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Author Topic: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k, Back on track  (Read 19677 times)

Offline SouthPaw

  • Posts: 112
    • My photography business Site
Hey guys, So I am a new member here, been lurking for  a while :)

This past weekend I found and picked up a motorcycle for a great deal. Shes a 1978 Honda cb550. 8154km... i am the second owner... It has been garaged for over 28 years and in 2007 the guy said it passed safety and it was road certified. This bike cost me my 32' LCD TV and 400$. The TV was collecting dust and I was not using it much.

I am kind of stuck on where to take this bike. Since it looks like it is in good shape, full restoration back to stock, or live out my Cafe Racer fantasy? There are A LOT of bikes on here and a few of them gave me inspirations as to what i want to ride.

Here are a few pics

Dent in the tank, and rusted from the inside, needs to be replaced, local bike shop had an excellent used tank for 140$ ( all prices are CAD as i live near Toronto)


Engine looks good, some rust on exhaust and foot peg


Tear in the seat, and a bit more rust spots.


Mileage ( in kilometers ) and the last trip of the bike was just over 23km :P


No battery or right cover, Local bike shop has one for 25$, same colour as bike and tank.


Wasn't too sure what this was as the hose is severed inside, hanging by a thread,  not sure if you can see it.


Here is a better picture.


There are a few pics I took today, and any opinions from the gurus of Cafe Racers would be appreciated. Also from what you guys can see, if you have suggestions or think I got ripped off by an 85 year old man, let me know. I think for what I payed and the condition the bike is in, I got a good deal. Heard the bike running, as he hooked up a gas tank from his generator and it started up first try. Also any spots you guys think I should check out myself for problems would be helpful.

Thanks in advance, for helping this newbie :D

~ SouthPaw
« Last Edit: Oct 30, 2010, 11:32:02 by SouthPaw »
"But that which issues from the heart alone,   Will bend the hearts of others to your own."

CB550 Build- On hold - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=15310.0

Offline CrescentSon

  • Posts: 2423
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #1 on: Apr 27, 2010, 23:25:58 »
Newbie or not that is a decent bike. Stock would be cool, but cafe is cheaper than sourcing oem parts. Plus there is a freedom that comes from building something unique. The feeling of building and improvising is a type of pride that you can't get treating the bike like you are a museum curator. I say tear it apart and see where the wind takes you.

It's not like I'm suggesting diving off without a net. Do what you think you can, or would want to learn. There are plenty of guys around here willing to lend a had if the thing gets out of control on you.
"I hated hipsters before it was cool." -Sonreier

"Lifes a bitch when your trying to sell gold bars to beggars" -VonYinzer

"To say that ALL cafe racers are the same degree of ho hum is like saying that finger banging a fisher price piano is on par with listening to Beethoven." -Kanticoy

Offline teddpage

  • DTT SUPPORTER
  • *
  • Posts: 1137
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #2 on: Apr 27, 2010, 23:49:24 »
Bike looks pretty decent!  I say, since summer is almost here, clean it up a bit, throw a set of clubmans on it and a new tank and cruise it!  Then, come winter time, tear it down and build it the way you want it.  Be it stock or cafe!
1971 Honda CB450 Build -->> http://dotheton.com/index.php?topic=13854.0

"its a motor dude degrease the fucker and crack on" - axeugene27

Offline Big Rich

  • DTT SUPPORTER
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  • Posts: 9970
  • Heaven is so far away.
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #3 on: Apr 28, 2010, 01:34:01 »
Welcome to the site man! There's plenty of stuff that you can do to that bike now and be able to return it to stock if you want.

Is that hose / cable thing the battery drain? If so, replace it asap. When you charge a battery, it vents gas and a little bit of water out that tube.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your tv, but I can almost guarantee you will enjoy the bike more!

Offline SouthPaw

  • Posts: 112
    • My photography business Site
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #4 on: Apr 28, 2010, 02:33:39 »
Whoa I go to see a movie and i come back to replies :) You guys rock.

And yes I believe that is the battery drain now that you mention it. It comes from right below the battery cavity and has a slight greenish sludge around the break in the hose.

I am also debating investing in that super small battery that I saw at a build on this site, i clicked the link but it didn't end up leading me to the battery.

Again, Thanks guys and Ill post a few pictures tomorrow, taking the tank and seat off, seeing if i can get that choke cable to budge, as when we tried to start it last time it was chilly and the knob wouldnt pull out...  ???

"But that which issues from the heart alone,   Will bend the hearts of others to your own."

CB550 Build- On hold - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=15310.0

Offline tjjkc

  • Posts: 171
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #5 on: Apr 28, 2010, 10:37:48 »
My choice would be to keep it stock ,but that's me.......my 78550K is stock

I'm thinking that hose is from the airbox see diagram #22

http://webservices.motorsportdealers.com/parts/partImages/HOM/2/134043/ILLUST/F1340/4316.Gif

You may have some trouble with one of those supper small batteries........the 550's do not have the best charging systems.

Choke cable is typical...flood it with a good penetrating oil and it may come loose..

If you are staying stock there is a guy out west who has nice seat covers his name on E-bay is gumtwo ...but you can buy the cover without supporting the greedy people at E-bay

The right side cover .........$25 go and grab it now.............they can be hard to find if the tabs are intact

Where is near Toronto .....I'm about 45 min East


Its not a cafe'.........but the next one might be ......maybe..


LOUD PIPES SUCK


78 CB550k
83 GL650i

Offline SouthPaw

  • Posts: 112
    • My photography business Site
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #6 on: Apr 28, 2010, 11:31:38 »
I'm west. I live in kitchener. I took off the choke cable and played with it a bit. And after taking your advice it works like a charm! now I'm off to the doctors but mee photos coming in a few hours!

Ps you guys ROCK!
"But that which issues from the heart alone,   Will bend the hearts of others to your own."

CB550 Build- On hold - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=15310.0

Offline mikeges335

  • Posts: 57
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #7 on: Apr 28, 2010, 15:20:39 »
Hey thats a nice bike. I'm also working on my first bike ever! I say chop it up and make a sweet cafe.. but thats just me.

Offline sabres7th

  • Posts: 132
  • Four wheels move your body, two move your soul
    • my build
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #8 on: Apr 28, 2010, 15:25:20 »
ah 78, that was a fine year for wine and bikes...lol
my 2 cents........rock the bike stock for the season, maybe do some small mods till winter.
if you need some parts stock parts, i.e. side cover pm me i am 10 mins away from the Peace bridge, your probably 45 mins out. other than that nice bike, and good choice i am happy with my 78 cb550. hey maybe the leafs and sabres will both make it deep into the playoffs next year? ::) here is my tread. later dude!
http://dotheton.com/index.php?topic=11009.70

Offline jay_kent

  • Posts: 1297
  • 1979 cb650
    • Cafe build blog
Re: First bike ever!!!! 1978 Honda CB550k,
« Reply #9 on: Apr 28, 2010, 17:51:49 »
Cool ride bro. I'm over in Guelph, not to far from you at all.

Get it up for riding this year then attack it over the winter and turn it into a mean alley cat

DTT build thread - here
More pics at my Cafe build blog - Here

"And yeah David...you're pretty much bugshit nuts just like the rest of us." ~Swagger