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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hopefully closing the deal this week on a 1983 GL650I. I discovered the GL via Shadetree Surgeon's YouTube video about his trip from LA to Tampa on a GL500I and immediately knew I had to have one. A water-cooled transverse v-twin with shaft drive and monoshock rear suspension? Who could resist? And it's a Honda! When I discovered there was a 650 version I became even more determined to get my hands on one. My plan is to bring it upstairs and change the fluids, oil filter, gaskets, and possibly tires. (I live in Brooklyn so I don't have a garage but I do have a freight elevator though it'll be tricky getting it to fit. And I have to find some room next to my RE Interceptor.) I'll keep it stock for awhile then eventually get around to customizing it, though that's a long-term project that I'm in no rush to start. I'm not a fan of cafe bikes but I think it might be interesting to keep it a touring bike but roll back the aesthetic about twenty-five years, something between a '70s Moto Guzzi California and 1960 Triumph Speed Twin "Bathtub." Or I might go in a completely different direction and turn it into a naked bike, very contemporary-looking, and emphasize that gorgeous engine and monoshock. Think Guzzi V7 meets Yamaha XSR900. Who knows? I may keep the bike totally stock. If nothing else it would be handy for schlepping stuff around New York City. And it would certainly make an interesting touring motorcycle.
 

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If well looked after in its early life your bike mighten need a lot of input....look at the service manual...do the "full service".....grease the final drive splines.....enjoy for a season....then decide if you really want to change anything.

Btw. Welcome...馃榾
 

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GL650I was available in a non Interstate version, basically a naked bike. The conversion from I to stock naked is straight forward. They are probably less common than the Interstate version, but not rare by any means. The I is a capable highway bike, but the bare version is a little lighter, has attractive lines and is more nimble feeling IMO.
 

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Good plan to do the service and get it running, drive for a season, then determine what you want to change. The benefit of the interstate is that the fairing harness is a plug-in to the standard harness. It is fairly easy to remove the Fairing for around town cruising. Keep the Fairing and put it back on for touring. If the tires are over 5/6 years old you will want to replace them regardless of tread depth. I hope the deal works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good plan to do the service and get it running, drive for a season, then determine what you want to change. The benefit of the interstate is that the fairing harness is a plug-in to the standard harness. It is fairly easy to remove the Fairing for around town cruising. Keep the Fairing and put it back on for touring. If the tires are over 5/6 years old you will want to replace them regardless of tread depth. I hope the deal works out for you.
The fairing harness is good news. I鈥檓 going to have to force myself to stick to strictly mechanical stuff and leave the mods for next year. Even if it turns out to be well-maintained there鈥檒l be plenty to keep my busy with a forty year old motorcycle. Once I start changing things I鈥檒l be sliding down the slippery slope in no time, or to put it more accurately, down the rabbit hole. My mind starts to race just thinking about it. I honestly can鈥檛 think of another motorcycle I鈥檇 rather modify.
 

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Dont overthink things.. many a guru here (dont include myself in that group) will tell you if theres a problem...diagnose then fix.
If all is whirring as it should.. dont interupt the magic just cause the bikes 40years old...
Take your time and make any mods your own....ie what you "need"...not fashion
Once you decide.....a build thread will b welcome.
 

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'82 GL500 '83 GL650 '21 RoyalEnfield INT650
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I'm not a fan of cafe bikes but I think it might be interesting to keep it a touring bike but roll back the aesthetic about twenty-five years, something between a '70s Moto Guzzi California and 1960 Triumph Speed Twin "Bathtub." Or I might go in a completely different direction and turn it into a naked bike, very contemporary-looking, and emphasize that gorgeous engine and monoshock. Think Guzzi V7 meets Yamaha XSR900. Who knows? I may keep the bike totally stock.
Welcome aboard! Ditto what Kwazy said: Get her running before any mods. I was always drawn to the naked Silverwing since first seeing one back in the early '80s.

I have a '83 standard GL650 and '82 Standard GL500. Also a '21 Interceptor I put a Cozy sidecar on. The Interceptor is more agile (I think maybe a CX would be more similar) but the GLs are good for going strait for a long time. For travel, I prefer soft rolltop dry saddlebags and duffle. Yes, they are "Guzzieaque." :)



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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Welcome to the forum. Please add your location and your bike's model and model year to your profile 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).

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).

As for using it for a year before changing things it I always say that it is best to actually use any vehicle for a while before starting to make any changes so that it can tell you what needs to be changed to make it do what you want/need better. That usually results in something you actually want to keep & use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
it鈥檚 official. I picked up the 鈥83 GL650i I鈥檝e been eying and rode it from Pottstown, PA to Brooklyn鈥攖hree hours in weather that was barely above freezing at speeds up to (briefly) 95mph, which the bike reached easily with plenty of room to spare. (Quite a lot of rattling on a nearly forty year old bike at that speed, as you might expect.) It started right up without the choke and the engine positively purred. The front tire is an 鈥06 and the rear 鈥04, although there were no signs of dry rot and plenty of tread鈥攕afe enough to get me home but Im replacing them both as as soon as I figure out how to fit the bike in the freight elevator and bring it inside for some serious attention (Tire recommendations welcome.) The suspension also needs an upgrade. I was thinking Gold Valve emulators up front and YSS in the back. The air assist has got to go.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Happy you made it home. 16+ year old tires near freezing would have been plenty hard with not a lot of grip to spare.
 

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'82 GL500 '83 GL650 '21 RoyalEnfield INT650
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it鈥檚 official. I picked up the 鈥83 GL650i I鈥檝e been eying and rode it from Pottstown, PA to Brooklyn鈥攖hree hours in weather that was barely above freezing at speeds up to (briefly)
I thought my '82 GL500 had "Fred Flintstone" tires before I put a set of new Shinkos on her.
Glad you made it home safely! Welcome to the family!
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It took an hour and a half but I finally got the GL650 into the freight elevator and upstairs. The next three months of inclement weather is when I really get to know the bike. No plans to change anything this season other than the tires, fluids, possibly a few cables, and anything else that looks at the end of its life. I鈥檓 thinking about investing in an ultrasonic cleaner, air compressor (a little noisy in a loft), and possibly a soda blaster (definitely not advisable for Indoor use).
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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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I鈥檓 thinking about investing in an... air compressor (a little noisy in a loft)...
Buy a sheet of 1-1/2" or 2" extruded polystyrene insulation, and build a box to enclose your compressor. (Maybe two layers on the bottom.) Leave a port for the air hose and a hole big enough to reach in to operate the switch. This should allow adequate air in, as well.
Be careful. Any spilled petroleum distillates, including air tool oil, will eat the styrofoam.
 
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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Extruded polystyrene won't make a significant difference to the sound. What you'd need to do is isolate the compressor from the floor (= special feet designed for the correct mass) and build a box around it lined with something heavy (lead sheeting is best but a couple of layers of 1/2" drywall will make a big difference) and maybe line it with foam rubber or fibreglass. (I studied acoustics in college)

Or shop for a quit compressor. There's a fellow a floor above our daughter's apartment that builds guitars in his spare bedroom and she never complains about noise from him.
 
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