1980 CB650 Brat/Bobber/Tracker? - First Bike, First Build

DV2000NJ

New Member
What's up guys. Been lurking here for a few months, figured it was time to make a build thread.

I'm Dan, I'm a mechanical engineering student, photographer, and an all around gearhead. Been into bicycles my entire life, I have a pickup truck that I drag race, and a Miata that I autocross (I'm hoping to get it on a real road course this summer). So basically if it has wheels and/or an engine, I like it.

Over the last few years all of my good friends have gotten into motorcycles, and I tried to fight the urge until at one point last summer I got fed up with everyone ELSE'S bikes going in the bed of my truck. So when I picked up my buddy first bike for him, I swore that the next bike that went in the bed of my truck would be MINE.

After much late night thinking, I realized that if I sold the hardtop for my Miata, I could afford to buy a bike that needed a bit of work. I've always liked the SOCH 4-cylinder Hondas, and at some point in October I happened across a 1980 CB650 Custom. Sort of the redheaded stepchild of the SOHC/4 bikes, but I found a few customs that I liked, so I decided to take a look at the bike. It had an awful sissy bar, crash bars, and all of the obnoxious '80s chrome that Honda decided Americans must want, but with some persuasion it fired up, and overall was in very good original condition.

$700 later, this was in my driveway. My overall goal with the bike is some combination of bobber/brat/tracker... Basically I'm just going to do whatever the hell I want with it, to hell with the labels.



The sissy bar came off ASAP, I left the crash bar on until I was confident moving it around the garage. ;D


1980 Honda CB650C by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr

After fighting with the carbs for a few weeks, I got the bike firing on all four cylinders, and added drag bars.


Got the CB650 running! by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr

It was at this time that I realized that the charging system was not working. I had the rotor rebuilt, and found a regulator/rectifier on ebay for $30.

I was also working on a rear frame loop.





Hated how that look, so I ground off the tack welds, and got rid of some of the upsweep. I may still make it even flatter, but I haven't had a chance to mess around with it much since school started back up.

The final seat should be something along these lines, though the proportions in the photoshop are all off.





I've also been some little metal projects, mostly light mounts.









I took the bike on a ~60 mile round trip to school today, it's still bogging pretty badly under 3000-3500 rpm, so I'll have to do more troubleshooting, but overall it did well. To do that ride though, I had to make a temporary seat.





I may have been drinking while making it...


So that's about where I'm at now, here are a few real pictures I grabbed on a test ride yesterday.


1980 Honda CB650 by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr


1980 Honda CB650 by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr


1980 Honda CB650 by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr


1980 Honda CB650 by Dan Valanzola, on Flickr


Looking forward to getting some input and learning even more than I already have from this site. If I'm doing something completely moronic, I expect to be told! ;D
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
Thanks! I'm in Hopewell Twp, right on the border of Mercer and Hunterdon counties. In the midst of some great mountain roads.
 

AbbyRider

New Member
That bike's got awesome potential, it's in such great shape. You got ideas for paint? Existing finish looks great, although I've never been a big fan of honda's burgundy.
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
AbbyRider said:
That bike's got awesome potential, it's in such great shape. You got ideas for paint? Existing finish looks great, although I've never been a big fan of honda's burgundy.
LaynDoor said:
X2... thats one of the nicest C models ive seen
Thanks guys. The current paint on the tank isn't actually as good as it looks in pictures, there's about a 1" x 2" spot that's chipped off by the gas cap, there are some fairly gnarly belt-buckle scratches, and there's a couple dents here and there. I'd say it's a C+.

That said, I'm planning on leaving the tank and side covers as they are. The CB650 Custom badges on the side covers are so gaudy, and the burgundy with gold pinstriping on the tank is so late '70s/early '80s, looks completely dated, and I love that. There's something I like about a bike that's completely custom, with silly/dated/ugly stock badging and paint, and that's the way I want to go with this. The whole bike has a look like it was used and cared for for about 20 years, and then sat for the next 10 or so (which I think is actually the case), so the whole thing had a nice mild patina.

comptonasscraig said:
Ah nice, I'm not too far, I'm in East Brunswick. Anxiously awaiting warmer weather so I can get the bike out.
I actually go to school at Rutgers, once the weather breaks and I figure out my bogging issue we should go for a cruise.
 

comptonasscraig

New Member
Absolutely! I'm 10 minutes off campus! There's actually another DTT member who plays drums for a band at harvest moon on Thursdays for live band karaoke. I'm there pretty often .
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
comptonasscraig said:
Absolutely! I'm 10 minutes off campus! There's actually another DTT member who plays drums for a band at harvest moon on Thursdays for live band karaoke. I'm there pretty often .
Awesome. I love music (played bass since I was 10), and I love good beer. Next time you'll be around shoot me a message.

Speaking of beer...
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
I was helping a friend make a license plate bracket for his car tonight, and did a bit of mocking up on the bike. Here is how the rear frame loop looks currently.



And here's a quick photoshop of what I'm thinking for a seat.



Pretty sure I'm going to get rid of a little more upsweep, I don't really want the seat that thick.

Any input?
 

rays650cafe

No quarter given, none taken.
Looks good, don't go too thin on the seat though. Might be a pain in the ass if you do ;D. Take my word for it. Good to see more red headed step children (CB650) on this site.
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
rays650cafe said:
Looks good, don't go too thin on the seat though. Might be a pain in the ass if you do ;D. Take my word for it. Good to see more red headed step children (CB650) on this site.
Thanks man, your bike is one that I looked at for inspiration (notice the similarities in the flat stock cross member ;D). I think your build thread led me to this site, actually.

Not much in the way of updates, but I figured out why my tail light wasn't working (fuse), and I wired in the front turn signals. Tomorrow is supposed to snow, so I guess I'll blast the heater in the garage and work on the carbs some more, get some welding done, and start on the seat pan. Also got my brown Oury grips on last week at some point, love the familiar feel (had them on my mountain bike for years).

So far my "spring break" has been snowing or raining 4 out of 5 days... Not great bike weather.
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
FUCK.

Fucking motherfucking stupid goddamn piece of fucking shit.

I decided to do the right thing today, and adjust the valves and cam chain tension. Adjusting the valves went smoothly.

I'm adjusting the cam chain tensioner, have the torque wrench set to 9 ft-lbs (manual says 7-10 ft-lbs). Guess what happens? The fucking bolt for the cam chain tensioner shears off. With less than 9 ft-lbs of torque.

Guess who gets to pull the fucking head off his fucking CB650? MEEEEEE!

I fucking hate everything right now.
 

rays650cafe

No quarter given, none taken.
Listen to Ratrider, he is wise. And wow thanks. If its any consolation, I'm pulling the head on mine Sunday to do the top end gaskets. The more you do to your bike, the more it makes it yours. Besides, it's a CB650, you were gonna have to do the head gaskets sooner than later they're notorious for that. Good luck, and patience. I'm gonna need some too.
Peace, Ray.
 

DV2000NJ

New Member
Haha thanks guys. I'm not giving up though, FAR from it. I'll get this fucker on the road and running well if it kills me. At least the next few days it's not going to get above 50 degrees, so I won't be itching to ride too badly. I'm feeling a bit better tonight too, my buddy let me ride his Monster 900 and KLR 650, and another friend let me rip around on his Ninja 250 for a bit. I think they felt bad for me. ;D

And this isn't even close to the worst failure of an engine part in my garage. I was doing a head gasket on a buddy's Toyota over the summer, and an ARP head stud that was too long took out a distributor, exhaust cam, and timing belt all at once (you'd think a company like ARP would know if a head stud kit doesn't actually fit an engine, but I digress.).

Ray, what all are you replacing? I haven't had time to figure out all the parts I'll need, but I'd appreciate any pointers. Also, where did you source your parts from?
 

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Qawls said:
Hahaha good to see the moderators are pretty lenient with the swearing. Duly noted
Yea, We speak a universal fuckin language around here Qawls.
I'm picking up a '82 CB650 today for a buddy, wanted to chime in for future referance.
 

rays650cafe

No quarter given, none taken.
Athena top end gasket set for now, more as I determine what it needs. Shouldn't need to much though the motor runs really nice. Even if it is a little beat up on th outside. I'll be happy if I get the oil leaks slowed down substantially if not actually stopped ;D
 
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