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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! My name is Filip and I recently purchased a 1981 CX500 Custom off Craigslist. The previous owner told me about this forum and I have loved perusing these forums the last day; it is full of interesting information about these bikes. I felt as if this story and corresponding questions might be a good way to enter the forum.



Last year was the third year of searching for my first motorcycle. You see, I live minutes from Weirs Beach and the Laconia Bike Week. Furthermore, I worked at a beer and cigar store in the area for 6 summers. It all got to be too much after seeing hundreds of happy folks from all over the country coming in off there bikes. I always looked. I got sick of Harleys damn quick, even though my boss had a pretty rad looking Sportster. Long story short, through research I grew fond of bike from the 70s and early 80s. In the search, I was like Goldilocks. This didn't feel right. This was too big. Too rusty. Too hard to find parts.



Then I found it on the side of the road less than a minute from my house, laying by a fence on a back road I knew no one ever drove on. It was big enough to hold me (I'm 6'4, 260 lbs) yet small enough to not be intimidating as a first bike. It was a 1981 Honda CM400 Custom. It has 7600 miles on it. New battery. Ran great. $500 bucks.







Ran even better after new forks, fork seals, rear tire, spark plugs. I didn't care because gas savings alone paid for it all.



I just passed 10000 miles on it just 12 months later, never driving it more than 35 miles from my house. If you have ever been to New Hampshire, particularly northern NH, you would understand why. Back roads rip through mountains and fields. Great views everywhere. Not t mention the fact that you have to drive 15 miles to get anywhere, and that costs me like 6-7 bucks in gas in the truck. The bike was everything Pirsig said it could be.



So my friend Adam wanted a bike. He looked at the CM with longing, wanting the freedom as well. This year he tasked me to find him a bike. He had a budget of $1500 but knowing what I learned about the CM, you need to account for some repairs and that you could get one of these bulletproof early 80s Hondas cheap. So I had jumped around CL for awhile. Wasted a lot of gas kicking tires. People here were just so into the Bike Week spirit they thought bikes were worth way too much.



Then, late yesterday afternoon, I came across a bike I had never heard of...or, more specifically, I hadn't heard of the CX series. I had just gotten so into CBs and CMs that they just flew under the radar. Up for sale was a 1981 Honda CX500 with 9200 miles on it. The pictures were not fantastic, but the real thing was beautiful. So close in trim to the CM that it made me miss my CM which was only 30 minutes away. I am sure you can realize why.







So I bought it for $700. Believe me, the photo doesn't do it justice. The seller could probably tell I was a bit enamored by the thing because I kind of kept staring at it. I can post some better photos when I get the bike tomorrow.



But this is the problem: I can't decide which bike to give my friend. Reading this forum has made me fall in love with the CX, but I still love my CM. All in all, they don't seem that different. I read the HP is about the same. The shaft vs. chain is pretty major. CX parts seem a little hard to find. Neither one of us are serious wrenchers, but we both would like to be. He is about to take the course and get his license. I have driven about 2500 miles in 12 months. Both run good, but the CX needs a coolant seal (?) and probably a tune up. (but i never buy any vehicle without expecting to put at least $500 into it).



GUYS! HELP ME DECIDE WHO SHOULD HAVE WHICH BIKE!



Sorry if I didn't provide enough info and will gladly answer any questions. I know this is a CX forum, so people are a bit biased, but then again it's still between me and a good friend so it's not like a big loss either way. Again, it's great to see such an active forum for such a specific bike. Thanks!
 

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Which bike has better range/more capacity on a tank? It doesn't sound like air -vs- water-cooled is much of an issue where you live. Shaft is minimal maintenance, chain requires regular attention; it's all in your priorities. I had a CB750SC, really liked riding it, but got frustrated with trying to keep it running. I had no support group like this forum to help me through issues with that bike. After a few years between bikes, I happened upon my CX. I've had to deal with some initial issues, but have found it easy to work on, and this group is the greatest resource around for an owner of one of these motorbikes. From your photo, it looks like your CM400 is set up pretty well for touring.



Shoot; just keep both of 'em and lease your friend the use of the one you're not riding on any given day!
I don't envy you having to choose....
 

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Welcome.

not surprisingly, I'd say the CX because of the shaft drive, the water cool and the bigger engine.



I had forgotten how similar looking those two bikes were in the day, thanks for the reminder.
 

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Given the paint jobs make the bikes look very similar, do you go with a traditional 2 cylinder model, or, would the non-traditional (CX) more accurately represent your inner emotions? Do you go with the flow, or swim against it? Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream....
 

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Many of the CX parts are interchangeable with some GL parts. The info reference material on the forum lists parts interchangeability.



I had a 1981 CM400T as the 1st bike I ever bought new (@1895) in 1981!

I have a 1983 GL650. Even on the 500 you will appreciate the extra umpf of the @100cc, especially at highway speed, or goiong up elevations/ inclines.
 

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If the coolant seal leak is the mech seal it's a somewhat major repair.
.... but with the ppl from this forum, it's hardly impossible. -There might even be someone close enough to give you a hand....



Either way, welcome in! I say go for the CX- but let us know when/ what you decide.



~MK
 

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The major parts and consumables for the CX500s are plentiful.



The mechanical seal done this way,



http://globalcxglvtwins.hostingdelivered.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=355



Is pretty easy.



Service the CX500 and ride both and see what you think.If you live in a hilly area and the CX500 is well serviced tuned you will enjoy it's forgiving power-band and good economy.

If you are not much of a ,"Spannerman/Wrencher" the CX500 series of bikes is one of the best to learn on.A lot of the jobs are easy and accessible and there's little or nothing not known about these bikes/engines.



If you like conversations with other bikers then the CX will draw other bikers to you,guaranteed.





HTH
 

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You mentioned that you're a pretty big guy. I took my buddy's Dream for a rip up & down the driveway once whereupon it was kindly pointed out that I looked like a dog humping a football...
. You might just let comfort determine which is the bike for you.

Of course, having two vintage Hondas in identical livery would be pretty cool too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, my friend showed up shortly after the post and bought the CM, so it looks like I am now the proud owner of the CX. But I made him promise that he would sell it to me first if he ever decided he didn't want it anymore.



Regarding the coolant leak, I read on one of the forums that I could drive it a few dozen miles and it might reseal itself? But then again, that was just one poster. I know the leak is really slow. The seller said he had done some research (likely this forum) and said it was cheap and seemed pretty easy to him. I know it's the seller, but I got a pretty good vibe from him and felt comfortable with his own brand of rhetoric. Hopefully when I get a closer look I can figure exactly what it is.



I have been reading a lot about the horrors of the stator on this bike. Also looked up the price for a new one...woof. Is there any consistency of when they normally bum out? Is there any preemptive, preventative medicine to keep it strong?



I must say, one of the most interesting forum posts has been about all the engine guards available, both past and present, for this bike. My CX is missing them as of right now and I would really prefer to have them. There's a set for sale on ebay right now (right and left are separate auctions, of course) but I might wait til the local salvage finds some.



Regarding the similar painting scheme, I know right? I was amazed when I saw it. My friend and I are going to look like a serious pair of bromosexuals ripping down the road in our semi-matching bikes.



So, the list to work on / hand my mechanic is currently: change oil and oil filter, check all other fluids and replace as necessary, check and replace brakes, probably new tires, change fuel filter, likely replace fork seals. It's only been driven a few hundred miles in the past couple years, so we'll see.



Another question: has anyone had any experience running Seafoam through these bikes? I know you should always be critical of magic elixers, but man the stuff has done wonders for my truck, Jeep, and the lawn mower.



Oh! And I know I won't be able to add much to the forum in terms of helping others with their bike but I still want to help anyone who helps me. I teach writing and rhetoric in university so if you have any writing projects that need a fresh set of eyes, just let me know! Thanks again everyone.
 

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This and other CX/GL forums have hand-held many people over the years who have never done any motorcycle mechanics who are now confident to tackle what they would have considered impossible jobs.All the jobs,except very specialist areas on these bikes,are within the scope of the,"Home Mechanic"




Do not worry about,"Stators" as it is easy to read problems out of proportion.If you have a digital multimeter,



http://cgi.ebay.com/DT830B-Digital-...370722732?pt=BI_Analyzers&hash=item53e7c4d7ac



and set it to the 20v DC range and put it across the battery with the bike idling and rev the bike to around 3,000 rpm and it reads anywhere around 14.5v then your charging system most likely does not need attention.



Both my CX500s actually read 14.5v DC at idle speed of 1100 Rpm but have good batteries(Important) as well.
 

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Another question: has anyone had any experience running Seafoam through these bikes? I know you should always be critical of magic elixers, but man the stuff has done wonders for my truck, Jeep, and the lawn mower.




I use Seafoam in mine, no issues, works great.



As far as wrenching goes? If you don't know how to do it, these guys can walk you through just about everything- sometimes even pictures included! As I've said before, it's easy enough- even a girl can do it!!
 

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I think you made the wiser choice in your keeping the Cx. I'm a big guy myself, and have NO problems with my GL pulling my big arse around. I've used seafoam in my bike and it does pretty well. What would probably work even better is taking the carbs off and giving them a very THOROUGH cleaning. Not to worry though, as this forum has an "in house" carb guru. I had a similar dripping from my bike when I first got it, and it did heal itself in just a few miles.
 
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