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    Thread: Bought My First Bike (71 Honda CB500 Winter Project)

    1. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      09-17-2010 05:14 PM #1
      I've been interested in getting my motorcycle licence for some time and have finally decided to do something about it. I've started the learning process. In the meantime I've spent some time reading here and learned a lot of beginner tips. I'm not here to show off or even have the desire to race. I just want something to go for a ride on a nice day or even take on a road trip. After taking the advice of many I started looking at older bikes as starters. I came to realize I actually prefer the vintage style and that's what I've been looking for. Well I finalized the deal this morning and picked up my new toy. 1971 Honda CB500 Four and it's in pretty rough shape. All the necessary stuff is there and other than a couple dents in the tank this thing is pretty solid. It just looks like hell. I will have to go over every single piece of the bike but that's ok. I've made road worthy a car I bought out of a ditch before. This should be ok. I have no plans on modding other than paint scheme and no restoration plans are in the immediate future either. I want to make it presentable and driveable for the spring and that's it for now.

      Enough talk, here some pics.

      When I went to go look at it earlier this week.









      Gotta love the old Canadian speedo in only miles.


      Here we are picking it up this morning. Big thanks to my roommate pictured.




      First thing I did when I got home was remove that ugly ass cowel in the front.




      And me and my ugly mug taking a seat for fun.


      I've been doing some searching and found this photo. I see that the rear has been lowered and the wheel is much smaller. I love the look of this one compared to the stock one under it. Can anyone give me any info on what was done to that bike?



      And here I am taking my first lesson last week on my roommate's dual sport.


      So, can anyone point me in the direction of a helpful specific forum or a source for new and/or used parts?

      Anyone with mod ideas feel free to chime in. I like to see what ideas are out there for the hell of it.

      Thanks for looking.

    2. Member daviddixon's Avatar
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      09-17-2010 05:57 PM #2
      Sweet score! A buddy of mine down here in Lethbridge picked one up this spring. His ran fine for a while, then developed a mysterious electrical fault. we havent been able to pin it down to any single source yet, and its been off the road since July unfortunately.

      Old Honda fours turn into really sweet cafe racers, just do a search for CB500 cafe racers and you should be able to find lots of inspiration if thats your thing. Even just a cleaning up and de-rusting will turn this into a really nice little bike to start off on.

      Have fun!

    3. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      09-17-2010 08:00 PM #3
      The biggest forum for pre-'80s Honda 4cyl bikes is sohc4.net.
      Splinter - Team Post-Killing Ninja
      I don't practice llanteria

    4. Global Moderator Paul@VWvortex's Avatar
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      09-18-2010 04:54 PM #4
      Congrats on the purchase! It has been almost 15 years () since I last had a CB-series bike like yours (1972 CB500/4) but I will be watching this thread with great interest.

      The SOHC fours are fantastic motors and were for their time very sophisticated and smooth and made decent power. The challenge with these bikes is finding either decent replacement 4/4 exhaust systems or abandoning that finding a setup that works for what you want to do with the bike.

      Other than that the world is your oyster; there are tons of little tweaks to get the bike to handle decently like progressive fork springs, fork braces, rear shocks, upgraded braking options, etc. After riding a modern bike with dual front brake calipers and rotors you will probably wish for better braking options and the frames and standard spring rates are pretty sloppy at speeds but.. like a nice vintage Beetle they are charming to ride and actually pretty decent to ride at a moderate pace. Parts are also readily available through your dealer or Ebay which is also a big bonus.

    5. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      '07 Golf City
      09-18-2010 09:58 PM #5
      Thanks for the info. I'll keep updating with my progress but won't commit to how often updates may happen. I do think I've made a decent plan for this winter though. I have confirmed that the engine is not seized so that really simplifies everything. I had some big ideas at first but am scaling everything back. I just want to make it driveable. I'm not going to strip all the parts down to the bare frame and paint it and make every little piece pretty as I had originally thought. I'm going to leave it as is. It's just surface rust and not critical. I will paint the tank & fenders and do something about the seat. That should make a huge difference cosmetically. Other than that I will probably tackle one small thing at a time and make sure it's safe and operational so that I can spend next summer riding/learning. There are a few other small cosmetic things I may do as well, like the headlight assembly and the instrument assemblies as well. That way if soemthing happens I won't lose tons of hours of work and money spent. Later on down the line I'll go all out. Either way, I'm getting more excited about this now. As I was loading it up I was almost having second thoughts and worries about what I was getting myself into. After a small amount of tinkering, my worries are gone.

      I've only really had about a half hour of seat time on that dual sport and spent about an hour on a moped at Put-In Bay in Ohio so I don't have a whole lot to compare to. Although the bike is heavier than my roommate's, he says the lower center of gravity will make it more manageable which makes sense to me.

    6. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      '07 Golf City
      09-23-2010 11:20 PM #6
      A small update, nothing much. It turns out the bike was last registered in 1986. I am trying to ket a set of keys made so I can put some power to it and see what things work and don't work and go from there. I may need to replace the switches on both sides. I did remove the master cylinder handle and the caliper and plan on getting that operational in the meantime. That and the kick starter is seized where it turns the engine both ways. The ratcheting mechanism is locked up I guess. It was basically empty so I filled the crankcase right to the top and am letting it sit for a bit to hopefully get into a few places and maybe loosen some things up. So far there's things I didn't think I needed to fix and things I thought needed fixing can probalby wait. It's full of all sorts of surprises.

    7. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      '07 Golf City
      10-05-2010 01:01 PM #7
      I've made some progress. I got some keys made and tried to see what happened when I gave it some juice. Turns out, not a whole lot. The connections in the wiring harness have all been corroded and are breaking and even the plastic is brittle and falling apart so I replaced all of that in the electric panel. Now I actually get 12V to the ignition, rather than less than 3V. Now I just have to test the things at the ends of the wiring but those should hopefully go a little smoother. I don't care if the lights don't work but as long as I am getting current there, I can replace bulbs. That's no biggie. I'm already anticipating replacing all the turns and tail light with something a little different. The headlight I'll keep the same. I just want that to work.

      Here she is after making some room to work.


      Here's what I started with. It doesn't look bad from here but when you do some digging, it gets worse.



      I spent about 5 hours with a soldering gun on Sunday. Not exciting but progress is being made.




      Here's my build thread over at SOHC4 forums if interested as well.
      Last edited by Vrucizzy; 10-05-2010 at 03:22 PM.

    8. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      10-05-2010 01:04 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Vrucizzy View Post
      Here's my build thread over at SOHC4 forums if interested as well.
      The Single Over-Head Cam 4 Forums rocks.

      Goodluck on this build. Looks to be a lot to get done.

    9. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      10-05-2010 01:15 PM #9
      OMG I do not envy you. It looks like everything on that bike is junk and needs to be replaced or refurbished. I guess them Canadian winters must be real long and lonely! If you're committed to making this happen then I'd recommend you strip the entire bike down to nothing and rebuild it right. Good luck.

    10. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      '07 Golf City
      10-05-2010 01:22 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by FlashRedGLS1.8T View Post
      The Single Over-Head Cam 4 Forums rocks.

      Goodluck on this build. Looks to be a lot to get done.
      Agreed, that forum has provided me with a lot of good stuff. I'm much more confident that I can get this done. There is a lot but I have a whole winter and things in this city get pretty boring during those months.

    11. Member Vrucizzy's Avatar
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      '07 Golf City
      10-05-2010 01:26 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      OMG I do not envy you. It looks like everything on that bike is junk and needs to be replaced or refurbished. I guess them Canadian winters must be real long and lonely! If you're committed to making this happen then I'd recommend you strip the entire bike down to nothing and rebuild it right. Good luck.
      Nah, it's not as bad as it looks. I thought the same way but while digging deeper, it's pretty solid where it needs to be. I know that all the parts will have to be looked at and cleaned up in one way or another but I'm prepared for that. I'm not going to completely strip it down but I will go over everything piece by piece. One at a time though. That's what I learned from my old classic Mini project when I was a teenager.

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