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I am pretty sure that none of the bikes I have built or modified over the years would gain approval over here. In light of teh start from teh right place approach, few of them would get any love, but that's what was available to me at the time on a very limited (ie non existent) budget. No internet and no cash so I had to look at other bikes and read magazines and books and over time I came to learn.

Back when cafe racers were popular, most of us dreamed of riding a Triton or Goldie or Manx, but what we owned were POS James, Matchless or Frantic Bastards (Francis Barnett) or BSA C15's or M20s or whatever because they were cheap and we were broke "spotty face yoofs" Why do we expect newbies now to have knowledge, wisdom and the right bike to start with. A CM400 my not be your idea of a dream bike, but it's his bike and his dream.

Some of us already pointed out smart ways to spend his time and cash and if he's still around, maybe he can absorb some of that and start on this journey.
 

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I was 10 years old when I started and same as you, had no money to spare and nothing other than a service manual to guide me. The purchase of the 7$ service manual near cleaned me out and I had to save up for things like knobby tires and a replacement chain. Even back then as a pre-teen I could have looked at these photos and told you somebody is going about it all wrong. I see an air filter box that looks like it hasn't been touched with the intention of making it clean and functional, but I do see things like a kickstart lever removed, the wiring to the signals cut and a bunch of overspray flat black paint being applied over dirt, the triple trees lowered on the fork stanchions and the handle bars mounted upside down.

Does anyone see any redeeming anything being done to this bike to suggest it is on it's way to being a better motorcycle, or do you see just another cheap old custom bike being stripped ready for more paint then it's worth?

 

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… woodsman, do you post on this site under another name or are you a totally new member to this site?
No, I just signed up, I have been following the site quite a while, just found the tone of the replies to this poster (who I think was a young guy) were harsh. I responded to your post because the others sound like they're competing to be the biggest jerk.
I hadn't owned a bike since the early 80's, last was a Ducati 500 Pantah, but bought a few this past winter, when the poverty sales were on, to keep myself busy. I would have liked to have feedback on what I'm doing, but I have no desire to suffer verbal abuse over a toy and that seems to be the way things are done here.

I would bet the vast majority of members are not hardcore, but don't post because the wrong statement, idea or model results in ridicule and who TF needs that.
 

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I would bet the vast majority of members are not hardcore, but don't post because the wrong statement, idea or model results in ridicule and who TF needs that.
I get where you're comin from. Sometimes when the bash ball gets rollin it can get a bit extreme. The knowledge is there but at times the delivery leaves allot to be desired. I'm pretty thick skinned so it's no big deal to me which is good cuz I'm thick headed as well. That said, if you can get past the occasional abuse you get some great advice and allot of the members really do like to help and compete to be the most helpful as much as they do on the shit delivery. :)
 

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I get where you're comin from. :)
Thanks Stephen. It has nothing to do with thick skin, I just don't deal with abusive people, there is no need to. There are hoards of people that know what they know. The truth is, without the questions being asked their knowledge is useless.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Ok so I appreciate everyone's advice. And some of you are absolutely right, I should've started with some better questions. However the bike does run. And fairly well. With 6k miles on it I thought it to be a steal considering I come from dirt bikes such as 125 Yamaha's I truly am new to the "street bike" world. All I came in with is what I personally found appealing and what I thought could actually be done. In the military you see all sorts of junior Marines rocking the sport bikes and crotch rockets and that's never really appealed to me. I've always been an old vintage fan. (Even down to my 72 buck Rivera)

So again, I'm not trying to "impress" nor build the worlds fastest bike. I'm more or less just curious IF anyone had knowledge how I could get this bike somewhat close to what I would enjoy.

Again I appreciate all the positive advice, I truly do.
 

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from where i sit, what you've done is the motorcycling equivalent of licking the frozen flagpole and ending up with your tongue stuck to it after being told specifically not to. so i see no reason why you can't be ridiculed at least a little. opening with "i have no idea, but i'm ignoring all good advice as well" doesn't help your case. the most obvious issue with the c model hondas and other shit of the same vein when pursuing the current interpretation of "cafe racer" is, as you have now found, the frame dip. the fixes are:

1/ modify your seat or buy the vietnam seat. if it's as good as it looks in the pics, it'd be pretty cool. and simple and done by someone who hopefully knows how to do it so it'll be way better than a homebuilt fuckup. unless you're good at that shit.

2/ cut off all rear framework from the back of the tank and swingarm mounts and remake it in the style required.

3/ buy a bike more suited to your end vision.
 

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I don't think I like Woodsman or Larsbud very much. I guess I am just an old guy that has lost my patience with people that want us to change who we are so we can spoon feed the ignorant that won't or can't take advice if it means they need to learn a new skill set. I have no obligation to make life easy for those looking to have a bolt on solution for their ignorance. Here is a plain and simple fact: The CM/CB 400/450 series of bikes suck. Can something productive be done with them to eliminate their suckiness? Sure, I could do it, but if you need to ask how then it clearly exceeds your skill and knowledge set and I have no inclination or obligation to try and help you when you won't listen anyway.

So, stay off my lawn and when you have more than 3 or 4 posts (all of which are telling us to be nice), then I may consider what you have to say.

But, here is the answer to the OP's dilemma. Rebuild the front forks, but on good shocks, put on a set of superbike bars, put on a stainless brake line and good pads and learn to live with it. That is as good as it will ever get.
 

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Here is what woodsman and Lars are missing out on. The years of newbies we used to get here that we used to be nice to and we're just absolute asshats about advice that they didn't specifically ask for. There was a period where we had a new one every couple of days. Not every forum is for everybody, and A lot of members here believe that this genre of motorcycles is not for beginners. So think of the hazing ritual as a bit of a test, if you read the comments and realize the value of the advice given about your bike then you'll probably fit right in here. If you get all whiny about how this collection of strangers isn't catering to your very selfish request then this probably isn't the place for you. We have had some real winners over the years too, guys that have sectioned swing arms with open c-channel to clear an exhaust, guys that have lowered suspensions so there was an inch of travel or less at both ends, just being absolute douche nozzles about how we are too buys pointing out their unsafe mods to answer their questions about pod filters.

Now there are are some ways to make sure you get a warmer welcome than others. One is to actually give a through introduction that looks like you want to be a contributing member of the forum and are not just here to waste people's time getting free advice you can get other places. Another is to demonstrate an open mind and a good sense of humor.

A long time time a go this forum was started so a bunch of vintage track racers could talk shop and bust each other's balls. This was before cafe racers became the "trendy thing". A lot of that vibe still remains today and a good number of the regulars know each other in real life.

Remember the pre-Internet days of how you used to have to learn this stuff? You either had to read a book, pay a shop, or befriend others with the knowledge and hope they would be nice enough to help you out. Your mistakes were rewarded with trips to the emergency room (if unlucky) and lost money if you couldn't figure out how to put it together and make it work. And you had to be ready to deal with "characters" because most of the people in motorcycling are not exactly mainstream normal. The Internet has certainly taken a lot of the guess work out of this stuff but it has taken two things: the human factor of it and the respect for the knowledge.

So new guy, here is my advice to you: be open to knowledge being shared, not just the stuff you ask about. Understand that whatever preconceived notion you walked in the door with is probably wrong and be willing to revise that. Ask the questions that show you are willing to learn core concepts, not just have people tell you how to do something (teaching a man to fish vs giving him a fish). Understand that this is supposed to be fun and don't take it too seriously, newbie guys who are so serious about this stuff are just the absolute worst - no sense of humor.
 

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Now to everyone saying he should cut up or mod the frame of this hawk just stop, you are giving unsafe advice. The Honda "diamond" frame was one of Honda's first experements in stressed member frames. Everything on that frame is structural, even the shit that bolts to it like fenders and grab rails. It's really easy to start out with good intentions like "I'll just add a seat hoop" and turn the frame into a pile of cooked black spaghetti. If you look at later performance incarnations of it like the cx500 turbo frame the rear subframe and shock layout is different. To make matters worse the diamond frames were used on the cheap small bikes so their components are cheap and underwhelming. 33mm forks on a 400+ lbs motorcycle? Whose lousy idea was that?

When all bolted up stock, the bike is a decent basic commuter road bike. Nobody (except a couple weird Californians) raced them so there is no knowledge base, there is next to no aftermarket for them, and usually for $1500 you can find any number of bikes that have both those things and thriving communities.
 

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Now to everyone saying he should cut up or mod the frame of this hawk just stop, you are giving unsafe advice. The Honda "diamond" frame was one of Honda's first experements in stressed member frames. Everything on that frame is structural, even the shit that bolts to it like fenders and grab rails. It's really easy to start out with good intentions like "I'll just add a seat hoop" and turn the frame into a pile of cooked black spaghetti. If you look at later performance incarnations of it like the cx500 turbo frame the rear subframe and shock layout is different. To make matters worse the diamond frames were used on the cheap small bikes so their components are cheap and underwhelming. 33mm forks on a 400+ lbs motorcycle? Whose lousy idea was that?

When all bolted up stock, the bike is a decent basic commuter road bike. Nobody (except a couple weird Californians) raced them so there is no knowledge base, there is next to no aftermarket for them, and usually for $1500 you can find any number of bikes that have both those things and thriving communities.
That's the way to tell someone that the bike is not suitable for modding and it would be easier to use a different model.
I don't now who everyone is here so I try to treat everyone with the same respect I'd expect to be given. Maybe not the way everyone thinks, but it's always served me well. Because you have no idea who the other person really is.
 

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That's the way to tell someone that the bike is not suitable for modding and it would be easier to use a different model.
I don't now who everyone is here so I try to treat everyone with the same respect I'd expect to be given. Maybe not the way everyone thinks, but it's always served me well. Because you have no idea who the other person really is.
again why real introductions are so important. otherwise every guy that shows up with a cb hawk is going to be treated based on past experience, which is not great.
 

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Don't forgrt that I know Geeto in real life and he is a dick :)
 

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We need to do a CR.net BBQ or something!
We could get an area together this year for mid ohio. But I'm down for doing something sooner.... Cincinnati anyone?
 

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My phone died last mid ohio and I wound up hanging out in the louisville camp watching drunk people do burnouts on minibikes
 
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