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1977 CB550 Project

This is a discussion on 1977 CB550 Project within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; It handles differently than stock, but I have changed the wheels, forks, longer rear shocks, better shocks, steering damper and I don't ride it on ...

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Thread: 1977 CB550 Project

  1. #71
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    It handles differently than stock, but I have changed the wheels, forks, longer rear shocks, better shocks, steering damper and I don't ride it on the street. All in all, I have it pretty well balanced right now between twitchiness and stability. Keep in mind that I like a heavy handling front end on a race bike and don't care too much about what the rear does. I also weigh 250 and have been racing for 35 years. So, what works for me might not be what you want on the street. That being said, I wouldn't have any problems with the Seca as a daily rider for me, set up the way it is. As far as I am concerned, tire diameter and width are a matter of personal preference to suit your riding style and needs. There is no right or wrong, just preferences. Generally, I prefer wide 17' wheels.
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  3. #72
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    thanks kenessex,

    definitely useful. helps to make sense of all the numbers a little bit.

  4. #73
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    So I nerded out a bit today and did some calculations to compare what geometry would be on stock 550 vs a 550 w/ cb1100f fork and wheels. been gathering info the past couple days. If you click the photo you should be able to read everything full size.

    I was just curious to see how drastic of a change there would be. I don't actually have enough riding experience to predict how noticeable changes would actually be in real world but it's interesting to see the numbers and wouldn't appear to make the bike unsafe. If I'm reading things right it looks as though the new fork would actually make the bike more stable at speed and perhaps less agile in the corners. correct???




    I've read that fork tube length has no effect on rake but not sure if that is true in a situation where the front end is actually attached to the bike... if it were isolated in theory i think that would be correct but consider it's attached to a fixed axis in the rear i don't see how it can have no effect. i don't have fork lengths and i couldn't actually find a formula that took it into acct so calcs above assume wheelbase and rake would not change due to difference in fork length.

    Maybe I'm wrong but, my assumption is that longer fork tubes would actually increase rake and potentially wheelbase due to the rotation of the bike on the rear axis upwards to fit the longer fork. i would assume longer shocks or sliding the tubes up in the triples would compensate for the difference to some extent. anyone know?


    I was able to use the formula on this page to find out the true diameter of the front wheel w/ a tire mounted:


    However, the majority of these calculations were made using the book below which is a pretty fucking awesome book if you want to understand all this type of crap.


    - - - Updated - - -

    So I nerded out a bit today and did some calculations to compare what geometry would be on stock 550 vs a 550 w/ cb1100f fork and wheels. been gathering info the past couple days. If you click the photo you should be able to read everything full size.

    I was just curious to see how drastic of a change there would be. I don't actually have enough riding experience to predict how noticeable changes would actually be in real world but it's interesting to see the numbers and wouldn't appear to make the bike unsafe. If I'm reading things right it looks as though the new fork would actually make the bike more stable at speed and perhaps less agile in the corners. correct???




    I've read that fork tube length has no effect on rake but not sure if that is true in a situation where the front end is actually attached to the bike... if it were isolated in theory i think that would be correct but consider it's attached to a fixed axis in the rear i don't see how it can have no effect. i don't have fork lengths and i couldn't actually find a formula that took it into acct so calcs above assume wheelbase and rake would not change due to difference in fork length.

    Maybe I'm wrong but, my assumption is that longer fork tubes would actually increase rake and potentially wheelbase due to the rotation of the bike on the rear axis upwards to fit the longer fork. i would assume longer shocks or sliding the tubes up in the triples would compensate for the difference to some extent. anyone know?


    I was able to use the formula on this page to find out the true diameter of the front wheel w/ a tire mounted:


    However, the majority of these calculations were made using the book below which is a pretty fucking awesome book if you want to understand all this type of crap.

  5. #74
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    These showed up today... even got some bars w/ 'em. spent $150 in all. $100 for the front end, $30 to ship, and $20 for an air pipe I found on the cb1100f forum as the guy w/ the forks lost it. will probably sell the handlebars and the stock ones off the cb550 though as i would like some black superbike bars or maybe some gold renthals could look cool if i get those gold boomerang or could just be too much...we'll see when the time comes...

    checking out parts engine on monday if the guy doesn't flake.







  6. #75
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    So couple wheel related questions...

    stock wheels on 550 are 18 rear, 19 front....the 1100f fork i picked up is 3 or 4 inches longer than the 550's so my rake is going to increase a bit along w/ my wheelbase. I've settled on getting some gold boomerang wheels as it will bolt right into the fork and like the look of course . stock wheels on cb1100f are 17 rear, 18 front. however, vf750's also came w/ gold boomies, 18 rear, 16 front. So, in effort to help raise the rear a tad to compensate for that longer fork I've gotten a vf750 rear(3x18) and was planning a 18 1100f in the front. evening out the wheels would bring the tad up a smidge. But then i started wondering about the vf750's 16" front to help bring the rake back closer to stock even more. they're also more plentiful on ebay and slightly cheaper than the 1100f's wheel.

    Question: how bad is that 16 going to compromise stability? is it going to be extreme? no one seems to run anything this small anymore. i need to do some calcs to see what actual changes are but i'm mainly wondering how that size wheel is going to handle bumps and such.

    if 16 on the front is a bad idea i'll probably just get some longer shocks in the rear, I'm 6'2 so it wouldn't be bad if the bike were a little higher on the seat.
    Last edited by bfont52; 04-16-2013 at 10:58 AM.

  7. #76
    Senior Member o1marc's Avatar
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    Can't you slide the forks up in the trees to bring it down to stock height?
    I carry a gun because I'm too young to die, too old to take an ass whooping, and a cop is too heavy.

  8. #77
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
    Can't you slide the forks up in the trees to bring it down to stock height?
    a teensy bit. i wanna use superbike bars so it only goes about an inch maybe before i hit the bar...if i were gonna use clip ons I could push em up more.

  9. #78
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    So made some progess. grinded the stem out of the 550 and swapped it into the cb1100f triples....too short though 1100f triples are thicker than 550's so plan is to go have bottom of 1100f triple welded to 550 to lengthen enough.

    I was able to do a mockup though w/ the new fork on the bike(no bearings in). Right now I have 3" spacers in the fork to shorten it so I can get geometry back to stock. still need to raise the rear a tad to bring all the way back. i have clearance on the bottom triple so wont hit that but my fork travel is reduced to 3" maybe a little less so concerned about bottoming out...thoughts? planning new, stiffer springs. i also have an email out to racetech to see what they think....if 3" is too much i may shorten spacers to 2".


    been getting a lot of parts in. rear brake, axles, black renthal ultralows, new controls(rh from cbr1000, lh/throttle from cbr250 - assume they'll wire up ), also found a crank w/ rods and the crankshaft bearings but USPS seems to have lost my package perhaps. who knows. hoping it's just delayed. have a rear wheel (gold boomie) coming from germany that is taking forever. found a front also so gonna lock that in this week hopefully. Also bought a 650 cam yesterday.

    my goal is to have this thing ready for end of may but that might be ambitious.


    kind of handy...measured rake w/ a protractor app on my phone..just hold it along the fork legs and it gives you the angle. fancy.


    550 w/ 1100f fork. (I know the legs are backwards..)
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    550 w/ 1100f fork and rear raised. puts rake 1 degree steeper than stock. more or less... not exact b/c i don't have bearings in stem.
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  10. #79
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    650 cam and my new rear wheel showed up yesterday.

    rear 3x18 rim from vf750f. will be getting a 2.5x18 front from a cb1100f which will bolt right on to the 1100f fork.
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    650 cam...
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  11. #80
    Senior Member bfont52's Avatar
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    So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do w/ the frame. I didn’t really want to just paint it black. Was thinking to keep it raw but didn’t really want a silver frame. This weekend I stumbled across a bicycle project where a guy use perma blue(used to blue guns) on his frame then covered it with a clear Powder Coat. Looks really nice imho. Has that nice texture of the metal but darker so it’s more subtle and not screaming at you.. (marc, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the clear Powder coat). So I’m leaning towards that right now. Thinking I might like to make some metal side covers in the same fashion possibly.

    Gas tank will be raw for the time being. I still have the honda side plates that have a little gold in them which will be a nice little accent w/ the gold boomerang rims I think. Open to paint options but nothing is really jumping out at me right now......considered possibly the same treatment as frame but lighter. I dunno.

    Metal Blueing w/ clear Powder Coat.
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    Gas tank will be raw for the time being. I still have the honda tank plates that have a little gold in them which will be a nice little accent w/ the gold boomerang rims I think. Open to paint options but nothing is really jumping out at me....though considered possibly the same treatment as frame but a little lighter maybe.


    I’m sticking w/ the stock seat for a while b/c of budget reasons but starting to think about what will happen w/ it eventually. Initially was thinking the hoop w/ a flatter but still cush seat but now thinking more along the lines of a seat like below w a shortened fender and tail light like the photos below. I don’t really want to cut up the frame and I like the idea of keeping the helmet lock and the tool kit under the seat.

    I like this seat that vinyl-lux made for this 450....a nice lower profile, updated take on the original. I'd like a shorter rear fender though.
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    Taillights....I really hate all those bullet lights that everyone sells. been looking at a bunch of taillights from old cars...some cool ones out there but not sure how well they’d mesh w/ the rest of the bike. Kind of stumped on turn signals. Found one pair on DCC that might work but otherwise everything seems to be bullet shape.

    Some examples...lucas one is my fave(probably go w/ this or a rectangular lucas replica) but here's some others i ran across...kinda like the 2nd one actually.
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