CM400t build/new member intro
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CM400t build/new member intro

This is a discussion on CM400t build/new member intro within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Okay, first off: I'm a college student. I don't have a ton of money, so progress may be rather slow at times. Secondly, and likely ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
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    CM400t build/new member intro

    Okay, first off: I'm a college student. I don't have a ton of money, so progress may be rather slow at times.

    Secondly, and likely more importantly, I realize that the CM series of bikes garners absolutely no love from the masses. I know the forks are soft, they aren't fast, they can look pretty awkward, and aren't worth anything, among all their other problems. If you have suggestions on how to go about fixing these shortcomings on a budget, please let me know.

    I picked up this pair of bikes on craigslist for $600. Call it a bad deal or a good one, but I've been happy with the purchase. Both cm's were runners, although the custom is missing gauges and lights and the like now. It also doesn't have a title, so it's basically a parts bike, and will either be parted later on, or the carbs will be reinstalled and sold as a runner in need of TLC. By now you are probably getting bored of reading, so here are some pics of right after getting them home:





    I have a fair amount of experience with cars, and so far the bikes don't seem too complicated. The black bike is the titled runner.

    The (rough) plan:
    Install lights
    Fix gauges
    swap exhausts (done)
    weld holes in exhaust (done)
    rebuild/upgrade forks
    get it running like new (done)
    replace the hideous bars (looking for suggestions; leaning towards superbike-style bars)
    modify seat padding for better position
    lower-profile rear lights (suggestions?)
    custom rearsets, because I'm tall
    lighten the bike, where possible
    more power (carb jetting, velocity stacks, exhaust, the like. I don't expect much)


    So far I've given the bike a pretty good onceover. New oil and filter, reclocked and tensioned the balance shafts, rebuilt the tach (still working on the original speedo-has a fractured bushing) valve adjustment, retorque head bolts, new plugs and filter, new battery, tension cam chain, tension drive chain, reinstall factory exhaust, weld stock seat brackets back on and install factory seat, and cleaned the carbs.

    The bike is mostly just for transportation, but I need to it be twisty-road-worthy. It only has 9k miles on it, and the inside of the engine looks basically new. It runs wonderfully and doesn't make any odd noises. The power isn't stunning, but that's what I expected.

    So any recommendations? Eventually I'll probably end up selling it and getting something with more power, but it fits my needs pretty well right now and it is really easy to work on. If I can get it to handle the way I want, then I'll probably keep it a few years.

    More recent pics to come; gotta get them hosted.
    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

  2. #2
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
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    Current pic, and a pick of an inspirational bike of sorts.


    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

  3. #3
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
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    Current pic, and a pick of an inspirational bike of sorts.


    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

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  5. #4
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    I liked the flat black bike as it was for a starting point. The worst parts of it were the bars and short rear shocks.
    Do you have any welding/fab skills or access to it? As you have figured out, the CM400 is not going to be a classic cafe, but it can certainly be better than stock. I think it is more of a bobber/tracker kind of bike. I kind of liked the straight pipes, too but they were a little too long. I think you have a good plan so far.

    Ken
    WERA 119
    CCS 119
    CRA 119
    AHRMA not anymore
    \"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.\"
    Evan Esar
    Newbies, Geeto and Tex (Bye Tex)hate me!!

  6. #5
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    I liked the flat black bike as it was for a starting point. The worst parts of it were the bars and short rear shocks.
    Do you have any welding/fab skills or access to it? As you have figured out, the CM400 is not going to be a classic cafe, but it can certainly be better than stock. I think it is more of a bobber/tracker kind of bike. I kind of liked the straight pipes, too but they were a little too long. I think you have a good plan so far.

    Ken
    WERA 119
    CCS 119
    CRA 119
    AHRMA not anymore
    \"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.\"
    Evan Esar
    Newbies, Geeto and Tex (Bye Tex)hate me!!

  7. #6
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
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    Those short rear shocks are actually the factory shocks. And I will eventually be getting some longer ones, probably 1" or 1.5" longer, but these still seem to be in good shape, amazingly.

    I have fab skills all the way up to running a CNC machine and handmills, but I don't have a welder. There are a couple of local shops that do good work for cheap though, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    I kinda liked the lower seat and that fender, but the way it was all on there before was just dangerous. The seat mounted to the plastic inner fender liner.... the tongue of the seat also didn't fit right, so occasionally the front would pop out while riding. Not fun. I'm also rather tall, so having a low seat just didn't make sense. I'll probably either modify the one I have or sell the good one and buy a junk one to modify.

    And the straight pipes.... still have them, but the bike is ridiculously loud (duh, they're straight pipes) and I live in a neighborhood. They also didn't have any mounting points; they were held on solely by the exhaust clamps on the head. Not good, hah. Eventually those pipes will probably be modified into a nicer exhaust and heat wrapped. In fact, I already have header wrap from my turbo car build, so all I need is tune the exhaust length, figure out where I want the exits, and get some mufflers...
    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

  8. #7
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
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    West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
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    Those short rear shocks are actually the factory shocks. And I will eventually be getting some longer ones, probably 1" or 1.5" longer, but these still seem to be in good shape, amazingly.

    I have fab skills all the way up to running a CNC machine and handmills, but I don't have a welder. There are a couple of local shops that do good work for cheap though, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    I kinda liked the lower seat and that fender, but the way it was all on there before was just dangerous. The seat mounted to the plastic inner fender liner.... the tongue of the seat also didn't fit right, so occasionally the front would pop out while riding. Not fun. I'm also rather tall, so having a low seat just didn't make sense. I'll probably either modify the one I have or sell the good one and buy a junk one to modify.

    And the straight pipes.... still have them, but the bike is ridiculously loud (duh, they're straight pipes) and I live in a neighborhood. They also didn't have any mounting points; they were held on solely by the exhaust clamps on the head. Not good, hah. Eventually those pipes will probably be modified into a nicer exhaust and heat wrapped. In fact, I already have header wrap from my turbo car build, so all I need is tune the exhaust length, figure out where I want the exits, and get some mufflers...
    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

  9. #8
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Galena, AK, USA.
    Posts
    5,780
    Since you have fab skills and access to welding, I would change the upper and lower shock mounts to accommodate the more common eye to eye shocks. Then I would go shopping on e-bay. My new favorites are the oem Honda shocks for their shaft drive bikes. They seem to have stiffer springs and some have adjustable damping. They come in a variety of lengths, but the ones from the V45 magna, V65 and CB700SC range from 12.5 in to 14 in. Just a thought.

    Ken
    WERA 119
    CCS 119
    CRA 119
    AHRMA not anymore
    \"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.\"
    Evan Esar
    Newbies, Geeto and Tex (Bye Tex)hate me!!

  10. #9
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Galena, AK, USA.
    Posts
    5,780
    Since you have fab skills and access to welding, I would change the upper and lower shock mounts to accommodate the more common eye to eye shocks. Then I would go shopping on e-bay. My new favorites are the oem Honda shocks for their shaft drive bikes. They seem to have stiffer springs and some have adjustable damping. They come in a variety of lengths, but the ones from the V45 magna, V65 and CB700SC range from 12.5 in to 14 in. Just a thought.

    Ken
    WERA 119
    CCS 119
    CRA 119
    AHRMA not anymore
    \"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.\"
    Evan Esar
    Newbies, Geeto and Tex (Bye Tex)hate me!!

  11. #10
    Senior Member gearheadE30's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
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    Okay, I'll keep that in mind. The rear shocks are actually in good shape, so for now they stay. The front forks are a little more pressing, as they are a bit leaky...in my eyes, they have so little damping it is a safety hazard. I have new seals for these (came with the bikes) and the shafts aren't pitted at all, so either I will rebuild these with 15w fork oil or something heavier and cut the springs and add spacers (hack, I know, but I can't find stiffer springs for these forks, and they are ridiculously soft. Yes, I will check for coil bind and make sure droop and compression are still correct. I'm not going to lower the bike this way either. I like suspension travel.) to get more stiffness, or upgrade... forks are 33mm. For my off-track use and probable future upgrade, I don't want to spend a ton to run emulators and such, at least not at this point.
    '79 GS750E for sale HERE
    '86 XT350
    '91 BMW 318is Turbo
    1989 Caprice Classic wagon 5.7 TBI, 5 speed manual
    2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure

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