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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3 weeks ago I bought this CX500 in Brooklyn for only 650, 11,000 miles and ran great. Biggest issue? The guy before me painted the whole bike in matte black VHT hi-heat paint. Like the WHOLE thing from the handlebar grips down. I've been working on making it into a sleek little cafe racer.

So far I have:
Replaced handlebars with black euro style.
Removed the back bar.
Fabricated a battery box.
Bought and painted side covers from a parts bike in NJ.
Cleaned the wheels up.
Stripped the entire tank of that nasty paint and 2x coated it with 2K Max glossy. It works, no rust, completely sealed.
Replaced all the turn lights with sleek black "bullet" style lights.


Do you think I should change the seat? I don't want to have to chop the whole back off and I take passengers alot.
Would you take the crash bars off up front? This is my first bike and I have laid it over a handful of times (not since I've learned a few tips, but still, it could happen again.)

I love the forum and used many tips on here to fix the bike up so far, thanks guys.

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I knew that bike from previous owner.

Its looking great already with just the changes you made. If your going with a cafe look, look in the garage section for a few seat ideas. There are some pretty cool ones.
On those crash bars, If your prone to tipping then I would leave them. If you feel your going to be fine then ditch them and sell them and the back bar to me =D
 

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Welcome to the forum!
When it comes to resurrecting a bike from someone else's nightmare's the only limitations are your imagination and your budget. . . and perhaps your abilities.
You can scroll the internet and the pages of this forum for a starting block of what sort of bike you want to end up with. From there you can adopt one idea here, another there until you arrive at something you feel comfortable riding.
Don't be swayed by exotic designs that will make the bike perform worse than you started out, just for the sake of looks. Each one of us admires the builds the most that have unique design elements that make the bike a better ride.
I love what you've done to the tank already. Now take the time to study some seat designs that let you ride two up. Some require frame modifications and some only require you to cut down the stock seat foam and re-cover it. You'll get opinions on what you post in pictures, if you're looking for them, but it's toughest to tell you which modifications you should go after - it's personal choice and all the power to ya.
Enjoy!

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, John.
I'm obviously a big fan of Seaweed & Gravel, Deus, BikeEXIF, etc. That's the vibe I'm going for and the sky is the limit, it's exciting all the cool things people are doing with CX's ("You mean CB750's aren't the only honda motorcycles!?")

I'll get there slowly. Gas tank badges got here in the mail today and will probably go on tonight.
 
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Ride it for a while. Then decide. Make it dead nutz reliable first, make sure it doesn't have real issues before you get too deep. But that will also give you time to decide if you really want to be café-ing it or have something else in mind. I dig it already, and if you like to ride two up, keep it simple. Kind of hard to go clip ons and rearsets and all if you want to ride two up. RIDE it first.
Good job so far, and its not a bad idea to keep the engine guards on.
Oh and welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Thomas!

That's awesome advice. There are a few oddities that need to be ironed out that are more important than cosmetics (crack and leak in radiator, bottom exhaust chamber is rusted and gaskets are bad [I have a replacement exhaust chamber to put on this weekend].)
I think part of me is still worried there's a fatal flaw I don't know about yet, but hopefully not.
All in all I think this might be my favorite hobby ever, it's just so easy to work on the thing and we've found ways of making it look GREAT with a little money and alot of sweat. Now my goal is to keep it shiny side up and avoid NYPD parking tickets (those f*ckers are pricey.)

Also, I grew up in Greenville, SC, not far from Greensboro at all. I'm sure it's beautiful riding down there.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got side badges on two days ago, starting to look like a motorcycle!
These badges are for something else, no idea what, but I filed them down and adhered them to the holes in the gas tank (they lined up perfectly.)

Woot woot!
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When you refer to a "bottom exhaust chamber", I assume you're talking about the h-box that connects to the header pipes in front and the mufflers in back. I guess you're aware that there are four gaskets required if you're replacing the h-box, and it's really important that those are well-sealed (ask me how I know, I've just been through the same process.) Those gaskets are still available from a couple sources, and be aware that the ones for the headers are NOT the same as the ones for the mufflers. I found that a solid h-box made a world of difference in performance in my 79 Custom, compared to my old leaky one, and you might expect the same.
Cosmetically, you've done very well so far (I especially like your tank). It looks as though your bike has Harley mufflers rather than the originals, and most of us would recommend that you keep the Harley cans. I'd recommend stripping the black off the mufflers as well as the front fender, and you just might want to see what's under the wrap on the headers.
I'd vote for keeping the crash bars, too. I just added them to my bike and feel quite a bit more secure, even though I've never laid mine down on the road.
Last, about the seat - yours looks to be in good condition, and I'd really give it a chance to grow on you. I always thought Honda did a pretty good job with those seats, especially if you're doing a lot of 2-up riding.
 

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Thanks Thomas!

That's awesome advice. There are a few oddities that need to be ironed out that are more important than cosmetics (crack and leak in radiator, bottom exhaust chamber is rusted and gaskets are bad [I have a replacement exhaust chamber to put on this weekend].)
I think part of me is still worried there's a fatal flaw I don't know about yet, but hopefully not.
All in all I think this might be my favorite hobby ever, it's just so easy to work on the thing and we've found ways of making it look GREAT with a little money and alot of sweat. Now my goal is to keep it shiny side up and avoid NYPD parking tickets (those f*ckers are pricey.)

Also, I grew up in Greenville, SC, not far from Greensboro at all. I'm sure it's beautiful riding down there.
The weather has been awesome. I did a little shake down run on Saturday, nothing big, about 45 miles of back roads and about 40 highway, just to see if everything was going to hold together. The bike did great, got to put the needle deep in the corner for a while and let that dog eat. LOL. I'm ready for some good rides this year. Just took a quick blast around some of the lakes in the area this evening and cut it short because I thought it was going to rain. I could have kept rocking for another hour or so. Maybe tomorrow.
Keep up the good work, I like what you've done so far.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When you refer to a "bottom exhaust chamber", I assume you're talking about the h-box that connects to the header pipes in front and the mufflers in back. I guess you're aware that there are four gaskets required if you're replacing the h-box, and it's really important that those are well-sealed (ask me how I know, I've just been through the same process.) Those gaskets are still available from a couple sources, and be aware that the ones for the headers are NOT the same as the ones for the mufflers. I found that a solid h-box made a world of difference in performance in my 79 Custom, compared to my old leaky one, and you might expect the same.
Cosmetically, you've done very well so far (I especially like your tank). It looks as though your bike has Harley mufflers rather than the originals, and most of us would recommend that you keep the Harley cans. I'd recommend stripping the black off the mufflers as well as the front fender, and you just might want to see what's under the wrap on the headers.
I'd vote for keeping the crash bars, too. I just added them to my bike and feel quite a bit more secure, even though I've never laid mine down on the road.
Last, about the seat - yours looks to be in good condition, and I'd really give it a chance to grow on you. I always thought Honda did a pretty good job with those seats, especially if you're doing a lot of 2-up riding.



That's exactly what I meant, I didn't know the term for it.
As far as the gaskets on the h box, if I took it from a parts bike and brought those too would those work? Or do I need to buy more gaskets now? I keep meaning to dive into the swap out, but taking this box off the parts bike was a 3 man, 2 hour process (EVERYTHING, was stuck together.)

I didn't know I had Harley cans, and it's funny you suggest to remove the black, I started tonight (because it was already scraping off. I have a rule that if I can scratch the black off with my fingernail I have to either strip it or repaint.) I'll finish the mufflers tomorrow. Will also wrap them with new wrap, but I'll have to remove black from cans, replace H box, and re-wrap pipes all in one go, and that's a little daunting.

As far as the H box needing replacing, I can actually feel the air escaping when I hold my hand over it at a red light... :/
 

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As far as the gaskets on the h box, if I took it from a parts bike and brought those too would those work? Or do I need to buy more gaskets now?

As far as the H box needing replacing, I can actually feel the air escaping when I hold my hand over it at a red light... :/
You'd need to check used gaskets pretty closely. They're supposed to be cylindrical, without any cracks or thin spots. I was able to reuse a couple of mine when I first changed my h-box, but one was fairly well-worn and eventually got burned up (literally) from exhaust gas leaking through the cracks and gaps, so then I bought all new ones. Money well spent. But again, take a look at what you have. You could try them, start up the bike, and hold your hand near the h-box inputs and outputs and see if you feel ANY gas leaking (there shouldn't be any.)
As far as your h-box leak, where exactly are you feeling the air escaping? If it's around one of the inputs or outputs, you might just need new gaskets. However, if it's anywhere else the h-box needs to be replaced. In my case, I had a crack in the front edge of the h-box where there's a weld line that rusted through (see pic - center, above metal globs from an apparent attempt to fix.)

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Edit: By the way, it's WAY easier to separate the parts of the exhaust system (mufflers and headers) if you leave the h-box mounted on the bike. That way you can use a rubber mallet or some such to bang on the mufflers and headers to get them loose from the clamps. The bike makes a great shop vise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
You'd need to check used gaskets pretty closely. They're supposed to be cylindrical, without any cracks or thin spots. I was able to reuse a couple of mine when I first changed my h-box, but one was fairly well-worn and eventually got burned up (literally) from exhaust gas leaking through the cracks and gaps, so then I bought all new ones. Money well spent. But again, take a look at what you have. You could try them, start up the bike, and hold your hand near the h-box inputs and outputs and see if you feel ANY gas leaking (there shouldn't be any.)
As far as your h-box leak, where exactly are you feeling the air escaping? If it's around one of the inputs or outputs, you might just need new gaskets. However, if it's anywhere else the h-box needs to be replaced. In my case, I had a crack in the front edge of the h-box where there's a weld line that rusted through (see pic - center, above metal globs from an apparent attempt to fix.)

View attachment 12209

Edit: By the way, it's WAY easier to separate the parts of the exhaust system (mufflers and headers) if you leave the h-box mounted on the bike. That way you can use a rubber mallet or some such to bang on the mufflers and headers to get them loose from the clamps. The bike makes a great shop vise.
well my mechanic told me the day I bought the bike that the H-box was completely rusted out and needed replacing. I can feel the air most noticeably from the front left of the H-box.

As I said before, I do have a replacement part and plan on putting it on today (and hopefully wrapping the pipes as well.)
Wish me luck!
 
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