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It looks like it's a supported ride, so perhaps he doesn't need to worry quite so much what he carries on the bike. It doesn't change the fact that he should have the bike well maintained.

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@freebirdbeachbum I've done the vintage 1000 twice with zero breakdowns. DM me and I'll be happy to give you a call and talk you through the ropes. I'll be on the same ride in may!
 
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Haynes never had coloured drawings (the only coloured images I've ever seen in Haynes are the pics of spark plugs) and Clymer started printing the wiring drawings in black & white years ago, rendering them virtually useless.
Maybe reprints do...

Dunno about the CX tho-it lists color wiring on the cover of the "book" but not in the description....



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Where do I sign up. I was planning on going to Arizona April this year but the Virus made us cancel. Paved roads down there are called highways.
The CX500 custom only has about 100 mile range. Will you be able to make it to the check points or will you need to carry an extra supply. With a group of riders it's going to be a dust bowl. I think I would look into an off road helmet and handlebars as well as all the other comments.
 

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When I got my GL650I, I thought the handlebars looked old fashioned and goofy. I planned to change them out ASAP. When I started riding, I found that they just made sense, including riding on gravel. They allow you to sit back and let the bike handle the loose stuff.
They're not great for riding standing on the pegs, but that's not worth changing it out for me.

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As an off road rider with a CX500 modified pretty heavily to be a dirt bike, there are a few things you can do that will help. I have no idea what your off road experience is like, or how off road your ride will really get.
  • Those tires are not particularly aggressive, and I have no idea what the sidewall stiffness is like. Running lower tire pressures will help absorb chatter and will give you much improved traction. I would start around 20 psi front and rear. If you try to ride fast in rocks that are embedded in the ground, you may bend a rim on the sharp edge of a rock. I'd recommend a leisurely pace through that stuff instead of bumping pressure up.
  • In the sand, use the clutch as little as possible and use a lower gear instead. The CX actually has really good gearing for off road stuff. Slipping the clutch will cook it fast; the CX has a tiny clutch.
  • Top of the fork tubes flush with the triple clamps. Don't slide them up through at all. This will give you the most stability in sand (and ground clearance)
  • Add preload spacers or stiffer fork springs, run 10wt or 20wt fork oil. This will help prevent the suspension from bottoming out. Bottoming the suspension off road often results in bent rims in addition to being uncomfortable and causing crashes. There is other stuff you can do to the suspension, but this is basic and cheap and will make any off road much more enjoyable
  • Keep a close eye on your air filter, and grease the sealing surfaces of the filter in the airbox. Make sure the airbox connectors are PERFECTLY sealed. It's amazing the places that desert powder can find a way in.
  • Steering head bearings. Either keep an eye on the stock ones or upgrade to tapered rollers. Gravel and dirt roads will hammer the stock bearings and will probably make them notchy pretty quickly, where tapered rollers have much higher load capacity.
  • Do an oil change right before you leave, and right after you get back. The normal oil change interval doesn't apply when you're dealing with sand/off road.
  • Check all the engine mount bolts and the bolts that mount the front wishbone to the frame. Don't skip this. If any of the mounts come loose, it's possible to crack the front mounts right off the block. If they are tight, you have nothing to worry about.
If you are feeling frisky, here's a couple other tidbits that are not necessary at all but might be nice to consider, especially if any of the off road will be challenging or you want to ride fast:
  • If your bike doesn't have crashbars, there are usually some on ebay or elsewhere. You might want to pick up a set. The factory option Hondaline ones are my favorite.
  • The factory fan is engine-driven and thus engine speed dependent. That can be a challenge in slow going. An electric fan resolves this problem.
  • Rider position, specifically meaning bars. Find some bars that have a bit less pullback that you can stand up a bit with. A stock CX doesn't have much suspension; your legs can add a lot to that if there is a really rough section or a surprise hole in the road that you can't get slowed down for.
  • In the same vein as standing, the stock rubber pegs aren't great for standing. I bought a set of large pegs for a KLR and adapted them so my boots could actually grip the bike.
Sounds like an awesome trip!
 

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Maybe reprints do...

Dunno about the CX tho-it lists color wiring on the cover of the "book" but not in the description....
Maybe enough people complained that they started doing it right again.

But the factory manual is still better. We are pretty spoiled with these bikes having such good FSMs. I had occasion to take the "new" engine for my GoldWing apart a few years ago and when putting it back together I had to keep flipping between chapters in the FSM and occasionally asking online where to find stuff after paging through the book a couple of times trying to find it. There were even a couple of things I never did find in the book when I needed it (although I was sure I had seen it before) and had to resort to Haynes & Clymer for. If I had been working on the CX it would have been so much easier because all of that information is laid out in one chapter of the CX family books.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
As an off road rider with a CX500 modified pretty heavily to be a dirt bike, there are a few things you can do that will help. I have no idea what your off road experience is like, or how off road your ride will really get.
  • Those tires are not particularly aggressive, and I have no idea what the sidewall stiffness is like. Running lower tire pressures will help absorb chatter and will give you much improved traction. I would start around 20 psi front and rear. If you try to ride fast in rocks that are embedded in the ground, you may bend a rim on the sharp edge of a rock. I'd recommend a leisurely pace through that stuff instead of bumping pressure up.
  • In the sand, use the clutch as little as possible and use a lower gear instead. The CX actually has really good gearing for off road stuff. Slipping the clutch will cook it fast; the CX has a tiny clutch.
  • Top of the fork tubes flush with the triple clamps. Don't slide them up through at all. This will give you the most stability in sand (and ground clearance)
  • Add preload spacers or stiffer fork springs, run 10wt or 20wt fork oil. This will help prevent the suspension from bottoming out. Bottoming the suspension off road often results in bent rims in addition to being uncomfortable and causing crashes. There is other stuff you can do to the suspension, but this is basic and cheap and will make any off road much more enjoyable
  • Keep a close eye on your air filter, and grease the sealing surfaces of the filter in the airbox. Make sure the airbox connectors are PERFECTLY sealed. It's amazing the places that desert powder can find a way in.
  • Steering head bearings. Either keep an eye on the stock ones or upgrade to tapered rollers. Gravel and dirt roads will hammer the stock bearings and will probably make them notchy pretty quickly, where tapered rollers have much higher load capacity.
  • Do an oil change right before you leave, and right after you get back. The normal oil change interval doesn't apply when you're dealing with sand/off road.
  • Check all the engine mount bolts and the bolts that mount the front wishbone to the frame. Don't skip this. If any of the mounts come loose, it's possible to crack the front mounts right off the block. If they are tight, you have nothing to worry about.
If you are feeling frisky, here's a couple other tidbits that are not necessary at all but might be nice to consider, especially if any of the off road will be challenging or you want to ride fast:
  • If your bike doesn't have crashbars, there are usually some on ebay or elsewhere. You might want to pick up a set. The factory option Hondaline ones are my favorite.
  • The factory fan is engine-driven and thus engine speed dependent. That can be a challenge in slow going. An electric fan resolves this problem.
  • Rider position, specifically meaning bars. Find some bars that have a bit less pullback that you can stand up a bit with. A stock CX doesn't have much suspension; your legs can add a lot to that if there is a really rough section or a surprise hole in the road that you can't get slowed down for.
  • In the same vein as standing, the stock rubber pegs aren't great for standing. I bought a set of large pegs for a KLR and adapted them so my boots could actually grip the bike.
Sounds like an awesome trip!
If this particular ride required the mods and experience you are describing, it would be way above my pay grade. I still have PTSD from riding the Moki Dugway on a cruiser a few years ago.
 

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If this particular ride required the mods and experience you are describing, it would be way above my pay grade. I still have PTSD from riding the Moki Dugway on a cruiser a few years ago.
I don't think you need any upgrades. Just make sure all is in good operating condition, and have tires appropriate to the riding surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Where do I sign up. I was planning on going to Arizona April this year but the Virus made us cancel. Paved roads down there are called highways.
The CX500 custom only has about 100 mile range. Will you be able to make it to the check points or will you need to carry an extra supply. With a group of riders it's going to be a dust bowl. I think I would look into an off road helmet and handlebars as well as all the other comments.
100 mile range is the minimum they specify but I am carrying a two gallon rotopax container with me just in case.
 

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100 mile range is the minimum they specify but I am carrying a two gallon rotopax container with me just in case.
You won't need it. Thats way too much liquid weight swinging it around. The guy last year finally through his off cause it was too much to manage. Just bring two small fuel bottles and you will be fine. Everyone else has extra fuel in case you need it. I have murrays carbs and avg 89 miles to a tank and I never ran out with my little fuel bottles.

You must pack light with this bike already being 500 pounds...else it will ride you around AZ, not you ride it haha.

Rebuild your front forks with progressives (use the spacers that come with it) and get good seals and boots. Mine blew out the first year.

What rear tire you have? There is only one company that makes an offroad wheel for the 16inch rear wheel. At least that is what me and Jared concluded.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
You won't need it. Thats way too much liquid weight swinging it around. The guy last year finally through his off cause it was too much to manage. Just bring two small fuel bottles and you will be fine. Everyone else has extra fuel in case you need it. I have murrays carbs and avg 89 miles to a tank and I never ran out with my little fuel bottles.

You must pack light with this bike already being 500 pounds...else it will ride you around AZ, not you ride it haha.

Rebuild your front forks with progressives (use the spacers that come with it) and get good seals and boots. Mine blew out the first year.

What rear tire you have? There is only one company that makes an offroad wheel for the 16inch rear wheel. At least that is what me and Jared concluded.
Thanks Luke.

I’m not overly concerned with the weight but that could change when we hit the trail. Compared to my Tiger fully packed with top and side cases and camping gear, this bike fully loaded feels like a Schwinn beach cruiser.

I am planning on a front fork rebuild. I’ll check into the Progressive rebuild kit. It’ll be consistent with my Progressive rear shocks.

I’ll be riding on a pair of Bates Baja tires front and rear.
 

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Attach spare cables, to your cables. Check ALL your fluid levels. Take a comprehensive tool kit.Drink plenty of water and take Enough sweet snacks.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Maybe enough people complained that they started doing it right again.

But the factory manual is still better. We are pretty spoiled with these bikes having such good FSMs. I had occasion to take the "new" engine for my GoldWing apart a few years ago and when putting it back together I had to keep flipping between chapters in the FSM and occasionally asking online where to find stuff after paging through the book a couple of times trying to find it. There were even a couple of things I never did find in the book when I needed it (although I was sure I had seen it before) and had to resort to Haynes & Clymer for. If I had been working on the CX it would have been so much easier because all of that information is laid out in one chapter of the CX family books.
Now that I've torn into the bike somewhat, I feel I can speak to this FSM vs. Clymer debate. Note that this is not my first rodeo. I've done three total restorations now (two cars and one bike, not including this one) but I still consider myself a novice.

The FSM is for professionals. Clymer is for the rest of us. It's much more user-friendly. For us civilians, I'd recommend Clymer but cross-checking with the FSM when it comes to the more technical procedures such as cracking into the lump.

(BTW, my 2009 edition of Clymer does has color wiring diagrams)
 

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I would agree with you but for a couple of points:
1) Clymer's manuals were never as good as Haynes. Clymer's manuals are well known to contain some errors that can cause a lot of problems (such as having the locations of the carb jets reversed) and from what I understand, they have not corrected this in subsequent editions. And bad advice (such as telling you that forks can't be serviced at home in at least one of their books), not to mention that they attempt to cover all years of the entire CX/GL500/650 family in one book and thus leave out a lot of model/year specific information.
2) Aftermarket shop manuals are usually made to help amateurs understand how to work on things without having to understand technical language aimed specifically at factory trained professionals (If you have ever looked at a Suzuki FSM you will understand why this is needed). BUT the FSMs for the CX family of bikes are the best and most easily understood ones I have ever seen, well laid out and with everything explained so that a lay person can easily figure out what it means.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Other than extensive road testing to work out the kinks, I think she's ready for the challenge. Here's what I did that's note worthy other than a lot of cleaning, some painting and polishing. Did I miss anything?

Bates Baja tires
Renthal handlebars and Oury grips
Hondaline crash bars
Rebuilt front suspension (Progressive springs, seals, 15w fork oil)
New steering head bearings/grease
Hagon rear shocks
Flushed radiator and replaced hoses, thermostat and cap
Forseti coils
Changed crankcase oil and filter
Changed final drive oil and greased drive train as needed
Adjusted valves and cam chain tensioner
Lubricated all cable
Ultrasonic carb bath
Rebuilt front brakes
Replaced exhaust seals and gaskets
CX500 1.jpg
CX500 2.jpg
 
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