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87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
my name is Jake, and I have a 1982 Honda GL500.
I bought it last year as my first bike and rode it a bit before completely restoring it this year. I did a ground up restoration over the course of nine months starting January 2015.

A bit more about myself-I'm 22 and currently living in Asheville, North Carolina. I just moved here a few months ago. I did the entire restoration at my mom's house in Rhode Island, where I lived my whole life. I moved here to ride with a friend I grew up with, who has (had!!! more on that later) a 79 CX500, which he bought after riding my GL. I also moved here to be a machinist, which is what I am doing now.

I've got so many photos and a crazy story to share with y'all. But first, here's a pic of the bike when I bought it.


The bike ran ok, was kinda dirty, but all in all a good deal for $1200. Had no VISIBLE issues besides being dirty. I found many later.

I had actually never ridden a bike until I brought this thing home, but when I did, I was hooked.

The bike used to be a naked GL500 with the purple/red paint. The previous owner did a few mods (rear fender, bars, and flat black/yellow accent paint) which I thought was a good start but not really what I was looking for. So after riding it last fall I decided to tear it down as a winter project and rebuild the whole damn thing.
If only I knew what I was getting myself into!!!!!

So before I get into this, I just want to give a shout out to a few select people, and to this forum as a whole. I was a lurker for the entire year and found most of the information I needed for this project available on this forum.

Thanks to MurrayF, Joel in the Couve, Blindstitch, Shep, DaveF, LRCXd, and many others who gave me valuable information and inspiration. My work has been inspired especially by LRCXd's full restorations with his perfect attention to detail, and DaveF's travels which have inspired me to take a cross country trip on my new bike. Shout out to Murray for always having the answers.

Also just wanted to list the places where I've found parts, tools, and other information.

In no particular order as I'm just pulling these names out of my giant box of receipts.
David Silver Spares for many OEM parts
Dime City Cycles for cosmetic upgrades, switches, brake lines.
Harbor Freight Tools for most of my tools.
Rusty Riders for cables
Parts N More has some good OEM
CBX Performance has the GL500 rear mono shock seal (yes they do and it works!)
Amazon (lol)
Ebay- CaferacerX has cool stuff
Randakk's Cycle Shack for the awesome carb rebuild kit and the book was super helpful and worth it.
My local hardware store (I spent $500 in fasteners and tools there for this project)

I learned a lot. Also I spent a lot. I was only planning to spend $1000, but I spent about $3000 on parts and tools after it was all said and done. (I'm broke as fuck now)
It was supposed to be a 3 month project, but it took nine months!!!!! I should have known that, considering you're supposed to double the amount of time it takes to do anything!

This bike represents a lot of hard work for me, and also a lot of stress. This bike ruined my relationship with my girlfriend of 5 years!! This bike took all the money I had! This bike ruined my social life! This bike gave me headaches and back pain and made me into an asshole! I'd not recommend doing a full restoration if you have a deadline!

More on all that later.

Here's how I'm gonna do this thread.
I'm gonna start from the beginning, and not show you the completed bike until the end. I want you to appreciate the hard work I put in to this, and also follow along with my (hopefully) interesting story. That's how Larry posted his stuff so that's how I'm gonna do it.

It's gonna take a few weeks to get this all down, as I need to get all the pics together. I have a shared iCloud photo album with my friend that I updated while I did the work, and I will need to get it on here. Also I'm going to treat this as a reflective journal sort of thing, and get all my thoughts down about this project while telling you my story.

I currently work 3-11 so I'll probably be posting late at night. Don't be afraid to bug me about posting because I need to get this all out of my system!

Here we go....

Here's my buddy Dean, who will be in this story a lot. This is my other Honda (98 Civic) and my sketchy towing rig.


Here's the dude I bought it from, and the last time he had his hands on those bars...


Bringing the bike home. Sketchy trailer!!!! More on that later!!!!!


At my beautiful house.



On the road.


Rhode Island is beautiful.


I'm gonna leave y'all with this tonight.
Next post I will start at the beginning of the restoration which started on January 22, 2015.


3,592 Posts
The bike, as it was ( black and yellow ), is such a striking beauty, that I perhaps would have left it as it is on the photos , only attending to the mechanical maintenance if there were any serious things to be rectified .... but we are looking forward to the documentary of the work in progress up to the end result .

239 Posts
Dude, your house looks kinda small, and only with one window? Where do you plan to store your bike?
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285 Posts
Lurvas...I thin he lives in the other house with 8 windows all in the same room.
I really look forward to this nice to see a young machinist doing what he wants with his will not regret the path you've chosen.

87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)

Ok y'all, back tonight for another post. Just got out of work and drinking some sleepytime tea, so we will see how much I can get done.

This one is gonna be about the bikes that inspire me and also my plans for this bike.

First off here's a few pics of some cool GL's and CX's.
modified GL's are much harder to find, but they're out there.

GL500 Tracker.PNG
This one is cool, could never find more pics of it.

Gl500 Supermoto.PNG
Yup, it's a GL.

GL500 Street Fighter.PNG
Radical streetfighter.

Gl500 59.PNG
Cool tanks on these two.
GL green.PNG

Dave's GL.PNG
DaveF's bike, his website has got me so stoked, and given me so much technical help!

Awesome monoshock conversion on this CX650 I believe.

Another crazy CX. I have no idea about this bike but it's awesome.

Crowe Metal Co. makes cool rear racks and fenders. On a side note, definitely check out and We Are West, so much inspiration and awesome stories on those sites.


Cool CB


So those are some of the many bikes that inspire me.

Goals for my bike-
Clean, Shiny, and Well-Oiled

I wasn't looking to make a cafe racer. I like fenders, I like comfortable seat and bars, and I wanted to keep this bike mostly stock. If I wanted to do pods, exhaust etc to get power, I would have gotten a different bike. I wanted to celebrate this bike for what it is.
This bike needed to be able to travel cross-country (more on that later!!!).

So basically I wanted to clean it up, get rid of that ugly rear fender and seat, and get it back into tip-top shape.

That's enough for tonight. Tomorrow I'll post pics of my shop and the beginning of the teardown. Goodnight!

87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Inspiration, teardown

Few more pics of bikes that get me stoked.


BMW cafe.PNG



Moto Guzzi

shiny guzzi.PNG

Cool BMW Tank

BMW cool tank.PNG

Mean CB, one of my favorites

mean CB.PNG

Mean Harley cafe racer

Harley cafe.PNG

i really dig the single seat and rack attachment. so clean

Harley cafe seat.PNG

Shiny motor

shiny CB.PNG

I believe this bike is LRCX'd and it's a total restoration.

Larry's GL.PNG

Edited: this is DaveF's GL650, in awesome original condition. I've come to really like how these bikes look stock.
I've never ridden with a fairing like this but I bet it's super nice. Also the hard bags look great.

Larry's CX650.PNG


87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The restoration begins

First I had to clean my shop space, in the basement of my home.

Nice concrete floor, window and door, insulated, lots of lights and outlets, perfect.

basement junk.JPG

Threw this junk out

basement floor cleaning.JPG

cleaned the floor with concrete floor cleaner

basement floor cleaning 2.JPG

started drinking beer which I didn't stop for the next 9 months


ready to go.

clean table.JPG

I'm sure you've seen tons of pics of bikes being torn down, but here they are anyway. The pics get more interesting after this.

Teardown was easy, even though I was healing from a dislocated shoulder.

gl basement.JPG

Here she sits

stripped GL.JPG


GL no motor.JPG


GL frameset.JPG


GL frame.JPG


ok nice so now i'm in for real on this thing

3,592 Posts
You are going to have a ball. Thanks for sharing, so others can enjoy the process with you. I am sure that what will come of all this will be a beatiful functional machine to be proud of , and that you will stick with the one style that you have decided on. ( LOL - I once saw a photoshopped picture of a face of a woman , built up anatomically by the facial parts of different equally beautiful actresses , and the image was down right hiddeous ...)
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87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)

Hello everyone,
back at it again at 1 am after a long shift at the machine shop.

Ok so this was January 19 when I put the bike in the basement. By the 22nd it was all apart. Then I took some time off...

I had a dislocated shoulder at that point from a BMX accident so I was taking it easy. I was also working a sales job so I had to take a quick trip to Denver. Had to leave a few days earlier because of a looming snowstorm. Got a call asking if I could be on a plane in 3 hours, in Boston which is an hour and a half away. I hadn't even packed, but I threw all my shit in a bag and went 100 MPH up the interstate, with the storm hot on my heels, and just made it on my flight.

hard pic to see but theres my trusty civic Sabrina buzzin along at the Ton. 200K hits VTEC all the time no problem
sometimes u just gotta drive to get there



Here's what the airport looked like just before I left. Flights were being canceled left and right and I barely made it out of there. Ended up being the biggest storm of the year at something like 3 feet.

wall of white.JPG

Layover in Chicago for the evening due to last minute planning. I wasn't complaining and did touristy things.

me at the bean. weird being at the bean when I just came from Beantown (boston)


Next day, flew out to Denver, more touristy things with my boys before the trade show. i'm in the middle

red rocks.JPG

No pics of actual trade show but it was SIA which is a snowsports outdoors show, I was working for G-Form at the time as a sales dude. Check em out, great protective gear for bikes and active sports.

Anyhow went snowboarding after, had to take it easy on the shoulder, caught an edge a few times!


Ok ok back to RI for motorcycle shit. I love flying tho


87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)

Ok so back to Rhode Island.

Basically everything was caked with mud and grime, so I had to spend a lot of time with purple power/simple green and a scrub brush.


leak from the tach seal

motor grime.JPG

Got a bolt from my local hardware store for the fan. Super easy.

fan puller.JPG

also you should replace your fan, it probably it looks like this. $40 available from a few places online, quick one hour job if you're slow like me.

fan crack.JPG

made a socket for the swingarm locknut. Hammer and drift didn't work for me and it was fucking up the lock nut. So I did this with an angle grinder and a ruler. Popped off in two seconds with my impact wrench. Worth the time.

swingarm socket.JPG

swingarm bolt.JPG

Rust on the swing arm lock nut probably was what was making it hard to get off.

swingarm rust.JPG

Started to organize the parts. My girlfriend (at the time) did the writing while I dictated her the part name.

parts table.JPG

candle parts.JPG

egg parts.JPG

Ok that was February 4.

Took some time off while I recovered from surgery on my testicles. (google hydrocelectomy) That was gross. couldnt even walk with a swollen and bloody nutsack. Shit was brutal.

Did a lot of internet browsing while it snowed outside...

snow house.JPG

February 18th I was finally able to kinda walk again without a giant ball of gross between my legs.

wire brushed the center stand.

center stand.JPG

wire wheel.JPG

removed headset. races looked ok but not great at all


parts table new list.JPG

I would like to continue but the photo uploader is giving me the red exclamation point when I try to upload some photos.
Anyhow it's 2 AM and I'm gonna turn in for the night. Thanks for following gets better from here!

2 Posts
I baught myself an 82 gl500i and I wish to restore it down side is I don't know anything about anything and finding info isn't so easy so after reading this forum and being reluctant I figured I'd make a profile and see if i can get actual help :b can't wait to see the rest of the pics and read the story

7,262 Posts
I baught myself an 82 gl500i and I wish to restore it down side is I don't know anything about anything and finding info isn't so easy so after reading this forum and being reluctant I figured I'd make a profile and see if i can get actual help :b can't wait to see the rest of the pics and read the story
Kattwing: A few suggestions, start by adding your general location to your profile. There may be someone close by to lend a hand/mentor you through what needs doing. Also add your bike year and model to your signature line. This help other by not having to ask what you own with every question you may have.

Down load a copy of the Factory service manual it is invaluable. Factory Service Manual - CXGL
Start with the high mileage service items. Check the date code on the tires it is a 4 digit code near the DOT stamp first 2 digits are year and 2nd two are the week on manufacture. If more than 5 yrs old get new ones.

read, study the FSM. Search the forum
Ask questions here. You will get help you need
Then Do it.

This is all assuming you have a few tools at your disposal

Sorry Didn't mean to hijack this thread. You may want to intro yourself on the general discussion area. BTW welcome aboard

87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Frame prep and distractions

Howdy y'all,
hope you had a nice christmas!
I'm back for another pic dump

Here's my updated to-do list

to do list.JPG

So I had to prep the frame for paint.

frame wetsand 1.JPG

i originally went the wetsand route

frame wetsand 2.JPG

my friend Grant helping me out

frame dremel.JPG

cut off that rear frame support. didn't want it at the time but i ended up welding it back on there near the end

frame cut mount off 1.JPG

harbor freight sandpaper is total shit, they sell wetsand paper that just disintegrates in the wet. as far as sandpaper goes, u need to buy the good stuff... #experienceisgainedbyfailures

harbor freight sandpaper.JPG

between the moto project i had to fix my Civic. Here's a few pics of me replacing the front and rear wheel bearing. I throw/slide this car around a lot so I'm not surprised they went bad
I do all my own work on my car too

These weren't that easy to replace but they weren't that hard. bearing race was stuck on the axle on the rear so I had to chisel it off. A quick blast of heat from the Mapp torch got it off.

front spindle/hub

civic front hub.JPG

front hub bearing being replaced.

civic front hub bearing.JPG

rear hub.

civic rear hub 1.JPG

torquing to spec

rear hub torque to sepc.JPG

I have more pics of that but I'll save that for a civic forum

I played a lot of uno during this whole thing.


i'm serious, i played tons of uno



ok back to the bike

the engine hangars had ugly welds so I cleaned those up quick with my new Harbor Freight $15 angle grinder, which, by the way, still works great

engine hangar before.JPG

engine mount after.JPG

Getting the red icon when I try to upload more pics....that's all for tonight but I got a lot more.

87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Sand blasting

here is my friend grant sanding the paint on the frame

grant sand.JPG

i decided that sanding the frame was going to take too long, so I got the sand blaster going, in another workshop I have access to.

I would not recommend having a setup like this-this was my first try and it wasn't very sensible. sand and dust went everywhere.

note on safety-you need to get proper particulate protection against silica dust. i believe a regular dust mask doesn't cut it

sandblast room dust.JPG

Really nice compressor tho, and essential for this job

sandblast room 1.JPG

sifted sand. smaller particles only

sandblast sand.JPG

sand types.JPG

sand gets everywhere

sandblast kit.JPG

to be blasted

to be blasted.JPG

blasted 1-7

blasted 1.JPG

blasted 6.JPG

blasted 4.JPG

blasted 5.JPG

blasted 7.JPG

View attachment 30768


87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
more sandlbasting

decided to sandblast the wheels for my Civic as well. nice rims with nice tires deserve a nice finish.

new setup

setup 2.JPG

wheels 1.JPG

Acura Integra "snowflake" or "sunflower" style rims, I believe from a 1 or 2 year Integra Special edition. GSR? Idk.

Wrapped in some really nice tires- Falken Azenis RT615K. 205/50/15 super super sticky summer tires.

wheels 1.JPG














Super Moderator
11,455 Posts
I must be getting senile or something, but thank you for the Kudos in early December. You certainly have done a lot compared to what I have. In any case, continue absorbing the wisdom here, whether senile or not. Happy New Year.

Joel in the Couve

87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
more sandlbasting/paint prep

I gotta say that it's a real trip going back thru my photos. So many memories.

At this point it was the middle of March and I had planned to be done in the middle of April. I had high hopes.


Ok so I have that nice "blast cabinet" built so I can sit in there for 8 hours getting blasted with sand. Pretty brutal especially because I was using R95 dust masks. I shoulda used something better!!

After a quick stop at my local

harbor freight.JPG

Frame ready for blasting. I did a pretty good job wasting a bunch of time using sandpaper on it.

frame blast 1.JPG

got that dirty ass swingarm in there too

swingarm blast.JPG

and the radiator.

rad before.JPG

I knew the rad was brass so I knew it was gonna look sick.

rad after.JPG

rad after2.JPG

the frame took all day, like 8 hours, the sandblaster was acting up and I had a problem with moisture in the compressed air.
I was pretty stressed at this time.

frame blast 2.JPG


here's the pile of sifted sand that I used

pile of sand.JPG

and everything back in the workshop. All my sandpaper got wet so I had to spread it out on the floor. Messy!


Ok so that concludes my sandblasting session for now. I was very happy with the finish of the metal and it was the perfect prep for some good paint.

Notes to anyone that wants to sandblast their stuff:
u need good personal protective equipment-goggles, earplugs, and a good respirator!
u can buy the harbor freight gun and cheap sand and get away with it. Prob like $30 in supplies.
you will definitely need a big compressor
lots of time, coffee, and beer

Ok that's it for today. Next up will be a bit of cleaning, and then I'll get started with polishing.
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