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1978 CX500 Standard
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody. So my neighbor had this bad boy sitting in a shed for 20 years. It was time for a new shed so he decided it was time to unload it, so now it's my winter project!

A few years back I built a '94 Shadow 1100 Rat Bobber and sold it shortly after I finished, so I've been itching for something to build (and keep).

As of now, I have the bike torn down almost completely to frame and motor. The plan is a nice clean cafe racer (shocker, I know). Gonna pull the motor next week most likely and start checking it out. Bike has about 15k miles on it, so I don't think I need to do any bypass (but open to opinions). As of now it looks like I need to at least tear the motor down to inspect everything, but would love to hear any advice from anybody who have tackled one of these that has sat for a while.

Here's some pictures of the bike pre and post-tear down (Don't mind my messy garage).

Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle
Tire Wheel Vehicle Bicycle tire Automotive tire
Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,665 Posts
Don't rush into tearing the engine apart. Check rotation. Check compression. Do the electrical tests. Look for flakes in the oil filter. Inspect the cam chain. Adjust the valves. Clean the carbs. It will probably run.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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That's a '78 model, btw. If it's like mine, it was mis-titled as a '79. The dealers often entered the year they sold the bike on the paperwork.
Legally, it doesn't really matter as long as the VINs match. It sometimes matters when searching for parts.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Welcome to the forum and welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and may or may not have had all of the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. Check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). If your bike still has the original rubber brake line(s) (should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes = 5 or 6 years) I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).

The best advice anyone can give you about customizing any vehicle is to get it safe & reliable in more or less original condition and use it for a while before you start making any changes so it can tell you what changes it needs to make it do what you want/need better. That approach almost always results in something you actually want to keep and use but making changes based on style or on what someone else (who may or may not really understand how the changes affect the way it works) has done often results in a piece of expensive yard art that you can't stand sitting on for more than a few minutes and might even be dangerous.
 

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1978 CX500 Standard
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Agree with above. Don’t take more apart than needed. Definitely don’t remove the heads unless absolutely necessary. The head gaskets are another can of worms that you don’t want to open unless you have to.
The less I have to tear down the better in my book so I appreciate the advice.

That's a '78 model, btw.
I'll have to check the plate on the steering tube, but how can you tell by looking at it? What's different between the '78 and '79?
 

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One clue is Comstar wheels instead of the subsequent years reverse Comstar. Comstars = spokes have rounded side external
Reverse Comstars = spokes have cut edges external
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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The '79 Standard has the same Comstar wheels as the '78, but without the black plastic rivet covers. The '79 Standard has gold highlights on the tank graphics and side cover badges vs the '78's silver. It also shares the square master cylinder and larger, flat turn signals of the Custom and Deluxe.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Of course any or all of those parts could have been replaced over the decades so the definitive way to tell is always what the VIN plate says the model year is.
 

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I didn’t know the 79 Standard had regular Comstars. Covers me for the day, I’ve already learned my “one thing”. 😆
 

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I didn’t know the 79 Standard had regular Comstars. Covers me for the day, I’ve already learned my “one thing”. 😆
Rich reread post # 8! "...The '79 Standard has the same Comstar wheels as the '78, but without the black plastic rivet covers...."
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,665 Posts
I didn’t know the 79 Standard had regular Comstars. Covers me for the day, I’ve already learned my “one thing”. 😆
The Standard only has Reverse Comstars in other markets starting in 1980. They're still 1.85x19 and 2.15x18. Here, all Reverse Comstars on twisted twins are 2.15x19 and 2.50x16.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,665 Posts
CB400T, I think. Timothy in California (can't recall his username, offhand) has one on a CX500.

EDIT: Sorry, I think that was a standard Comstar. You'll likely find one on a contemporary small-displacement model.
 
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I have an 18" reverse Comstar rear wheel out in the shed. It came with a cx500 engine and an 81 or 82 custom front end (axle in front of the fork tube). That being said I have no idea what bike it came from.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,665 Posts
Just to be clear, the Reverse Comstar is the black one with aluminum spokes.
 

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I had read #8 and was acknowledging it. Sorry if I wrote that in a confusing manner.
 
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