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 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.    
  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.