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Thread: CX500 Ratbike/bobber project

  1. #1
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    Default CX500 Ratbike/bobber project

    My buddy Andy and I found this bike on the side of the road with a sign that read "Free Cycle". One jumper box, a can of ether, and five minutes of work had it running before we even got it out of the back of the truck. We've been riding it around my dad's farm for the last year or two and I decided to do a poor man's restoration and get it back on the road.

    Here's where I started. This picture doesn't do a justice to how shitty the bike was. Everything was painted with a rattlecan (poorly) and there was a fair amount of rust and corrosion. The tires were dryrotted and flat. The sissy bar/luggage rack was about to fall off. Some idiot had installed one of the floats upside down and used a junk needle in one of the carbs. You'll have to forgive my drunken toolbag buddy, this is the only picture I have of it the way I got it .


    Here's where I am now. This picture was taken with a camera phone and really doesn't show how far the bike has come. Every single part has been stripped, sanded, primed and repainted or beadblasted. The battery and tires are new, and the frame has been swapped to a '78 that came with a clean title. I need a front brake caliper and master cylinder to finish it (anybody got anything that will work??). I have cut the seat down so that it stops at the upper shock mounts and am going to cut the rear fender down so that it stops just before the center of the wheel. I am also going to cut the rear frame horns off just after the upper shock mounts and weld in a piece of pipe to strengthen the upper shock mount area.


    Here's my total investment so far:
    1) $155.41 for frame with title
    2) $50 for new Yuasa battery
    3) $90 for a set of new tires
    4) Approximately $40 in paint and primer
    5) $9.42 for throttle tube (my dad stepped on the original )
    6) $5.00 for new grips

    Let me know what you think about it. I think it looks pretty good. Any suggestions for mods that would improve the look? I'm planning on making a 2 into 1 exhaust using one of the stock cans and wrapping the headers. I was going to do dragbars but the cables are way too long and I don't have the tools to shorten them. Let's hear some commentary, good bad or indifferent

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    lol, ok minus the first pic it looks like a nice lil project you got going

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    you are on the road on a motorcycle. no matter what bike it is you are on the road. that to me has always been the one thing i love the most. looks good and no matter what you will enjoy it.
    nice job and ride safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoothcbr View Post
    you are on the road on a motorcycle. no matter what bike it is you are on the road. that to me has always been the one thing i love the most. looks good and no matter what you will enjoy it.
    nice job and ride safe.
    I share the exact same philosophy. I'm at a time in my life when I can't afford nice stuff anymore so I've become more resourceful. I think that this bike will be a lot of fun and I don't have any unreasonable ideas about its intended use. It's a cruiser and I'm a racer . I have a nice KTM to go fast on, and this will be my bike to go slow and enjoy the scenery on.

    Thank you both for the props, I really appreciate it. Oh, and I knew I was going to catch some shit for the first picture . It's all good

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    looks sick! personally id do whatever it takes to put the drag bars on, it would really finish the bike off perfectly!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweeney View Post
    looks sick! personally id do whatever it takes to put the drag bars on, it would really finish the bike off perfectly!
    I know you're right. I've been trying to convince myself to forget about the drag bars but they really are perfect for the look I'm trying to achieve. I guess I'll be looking into the tools needed to shorten my cables

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    definitely need some just basic straight drag bars... and they are cheap

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobongo View Post
    definitely need some just basic straight drag bars... and they are cheap
    I already bought a piece of pipe and test fit it but there's literally like a foot of extra cable on each one with nowhere to go. Anyone ever shortened their own cables before? If I do this, I want to be able to count on it lasting, so no rigging will be allowed

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    I like it, how many cc? keep us posted

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post
    Let me know what you think about it. I think it looks pretty good. Any suggestions for mods that would improve the look? I'm planning on making a 2 into 1 exhaust using one of the stock cans and wrapping the headers. I was going to do dragbars but the cables are way too long and I don't have the tools to shorten them. Let's hear some commentary, good bad or indifferent
    I like it. Nice work!

    Got it plated yet? Got'do that Hi... Easier to do whatever you want after you've got the plate in hand.

    I normaly don't like pullbacks, but they're looking pretty good on that bike. I'd leave em.

    I'd pull more stuff off:
    - rear pegs can go, and then grind off the tabs
    - turn signals can go: http://www.amadirectlink.com/legisltn/laws.asp
    - Personally, I'd want to shit-can that entire giant guage set. Maybe just remount the oil and neutral lights somewhere and leave the rest off. (Got that plate yet?)

    How 'bout some more pics? MOAR!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post
    I want to be able to count on it lasting, so no rigging will be allowed
    Shit well i guess i'm not allowed to work on it then.

    The bike is looking good! Problem is it almost looks too good to rape now. Drag bars are a must on it. I'll check the parts diagram to see how the throtle and clutch cables connect to the motor. You may be able to cut the bottom ends off, but most likely the bottom end needs the little bump things on the wire. You may just have to buy shorter cables, which can't be hard to find since it's a pretty generic type piece (other then stock length).

    If you do decide to ghetto rig it. Cut it shorter as you need and smash a fishing weight on the end. Smash it good though, maybe solder it. OH and carry pliers anytime you're riding with an extra weight incase it comes loose. JK buy shorter cables!

    edit: just checked bike bandit, you need the little plugs at both ends of the cables. Sometime take the cables off and bring them all to the dealership close to you and see what they have that would fit but are shorter.
    ~Rack 'em~

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    Ask around the local bike shops for someone who can do custom cables. I found a guy around here and just brought the old ones in & told him how long I needed. He reused some of the hardware, matched balls/barrels on the ends correctly, and left the same amount of cable hanging outside the new sheath length. Done. Better quality than I had before and cheap too.
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    that thing is nice! you know it is not going to handle the dirt jumps very well

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfe43 View Post
    that thing is nice! you know it is not going to handle the dirt jumps very well
    Bullshit.. and we have the jumps to prove it!
    For your Wine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLOWNMUSTANGONSAUCE!!1! View Post
    Bullshit.. and we have the jumps to prove it!
    i need some video

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    i would trop the forks an inch or two to balance the rear... put a flat track seat too
    SUPER MOFO

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    I know once I tried to bust a berm on it, saw Jesus, and blazed through a Palmetto plant! That was intense!
    For your Wine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroman View Post
    i would trop the forks an inch or two to balance the rear... put a flat track seat too
    It would look good. The only thing is a flat track seat would almost double his investment into the bike.

    here's a quick crappy photoshop of the seat and shorting the front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tallboy350 View Post
    It would look good. The only thing is a flat track seat would almost double his investment into the bike.

    here's a quick crappy photoshop of the seat and shorting the front.
    Thanks for the photoshop. You're exactly right about the flat tracker/cafe seat, hence the reason I'm not going that route. I wanted to drop the forks in the triples but the upper triples have some sort of lip machined into them that prevents you from doing it. I didn't feel like cutting the lip out with a die grinder at the time as I was in a hurry to reassemble it, but it's definitely something I'll consider in the future. The only drawback to doing this is that it detracts (IMO) from the bobber/rat style that I'm going for. The CX was never a dirt tracker and because I have a Custom, I have the wrong tank for a cafe conversion. Thus, in the interest of keeping this bike dirt cheap, I'll probably leave it alone. I'll post up some pictures of the seat once I get back down to Tampa (probably this weekend if not next) and finish the bike. I think you guys will like what I've come up with regarding the tail of the bike. Based on mock up and what I'm picturing in my mind, the tail will have kind of a streetfighter/minimalist look to it.

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    how about doing an indian larry style tank? Cut both edges off, switch the sides and invert them like this? It'd be a lot of work, but you could probably do it yourself with time and patience. It'd go good with the bobber theme.




    Or since the front of your tank isn't as round may something like this



    at minimum it needs some pin striping

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post
    The CX was never a dirt tracker ...
    DaviMac, Cool bike!

    Honda actually did do a CX based flattracker...I'll try and find some better pics but:

    http://www.flattrack.com/images/fbfi...8498b900fd.JPG

    In fact, one is at the AMA MC Museum in Ohio.

    http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/classics/bike.asp?id=32

    Good luck on your project!

    Dave
    Last edited by DeltaHotel; 01-07-2009 at 09:00 PM. Reason: clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaHotel View Post
    DaviMac, Cool bike!

    Honda actually did do a CX based flattracker...I'll try and find some better pics but:

    http://www.flattrack.com/images/fbfi...8498b900fd.JPG

    In fact, one is at the AMA MC Museum in Ohio.

    Good luck on your project!

    Dave
    I stand corrected . I never would have imagined that Honda would have fooled with one of these engines in a racebike. It's interesting that they transversely mounted a transverse V-twin. I'm assuming that this was so they could use a chain drive setup. Thanks for the info, and please be sure to post more pictures if you come across any. I'm glad to learn any new CX info

    Edit: I just read the article about the NS750 and I guess my assumption about the chain drive was correct. Pretty wild how they flipped the heads to relocate the carbs. I guess my CX is actually an interesting bike historically after all.

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    Eric-

    While I do have the tools to do the Indian Larry tank, and I feel comfortable with the job, I don't think it's worth the work. Sure, it's cool, but it's not worth the amount of time it would take me to do. You're also right about the shape of my tank. I've got a little something up my sleeve to jazz up the sides of the tank, and I'll probably be doing it when I've got the bike completed and back on the road .

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLOWNMUSTANGONSAUCE!!1! View Post
    I know once I tried to bust a berm on it, saw Jesus, and blazed through a Palmetto plant! That was intense!


    I remember this like it was yesterday. I see that you conveniently forgot to mention how much booze you had consumed before getting on it . I'll never forget watching him walk back up to the house in the dark with an "I just saw Jesus" look on his face. He left the bike parked next to the palmettos and I don't think he's ridden it since

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post


    I remember this like it was yesterday. I see that you conveniently forgot to mention how much booze you had consumed before getting on it . I'll never forget watching him walk back up to the house in the dark with an "I just saw Jesus" look on his face. He left the bike parked next to the palmettos and I don't think he's ridden it since
    How about the time Brett (tool in photo) got his feet stuck under the pegs with sandals on. I cant remember how many layers of skin it removed...
    For your Wine!

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    Good news for those in favor of drag bars. I just found a tutorial on a CX forum for how to shorten the cables. I'll probably take a stab at it this weekend when I'm back down in Tampa. Oh, and the new throttle tube has arrived, so look for a first ride video this weekend or early next week

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    Is it like with a bicycle, where you cut the cable to whatever length and drill out the little tab thing (whatever it's called), then run the wire through it, fray it out, then solder it? This is how you can do it on bicycles, idk if it's how the recomend motorcycle cables, but if it isn't you could always try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tallboy350 View Post
    Is it like with a bicycle, where you cut the cable to whatever length and drill out the little tab thing (whatever it's called), then run the wire through it, fray it out, then solder it? This is how you can do it on bicycles, idk if it's how the recomend motorcycle cables, but if it isn't you could always try it.
    That's the exact same process. The little tab is apparently called the barrel. These guys swear by the process but say that you have to use muriatic acid to clean the cable before soldering or it won't stick as well. I've got all of the tools and materials to do this, so I might tackle the job this weekend.

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    I thought the barrel was the thing you twist to fine adjust the cable?

    this thing.


    Shouldn't be too hard if that's all you have to do then. The main issue is cutting the cable tube without causing a pinch or bur on the end that'll make the cable stick. Wire cutters will cut the tube, but if you're not careful they'll smash the end into an oval shape and will mess up the action of the cable.

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    I've always called that part the barrel as well, but these guys are referring to the "tab" as a barrel too. I'll have to experiment on methods for cutting the sheath cleanly, but I'm thinking an air cutoff wheel.

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    or a dremel with a cutoff wheel

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobongo View Post
    or a dremel with a cutoff wheel
    Good suggestion and I appreciate it, but Dremels are kind of a long standing joke among my dad and I. I hate them with a passion. My dad uses them pretty often when doing woodwork and repairing antiques, but has finally realized after 20 or so years how shitty and frustrating they are when compared to good air tools. Now that I've demonstrated the capabilities of cut off wheels and die grinders, the Dremels have been staying in their cases. Funny, because my dad didn't even know that we owned air die grinders . Obviously there are some jobs that require the tiny size of a Dremel, so they're good to have, but I avoid them at all costs. The inability to adjust the tool's speed to compensate for load is one of my reasons, along with many others.

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    www.benjiescaferacer.com -one of my favorite sites...
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    "You can buy cool things, but you can't buy cool."

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    I agree about lowering the front so it is not so tipped up. Ditch the gauges-you don't need a tach- and get an old one at a salvage for almost nothing-chrome! Look behind those side covers to see if there is any way you can lose them and open up the frame in that area- maybe you will need to ditch the airbox and paint the battery cage, but I think it would take it much more in the bobber direction than the flat track direction, if that is still what you want. DRAG BARS ARE A MUST!

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    check out this guy's cx500 cafe racer set up.

    http://choppercharles.com/cs/forums/...PrintPost.aspx





    here's a couple cx's with solo seats.



    and check this cx500 custom out
    http://thekneeslider.com/archives/20...wendell-jones/

    Some beaters, i like the first of these's seat and style.

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    Nice! I always thought a CX could make a cool cafe. At that price, you can't beat it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post
    Good suggestion and I appreciate it, but Dremels are kind of a long standing joke among my dad and I. I hate them with a passion. My dad uses them pretty often when doing woodwork and repairing antiques, but has finally realized after 20 or so years how shitty and frustrating they are when compared to good air tools. Now that I've demonstrated the capabilities of cut off wheels and die grinders, the Dremels have been staying in their cases. Funny, because my dad didn't even know that we owned air die grinders . Obviously there are some jobs that require the tiny size of a Dremel, so they're good to have, but I avoid them at all costs. The inability to adjust the tool's speed to compensate for load is one of my reasons, along with many others.
    Flame suit on! My Dremel is has a 6 point adjustment for speed. My air cut off tool has an on and off at about 6k or so. My die grinder(cheepo) Is a finger trigger that is fairly sensitive. Large metal working, dremel is no good. Anything else, there is no other.
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    Nice Job, you brought that bike a long long way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
    Flame suit on! My Dremel is has a 6 point adjustment for speed. My air cut off tool has an on and off at about 6k or so. My die grinder(cheepo) Is a finger trigger that is fairly sensitive. Large metal working, dremel is no good. Anything else, there is no other.
    All Dremels have a speed adjustment as far as I know. What I was referring to was the fact that you can't adjust the speed while making a cut because the speed control is at the back of the tool's body. If they made a Dremel with a trigger (hell, maybe they do and I've never seen it), I might reconsider my adverse attitude toward the tools.

    Bucky- Thanks for the kind words.

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    Here are some updated pics with the new rear fender configuration. It isn't fastened together yet but I think thats the look I am going for. I will snap some more tomorrow.

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    ooo i like that lil fender... looks good. now get rid of those godaweful turnsignals. lol

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    Haha I knew I'd catch shit for the turn signals. Those are off of an '06 CBR600RR. For those who haven't noticed, the theme of this bike is cheap/free/ratty. I refuse to ride w/o turnsignals, so the free CBR units will have to work. They actually fill in ugly holes behind the chopped up seat.

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    That looks really good.

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    No true Bobber is complete without a set of apehangers.... That would set that shit off!!!! IMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaviMac424 View Post
    Haha I knew I'd catch shit for the turn signals. Those are off of an '06 CBR600RR. For those who haven't noticed, the theme of this bike is cheap/free/ratty. I refuse to ride w/o turnsignals, so the free CBR units will have to work. They actually fill in ugly holes behind the chopped up seat.
    Where is the brake light? You won't ride without signals, but not having a brake light is okay?
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    He should have it finished up today.. He was going along with the theme of the build and looking for the cheapest option.
    For your Wine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwitchThrottle View Post
    Where is the brake light? You won't ride without signals, but not having a brake light is okay?
    I'm going to buy an LED strip taillight and mount it to the license plate. The turn signals, seat, rear fender, and tag are all mounted, rear fender and all bracketry is painted, and the frame horns that I cut off are capped and ground smooth. It's going to be another week or two before I can get down to Tampa again to put the finishing touches on the bike and get it back on the road. I was hoping to finish it this weekend but got an opportunity to make some extra cash.

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    What about losing that big-ass airbox and throwing on some pod filters instead? You can get them pretty cheap on ebay.

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    Here's a bike for some inspiration, yours should look similar but better
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/JILL%20BIDEN%20TWN.jpg

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