Honda CX 500 Forum banner
1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Automotive tire


Way back in the “stone-age”, circa 1980, I took possession of my first brand-new motorcycle.

I was all of 17 at the time, and had saved my pennies for years in order to get the bike of my dreams… A 1979 Honda CX500D.

The bike was a technological marvel in it’s day, 500cc’s of the best engineering that Honda could pack into a bike. This was Big Red’s first V-Twin, their first water-cooled machine, first all electric start, first transverse twin. A mid-sized touring machine without peer.

I loved that bike, rode it everywhere - and eventually out to California, where it was later sold for something faster and prettier. But I never forgot it,

Well, fast forward to about 4 years ago, and I was talking to some guy in a local pub. We got to conversing about motorcycles, and specifically our favorites from the past. I told him about my fist love, and he looked at me shocked, and said “I’ve got one of those in my garage! It’s a wreck. Do you want it?”

"Hell yes!" was my answer, and I trailered it away from him the next day.

"A wreck" was an understatement - it was non-running, and full of rust and faded paint. Dented and rusted tank, plus a slew of wiring issues.

But the engine turned over, so there was hope.

I worked on it in my garage for weeks, getting everything cleaned up, and re-building the carbs.

Soon, I was rewarded with some signs of life. She ran - but not great - could not get her to rev past 5000 RPM’s. After some research, I found out my stator was fried, and to replace it would require dropping the motor from the frame.

Consequently it sat for a few years, gathering more dust as my busy life did not allow for any further progress.

Well, this past year I turned 50, and I promised myself I would take on the task of restoring this neglected machine to running condition.

Luckily, I have a great mechanic in the neighborhood - Scott McCarty of Alpha Dog Custom’s in Glenside, Pennsylvania. I took it to him, and he jumped at the chance to work on this historic machine.

The initial plan was just to get it running properly, along with some paint and a little polish - but as you will see, as things progressed, we decided to take it to another level.

I wanted to keep it as stock looking as possible, but add crucial modern touches, like a front brake that actually works well, along with modern lighting and electrics.

The following photos show the progress of this build, all the way to it’s completion…

The first order of business was to drop the motor out of the frame, so we could get to that burnt stator. We replaced it with a new unit, and performed the “triple-bypass” that these engines usually require (cam-chain, water pump seal, stator replacement).

Engine Auto part Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive engine part


The internals looked surprisingly new…

Engine Auto part Motor vehicle Automotive engine part Fuel line


Along with the stator issue, compression was low (75 PSI!) so we thought she would be needing new rings too. It was later determined, however, that the cylinders and rings were in remarkable condition, and that the reason for lack of compression was due to leaky valves and seals. Scott replaced the rings anyway and gave the bores a light honing - the valves just required a little lapping along with new seals. As a result, compression was raised to better than nominal spec.

Here are the cases getting prepped for powder coat.

Auto part Engine Automotive engine part


We decided to powder-coat the motor with a slver-vein color (a mix of silver and black that produce a unique “hammer tone” finish, along with polishing, then clear-coating the valve covers.

Auto part Automotive engine part Engine Automotive super charger part


Here’s a few shots of the finished motor…

Auto part Engine Automotive engine part Vehicle Metal
Auto part Engine Automotive engine part Carburetor
Engine Auto part Automotive engine part Carburetor Machine


Scott has an attention for detail that few posses, and he laid the same silver-vein powder into the recess area of the clutch cover, before a top coat of clear.

Auto part Automotive engine part Engine Carburetor


The paint scheme was to be red and black for the rest of the bike, so he even laid a little red powder in between the fins of the valve covers, and nice touch.

Auto part Engine Automotive engine part Carburetor Automotive super charger part


The tank badges got an undercoat of the same powder as the motor…

Text Red Font Vehicle Team


Almost, there - Here is Scott, looking things over…

Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Car


Scott did a great job of re-jetting the stock carbs, but we soon realized that more work should be done. It was decided to replace the Keihin’s with a pair of Mikuni VM34 round-slides, from Murray This addition, along with dumping the obscenely heavy exhaust manifold under the bike (a 30 lb. weight reduction!), and putting on some pod filters and straight pipes gave a significant improvement in both HP and overall ride-ability.

We also decided to upgrade the front brake caliper with a 2 piston setup from a 1982 CB900 (a much-needed improvement), along with adding modern suspension components (new adjustable shocks out back, rebuilt forks with progressive springs and emulators up front).

She now not only looks better than new, but runs MUCH better than new!

I’m in love, all over again.

Here are some shots of the final product….

Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Car
Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Automotive tire
Land vehicle Motorcycle Vehicle Motor vehicle Car
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately, no.

Tremendous oversight on my part, I know.

Take my word for it, when I say it was a wreck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
Gorgeous
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,425 Posts
Very nice indeed, and quite classy! For me, that's a far nicer treatment of a scruffy CX500 that all these 'bobber' lash-ups that seem to be all the rage at present. You've kept lots of original CX features too, which often get dumped on the 'bobbers'. It's still recognisably a CX500! :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all...

It was my goal to keep the look mostly stock, and I think I did a decent job in that regard.

Of course, the modern improvements (carbs, intakes, exhaust, brakes, suspension and lighting) make a big difference in how it feels and rides.

But the look is classic, right down to that original seat (which most find a bit ugly, but I find extremely comfortable).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stan in Toronto

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
first off, gorgeous bike! did you do the polishing of the valve covers? I 'm having a hard time getting into the recesses of the cooling vanes and getting the high gloss you have achieved on mine. Any insight would be helpful. thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
first off, gorgeous bike! did you do the polishing of the valve covers? I 'm having a hard time getting into the recesses of the cooling vanes and getting the high gloss you have achieved on mine. Any insight would be helpful. thank you.
Thank you.

We made a tool from a rod with sandpaper wrapped around it, then compounding and polishing on a rag wheel.

Lots of elbow grease.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
thank you. my wheel seems too stiff to follow the contours. gonna have to try a different wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thank you. my wheel seems too stiff to follow the contours. gonna have to try a different wheel.
You definitely need a floppy type rag wheel to get in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I honestly didnt think a floppy wheel would give the desired level of polishing i wanted, obviously you have proved me wrong with your creation. thank you again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Great link. Thank you.
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top