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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,

I'm new to the forum so i apologize if i am posting in the wrong spot or needed to introduce myself somewhere else. Now to my question...

A client just offered me an 81 honda cx500c for free. It obviously needs some work and looks like he has some parts with it. I have never really worked on motorcycles before, though i consider myself a novice mechanic from doing work on my cars, as well as being mechanically inclined.

I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction as to what i should look for first? Are there any known issues with these bikes i should watch out for? Is this a project worth getting into or am i just asking for trouble lol?

  1. I'd like to rebuild for personal use, so I'm not opposed with having to spend a little bit of money with no return. I can post some pictures later or tomorrow. Besides for working on dirt bikes as a kid, I really have any knowledge on motorcycles but i enjoy learning myself.
Thanks for reading and i appreciate any help or comments. Thank you everyone.
 

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Accept the gift. These old girls are worth every minute of wrenching and riding. There is a ton of info on Motofaction.org as well. you will get plenty of help and support here. where are you located, there may be someone nearby to help in person.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Whether it is worth getting into depends on the actual condition and what you want to do with it but I'd accept the gift too because even if it turns out to be beyond repair you can always part it out. Once you get it home post some pics and we'll tell you what to look at more closely.
For any old bike, even if in running condition I would expect to put a minimum of tires, brake lines, pads & shoes and probably rebuild kits for the caliper(s) and master cylinder (or more likely just replacing that). For one of these I would expect to have the engine out to replace the camchain & possibly do a few other jobs while you are in there (not to mention replacing every seal, gasket and 0-ring you can get at). CX500s up to '81 came with Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) that are powered & triggered by special windings in the alternator stator (inside the rear of the engine) and stator failures on bikes that old are not uncommon. Since the engine has to be out to do either of those jobs (as well as the starter clutch) and while replacing the water pump seal with the engine in the frame is possible it is eaisier when it is apart so lot of people do 3 or 4 of those jobs at the same time (commonly referred to as the "triple bypass" or "quad bypass", even though nothing is actually bypassed in the process).
Even if you end up doing all of that it will still add up to a fraction of what something new would cost plus you have the knowledge that all of the work was done by you and done right.

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 the Previous Owners may or may not have done 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 because 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).

BTW: Please add your location to your profile and your bike's model and model year to your signature so that you don't have to remember to tell us every time and we don't have to keep asking when you forget (see Forum Settings link in my signature).
 

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Think new tires...
Depending on how much it needs, and how much time you have, I'd wait on the tires. If you end up spending two years making it road worthy, you'll start riding on two-year-old tires.
Budget and plan for them, but tires are the last thing I would change before putting it on the road.

Randall

P.S. Welcome, by the way.
 

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Even if you end up doing all of that it will still add up to a fraction of what something new would cost plus you have the knowledge that all of the work was done by you and done right.
Half the fun of old machines is making them run again, and keeping them running. If you enjoy mechanical work, you won't regret accepting his offer.

Randall
 

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Welcome aboard @Dtp367

It will be two years in June, that a neighbor gave me their GL500 that had been sitting in their garage for 14 years. It gave me a whole new hobby!
Lotsa knowledgeable and helpful people here.
Yes, please share photos. We really like photos!

Lee in Minneapolis
 
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Depending on how much it needs, and how much time you have, I'd wait on the tires. If you end up spending two years making it road worthy, you'll start riding on two-year-old tires.
Budget and plan for them, but tires are the last thing I would change before putting it on the road.
Good point.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for the quick feedback and great responses. I'm really happy to hear that it's worth wrenching on and im excited to get started. He also gave me a 94 suzuki gsx 600 ( pictured with the cx500)

I was checking out pictures of cx500s on google last night and completely fell in love. Also, it's awesome to know there is a good community and resources here, so once again thank you.

I'm figuring out the logistics for transportation and stuff now but i can maybe take some closer pictures later. I plan on documenting my progress so i will for sure be on posting and asking for help. I have a couple pics i took in a rush...

One label says 1981 honda cx 500c. I think i have the engine code but wasn't able to really find anything. Anyway let me know if guys can tell anything from these pics... Sorry for quality.
.
 

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Leading axle forks with a CDI engine. Looks like an '81 Custom to me.
Next time you get the chance, look for the VIN label on the (rider's) left side of the steering head tube. That will show the year and model, date of manufacture, etc.

Randall
 

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Welcome to the group Dtp367! I have just recently joined myself and the folks here are friendly and very helpful. I enjoy working on older bikes then buying new ones, but thats me.
Good luck with your new toys. If you have any questions about your GSX600 Katana your welcome to ask me. I'm more of a Suzuki guy and have had a 2003 600 Katana and currently own an 88 Katana.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Welcome to the group Dtp367! I have just recently joined myself and the folks here are friendly and very helpful. I enjoy working on older bikes then buying new ones, but thats me.
Good luck with your new toys. If you have any questions about your GSX600 Katana your welcome to ask me. I'm more of a Suzuki guy and have had a 2003 600 Katana and currently own an 88 Katana.
Thank you I really appreciate that. I definitely will, i haven't really looked into the katana at all yet. It seems pretty much put together as far as i can tell. Still needs a lot of work probably but I think it will start after doing the basics...plugs, fluids, carb. Honestly no idea though lol.

I did download the service manual for the honda and started going through that, starting to get a feel for what all is involved on a motorcycle. Also, i edited my first post and added some more pics with the vin. Anyone have an opinion on whether or not those would be the actual miles?
 
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