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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello folks! I've just made a terrible, wonderful mistake. I'm buying a Craigslist CX500, 1981, with a pile of bodywork and a parts bike alongside.

Have I ever owned a motorcycle? Nope.
Have I ever ridden a motorcycle? Only on the back.
Do I even have a driver's license? Oh hell no! I bicycle everywhere!

Everyone laughing yet? Any heads shaking?

So WHY in the world do I think I can do this?

>I love to do things with my hands, and I'm pretty good at it.
>I have a garage to work in, and some of the tools it will require.
>I don't care if the rebuild takes 5 years.
>after working for years with Victorian homes in and around Sacramento, I am familiar with wood working, plumbing, wood rot, electrical, metal grinding, painting, wood rot, custom design, creative solutions, and wood rot. The CX500 is mostly made of wood, right? What?
> I am a friend of brilliant artist Gale Hart, and she's willing to teach me to weld. Seriously, check out her sculpture...this is not weak, artsy-welding. She's the real deal.
>I've been building up bicycles for years, including a Cannondale Super-V suspension bike with Marzocchi front fork, Fox rear shock, Magura hydraulic brakes, custom LED lighting front and rear, and a seat upholstered with brown leather from a friend's old jacket. Boy was he mad. Nah, he gave it to me. Honest.
Here's a progress shot from that build, it's been finished since but I haven't any current shot



It's a strange and wonderful ride, and gets questions and comments everywhere I take it.

After discovering and devouring most of the Silodrome blog, and then reading huge lolloping chunks of this forum, I think I have fallen in love with the CX500.

I don't think it can honestly be called a beautiful bike, stock, but man does it have potential. I love the original modular wheels, the big lumpy brake housings, the shaft drive, the radiator. I think the engine is a thing of strange beauty. The rest of it, as this forum THOROUGHLY demonstrates, can become wondrous in whole, in part, and in detail. I can't wait to get started. I hope for plenty of help and advice along the way, and I thank you all in advance.

What do I want to do with the CX500?
Well, I have ideas, various, terrible and glorious.
>I'm thinking about clearing the frame behind the engine, and using it to house a custom storage locker, keyed to the bike.
>I'm thinking about a breathable seat inspired by Herman Miller's Aeron chair.
>I'm thinking about classic red jerrycans converted into removable panniers.
>I'm thinking about tiny, dual, wide-set LED front lighting, and creative ways of cleaning up the usual clutter of wires, hoses, lines, and instruments around the front.
>I'm thinking about suspension mods or fork replacements that let me keep the wheels.
>the electric-fan conversion seems wise and well. Murray's carbs seem like a fine touchstone.
>I'm thinking about all the colors and patterns that I love:
-one-to-one black and white stripes
-olive green and turquoise
-bright yellow and intense red
-rust
-aluminum
-nickel
-clear silicone
-bone
-stainless steel
-brass
-that calmly intense purple-blue that hovers between cobalt and violet

I have no idea what category the bike will fit into, and could care less. It will growl, rumble and purr. Unless the engines are both shot, then I'll just cry.

Bless me, I'm a fool.
 

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Welcome aboard. You've obviously done some research here on the forum, and probably have a lot more yet to do.

I will note your last few sentences as key points. It doesn't matter what lipstick you put on these wonderful "pigs". Unless the motor and associated internals, including drive train components are in order, the lipstick is wasted time.

That should be your first effort and expense, while keeping the desired concept in the background. Be methodical, not maniacal. Safety always trumps pretty.

Joel in the Couve
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you and absolutely! If it doesn't run and run safely, it might as well be converted to a supremely cool chandelier. I am hoping not to run into some of the horrors I've seen on this forum. Imperial screws rammed into metric sockets...good gods almighty. I know it needs a carb cleanout and a battery just to start up...I have my fingers and toes crossed that it will, and I'm expecting a triple-bypass at least.
 

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You happen to be in a very fortuitous part of the world. The man who restored G-Loria, shown below, is in Sacramento. I suggest you read that link as well. *the click me for my story* below

Joel in the Couve
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks so much for the advice and welcome!
I've decades of experience with urban riding on two wheels, so I have the instincts well in hand: I just assume that everyone is trying to kill me, other people's turn signals mean nothing, and my superpower is clearly invisibility. I am one of those few bicycle riders who actually uses hand signals, because I want people to know what I am intending to do, want them to do, or what I think of what they just did. Although sometimes gestures are inadequate: The young kid who was steering the Hummer H2 with his elbow, because he was texting and holding a lighter with one hand, while the other was holding his crackpipe. Multitasking!

Yes, I am absolutely planning to take a rider course, but that's probably years away. I wasn't kidding about the 5 year build! I don't have a huge income, and insuring/learning to drive the 96 Accord is going to eat a lot of it. Also, I'm the type that will save up for the best components rather than go cheap to get the job done. As the G-Loria build attests, if you are going to do something, don't do it half-assed.

BHA HA HA Trailltrader! Well I think I can shorten that to "The Bike becomes the spouse" full stop, but I don't see anything in the forums about THAT type of modification so perhaps not.
 

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Hello and welcome! I can tell now that this is going to be an enduring and interesting build. I ask you before you even start...don't stop. I want to see where this goes. Even if it takes 5 years, I don't have anything planned lol.

I like your optimistic, artistic and dreamer personality. This has the potential to be pretty awesome.

Good luck!
 

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wlecome

last chance a little therapy could help

first you will polish something and a life long obsession will start

next thing your know another one will follow you home and you will have a breeding pair!
 

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Don't forget the pics of the bike!
 
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Sounds like you will do fine as a new rider... I also was an avid road cyclist at one time; that has served me well.
A warning, though... just as tinkering and modding becomes an obsession, so does riding! I have (less ambitious) plans for improving my machine, and lots of little non-critical things to do to it, but I can't stop riding it!!!!
If I get a long stretch of snow up here this winter, maybe I will be able to do something. But first I need to build a shed...hard to start that project, too, with a ridable Twisted Twin waiting in the driveway.
So if you want to fulfill your modding plans...don't start riding it!!! ;)
 

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BHA HA HA Trailltrader! Well I think I can shorten that to "The Bike becomes the spouse" full stop, but I don't see anything in the forums about THAT type of modification so perhaps not.
Weeellllll, since nobody else has stepped up to tell this guy the truth,,,,I guess I'll have to explain it to him,,,,,1)It seems like all parts, anywhere, are overpriced and undervalued- included but not limited to private sales, ebay and bike recyclers. 2)I just gave my bike with a pull behind trailer to a young preacher. I can guarantee that giving him unlimited exposure to the Dark Side like I have that his wife will be riding a bike within a year. No woman can stand the thought of a man being THAT HAPPY without her involvement- they get jealous,,,,except those listed on "backpage.com" who do short term leases by the hour on an outcall basis.

Having a bike put's you in the same category as James Bond 007, and former French President Mitteriand- you've got a wife and kids, and maybe a few "Mistresses" depending on how many bikes you have and they'll all show up at your funeral,,,,Sidecar Bob, MurrayF, Blindstitch among others- all have LIVED this as a life style
 

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Discussion Starter #16
THIS FORUM IS AWESOME I haven't even got the bike yet and you people are already encouraging me! What a great place to land!

It seems like all parts, anywhere, are overpriced and undervalued- included but not limited to private sales, ebay and bike recyclers.
Oh, don't I know it. It's the same with bicycles, believe me! Every single part I want for a bike is over $100, and the completed bike is worth...$100. This is a money pit.

I have already read through Mike's build. It's what decided me to take the plunge! His documentation is SPECTACULAR. If I do half as well I'll be happy.

Now, I just got a call from the seller...the bike project is arriving this afternoon. HOLY CRAAAAP I have to go make room in the garage! I'll take pictures of the whole sorry mess when it lands.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
MURRAAAAAAAAAAY!

last chance a little therapy could help
Does BathTherapy count? I've heard it does.

first you will polish something and a life long obsession will start
Wouldn't be the first time THAT happened...(badump-tish)

next thing your know another one will follow you home and you will have a breeding pair!
Well, my neighbors live above the garage...I can't help but think motorcycle breeding is a loud and clumsy affair. I hope they are ready for this.
 

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Well you certainly have the enthusiasm for a potential great build :D and that bike looks great so the CX500 should turn out amazing!
Welcome aboard and keep us all posted on the events as they unfold. And of course....pictures, pictures, pictures :p
 
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