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CB550 cafe build.

This is a discussion on CB550 cafe build. within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; hey. brand new to this forum.... looks like a cool place. anyways, down to business. i recently acquired a very cheap CB550 that is pretty ...

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  1. #1
    shoggoth80's Avatar
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    CB550 cafe build.

    hey. brand new to this forum.... looks like a cool place. anyways, down to business. i recently acquired a very cheap CB550 that is pretty complete as far as parts go. i want to build a cafe racer out of the thing. the bike itself seems fairly light in weight, and everything i have read claims it's a quite nimble machine for its time. i dont have it running yet, this thing is two days old to me. it does have solid compression, and it also has a full case of oil, and kicks over well. i take that as a promising sign. it's sat for a number of years, and the front brakes are frozen, but i got the thing for free, so i expect to have to do some work to it. i was wondering if anyone out there has any experience turning these things into slick cafe machines? any good refereneces, advice, or parts sources for things like an awesome tank, or maybe a nifty seat/rear fender setup? i'm contemplating using the stock tank, as i also need this to remain fairly low budget. was gonna do a matte black paintjob to it, and maybe add some flat red accents when all is said an done. well... thanks in advacne for any info you can share.
    andy

  2. #2
    Senior Member aaron's Avatar
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    You can get a master cylinder and a caliper rebuild kit from most honda dealers. The first thing I would do is change the oil and then take out all the spark plugs. Leave the spark plugs in the wire but make sure they are grounded. Get a battery (good battery) and kick it over and make sure they all spark. Then get a manual, even a shitty clymer will do, and do the timing and the valves over. After rebuilding the carbs and putting them back on, you'll realize you probably didn't even need to do all the things I just said and you can run it for another 30 years with very little maintenace. I've owned 6 Honda 550/fours and have driven them on long trips, beat the bag out of them, jumped mine in logging trails, and stolen JD's and Donalds and have never had a more reliable retro bike. I found that Hondas seem to reliable so I switch to BSA. Now I'm finding a happy medium with Honda twins. Good luck and I think theres a few Honda 550 guys still on this board. Rob inparticular knows more then most and Jeremy (JD) knows quite a bit as well, and there is a guy name Joe who knows everything about everything and he is jealous of me cause no matter what happens I will always be btter looking then him.

    Aaron


  3. #3
    Moderator joe c's Avatar
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    you are kinda cute. good luck with the 550. cool bike.

    jc






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  5. #4
    shoggoth80's Avatar
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    working on recharging the original battery right now... it was either really low on electrolyte, or it was dry...so i filled it up with water and plugged it in...hopefully it'll work... the less i spend to get it up and running (initially anyway) the better. i got it from a friend, it was sitting on his property for a while... so i have to get an abandoned vehicle title for it. once that's done, i can go get a key made for it, and then i can start dumping some cash into it (although i still want to maintain a budget)... but from what i have gathered, the bikes aren't too expensive to overhaul (cosmetically, or otherwise). i also justran the trans through the gears, and it clicks nicely into all positions(hopefully the same will be true in application). so things are looking well at this point... i hacked about 10-20lbs worth of useless shit off of the bike already.... the stupid highway bar/case guards (if i want case guards, i'll probably make a set to sit closely to the side cases), as well as the old sissy bar, which was way rusty, it also had a beat up set of near useless hard bags...which will have no place on a cafe bike. i also plan to snub the front fender down a bit, and sand it/paint it, as the chrome is shot. then i can retain the brake line guide up front. i might also bob the rear fender a bit, and give it the same paint treatment, cause like the front, the chrome is shot. i live in washington state, and this bike was expsed for a while. i have looked over the frame a bit, and everything is still well... no cracks that i could find, and there's also no rust there. so i'll leave that part well alone. does anyone know a place to get some decent clubman bars and shorter cables?


  6. #5
    FR
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    Dude, water won't help that battery, unless you can walk on it (the water) in which case, just snap yer fingers and make it a new battery.
    I've found the best source for a new battery is Interstate Batteries. Look 'em up, they're usually dirt cheap compared to OEM or Yuasa.
    You might try Omar's for glass and bars, can't remember the website, but google Omars streettracker or something like that. A little spendy, but it's some tight shit..


  7. #6
    Moderator joe c's Avatar
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    dont bother with that battery, if you want to see if it'll crank, jump start it from your car. but throw that battery out.


    jc






  8. #7
    JD
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    flat black 550 cafe's are the coolest bikes ever. I should know, I have one. most any bike shop can order you a set of clubmans out of their catalogs. don't pay more than $20-30 for them though. you'll have to make short cables or use cables from other bikes. I've never took the time to see what bikes have cables that will work.

    and let me add...buy a new battery. also, charge it before you put it in the bike.


  9. #8
    shoggoth80's Avatar
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    yeah..the battery is bum. oh well, it was worth a shot. i think i can get one that will work in the CB through wal mart for like 20bucks. i saw a few, and there was one that appeared to have to have the correct terminal set up. when i get a key made for it, i'll give it a shot with my suzuki's battery. that ones a GS550. my commuter bike, so i'm not really wanting to dump a bunch of custom fabrication or cash into it. just a solid standard there. but i got the CB at an undbeatable deal, i actually haev something that i can build to "play" with. i want to make a rear set for it. i thought i could build some adapter plates to move the pegs more rearward... but the way i was thinking of doing it wont work because of the way the pegs bolt on. i was considering using the passenger pegs to rest my feet on when up to speed. but i would really like to do this up nice. i am actually considering shaving off the portion that the passenger pegs mount to, since i am most likely making a single seater, i could save a few pounds by doing so. yeah, if i go clubman or clip on, i'll need shorter hoses. i'll do some more web searching there, or maybe pop into the ONE local honda motorcycle shop in my area. oh, oops.... there are two in my county. but one is way more concenient. the other is a more performance-esque shop, but i think that they specialize in off roaders and ATVs.if you add clubmans you need what, about a 5 inch shorter cable set?? maybe 6inches less?? i would guess somewhere around there. i have thought about using a different model front end that'll bolt on.... there was a yamaha one that would mate up fine, and still retain the same geometry, with better brake system, and lighter to boot.. donet reacall the model but, i do have it saved in a notedpad document, when i am putting all my notes and tips that people are sharing. there is one used cycle place nearby, and there is a bent bike in auburn (i live in WA). which wouldnt be a bad drive if i can get a grip of usable parts at a decent price. anyone else know of some performance increasing bolt ons? why rebuild the brakes if i can swap them for a better part, and if bought used, possibly even cheaper. i remember the place that is nearby had some pretty cool prices. the downside is, its an outdoor yard...so everything is relatively exposed, and the climate here is rather damp. oh, sorry.... rambling. i tend to do that sometimes. well, thanks again. and thanks to any more info that can be sent this way.
    andy


  10. #9
    shoggoth80's Avatar
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    hey... anyome know a good trick to clean out the inside of a gas tank? I jimmied open hte flap, pulled off the cap, adn it has a good bit of corrosion in there... nothing that breached the tank though... i have heard of using rough gravel, bits of chain... i was thinking maybe fish tank gravel might be a good idea...with a lot of elbow grease involved. any suggestions? thanks



  11. #10
    Chikor's Avatar
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    quote:

    You might try Omar's for glass and bars, can't remember the website, but google Omars streettracker or something like that. A little spendy, but it's some tight shit..

    http://www.omarsdtr.com/dirt.html that might help......also the tank ever think of using Kreem Three part cleaner and restore if it is real bad use the third part if the rust is just surface then you may not need the third part......otherwise get another tank.....

    "Ride Fast and Take Chances"

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