CB650 night-racer cafe-hawk build day 1 and counting.


"Horsepower sells cars; Torque wins races."
In case any of y'all missed my compelling introduction post, you can read that thriller of a thread here for some quick background info:

Now on to business. Finally picked up the bike yesterday and taking care of title/insurance today. But that's not what you came in here to read. Since I had a week between purchase and delivery, I had some time to mull things over and try and come up with a direction I want to go with. And now that it's finally in my garage, the chopping has begun. First thing I did was swap over some of the engine covers from the parts bike and polish up the cooling fins to break up the solid black abyss.



Looking to pick up a cx500 tank sometime this week. I like the shape of those much more that the stocker. It's just too wide for my liking and the bottom lines won't flow with the rear once I cut this off...


...in favor of something a little more level. Dime City's rear hoop kit is the likely solution because I don't have a pipe bender.

As far as the goal or look I'm going for, I'm thinking somewhere in between this


and this

I'd love to do a gsxr or cbr front end conversion, but that will be quite some time from now. So back to the immediate plans:
1) Clip ons and some shorty levers are looking more and more likely.
2) I've already made a template for a battery box and other electrics to tuck it all away nice and neat like one the new seat hoop is in.
3) Do the ton
4) CX500 tank
5) Those headlights have got to go.
6) Finish polishing fins and flat surfaces on engine
7) Without opening the 'pods vs. velo stacks vs. stock air box' can of worms, suffice it to say the stock box is coming out.

Couple super newb questions (This list will probably grow daily):
Is there a way to convert to spoked wheels with the shaft drive? Could I just use a BMW wheel?
Rear sets...What are you running? Would it be best to get something made/make myself?
And last, and totally unrelated, what sort of footwear does everyone wear? I'd prefer to stay stay away from bulky boots; I only have a <2 mile commute to campus. I like the Clark's desert boots. Thoughts?

As always, any advice is always welcomed.
Quick update: I was originally planning on swapping over all the silver engine covers from the spare, but I ended up polishing the current ones instead. The spare was actually missing a few, and the polished look is much shinier. Ordering a rear hoop and the DCC Brass seat tonight, so hopefully I'll have those in this weekend. I've decided to hold off in clip ons until I have money to do rearsets at the same time. But while I was in the garage staring at it and pondering life, I had a stroke of brilliance. (Probably not that actually brilliant, but I was proud of myself for coming up with this on my own). Why not just modify the passenger foot peg brackets from the spare bike to my liking and extend the linkages? It will bolt right up, be significantly cheaper, and I'll be able to put the pegs exactly where I want them. Has anyone else done this with successful results? Well, hope everyone is having a happy hump day!


July 31 update: Between school, traveling, and a few concussions here and there progress has been slow. However, thanks to cafegoose and his pipe bending skills, I now have a new seat hoop. Huzzah!



The final product ended up differing from the plan a good bit. I was originally going to cut out those middle bars and weld in a full hoop. But I decided not to mess with the existing frame too much. So to help with the now eye soar below the new frame, I'm going to make the electronics tray go around the old frame. I was also going to order the Brass seat from DCC (which I may still end up doing) but for now, and in the interest of my wallet, I'm going to make my own rear cowl. That way I can use my current seat. Which I think I may re-wrap in some Bride fabric I had leftover from my last 240. Hella JDM tyte for my hella JDM bike. Right??


Velocity stacks and clip ons are on order from DCC now. Still trying to figure out what to do about rear sets. But for now, I'm more concerned with putting everything back together.
Start if school update: Everything is back in mostly one piece and rideable. Ended up just flipping the clubmans over instead of clip ons. The velocity stacks I ordered from DCC didn't clear the frame, so those got returned. But a little ingenuity and a few trips to auto zone and I had myself some 2 into 1 pods. I was expecting it to be pretty rough since CV's hate pods, but it runs really well. A little choppy in the mid range at anything over 3/4 throttle, but it's not bad. Shouldn't take too much fiddling with jets to get it right. Moved the battery down and mounted the new tail light. Next order of business is some exhausts. The open pipes are just too loud. Anyway, enough words, here's some pictures.
First round of exams update: Well I have an accounting and finance exam this week and 2 more next week, so instead of studying diligently I've been riding as much as I can and fiddling when I gets dark. Latest step toward cafe stardom- exhaust wrap and some shiny mufflers. It's now at an acceptable volume so I won't wake the neighbors at 7am or burst my eardrums getting out of the garage. Still searching for a tank. Been thinking about either 750f or the superport tank, but not sure what will be necessary to make it fit. Might just be trial and error. One I get one ill probably repaint everything in a dark red. Enough chat, here's what y'all actually care about...


So I'm riding earlier this evening, everything is fine. I stop at a buddies place, then it won't start. I mean totally dead. Lights don't even come on or anything. Tried jumping it from my girlfriends car, still nothing which leads me to think it's something in between the key switch and battery. Same thing happened last week on campus, but after sitting there for about 15 minutes it just magically started again. Thoughts?
I have a CB550SC. The same engine as your 650 except the 650 has a longer stroke. There is no spoke hubs that will match up to the drive hub on those bikes as Honda was not into spoke during the 80's. The newer ones on the shadows are close but a bit bigger. The splin on the shaft may fit into one of those hubs but it would be a gamble. Strong engines in those bikes. Two things happened to me: starter solenoid failed and then the rectifier(notoriuos on these bikes) failed and would no longer charge the system. Those bikes dont put out enough voltage at low RPM and will kill the engine when you go back to idle from riding around. Mine left me in traffic about 12 years ago like that.
If the rectifier is bad, would that prevent the lights from working? Even with jumper cables hooked up? Just tried again and still nothing. Also checked gounds and everything is fine. Battery definitely has charge (jumper leads sparked like crazy).
Did you try to jump the starter solenoid? With the battery jumpers connected take a screwdriver and make the contact on the solenoid on the two poles that your wires are connected to. If that works then you have a bad relay(solenoid)
I did not try that. Just to make sure I understand you, connect the jumper leads to the battery, and bypass the starter solenoid with a screwdriver?
Well it's definitely the starter solenoid. Bridged it and fired right up. Ride it home no problems. Weird thing is now it will start no problem. I guess it's just on it's way out and will work when it wants. I'll just have to carry an extra screwdriver to campus until I get a new solenoid. Thanks for the help Clem.
No problem. You can use the key to jump it out but the key may not last long! Lol. The solenoid shouldn't be too expensive. Good luck.
So as it turned out, solenoid was just fine. There was some faulty wiring on the back of the fuse panel. Looks like whoever wired in the headlights was overloading a circuit because the plastic that holds the pin in was melted. So that got some college student budget type fixing. But it works, and starts every time now.

Since the headlights have needed to go for a while, this seemed like the perfect time for a new one. So thanks to a fellow forum member, I've got a cb450 assembly en route. Still undecided on tank options, and by that I mean I can't find one for super cheap that I like. So in the meantime I chopped up an old skateboard, went to Hancock fabrics, put some old bride fabric to use and found myself a new seat. Also decided in a fancy new color scheme. "Ivory" and "Regal Blue".






Paint was on a practice piece, don't worry. Hopefully I'll get better.
Small update:
New headlight
redid the rear cowl
New grips
New LED taillight
Mini gauges. Dumb question, but where the hell does the tach cable go?

Next up:
Redo wiring, Paging Sonreir.
Fancy rearsets. Opinions on who makes the best on the forum?
Decide on a tank and finish painting.

Also considering swapping out the CV carbs or going the 4-2 route. What carbs would be a direct/minimal modification swap?




Also picked up a new toy. E34 540i M sport.


that 540 is pimp. you need better tape sir... The blue 3m tape is ideal, its better then the green but even the green will do the job, for things with lots of curves thinner tape is easier to work with. Find a little tupperware container to store the roll in when not in use. If you just set the tape down on something the edges pick up dust and dirt and you dont get a proper seal at the edge of the tape. This leads to bad edges like in your test pieces. you can also use a roll of pinstripe tape for the edges of the mask then tape inside of that.

Tach: I dont know your bike specifically. but a cable tach needs a engine with a tach drive in it. I believe it should be right side of the motor just above the side cover. This will only be there if your bike came with a mechanical tach when new. If it didnt then there will just be a plug where the tach drive goes and you'll need to get a tach drive. If your bike was optioned with an electronic tach then your cable tach needs to go and you'll have to pick up an electronic one.
Thanks man. I had been looking for an e36, then this came along. Couldn't pass it up. But thanks for the taping tips. I had been looking for a better way to get cleaner lines. I was using the blue 3m tape, but I think it was too wide for the curves of the headlight bucket, thus the poor edges.

I'd imagine I could probably search and find the answer to electric vs. mechanical tach question. When I got the bike it didn't have a single gauge on it. So adding them has been a learning experience for me.
yeah I went back to the fist pics and noticed it was gauge free..

If you already have a clean roll of the blue then go grab some pinstripe tape and use that for your edges... it also allows you to make curves and such. then just use masking tape to fill in the bulk areas.
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