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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey Y'all!

I've actually been lurking around here for about 6 months, but I figured I'd finally start a build thread for my neverending project. Short background, this is my first bike, always wanted one, but quarantine depression means impulse buys, so here we are. I'm a long-term car guy, so I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty. Anyways, to start, let me get, you up to speed. I'm a photographer by trade, so this'll be more of a picture story

May 23rd - I fell in love with this 1981 CX500 Deluxe on Facebook marketplace. Seller had it up for $1000, stating that it was a project he didn't have time for anymore. Mostly together, but having some stalling issues in 2nd gear. Screenshot from said FB ad:
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Mostly stock, cafe seat, and some work done to the tail so it fit. Total hackjob on the wiring harness, 18" front wheel swap, and some rear shocks that were too short. It also had a Hella fog lamp hardwired in, some leaky fork seals and some seriously squaky rear brakes.

May 26th - Talked him down to $800. Loaded it in my buddy's truck and took it to my parent's in Jersey since there was more room to work on it for all the heavy lifting

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It took til June to get started, and knowing absolutely nothing about wiring, I was in over my head. Remember how I said it was a hackjob?

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So, even being a photog, I didn't document the wiring part very well admittedly. I spent about 1.5 weeks on it, and eventually just found a full OEM harness to swap and splice into. All of my controls were universal dirtbike stuff that came with the bike, which took some serious brain power to figure out.


June 13th - It lives! Not sure why the seller said it stalled in 2nd gear, because, well, it didn't. It took a little bit for it to run properly, but I managed to ride it around my hometown for about an hour or two.
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Hella light removed, and managed to patch enough of the hacked harness together to get it moving under its own power.

June 17th - New front light fitted. I also forgot and left the ignition on for about 4 days and cooked the battery. Ope.

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June 20th - New turn signals/running/aux brake lights came in, so deciding where to put those. Also, dog tax

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
June 27th - I made a really ugly bracket for my Speedo, and also installed the new full OEM harness. Signals and lights were wired up while I was at it too:

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I'm not proud of it, but it still looks pretty much the same under the seat:

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BUUUTTT, it all works:

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August 3rd - Ok, so, I admittedly missed a pretty decent chunk here, but between the end of June and now, the MAC Megaphone 2-1 exhaust was installed, carbs re-jetted, new set of front shocks, and painted the valve covers. Oh yeah, I actually got a plate on it, and brought it back up to Fishtown to live out my hipster fantasy

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August 18th - New big boi supertone knockoff. I figured I'd need something ear piercing riding in the city

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August 25th - Went for a ride a few nights before this and had the throttle cable snap on the other side of the city. Luckily I was riding with a friend, so I took her bike back to my place to grab McGuyvering supplies

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Figured it was as good of time as any to install some of Murray's Carbs. HUGE shoutout to my buddy how just gave these to me (along with the speedo, light, and some other odds and ends. Thanks Tanner)

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Gotta make sure they get a proper test:
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
And that basically brings us to now:

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Only some minor differences, back to the black shock bottoms and a second fork seal job, and the rear shocks were replaced with taller versions of the same thing. That's not the end though, still have plenty more to go, starting with the 2-piston brake upgrade (which is going poorly). I dove in head first without the right parts, so now I have a front brake that doesn't quite fit, and a bike that isn't ridable in this unseasonable wave of warmth.

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$45 at the local moto junkyard last night, adding to my now growing collection of 2-piston calipers. Currently, the other caliper is mounted to the bike, but the pads are off the rotor by like 5mm. Not sure if I'm just running a different rotor, or that bracket isn't QUITE right (I know that it's different than the one called for, but they look almost identical).

Just a tally on things that I've gone through:

3 mirrors
4 Master cylinders
3 sets of front shocks (first were air assist, second set had bent stanchions, 3rd time's the charm I guess)

Right now, I only have a few other items on the to-do list other than just riding it, specifically, tidying the wiring. It's still a rats nest behind the headlight and under the seat that just drive me nuts. But that is also a precursor to the USD fork swap that's on the list. I've seen a few threads just today with that swap, so any guidance would be much appreciated! Other than that, it's clean up and repainting/refinishing. The paint on the tank is flaking, so I'm planning on a bare metal clearcoated with a decal. Also getting my seat to fit and putting some new foam in there, along with just some general odds and ends in terms of maintenance.

This should keep me motivated once it starts getting cold, and hopefully I'll also be better at documenting the progress from here on.

- Nick
 

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Welcome to biking and the forum. That wiring, wow! You always want to see wire nuts on the electricals, sign of a pro job. :p Glad you're having fun.

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hey there's nothing wrong with wire nuts if they're used correctly lol
In your house wiring I'd say yes, on a vehicle that is subject to the elements i'd say there are better alternatives but i assume you are just joshing?
 
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Consider a front fender to improve handling. Main concern is your Li-Ion battery and the stock reg/rec can cause a fire. You need to upgrade to a MOSFET reg/rec so that doesn't happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Welcome to biking and the forum. That wiring, wow! You always want to see wire nuts on the electricals, sign of a pro job. :p Glad you're having fun.

🍺
Thank ya thank ya! It's fun when it's ridable, but not so fun when your front brake isn't working...

Consider a front fender to improve handling. Main concern is your Li-Ion battery and the stock reg/rec can cause a fire. You need to upgrade to a MOSFET reg/rec so that doesn't happen.
I HAVE heard that some stock rectifiers don't play nice with the Li-Ion batteries, and getting one of those fancy-pantsy Rick's Rectifiers as part of the wiring overhaul that's on the list. Looks like just googling MOSFET came up with some cheaper options, so thanks!


Also, anybody have an idea what bikes also came with an 18" ComStar front wheel that isn't the CM400? Also that came with dual front brakes? I'm having some trouble getting my 2-pistong caliper to fit right and I THINK it's because the brake rotor isn't actually from a CX. I checked out the CM400 wheel, and it looks different than the one I have

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-Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Have you bottomed the pistons out and tried to fit it?
So the problem that I'm having is that the pads aren't fully on the rotor, which made me think that it was one of the smaller dual brake rotors on there. It's off by like 3mm. After reviewing the motofaction article, and just generally looking around on there for a bit, I noticed that this wheel isn't from a CX or a CM. Maybe a GL of some sort? Also, looking closer at that photo it looks like my single piston caliper was running the pads over the vent slots too. I'm heading to the local moto junkyard in about 30 mins to see about getting the right rotor.

I didn't bleed the system just yet though. I've had enough trouble bleeding this when I did my SS line, so I wanted to make sure I only had to do it once haha.

Thanks,
Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Consider a front fender to improve handling.
Missed this on the first go-round. That is part of the short term plan actually. I want to do a short one mainly because I'm sick of being sprayed DIRECTLY in the eyes with water from puddles when the visor is up. NOt sure on my fender options once the CBR front is on there, those are especially bulky, and not a huge fan of the look

-Nick
 

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I want to do a short one mainly because I'm sick of being sprayed DIRECTLY in the eyes with water from puddles when the visor is up.
Thank you very much! That's why god er ah man made fenders in the first place, not for looks! Rant over... LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you very much! That's why god er ah man made fenders in the first place, not for looks! Rant over... LOL
Ahahah. I mean, in my defense, there wasn't a fender included with the bike ;)

My buddy is building a CM400A bobber and I noticed that most of the front end components are the same between the two, so I might snag the fender that he's leaving off.

-Nick
 

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Nick,

That comment wasn't directed at you, just an observation on many custom builds, no fenders. They do serve a purpose as you pointed out and as the other poster pointed out it helps stabilize the front forks also.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nick,

That comment wasn't directed at you, just an observation on many custom builds, no fenders. They do serve a purpose as you pointed out and as the other poster pointed out it helps stabilize the front forks also.
It's all good! Definitley agree!

Some small updates from this weekend:

- I lucked out at the junkyard and managed to find the correct bracket for the 2-piston caliper. Everything went better than expected with the install and bleeding.

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Not pictured - New Handlebars, throttle, and master cylinder. Naturally had to take it out to make sure everything worked right (Feat. my friend's Rebel and the new rear shocks):

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-Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok y'all, need some guidance!

I was going to let it be a surprise, but it's probably better to find someone with some experience. I have two leads on CBR forks. First is from a wrecked 2006 CBR600RR. Forks appear to be straight, some damage to the tube on the left side. This one is contingent on if my brother wants the engine (so we can go halvsies, and there's a spot to store the other half of the bike). Full front end, wheel, tire and brakes. To my knowledge, only modification needed is the bearings. Upside - More or less direct fit, wheel included, and potential to make some money back selling some of the un-needed parts. Cons - Bike was wrecked, so not sure of the ACTUAL condition of the forks.

Second set, is from a 2002 CBR959RR, little cheaper, and taken from a NOT wrecked bike, but excludes the wheel. Definitely need the bearings, but the Motofaction article said that "Top stop of the CX neck has to be removed, bottom has to be shaved down a little" Not sure what all needs to be shaved there. Not afraid to do some mods, but not sure exactly what parts they're talking about. Pros - Better shape, less chance of more issues down the line. Cons - more expensive since I'll also need to track down a wheel. More modification needed.

Also, if you have any thoughts on non-Honda forks, I'm all ears!

Thanks yall!

-Nick
 

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You’d be better off looking for R6 or R1 forks. They’re longer and better sprung. The 600RR forks are fine but you’ll bring the front down a lot and you’ll have to respring and revalve them.
The 954 forks are SHORT. Even the 954RR has drop down triples from the factory.

‘05+ R6 forks and triples work great with new bearings...which you have to change no matter what forks you swap to...and only requires some trimming of the steering stop on the neck. ‘06-10 R6R forks are sprung and valved perfectly for the CX assuming you’re not a stick or eat babies as a hobby.
 

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You’d be better off looking for R6 or R1 forks. They’re longer and better sprung. The 600RR forks are fine but you’ll bring the front down a lot and you’ll have to respring and revalve them.
The 954 forks are SHORT. Even the 954RR has drop down triples from the factory.

‘05+ R6 forks and triples work great with new bearings...which you have to change no matter what forks you swap to...and only requires some trimming of the steering stop on the neck. ‘06-10 R6R forks are sprung and valved perfectly for the CX assuming you’re not a stick or eat babies as a hobby.
Roger that! Glad I posted before impulse buying (Which is how I ended up with this bike to begin with) I am sort of a stick TBH (5-9 150lbs), but I did take up eating babies to try and cultivate some mass though. Less expensive is preferable, and it looks like the R1 is the way to go. Any guidance on the year range I should look out for?

PS - Went through your build, and watched through your build timelapse today. Looks great m'dude! I was really rooting for you for the R6 rear wheel fabrication

Thanks,
Nick
 

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Year for year R1 forks have stiffer springs. If you do R1 i would look for pre-big bang setups. If you brake issues you can only swap out for other R1 6-puck calipers with later models. The R6 forks and pre-big bang bikes have a huge number of tokico, nissin, and brembo options. I th8nk that the ‘06 and ‘07 R6R forks are the best for the swap.

i really wanted that R6 rear wheel but the hub just doesn’t like it. I’ve found a new wheel, though :)
 
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