror - (Black)

 A tail light assembly.
2-1/4" Classic Round Taillight - (Satin Black)

And some headlight mounting brackets.

Lightweight Gloss Black "Dimpled" Headlight Brackets - (29-35mm)


ProGrip Style 717 Grips - (Black w/ Red) Open End

Headlight and handlebars...

  Next I surfed on over to Speed Moto Co.  Another great source for cafe parts. There I found the headlight I wanted. I liked that it's all black including the rim and it uses an H4 bulb instead of a sealed beam unit.

7" Black Hole sun! Headlight - BLACK cafe racer H4 LSL

Handlebars. Clubman's of course.

New BLACK Clubman bar for that classic cafe look.7/8ths bar
These are high quality bars.
The dimension of these bars are as follows.
width" 28" height -.8" pullback 6",
11.75" center between upper bend 7/8 bar size

Brake and clutch levers...


Don't rule out Amazon.com for parts either. Found a set of black brake and clutch levers. 


  Brake master cylinder rebuild kit...

This was a bit of a bitch to find. I intend on using the brake master cylinder from my '78 parts bike. They only used this style for one year and thus it has become difficult to find parts for it. I like it because it's not a big ugly white plastic box on top of your handlebars like the later ones. This one is a smaller all metal housing. Mine needs to be rebuilt and cleaned up. After much searching I came across this wonderful site... HondaPartsNation.com
I was pleased to see a full exploded view of the brake master and all the part numbers and prices for OEM stuff. Yay! They screw you on shipping charges though. Ugh :(

                                                                Item #10

So that's all for now. I still need to find a rear fender to chop and I'm still deciding on turn signals, if any. Need more money to buy an exhaust system. Also I really want to do an all-in-one electronic gauge unit. If Santa drops a sack of cash on me this Christmas then I'm picking one of these bad boys up...

These go for about $700 here in the states. OUCH! But they look great and do EVERYTHING. It'll clean up all the wiring and cable mess from the stock units into one neat package. I'll probably end up going gaugeless, though. Or maybe just a small tachometer off to the side. That's all I really need. But damn, this Chronoclassic would be nice. *drool*

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stripped Down 

  I spent some time this afternoon stripping down the CX500 further. I decided not to go all the way yet. I want to wait until I get the seat before I tear down completely. I would like to see how the seat looks and fits while the bike is on it's wheels. (Even though theses aren't the wheels I'll be using). I removed the bent forks and installed my straight ones temporarily. They need to be powder-coated and rebuilt yet. I gave it a once-over cleaning with some WD40 and a rag so that it's not a total eye-sore for the time being. 

  I''l be selling this set of Comstars later if anybody needs a set. 19 inch front. 16 inch rear.  They are in pretty good shape.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Bye Bye CX#1 Parts Bike

  Frame of the '78 went to the scrap yard today. Yay! More room in my garage now. Came home after work today and proceeded to pull out the motor of the '80. No problem.

 I think I'll order a complete gasket and seal set for the motor. I want to pull the timing cover off and make sure there's nothing bad happening with the chain and guides. Peace of mind is good. Lots of exterior cleaning to do. I want this motor spotless before it goes back in. I'll work on stripping down the rest of the bike tomorrow. My other tire and inner tubes showed up today. Also picked up a bench grinder and polisher. Ordered a set of front fork seals as well. I need to get a seat ordered soon. Gotta pay some bills first and start fresh.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Slow week for the CX

  I managed to get some money back from the first bike as agreed as well as a couple of service manuals. The official one on the right is very nice. I love all the exploded views with torque specs. If anybody needs anything copied from it, let me know. I can take pictures of the pages needed and send them.

  I also repaired my right intake boot with some plastic epoxy. I tried not to make it too messy and just filled the cracks. I sprayed carb clean on it after it cured and it withstood that without melting or anything. The temp rating is up to 200 F which is fine considering cool air and fuel are passing through it.  It's temporary until I can find a good replacement one.

  The next day I ran it to see if it ran well on with no air leaks.  Success!  The motor sounds pretty good except for the exhaust. Major leaks from the H-pipe and the left muffler is just hanging there. It's all rusted out. No matter because I'll be installing a Mac 2 into 1 assembly when the time comes. The left carb is leaking too. Not sure exactly what from. The float may be sticking or something. I'm going to take them off and rebuild them and rejet to 90/120.
  I also spent a little time cleaning some of the exposed parts of the frame to see how it would shine up. Not too bad, but there are a lot of scratches and little rusty halos at the seams and such. Not noticeable from standing a few feet away but I've come to the conclusion I won't be happy with that. The rest of the bike if going to be shiny with new paint and powder coat on all the parts except the frame. If the frame is done up right as well, the whole bike will be so much better. I don't want any regrets. 
  I'm going to pick up a bench grinder/polisher this weekend. It's something I wish I had all along for my past projects. I want to polish the valve covers, intake manifolds, clutch cover, carb tops, gas cap cover, and fuse box. I need the grinder to help shape the fenders too.  So much work to do...  
  I think I'll pull the motor this weekend and start stripping the bike down to a bare frame. Then I can start cleaning all the parts and rebuilding. Hoping to get some money this month for the seat. I need that in my hands so I can modify the rear of the frame to mount the seat before sending the frame out to be powder coated. It could take over a month to get the seat after it's ordered. At least I'll have plenty of time to get the rest ready for assembly.  I'm hoping this project can be done by spring time. All depends on how much money I can get together for all the parts I need. The list is growing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


  So my right intake manifold is cracked on the hard rubber section from the crash bar impacting it. I thought I would use the one from my '78 parts bike but the old one looks to be a different diameter and the finish is different. I found a place in the UK that makes aftermarket ones but I would prefer that they are original and match in look and finish since they are very visible on the bike. I found some used ones on Ebay but they are broken as well. I'm sure one will pop up soon. Maybe the guy i bought the bike from has some spares. I think I'll arrange to stop by this Sunday perhaps. Need my forks and fender as well.

Below is the picture of the same part on from the '78. It's shaped different. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

And then there was one...

  All that's left of CX #1 is a skeleton. I have a bunch of junk to get rid of now. Keeping most of the parts I took off just in case the second bike needs anything unexpectedly. Really, the only thing I'm using are the wheels, the brake master cylinder and the turn signal switch. I was surprised how easy it was to remove the motor. Nice design.

  The radiator fluid looked clean and green, which is a good thing. The rear drive fluid was clean too. All in good shape. Good spare parts. I need a good set of front forks, though. The ones on the first bike were air assist type and the ones on the new bike are bent. You can see the bend pretty good in the picture above on the far bike. The guy I bought it from has a good set on his '79 parts bike as well as a straight fender. I'll pick them up soon and then rebuild them.
  Next is to start stripping down the good bike and begin cleaning everything. Tempted to take the motor out to really get access to everything considering how easy it was to remove.
  I'm short on money for a couple weeks due to an unexpected car repair on my Volvo V70R so I won't be buying any more parts for this project for a little while. The mass air flow sensor took a crap today and it cost me $235 for a new one. Oh well. Gotta keep it moving my butt to work to pay for all this.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


 I absolutely LOVE this color on the the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S. It's called "Italian Racing Red" and it looks really sweet with the blacked out trim and wheels. 

You really have to see it in person and it's even more spectacular in the sunlight. These pictures don't really do it justice, but you get the idea. Brilliant metallic red.

 I also love the red piping and stitching accents on the interior trim. I want to do my seat on the CX500 in black with red stitching or piping.

 So basically, I want the tank, side panels and *maybe* the front fender in this color and then do gloss black powder coating on the wheels, front forks, and rear fender. Black housings for the headlamp, signals, tail lamp, and gauge. Black exhaust system. Black grips (maybe with red accents if I can find something like that). Engine and rear hub will stay factory aluminum. I think this will be a head-turner for sure. I'm looking into seat fabrication now. Gotta see what can be done and for how much. I'll be cutting the rear section of the frame and eliminating the original seat mount as to provide a flat section for a cafe seat much like the one that Moto-Mucci created, but in black with red stitching of course.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Have My First New Part!

  Yesterday I ordered a set of Dunlop K70 Vintage tires for the CX from BikeBandit.com. They were on sale for about $60 each and it was the last day of the sale so I jumped on it. I'm going to be using the wheels from the first bike (1978). They are the early, smooth finished, narrow Comstars just like the ones Moto-Mucci used on his build. 19 inch front and 18 inch rear. Go BIG!
  Today, one of the tires showed up at my door! That was fast! The other is delayed for a few days, though.

I'm already looking into places that do powder-coating. I have friends in the industry, so I'm going to ask for some references. I'll post about that later. I'm going to need the wheels done, the front forks, and the fenders once I get them ready to go. As for now... I need a break. Staying in tonight to start this blog. I had requests from Facebook peeps to do this to help document it all and keep it in one place instead of spread out in FB updates. Here ya go! All up to date now. 

One Week Later

  No title for the CX from the owner. I'll call and collect my reimbursement soon. I popped back on Craigslist during the week and found a guy selling a bunch of old CX500's. Stopped by and had a peek. I really only needed another parts bike. A frame, a straight gas tank, possibly a better running motor, and of course a clean title. He had some complete bikes and some parts bikes and said he had titles for most of them. 
  It was dark and with a flashlight I picked out a '79  for $150 and said I'd come back with a truck for it later in the week. It didn't have any wheels, but it had a straight tank and good front forks and a motor. Not sure how well it would run if at all but for $150 I was getting what I needed. 
  I came back for it and he started looking through his stack of pink slips and we could not find one for this bike. Ugh. There was a 1980 CX500 Deluxe that was wrecked in the front and a smashed tank that actually looked VERY clean under all the dust and a clear title. The motor looked super clean with a nice smooth finished casing. I saw this one before but didn't ask about it the first time because I assumed he would want much more for it and I only had enough cash for the stripped down parts bike. To my surprise, he offered it to me for the same price and he gave me the straight tank from the other one as well! Maybe he felt bad about not having the title for the other one. No matter. Did the deal and rolled it into the back of the truck with help from my Dad. Success!

  I immediately went through the process of getting the motor running. I was having difficulty. I could only get the left cylinder to fire. the right pipe was staying cold. I had spark, compression, fuel but no bang. I listened more carefully and I could hear air being sucked in near the intake manifold. I sprayed some carb cleaner in the area and it started running smooth with no abnormal noises from the motor. Yay! The cylinder head crash bar had been bent down on top of the hard rubber intake tube on the right side and cracked it. It was sucking in too much air and leaning it out too much to fire. Easy fix. I have another from the other bike. 
  The frame looks like it will clean up nicely. I was thinking I would have to get it powder coated again, but I think I'll pass and save the time and money of stripping the bike completely down. This is going to speed up the project immensely. I'm getting really excited about this now. Next I need to tear down the first bike and make room in the garage. It's getting crowded in here!


I wasn't holding my breath on that title and pretty much knew this was going to be a parts bike. I started stripping it of all the garbage. Ripped off the fairing, seat, sissy bars, crash bars, and blew all the cobwebs and leaves out of it. Looks almost like a real bike now.

 I decided to buy a battery and see if I could get it running and assess what parts I would be using. I know the older motors had issues with timing chains and guides but the owner told me it did run well before it sat forever. Made a quick trip to BatteriesPlus after work and picked up a good battery. Went for the high end here and got an American made AGM battery with a 2 year warranty $94 plus tax. Then I stopped by the gas station for a can of fresh gas. A little bit of hotwiring and I was ready to go. First off I removed the spark plugs and doused the cylinders with WD40 and then cranked it over a few times with the plugs out to help prevent any serious damage. I refit the plugs and then vroom!

I tried uploading the video but it keeps failing for some reason. I'll work on that later. Sorry!

  It ran surprisingly well, however, it was very noisy. Sounded like the chain slapping around and the rockers were tapping loudly. It can be saved. 

Project CX500 Cafe Racer


  Early October 2012 I was shown a picture of a really cool cafe racer built from an old Honda CX500 and it sparked my interest. I started searching the web for more examples and came across this one...

  I knew right then that I wanted to do a very similar build to this. Well.. pretty much the exact same thing but maybe a different color scheme so that it isn't an exact duplicate, because that would just be lame of me. This particular bike is by Moto-Mucci and it resides in Chicago land. www.motomucci.com    
  I immediately started scouring Craigslist for a cheap CX that wouldn't mind meeting it's second maker. I found a couple complete bikes but one was already severly chopped and cafe'd out and the other was a very pristine example. Both were WAY out of my price range. I didn't have a couple grand laying around... Just a couple hundred. This project will definitely be done on a budget. A couple weeks later I found a 1978 model for $200! Went to look at it and, well, it was a $200 bike. Ugly and ratty as all hell, but complete. It hadn't been registered since 1987 and it had Arizona plates. The guy couldn't find the title and he had never registered it in his name. He was the second owner, soft of. I agreed to take it anyways and he assured me that it wouldn't be a problem to register since the DMV would have no record of it. I have done this before with old cars way back and had no problem either. 
  So, of course, it became a huge problem. I even tried three different DMV offices in case I just had a crabby DMV employee. Basically I needed the title or proof from AZ DMV that it's free and clear. Also needed CHP serial number verification. Spent over $50 in fees just to find this out and start the paper work but it would take forever to mess around sending documents via snail mail back and for from AZ DMV and more fees, and then some more fees, and then taking out a bond for the title, and then... Ahhhh screw it. 
  I called the guy back that I bought it from and asked him if he could search for the title. He knows he has it somewhere in his garage. A month goes by. I haven't touched the bike and no word about the title. Called again and he made me a deal... Give him another week to find it and if no success then he would give me $125 back and I get to keep the CX as a parts bike. Deal.