CX500 Cafe Build
1981 Honda CX500 left for dead in the weeds...notice the ominous trash can in the background.
These bikes are pretty ugly in stock form, but they have a great motor and drive train - sort of like a water cooled Moto Guzzi. I thought it would be a good challenge to see if I could resurrect this derelict motorcycle and make an attractive, vintage inspired, cafe racer out of it. With the shaft drive and water cooling it should make a reliable daily rider.
CX striped down to bare essentials, mocked up with bars and tank.
I decided to modify the awkward frame and cut off seat support/shock mounts.
I left the front of the seat support and added a new seat loop with better lines that work with the new tank.
Here is the removed section of frame
This is the new section of frame mocked up before welding.
Tacking seat loop in place.
This is the frame before final welding, including new mount tabs for shocks, blinkers, and side plates.
I just need to finish welding and then off to powdercoat.
Motor before clean up/inspection
The frame and stock wheels back from powder coat. I replaced the old worn out shocks, cut down the stock fender, and mounted some new rubber.
I also powder coated the modified fork lowers. Now we have a roller!
I stripped the paint, added mounting tabs, and started body work on the tank. Fabricated seat pan, mounted and shaped the foam.
I made a two into one exhaust system for better performance and sound.
Fabricated brake pedal and foot pegs.
Fabricated new shift pedal.
New coolant overflow canister.
I wanted to keep the handle bars clean so I built a dashboard for swithches into the tank design
...after body work.
Now it's time to wire it up and see if it runs!
I chucked the old harness for a new compact, hi tech unit.
I mounted the harness under the CDI/coil/regulator tray. The old coils were in sad shape so I replaced them with new smaller units. It should all fit under the seat nicely.
Routing the wires to their destinations can be a bit confusing. Once sorted and connected the installation should be a bit cleaner.
I pulled all the necessary wires through the frame and out the headlight shell so I can hide all connections in the shell.
These are the switches I will mount in the tank "dashboard". Kill switch, hi-lo beam, blinkers.
This wiring module will handle all lighting, starting, and circuit breaker functions. No more fuses.
The stock CDI and voltage regulator will handle engine management and charging.
This is where I mounted the starter solenoid, where the over flow tank used to be, between the back of the motor and frame. It works with the key now.
I am using an automotive style ignition switch. That eliminates the need for a start button.
I mounted the ignition switch on the left "number plate". I will have graphics there of some sort, not sure what yet. Any ideas?
Blinker and stop/running light wires.
Gas tank with dashboard.
All wires a are color coded by function.
Shrink tubing to clean things up.
This is what dash wires look like mounted on bike.
Dash switches. Center: L/R blinkers (indicators for you guys across the pond), Left: hi/lo beam, Right: kill.
all the connections fit nicely inside the headlight shell.
I hooked up the battery and everything works! Headlight, tail light, brake, blinkers (indicators) front and rear.
Turned out pretty clean, much simpler than the stock harness.
Now I just need to fab the license plate holder/ brake light mount, rebuild carbs, and build throttle cables, then the bike will be finished.
Today I rebuilt and mounted the carbs.
I used the stock choke cable and made it really short so I could eliminate it from the bars.
First I replaced the air cut off valves.
Then I separated the two carbs so I could replace the o rings on the fuel supply tube and the accelerator pump tube.
After I replaced those o rings I put the carbs back together. I found it easier to work on them when attached.
Since I had the float bowls off I rejetted the carbs to compensate for the new air cleaners and less restrictive exhaust. 90 slow jet, 120 main jet.
New float valves
Off with the tops...
Needle looked good so I left it alone
After assembly I bench tested for leaks.
Fuel rig. No leaks!
I also checked to make sure the accelerator pumps were squirting.
New o rings on intake boots.
Everything fits, now time to build some throttle cables.
This is the kit I will be using to build the throttle cables.
I am using a Domino throttle control. These are made for dirt bike applications, but since I am not using any buttons or switches on the bars I can use this simple set up. I like these because they are light, simple and sturdy.
First you route the cable housings.
Then you measure for length. I marked them with tape.
Cut to length.
These are the ends that fit in the throttle control.
Feed the cables through the housings.
These are the fittings that go on the carburetor end of the cable.
Cut the cables to length and slip fittings over end.
I found it easier to take the cable/throttle assembly off for soldering the ends.
Flare the cable ends and solder the joint.
Finished install, now I can finally start it!
I started it yesterday, it runs great. The sound is ferocious with the two into one and glass pack muffler. Deep and throaty. I'm sure my neighbors appreciate it too.
Some finishing touches on the paint today...