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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings fellow CX & GLers,

I did some minibike, dirt bike and street riding in high school and college but sold my bikes because I needed the cash. Now some 30 years later I'm finally at the place where I can get back into motorbikes. After weighing pros and cons and what kind of riding I want to do vs what kind of riding I will most likely be doing I decided that the CX or GL500 should be a great bike for me. The irony is that I almost bought a brand new '83 CX500 Custom in '85 or '86! What goes around comes around.

On the local Craigslist I found an '82 GL for $700. When I went to look at it I was actually surprised at how easy it started, now nice it sounded, no oil leaks and the like. Here is the listing: 1982 Honda GL500 My thinking is that for this price I can't go too far wrong. If I kept it until spring, put new tires on it, replaced the fork and polished it up I could recover my money or just keep my losses to a minimum.

I have not done much auto repair. On the good side I'm not afraid to turn a wrench so long as I have a good manual. Actually I'd love to learn and do more mechanical repair. The bad is I'm really lousy at diagnosis. For example I couldn't see the "bent fork" even after he pointed it out to me. He said that it gives the bike a slight "head shake" unless both hands are on the bars, I'm thinking (or hoping) that it could be steering column bearings or those horrid tires. I wouldn't ride it around the block on those things. But I read about the 600RR front end swap was thinking . . . Anyway now is the season when I should have some time to get it sorted out.

So what is the advice of those wise in the way of Honda's Twisted Twins? Does this sound like a good, workable plan? Or should someone getting back into motorcycles after 30 years start with a newer trouble free bike, or a lighter smaller bike? Of course I'm currently gathering equipment and looking at the local MSF's basic course (Blasted winter schedule).

Dave O.
 

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The price is the only ballpark here from what I can tell from the CL posting. However the info stands the same– check the market for your area, if there aren't other CX/GLs then look for comparable models. You mention recovering losses, if you want to buy it, glam it up, and sell it, take that into account because you're obviously looking to maximize your net income. If you want to buy it for yourself to restore and make road-worthy, obviously you want a good value but you could wait a bit to find the RIGHT bike at the right price for that.

James
 

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1: I assume from the ad, you are in KY.
2: I also assume you could not afford $4k, fully restored 82 GL Silverwing Interstate fully dressed, plus shipping, for a bike you would not have to mess with at all for years, which I have, in WA. Alternative is I help you fly out here, and you ride it home. Her full history is below. Private offer only. PM for details.

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Joel in the Couve
 

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After you put another $800. into it to fix everything it needs you will only sell it for $1200. or so.
IMHO it is worth only $500. if it runs and drives okay.
Check your Cincinnati and Indy listings.
Check daily for several months and get ready to jump immediately on the perfect buy when it pops up.
 

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See if he'd take 5 and settle for 6. Will be hard to find a running bike for less than that. Plan on dropping at least another 4 in "bits". Hold onto it a few years, sell for 8 and your out of pocket a hundred a year for a bike, good deal!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Many thanks for the quick replies.

I didn't make myself clear, my first priority is to fix it up and ride it. Doesn't have to be real pretty (well, not initially) and as I have a truck and other transportation it really doesn't have to be extremely reliable either. Just safe. And safe enough to relearn how to ride.

Haimehhh, All sensible and good points you make. Patience is one virtue that I often run short of. I've waited this long, I can wait longer for the right bike . . .

Ramprat, I've spent the last few days reading a bunch of posts on this forum, including a quick scan of your build. This is tempting, but 2-up touring for 2800 miles on a like-new motorcycle is most likely NOT the best way to relearn riding. And if you think my wife would let me visit "Wall Drug" alone you're nuts! Money wise, buying a restored bike from you or Thumper would make the most sense.

Thumper, I'll agree with your judgement on values, but it seems that around here anything that runs and has a good title is worth $1K. What I haven't been doing is checking out the Cincinnati and Indy listings. Feel free to PM me with what you have for sale.
 

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It's worth whatever you think is right in your head and your happy paying for it.....a running bike that doesn't need much for you to ride is a good deal if you are happy with whatever price they ask for it. Sure there may be better deals anywhere, but.....if you like it and your gut is OK with it....buy it. Simple, don't over think the whole precess when buying anything for such a small cost...imho.
 

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Sorry, did not mean to imply I was selling anything, but right now I do have too many bikes and my dilemma is that I have put too much effort into all of them to be willing to let any of them go, so I have put one downstairs, 3 under tarps under the deck, and that leaves 4 in the garage to work on this winter.
 

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I own a 1982 GL500 Silver Wing Interstate. There's a big difference in riding a full fairing GL vs. a CX. For a beginner, I wouldn't recommend the GL, only because of the shear size, weight, balance, wind buffeting, top heavy. Great bike, but you need some experience under your belt before throwing a leg over the Wing. Nothing wrong with purchasing a CX and adding a small windshield. And if your mechanical skills aren't up to par, replacing bent fork tubes, replacing fork seals, leaking water pumps, brake jobs can become very discouraging real fast. Just look at the number of unfinished CX projects for sale. It can become real expensive, real fast. Personally, I'm the type of person who is willing to pay a few extra $100's to get a low mileage, well cared for bike that just needs some routine maintenance. And don't overlook the tires. New tires on a bike are worth $250 mounted. If the tires are approaching 5 years old (check the date code on the tire) , they are at the end of their safe useful life. If you're serious about having a safe and reliable ride, save your money over the winter and look for a clean example in the spring; somewhere in the $1,200-$1,500 range ready to ride.
 

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What NightHawk said is pretty common, and accurate....to a point. The hard part is knowing what is under the skin. (Pretty is not the skin.) That takes knowledge to determine....or a high level of trust and ability.

Many builds in the Custom section (including the bike Larry did for me) were a labor of love. Far and above worth more personally just for the fact of nothing but basic upkeep for years. And 30 years from now, I hope G_Loria still graces the streets and byways, wherever she may be.

Joel in the Couve
 

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I'll agree with "Joel in the Couve" on looks. You can take a "barn find" and spit shin it to appear brand new. But, it's still a bike that hasn't seen the road in years (read the tire code), meaning the mechanicals probably need a substantial overhaul. I would avoid any bike that "ran great the last time I rode it". Unless someone "fogged" the cylinders before long term storage, the rings are probably adhered to the pistons / cylinder walls.

Joel is "spot-on" about the '82 Wing. I fully expect mine to be running when I'm gone. I removed the passenger seat and relocated the trunk to make it a solo ride. You can pop the trunk off and put the passenger seat back on in 60 seconds. I've never seen an '83 650 Wing for sale. Apparently, not many were sold. Honda dropped the "twisted twin" in '84 and went to 4-cylinders; probably the Interceptor.
 

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Actually, I think the GL500 is a great bike to get started on. Its the smallest, lightest bike I own and I love it for that. To me it feels light and nimble and I feel very secure riding this for my all-weather bike. The ride position is nice and upright so you have a good sense of control.

There are some warning signs in that CL posting, and I would not pay $800. Split a tire? There's $300 or more - you'll probably want to replace them both. Bent fork? That'll cost you. That also means its likely been wrecked. What about the rest of the frame? $500 tops. The bent forks would probably make me walk, however.
 

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Honda dropped the "twisted twin" in '84 and went to 4-cylinders; probably the Interceptor.
Actually, there is a progression of Honda v-twins from the cx500 to the vt500ft ascot and shadow 500 v-twin. The cx500 engine was the actual engine they used for flat-track racing, and I think the ascot was the commercial version of that concept (but a completely different engine). The v-twin Honda hawk 650 (Honda NT650 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) engine is a bored out ascot engine, the valve train is interchangeable! The v-twin shadows of course grew into the larger cruisers, the 750 Shadow, etc. So out of the cx500 v-twin concept came two distinct lines of Honda v-twins, sport bike and cruiser.
 

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I own a 1982 GL500 Silver Wing Interstate. There's a big difference in riding a full fairing GL vs. a CX. For a beginner, I wouldn't recommend the GL, only because of the shear size, weight, balance, wind buffeting, top heavy.
If you'd looked at the listing, you'd see it's a naked GL500 -- very comparable to a CX in terms of weight and balance.


R
 

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There are some warning signs in that CL posting, and I would not pay $800. Split a tire? There's $300 or more - you'll probably want to replace them both. Bent fork? That'll cost you. That also means its likely been wrecked. What about the rest of the frame? $500 tops. The bent forks would probably make me walk, however.
You'd certainly be taking a risk on the frame, so check it carefully.

He does mention having dropped it in the yard, and that can tweak the forks enough to throw off alignment. Sometimes that's an easy fix by loosening and retightening the steering yoke clamps and axle bolt.

If the fork is, in fact, bent, there's an excuse for upgrading to an Interstate front end with dual disk brakes -- bolt on, no mods required.


R
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've been busy at work and just too blasted tired to check in. I would like to have responded to several previous posts.

I'll pass on the GL. Too many unknowns. And if the frame is bent . . . For less than parts I can pick up a CX or GL that at least looks like it does not have all these problems. To be bluntly honest I needed someone to throw some cold water on me. Suggestions to look further away from me seem to the the best advice. Now I've read up on the suggested "how to look at a used bike" and "what to look for" primers on this site I feel more comfortable shopping.

As far as which to get I found the naked GL to be taller and heavier than a '79 CX I looked at this past Sunday. Yes the pro-link suspension may be better but I won't be able to tell the difference right away. Even my wife felt that she could learn on the '79 but definitely not on the GL. Should there be that much of a difference?

The '79s owner thought that the bike was too light to safely go on the freeway (at 525 lbs wet?). I think it was his freeway mounted windscreen. I'm sure some of you ride these things on freeways on a regular basis with no problems. And it comes with locking bates hard bags and an aftermarket fairing with a broke windshield, otherwise in fair condition. He said he had been riding for 26 years and gave me all sorts of riding and buying tips. He said that it didn't leak any oil, but some engine parts seemed to have a thin film of oil. Maybe some water was seeping out from where it went into the engine, hard to tell. Poor paint job, no badges / decals on the side covers. I can learn to paint a tank myself. Oil looked almost fresh enough to pour on my salad. Started right up cold or hot (except for when the kill switch was in "off"). Supposed former 17 year owner was a Honda mechanic.

Well I'm still looking. Although this latest looks well worth the $1K he wants.

Davo
 

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That sounds as if it would be a good buy from your description and would be a good one to start the addiction with.
Rest assured that the CX can handle highway speeds quite nicely naked or with the right fairing/windscreen.
 
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