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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to get into the CX world after 30 years and am starting to get up to speed on the bike.



Quick background...



Had a CL350 in '73

Moved up to a CB550F in '76

Looked at the CX/GL500 when it came out but continued to ride my 550 until I was up to about 85k in touring/commuting miles.

Bought a new '86 GL1200 Aspencade, which I've had ever since.



I'd like to get a mid-sized bike again because the 1200 is just too big a pig on my country roads and around town. So, I was looking at picking up an old CB500/550 again and then remembered how close I was to getting a CX at one time. Now I've convinced myself that this is the way I'm going to go.



To get started I'm going to pick up a '78 that runs but needs a few little pieces. Aside from going over it in detail and making it "nice", I'm wondering what the pitfalls and downside to a '78 is versus anything newer. My only purpose in getting one is to cruise around locally and have a little fun on roads that the big bike doesn't like, so super-cool and big power isn't a big deal to me. Plus, I'll have a bike that I missed out on the first time around.



I'll be reading over the message board and the archives, but thought I'd solicit some comments here, too.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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In my biased opinion, the '78 CX Standard is the best looking and best handling of the lot. The ubiquitous Custom looks like every other middle-weight cruiser of the era, and the high-arched handlebars just kill the ride for me. Even the Deluxe, despite all the similarities and identical frame, feels different with the smaller rear wheel. The 18" rear on the Standard puts your weight and riding position a little more forward, which I think greatly improves the ride.



The CX will feel a bit top heavy at first, but you'll find it very agile after the Goldwing.



You shouldn't have too much difficulty finding parts. These are rare enough to be interesting, but common enough for used spares to be readily had. All the CX500s through '81 are mechanically identical, and the GL500 and '82 CX are similar enough to share most engine parts.



What, specifically, are you missing? You might find it here on the forum.



R
 

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Well I don't like the 78 for a few reasons. First year bikes/first year flaws but there weren't really any that were major.



The engine isn't painted so if it wasn't cared for it might look like something was growing coral on them. 79 and later were painted. I like the black wheels over the silver with 16 inch rear.



Starter is silver over black. Not a nacelle fan but they do grow on you.



But really there isn't anything wrong that cant be fixed easily.
 

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Might be a bit of a chore but if it's bad what if he pulled the engine, sealed everything up and had it bead blasted? You could then follow with Duplicolor paint as others have.



What is it, about an hour to pull it, one big or two small people to move it then you've got it out in the open to look it over very carefully.



That's just a worse case scenario, if it runs it runs.
 

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There's nothing to concern yourself about.It doesn't matter what model of CX/GL 500 it is.They are a breeze to work on.Most parts are still available either from Dealers,Ebay or members on here.There's a CX500 kept running in Canada with one of my Front engine covers I sent from here in the UK(England).

You would be hard pushed to design a bike that is so forgiving in so many aspects.Good economy,good handling(use 20w fork oil for a better ride).Considering their weight once you know them and their handling envelope you can sling them around or just sit there all day in comfort.

Then there's that engine tone when cruising at say 50/60 mph,



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySk_CiWRZPU
 

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Totally different tone from anything else out there but who wants to be ordinary?



One of the pleasures I've had back when I was riding last year was the crowd that would gather around it while I was in a store so make sure you can answer the questions that will be posed to you.
 

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Totally different tone from anything else out there but who wants to be ordinary?



One of the pleasures I've had back when I was riding last year was the crowd that would gather around it while I was in a store so make sure you can answer the questions that will be posed to you.


You know you own a CX/GL when some one says,"I used to have one of those"
 

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Well I don't like the 78 for a few reasons. First year bikes/first year flaws but there weren't really any that were major.



The engine isn't painted so if it wasn't cared for it might look like something was growing coral on them. 79 and later were painted. I like the black wheels over the silver with 16 inch rear.



Starter is silver over black. Not a nacelle fan but they do grow on you.



But really there isn't anything wrong that cant be fixed easily.
OK, I will admit to replacing the ugly plastic radiator shroud with the later metal style. That was a definite improvement.



R
 

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OK, I will admit to replacing the ugly plastic radiator shroud with the later metal style. That was a definite improvement.


Now there's one thing I'd agree on and they polish up rather easily. Somewhat easy to find and nobody will ever suspect it didn't come on the bike as original. Very simple swap if I recall.
 

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Now there's one thing I'd agree on and they polish up rather easily. Somewhat easy to find and nobody will ever suspect it didn't come on the bike as original. Very simple swap if I recall.
It does require the later-style radiator, as well. The mounting points for the shroud are different.



R
 

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Didn't realize that but the radiators are still in fairly good supply if you catch a FleaBayer parting one out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the responses so far, guys!



Well, I drove down and picked up the '78 today. The owner decided he'd had enough of messing with it (not sure of all his issues) and is restoring a GL1100 instead. The claim is that it was running 2 years ago when he parked it (heard that before, right?) It's substantially complete but needs mirrors, side covers, and maybe some other cosmetic stuff. He threw in another engine (with a totally destroyed piston still in it), and the ubiquitous "box of spare parts". Due to the time and wanting to get back home before dark, I really haven't studied what I have yet, nor what's in the box. My next task will be to get a manual (found the service manual for the GL500 on line) and look at a lot of photos to see what's there and what's missing.



Since the engine turns over, I may charge up the battery (or get a new one) and see if it fires up at all. Then put the whole thing aside for a couple of months for when the weather gets a bit better.



The whole thing was $150, so I really can't go wrong. Parts alone.... etc., etc. :)



Bill
 

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Last year a guy I work with gave me a 1980 KZ750. I took this bike with the intention of putting the headlight on my cx and I can't do it. When I first saw the fairing I hated it, but now...
 

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He threw in another engine (with a totally destroyed piston still in it)
That sounds familiar. I was given an engine last Spring in the same condition. Lots of usable parts, despite the damage. Plus, it was fun to perform the autopsy.



Bill, did you say where you are? You might find a local member to help with labor or parts.



R
 

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It's substantially complete but needs mirrors, side covers, and maybe some other cosmetic stuff.


I've got a set of side covers for a 78 in really good shape with the exception of one stud broken off, they just drilled that hole through and used a screw. They're blue and have the factory emblems. (not decals) I doubt I'd just give them away but if OldOkie isn't going to need them I'd be glad to part with them.



They're really nice, I got them all the way from the UK and I doubt they'd need any more than just a tiny bit of touch up paint. If blue isn't the proper color it only takes a bit of careful ingenuity to remove the emblems, then you could lightly wet sand with 320 followed by 400 and possibly 2,000. A light coat or two of primer/sealer then color and you'd be good to go. If you want to fix the post on that one side it's not hard to do, a little Bondo to fill the hole then several people in the forum have successful methods of replacing that stud.



It's almost impossible to find the original '78s with good emblems still on them. I was going to use them on my bike because I love the way the emblems look with the V in the pattern but I decided to keep mine as year specific as I could so I have to go with exact repro decals.
 

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OK, I just got off the phone with OldOkie and he doesn't need the '78 side covers so they're up for sale. I really hate to part with them being in such good shape, I'll post pictures of them on my website or be able to e-mail them when I hook my camera up and transfer the pictures over to this laptop I'm still operating on.



I can't recall what I paid for them all the way from the UK but they were in such good shape I just couldn't turn them down - in other words if anyone's interested drop me a line and I'll be sure to get you some pictures.



My original idea was to have two tanks, one in red and one in blue along with matching sides so I could switch things over from time to time but when my extra tank turned out to be far less of a bargain than I thought it was that idea went up in smoke so I'm just going to stick with the Medium Gulf Blue Metallic Effect paint I chose to use on my originals. It looks very similar to the blue you occasionally seen on some of the new Harley's but it's actually a GM car color. Rather deep effect when put on correctly. I've also got the option of adding a bit of metalflake into the initial coat or two of clear but at this point I'm not going to go overboard, I'm probably just going to shoot it as it stands rather then experimenting with it.
 

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