1981 Honda CB900C Project Build
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1981 Honda CB900C Project Build

This is a discussion on 1981 Honda CB900C Project Build within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hi all, as my profile states I have almost no experience with motorcycles. I just found a 1981 Honda CB900C, which has been sitting since ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member thegambit13's Avatar
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    1981 Honda CB900C Project Build

    Hi all,

    as my profile states I have almost no experience with motorcycles. I just found a 1981 Honda CB900C, which has been sitting since 1996. $250 bucks (what a steal) and I am going to get this thing running and then I am going to make it a café racer. Here is my initial thought process on the logical steps to take:

    1. take it apart. I am almost done with this; I only have the swing arm to remove and then get the engine on the jack.

    2. clean up the frame. Only question here is figuring out which tabs to remove and also buying a grinder.

    3. clean up engine. I will need help figuring out what needs replacing, or what can just be cleaned. need to decide if I want to polish or paint the engine

    4. repair the carbs. Based on the state of all the rubber parts these will need to be taken care of. I think I can figure this part out just fine.

    5. try to start it. This I will need help with, specifically figuring out what I actually need to check and see if it runs. i.e. with a rotted out gas tank, can I just plug the fuel line into a plastic bottle, attach battery somewhere and fire her up?

    6. if it starts, re-assemble and replace all the hoses.

    7. figure out how I want the bike to look.

    Step seven is where we start getting into the fuzzy area. I want to stay true to the café racer mentality of as little on the bike and re-using parts, but I want the battery box hidden on the swing arm, I want a straight-ish seat so I can have two people and I need to replace the tank so the lines don't look so funny and because it has rust holes in it. I would like to re-position the pegs and shifters too but I digress. I am not concerned with taking a running bike to a shop somewhere for the fabrication parts of everything since I am only into the bike for $500 bucks, including my new jack.

    OK that is what I got to say. I have been absorbing any other threads I can find like a sponge. I am also going to complete this thread so future searchers can have a good step-by-step to follow.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    I am Derby\'s Bitch


    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

  3. #3
    Senior Member JM360's Avatar
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    I bought a new 82 CB900C gave it to my father as a gift, at the time i had a KZ1300 kawasaki i rode had bought new in 79. I did a lot of long road trips with friends in those days and strait line power smooth engine was all i cared about. Without going into long detail i rode the 900 from the dallas area to portland oregon down HWY 1 to LA county then back to dallas, it works for that kind of riding.

    Way to long a wheelbase, heavy motorcycle, very,very,very did i say very poor candidate for a cafe racer or any form of decent handling bike. If that's your goal highly suggest you sell it use something else. Try to get just the engine running for cheap then sell it as is for more then you have in it.
    Last edited by JM360; 11-24-2014 at 12:20 PM.
    Weak as wet toilet paper.

    1967-CL77, 1975-CL360, 2011-DR650SE

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    this is what you should have done in this order:

    1. try to start it. This I will need help with, specifically figuring out what I actually need to check and see if it runs. i.e. with a rotted out gas tank, can I just plug the fuel line into a plastic bottle, attach battery somewhere and fire her up?

    2. repair the carbs. Based on the state of all the rubber parts these will need to be taken care of. I think I can figure this part out just fine.

    3. if it starts, re-assemble and replace all the hoses.

    4. clean up engine. I will need help figuring out what needs replacing, or what can just be cleaned. need to decide if I want to polish or paint the engine

    5. clean up the frame. as in chemically clean it up. degrease it.

    6. figure out how I want the bike to look.

    7. take it apart.

    In between steps 3 and 4 should be ride it for 1000 miles to make sure everything works as it should. in between steps 6 and 7 should be "perform fab work with the bike assembled".

    I am also going to complete this thread so future searchers can have a good step-by-step to follow.
    what you will post would only be of value to future searchers as an example of literally every what not to do scenario starting with your choice of a cb900c as a project bike in the first place but also this list of steps. You literally got everything wrong. Maybe expirenced motorcycle mechanics with intimate knowledge of the cb900c could start where you are starting from and be successful, but you are not a motorcycle mechanic nor do you sound like you know the cb900c. The way you are going now you are only setting yourself up for failure.

    At this point, based on all you have told us (and provided you are not a troll), I give you 6 months before this bike becomes "project for sale" craigslist ad.

    Now before you get all but hurt and go run away calling us haters.....why not ask questions to try and get you on the right track?
    Last edited by Geeto67; 11-24-2014 at 10:53 AM.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  6. #5
    Junior Member thegambit13's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the responses so far!

    The bike was sitting in a barn. Looks like chipmunks kept their winter store in the air filter! The pics are what it looked like unloaded, currently disassembled and an example 900F I would like to use as an example. That bike did not have too much changed according to the owner who wanted to keep costs as low as possible.

    Geeto67 thank you for your response. As you pointed out I do not know what I am doing, but there are only three ways to learn: be taught, read instructions or try to figure it out. If I can get this to start I will be pleased with my performance. I have not attempted to start it as many posts say it could damage the bike after being stored so long. it will shift gears just fine, back wheel moved about 25% of rotation and I could hear a loud CLICK-CLOCL inside of engine when I rotated it back and forth. For less than $500 I am having a stinking blast so far.

    I would never call anyone here a hater. I understand as very informed individuals it may be offensive to your professional knowledge to read a novice's attempt at this project, but I am committed to learning as much as possible from the community and if the style of the bike has to be adjusted to fit then that is what I will do.

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  7. #6
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    This has to be a bad joke.....
    I am Derby\'s Bitch


    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

  8. #7
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    Ill give them an A for effort.....
    But really cant think anyone is as stupid as the OP claims to be
    I am Derby\'s Bitch


    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

  9. #8
    Senior Member JM360's Avatar
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    Problem is you don't have a 900F. If you did you could say you had at least something to work with. A 900F engine has a 5 speed gear box with a chain drive, different frame, 18 inch rims front and back.

    A 900 Custom has a dual range 5 speed gear box sometimes referred to as a 10 speed (if your completely out of your mind you could shift it ten times) and a drive shaft, 16 inch rear chopper size rear wheel 19 inch front wheel. The frame is stretched out more in length then the F sport bike frame. The only thing on the entire motorcycle the same as a 900F is the cylinder block, head, carbs... front forks, brakes might be the same.
    Last edited by JM360; 11-24-2014 at 08:51 PM.
    Weak as wet toilet paper.

    1967-CL77, 1975-CL360, 2011-DR650SE

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