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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys first post! Just picked up a CX500 cafe racer / scrambler build with lots of mods and hoping to gain some knowledge here. Gonna be a fun bike with just a couple of stylistic tweaks and once I figure out how to get these Murrays Carbs dialed in! Located in Birmingham, AL.
Tire Vehicle Wheel Land vehicle Fuel tank
 

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Welcome to the group rgudzan! Nice looking ride you picked up. Enjoy it and enjoy being a member here. You will get lots of help here on anything you need. Is your tank painted silver or is it clear coat bare metal?
 

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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.

I always try to steer people away from cafe style bikes (they tend to be nothing close to real cafe racers, which were modified specifically to go faster with little thought given to how they looked) because they have been done to dirt and so many of them are just cookie cutter copies of all the others. If you make changes based on what you want/need the bike to do (including being comfortable to sit on and safe & legal for use on the road) you will end up with something truly customized for your needs and (bonus) won't look like what everyone else did.
 

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Welcome...
Did it have those Murray carbs when u got the bike....if so maybe things have been modded since....free service as per above is an "offer u cant refuse.."
 

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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the group rgudzan! Nice looking ride you picked up. Enjoy it and enjoy being a member here. You will get lots of help here on anything you need. Is your tank painted silver or is it clear coat bare metal?
Thanks! Yes, tank is clear coated bare metal.
 

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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Welcome...
Did it have those Murray carbs when u got the bike....if so maybe things have been modded since....free service as per above is an "offer u cant refuse.."
Yes, it came with the Murrays carbs - I haven’t touched anything yet. Emailed Murray yesterday and he responded very quickly offering to look them over and service them as part of their product guarantee. I was amazed, but definitely taking him up on that. That offer speaks volumes about the kind of guy he is and quality of his workmanship.
 

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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
why would you need to dial in the carbs ? if they are not perfect send them in for a free service and calibrate don't mess around with them
Thanks Murray! I definitely will send them to you (and appreciate your email yesterday). Had no idea that was even an option, but am very happy the bike came with your carbs. Thanks again for your willingness to help.
 

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Registered
1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
Joined
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.

I always try to steer people away from cafe style bikes (they tend to be nothing close to real cafe racers, which were modified specifically to go faster with little thought given to how they looked) because they have been done to dirt and so many of them are just cookie cutter copies of all the others. If you make changes based on what you want/need the bike to do (including being comfortable to sit on and safe & legal for use on the road) you will end up with something truly customized for your needs and (bonus) won't look like what everyone else did.
Thanks a ton; good advice and all of it well taken. I plan on getting this bike rideable (should be good to go after carbs are recalibrated by Murray), going thru normal service & fluids change, and then see what it really needs from there to keep it reliable. Previous owner has already heavily modified it based on his preferences, and it’s comfortable in my opinion, so any additional changes on my part are probably overkill and unnecessary. Currently has no speedo, no tach, no gauges of any kind, no turn signals, and a very dim (but working) headlight. It does have electric start which is nice, and it’s technically street legal in AL, but just barely haha.
 

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Currently has no speedo, no tach, no gauges of any kind, no turn signals, and a very dim (but working) headlight.
These engines do not like being overheated so of all the missing gauges I'd put a temperature gauge at the top of the list.
 
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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Not to mention that you will probably find that you are required to have some sort of speedometer and odometer permanently attached to the vehicle in order to actually be road legal.
Don't they ask for the odometer reading when vehicles change hands or for you renew your license plate there? You can't have a reading without an odometer and the GPS in your phone doesn't count for that.
 

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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not to mention that you will probably find that you are required to have some sort of speedometer and odometer permanently attached to the vehicle in order to actually be road legal.
Don't they ask for the odometer reading when vehicles change hands or for you renew your license plate there? You can't have a reading without an odometer and the GPS in your phone doesn't count for that.
It’s already tagged as a vintage vehicle (35 yrs + in AL) so is odometer exempt, but I think anything over 10 yrs or 100k miles is exempt here anyway. DMV didn’t give me any grief trying to register it. As long as it’s got a headlight and a taillight / brake light it’s good to go in AL.
 

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It varies widely from state to state in the US. Idaho has no inspection other than a VIN check on out of state vehicles or lost titles. That's not to say were not still supposed to be DOT compliant, but I have never had any issues with LEO's
 

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1978 CX500 cafe racer / scrambler
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just put some new shoes on (Bridgestone trail wings). Also bought a recharge kit for the foam air filters and it’s running much better now. Could be the lack of oil on the filters was just putting too much air in the carbs? Rode it home from work yesterday about 15 miles and couldn’t stop smiling.
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Tire Wheel Motorcycle Automotive lighting Automotive tire
 
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