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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, Im new to this forum, looking for a project bike for the spring/summer. I came across this '76 Honda CB500T. It has 14k miles, and looks pretty good for its age.

Here is the description of the bike:

"The inside of the tank is rust free and beautiful. It runs good once it is warm but will need some tlc after sitting since August. I think the starter is getting to the end of its life as well, it will still start it but doesn't sound great. It does have a kick start though. It had a new battery in July, along with spark plugs, carb cleaning, valve adjustment and probably a few other things I am forgetting."

I've been emailing him back and forth and he says the points need to be adjusted. Im not sure what this means, and not sure how much work it is. Im not afraid to get my hands dirty, like I said, Im looking for a project. But this is going to be my first older bike, and I dont want to have to put TOO much work into it just to get it running right. Also, I dont have a garage, so I will be working on it outside basically (or bringing parts inside to work on if I can).

So if you guys could advise me I guess, if you think I should buy it or look for another that would be great.

Also, what do you think its worth?

Thanks,
Sal
 

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Hey Sal, If your in Brooklyn,why don't you wonder over to the NYC Motorcycle Show. Look around and find the vintage guys.I think that the show started today. Look around here for some more information if you haven't already heard about it. A lot of them are on this list. Make some contacts and get some good information. Pretty decent bunch they will give you a lot of crap but they can be quite helpful.
 

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whats up essex high school class of 04. Been a while dude, seriously, wanna meet up at the moto show this weekend?
 

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yo if you know SRR, your already there bro! head over to javits and meet the crew at NYCvinMOTO and VJMC.

walk up to geeto and ask him where you can find clubmans and how to install knee dents....don't worry your complimentary caferacer.net knee dent hammer is in the mail (thanks unga).

buy a men of works engineering calendar and help support an injured rider (juliet...best bartender at bar machless), then go out and ask erik to rent you a space at works, he might even buy you a drink!

welcome to the club bro....you're in the second best place ever......brooklyn, sorry philly is still the best!

cheers and thanks for filling out your bio.

tex
 

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The starter problem might be that the starter case screws are loose wich lets the startes twist and bind, mine does this alot. Point aren't realy hard to do. These old bikes can be tempermental ( understatement) but are not so bad if riden regulary and kept in tune. If you want a project this would certianly qualify.
 

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Don't buy it. Sorry to be a dillweed but if you are asking this question:
"he says the points need to be adjusted. Im not sure what this means, and not sure how much work it is."
The LAST thing you need is a 35 year old motorcycle. It will be an exercise in frustration with NO end.
Step AWAY from the honda.
 

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First off, never take any seller's word for what's wrong. Take someone with you who knows bikes and can give a good inspection. SRR, myself, AD, Rosko, etc all live in Brooklyn. Plus there is the NYC vinmoto list where several members know 500t's.

Second, Don't worry about buying a project. Old bikes need enough attention as it stands so if you buy a nice bike you will still get your hands dirty plenty.

Third, where in brooklyn are you located? parking a non running bike on the street is going to be hard in some areas.

Fourth, Tex is a smartass.
 

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geeto,

best part of walking around the show is when we came upon the cafe CB750 and you sighed, "oh great, it's got kneedents." "clubmans too."

that was definitely a highlight!

cheers,

tex
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yo scott whats up man? i kinda figured i would run into you in this process of looking for a bike...

so after thinking about it, you guys might be right about this bike being too much work for a newbie like myself. i am starting to consider a 1982 CB650, but im not too sure yet. its in excellent shape, runs like a top and looks brand new. the guy wants $1800 though, theres no way im payin even close to that. how much should i offer? and i dont see many of these bikes as cafe projects, is there a reason for that? any advice would be great, thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
quote:Originally posted by Pinche Chingadera

If you really looking at CX's. Don't get a early model. Despite for having comstars, I'd still take one.
whats wrong with the early ones?
 

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for $1200 I can think of 100s of bikes I would rather have than a cx500. The CX500 has a reputation for two things: being generally a solid motorcycle that embodies the maliase of of the 1970s, and being a bike that if something goes wrong with the engine, usually it is a tremendous amount of work to fix. Plus it is a heavy 500cc pig.

What is your budget? if you can afford up to $1500 there are a lot of nice japanese 70's superbikes to be had. Also, how big a guy are you? no point in recommending a gs750 or a kz900 if you are 5'2 and 100lbs soaking wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In 6ft, 180lbs. I can handle a big bike, this isnt going to be my first motorcycle. I really would rather not spend $1500, because I plan on putting a decent amount of work/money into it after I buy.
 

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Motorcycling is not something that is easily done on a budget. compared to hot rods or boats it is dirt cheap in cost, compared to bicycles it is hella expensive.

What you need to understand about old motorcycles is that the previous owner's labor usually doesn't show up in the price, and parts devalue the moment you put them on the bike. So buying a project may sound like a cheap idea, but in reality it will cost you more money than if you bought the comparable bike with those service items already installed by the previous owner. So the old caferacer.net adage of "buy the best bike you can afford" really rings true because of this.

From your inquiry on points, it is obvious that you have little to no experience on working on anything old. Also from the bikes you are picking you really have not done any research either. Let's see if we can focus you a little bit so you are not just throwing darts at the wall and hoping for the best.

Honda SOHC cb750 (1969-1978): by far the easiest japanese bike to cafe right now, and it shows in the price. Made in the hundreds of thousands so they are plentiful, and later models (1975-1978) are pretty cheap and common. Lost of aftermarket support for stock and modified parts, but it is not cheap. I could see a novice spending about $5K when they are done with the bike for the right parts and a tidy build.

Suzuki 8V GS750 (1977-1979): By far the loss leader in this category. Faster and generally a better motorcycle than a cb750, but because of their late introduction into the superbike game (1977-1979) they have not reached their potential yet. Excellent stock parts support but little to no custom support. If you go this route it is easy to build a 70's era AMA superbike replica but harder to do something to make it look older.

Honda cb350 (1969-1975): the second most popular japanese bike to cafe. Lots of parts both stock and custom and it is a common race bike in vintage classes. However, douchebag hipsters in brooklyn have driven the prices up on these bikes so that good ones are $2K now. Still you can find workable ones cheaper. For someone over 6' in height these bikes are a little cramped.

Honda CB450 (1967-1974): excellent all-arounder with good parts support. earlier ones tend to be more expensive (espically the pre 1970 ones). not a lot of custom parts out but enough to make it work. another popular race bike for years so there are people out there with used parts.

There are others but let some other people chime in here, and I am tired of typing right now anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Geeto67, thanks for the post, big help. I guess I will keep my eyes open for a CB750. That was what I was looking for originally, but I haven't seen any local ones lately (atleast for a decent price). That CB650 I posted about earlier is actually a 1980, not an 82. He also dropped the price down to $1200 (would probably take 1000 or 1100). Its actually my boss's dad's bike, so I know its in great shape. Is the CB650 close enough to the CB750 to make it a good project bike?
 

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In NY, bike sales don't really pick up till March or April, and then it is usually top dollar. I sold my 73 750 in April 2009 for $1600 and while it was a good rider, it was far from pretty. I thn turned around and bought a GS750 in excellent shape for $900. so it runs the gammut. Don't be in a rush to buy right now because I troll CL also and let me tell you there are some real sinkers on there now.

I don't know what cb650 you are referring to? if it is a cb650 4 cylinder then they are ok bikes, nothing cafe bolt on for them at all but you can strip the motor out of them and put them in the cb500/550 chassis which does have some cafe support. It is however a lot of work and nothing that you can do outside. Lots of stock parts availability however, and if you are just looking for something to tinker with, not build a custom bike with it isn't bad. Unfortunately they come from the era of crappy honda electronics so you have to keep an eye on things that start to go wrong electrically.

some more good bikes to consider:

1971-72 Triumph oil in frame. These put the project in project bike as even when they are good they need some attention. However they do have the cache of being a triumph. Hard to find but not all that desireable by people who know something about triumphs. Unfortunately there are plenty of hipster douchebags with fist fulls of dollars, dreams, and not a lick of sense that can drive the price up on a crappy oil in frame before you can say williamsburg.

yamaha xs650. guys building alternative choppers have driven the price of these bikes up, which is a shame because they are as close to a British twin as the japanese ever got. Still there are deals around. I have had my eye on one in Fort Green for a while but the owner wants $1500, and based on the condition the bike is worth it. Lots of replica street tracker parts as people also used these engines as flat track race bikes. early xs1 and xs2 bikes are expensive, but they made the xs until the late 70s and a 77 or 78 model should not be too expensive.
 

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My parents live in VT, so I have been checkin the CL for that area too and it seems I can definately get more bike for my money if I go that route. Keep in mind, Im not lookin for a total restoration/cafe project. Just lookin to throw some clip ons and a seat on to ride it around during the summer. Maybe put on some aftermarket turn signals/mirrors, possibly relocate the battery, stuff like that.

Goin for this look, more or less:

 
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