cb550 chopperish thing turned into capable street bike again?
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cb550 chopperish thing turned into capable street bike again?

This is a discussion on cb550 chopperish thing turned into capable street bike again? within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; So this all starts with a full 70's chopperish thing my buddy put together in 2012. Surprisingly comfortable to ride, but ugly as hell. Anyways, ...

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Thread: cb550 chopperish thing turned into capable street bike again?

  1. #1
    Senior Member CAPTAIN AWESOME's Avatar
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    cb550 chopperish thing turned into capable street bike again?

    So this all starts with a full 70's chopperish thing my buddy put together in 2012. Surprisingly comfortable to ride, but ugly as hell.







    Anyways, the bike was sold on to a coworker of his and cherished for a couple years. Family stuff happened and it ended up under a tarp for a year with a dead battery, broken clutch perch and lever, as well as the brake lever. Christmas cash was needed so it became mine with a clear title for next to nothing. Also got a handful of stock parts and a Triumph Trident rear subframe tossed in with the deal.

    Current sad state of affairs:











    The gas smells putrid and both petcocks were left in the on position. The frame has been modified to fit the tank, but I can put material back to remedy this. I would just buy another frame to save myself the trouble, but I've already got this one and it's got a good clean title.

    I'll get it running and riding first with the chopper setup before making any changes, then start putting things back to normal in stages. The basic plan is to sell off the prism tank and handlebars to help pay for a stock tank and seat. Once I get it close to stock I'll start with suspension, exhaust, etc. This isn't my first rodeo, it's not outside my skill set, and it's not going to cost me much overall or at least the first stage. I decided to post this up just to contribute to the board even if you guys thing I'm an idiot for even bothering.

    Oh, and if anyone out there happens to have some parts I need at a fair price let me know:

    stock Honda brake lever

    cb500/550 rear subframe ( I know someone on here had to cut theirs off for one of them sweet brat boober cafe scrambler bikes with the wicked sick seat hoop )

    clutch perch/lever

    cb500/550 gas tank and seat

    front fender ( I've got a shortened on, but I'd rather have a functional one )

  2. #2
    Senior Member 8ball's Avatar
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    2012? That looks like 1983 styling. Too new for the 70's but too old for the new century! Looking forward to how this progresses
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    Senior Member grandpaul's Avatar
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    It's not "chopped" (raked); that's a PLUS.

    LOOKS like the swingarm is extended, but I could be wrong.

    I have a proper gas tank for it, I believe, maybe even a seat and rear fender with tail light. Headlights are easy to find. I might have meters as well.
    GrandPaul
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    Senior Member 44dwarf's Avatar
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    I'd Bend up a short loop to connect the rear sub frame add a short bump to the seat, swap the bar out to some 3-4 inch "super bike" bars and hang a real round head light. that's is other then BLINKERS cause people drive like ass holes and that includes bikes with no blinkers and riders that point to the ground for turns....
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  6. #5
    Senior Member CAPTAIN AWESOME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandpaul View Post
    It's not "chopped" (raked); that's a PLUS.

    LOOKS like the swingarm is extended, but I could be wrong.

    I have a proper gas tank for it, I believe, maybe even a seat and rear fender with tail light. Headlights are easy to find. I might have meters as well.
    Yeah, luckily the only chopping was in the backbone where it meets the seat post and the brace between the downtube and backbone. I'll reconnect the downtube with some thinwall 1" tubing, and similar bracing added back into the seat transition.

    The swingarm isn't longer, just someone welded on new mounts about an inch or two back. I'll cut those off and go back to stock for now. I've read about a couple options to eventually explore for more rigidity, but for now stock should do.

    PM me if you find the parts. I've got gauges though.
    Last edited by CAPTAIN AWESOME; 12-15-2015 at 06:37 AM.

  7. #6
    Senior Member CAPTAIN AWESOME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44dwarf View Post
    I'd Bend up a short loop to connect the rear sub frame add a short bump to the seat, swap the bar out to some 3-4 inch "super bike" bars and hang a real round head light. that's is other then BLINKERS cause people drive like ass holes and that includes bikes with no blinkers and riders that point to the ground for turns....
    I definitely want to add back in the stock brace and fender mount stubs. I've got a pair of superbike bars and also just found a master cylinder that should work. A new battery has been ordered as well as some spare oil filters.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    I like it!!!

    I hate the seat but that's about it. If it were mine I would add one of those triangle style sprung solo saddles that HD sells for the Seventy-two, a tweak bar, a daytona fork brace, and a fiberglass blade fender, and a set of new handlebars (buckhorn or mini-apes but with actual bent curves). I would also clean up that plate mount and light, but that's about it. I betcha it would look great with one of those old corbin gentry low profile "cobra" style seats also.

    It doesn't look to far from being a "capable" bike to begin with.
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    Senior Member CAPTAIN AWESOME's Avatar
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    I think from the rear of the tank back is the ugly. A cobra style seat would help, but I've never really been a fan of swingarm choppers. Maybe with a crazy Frank fender it would work, but those are fetching silly money now and I'm just not into it. The only spring seat IMO that belongs with a swingarm frame would be an early Ironhead. I'm sure there are others, but that's one of the few that really pulls it off.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    That's ok, the springs on the Seventy-two are not really "functional", or at least are so stiff as to not be of much use.

    this is the setup I am talking about:
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    those trailer fenders like you have on the back there can ruin a wet dream, but they were what was used back then. My old cb550 chop that Jaguar has now has the same one and that bike was built back in 1974. Those old crazy frank rear fenders are freaking awesome but overpriced now in the used market:
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    their awesomeness is why.

    I think swingarm choppers have their place, and a nicely setup one is hard to find. I think the one you have is pretty good so just a few tweaks and it would be perfect.

    I happen to love cut down and repositioned original Harley upswept fenders like the original bratstyle in japan does:
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    I also love this glide front fender being used as a rear:


    actually have a look around bratstyle's site because they do swingarm chops really well. http://www.bratstyle.com/

    I think the killer is the gap between the tire and the sides of the fender. Something with more fender side, even a stock sportster fender, would really clean up the look.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member CAPTAIN AWESOME's Avatar
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    Seen em all. I think the biggest issue is the tank to seat transition. It could use more "softening". I guess it couldn't hurt to try some subtle mods before going down the performance road.

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