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Discussion Starter #1
So I am picking up my first project this weekend.

It is a 1981 (I know, a little too new) Honda CM400T

I will post picture as soon as I get it home.

Things I am open to advice one...

Obviously I am going to start by tearing it apart, and diving into the motor.

My initial thought was to powder coat the frame. So any advice on that would be appreciated. To powder coat or to paint?

I will need to get clip ons from the guy on here who sells them.

As far as the seat goes... I know this is a big no no in the cafe world... but I really want to make it a 2 seater. The wife REALLY wants to be able to ride with.

I really like the tank for some reason... So I am hoping to be able to use it.

The spoke wheels look alright, so we will have to see whether I decide to replace them or not. Definitely needs tires though.

Shocks? Not sure what to do for those.

Anyways. Pics soon.

Thanks!
 

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omg, you're building something out of the accepted paradigm - HANG HIM!

it's your bike, build it the way YOU want it. if you do something structurally or mechanically stupid or unsafe, you'll certainly hear about it here, tho.

get it running before you tear into it. get the brakes working before you tear it apart entirely. make it ride, FIRST (I didn't do the "ride" part first, and I should have). consider this my contribution toward your project - if you don't do that first it sucks a shitload to have a nice bike that won't run.
 

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cm400T - couldn't you pick a good bike? riding two up on a cm400t is going to make an already small bike feel smaller.


too new? hahahahaaaaaa......yeah pretty much if the bike is 25 years old it qualifies. The early 1980s were the end of the cafe bike and the dawn of the factory race rep (see it is not all carpy, 59 club, and ton up bullshit). Toward the end you had factory cafe bikes like the cb1100F (1983), the z1r (1978-81), the GS1100 and Katana (1978 and 1980). You newbies gotta look outside the garbage the hipsters are focusing on and see there is a brave new world of possibilities.

if you are dead set on a two up bike - rather than build a race replica why not build a GT bike. Forget clipons - even if you like them to run the proper rear foot pegs for them you are going to cut into your wife's foot real estate, and even if you don't she is going to hate leaning forward on to you (and you are going to hate the extra weight on your back). The difference between a GT and a race replica is the difference between a ferrari and an aston martin - sure the ferrari has the edge in performance but the aston just has class with about 80% of the ferrari's performance (I am sure the cycle gods are going to punish me for comparing a cm400T to an aston). A Gt bike will have the stock pegs, a superbike or similar low bar (not clubman or clipon) and a drastic weight reduction and improvements in handling. There is not much you can do to make that lump faster so make it lighter and handle better.

Start with the best example you can to do modifications and powdercoating and painting are the last things you do. Basically you are going to build yout bike 3 times: First time to get it running, The second to make the changes you want to make, third to break it down for polishing. If you start with the cosmetics first you are just trying to push shit uphill, you'll get there eventually but you'll be a mess and it will stink.
 

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That's the gospel right there. Do the paint last. As for powder-coating, I have finally figured out it's over-rated. A good paint job (not rattle can) will hold up great. Look at the old BMW's, for instance. Plus, powder doesn't take a shine like paint (if that matters). Paint takes a good month to cure, though. Don't listen to the painter; let it sit for a month or it wall be too soft and dent easily. ahhh... I read that somewhere...
Unless you're a monkey, that bike is too small for clip-ons. Superbike bars are about perfect; minimal rise and pullback.

That's a great bike, and i want to do what you're doing someday. One advantage to getting the mechanicals together first is you two can ride around some and decide for sure that it's too small for 2 people. Then decide about rear-sets, seat configuration, etc.
 

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I've got a CM400T and curious as you said it had spoked wheels. The "T" model never came with spoked wheels and only Comstar mags. The "E" model can with spokes but only offered with a drum front brake instead of a disk that the "T" came with. I say slap on a pair of superbike bars and call it a day. It was my first bike and can't imagine taking it on the highway on how slow it was, not to mention having another rider on it.
 

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quote:Originally posted by Pinche Chingadera

I've got a CM400T and curious as you said it had spoked wheels. The "T" model never came with spoked wheels and only Comstar mags. The "E" model can with spokes but only offered with a drum front brake instead of a disk that the "T" came with. I say slap on a pair of superbike bars and call it a day. It was my first bike and can't imagine taking it on the highway on how slow it was, not to mention having another rider on it.
im positive honda didnt care about the cm models after the hawk. mine came with a mix up of parts from different years even though the previous, and first, owner never swapped anything.

clipons feel great if youre 5'7''. if youre a tall dude then uh uh. and a two seater on a cm will feel shitty...with or without clipons.

no powder. take your shit apart to minimalize wiring, and while its bare blast it with rustoleum. rewire, polish, paint tank/fenders etc.

you can get speed out of a cm...but it wont ever beat a track'd cb 350 haha.

number one thing to change on a cm... please change the carbs to mikunis, then check the valve clearances and seats. i own a cm, and have read up on them quite a bit... look into those!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay. That is great advice. My grandfather is a mechanic and grew up buying bikes like these new. So I will be relaying all this mechanical information to him.

And I actually am 5'7 lol. But yes you are right, I should get it together, take her for a ride, and hopefully the bike itself will convince her that it won't be any fun with two people... cause I can't. Haha.

I looked up bars on ebay and it looks like a set of Superbike bars are only like $20 + shipping. So that's pretty cool... and I did some research on the GT bike mentioned earlier, and I liked the style. So leaving the stock pegs and doing the GT thing might be the route I take. Especially since it's my first build and I don't want to go TOO crazy with this one.

P.S. I'm only paying $80 for the damn thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not titled. So I will have to apply for a lost title... Or whatever. But I figure, even if all I use is the engine, or the tank it's worth $80.

The kid has a running CM400T that he is selling for $900, this one he was giving away with it as a parts bike. Not only was the running one ugly... But I really didn't have $900. So I offered him $80 for the parts bike. Lol. And he took it.

It was last licensed in 2000, and he hasn't tried turning over the engine since he's had it. So whether the engine is even salvagable I do not know. But I do know that I like the tank, and for all I care, the tank is worth $80 to me:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I've been looking around, and the style that I really want to go for is the early 70's BMW style. The body style is VERY similar and I think I could pull it off with the stock tank, SB handle bars, and a new seat.

Does anyone know where I would find a seat like that? Or should I just make one?
 

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This is the part where I piss on your parade.....

$80 for a "parts bike" is no bargain. You would have done better to take out an add on CL looking for people throwing away bikes cause then you would have gotten the same shit for free. Without a title the bike is worthless and BEFORE YOU PUT ANY MONEY IN THE BIKE GET A TITLE FOR IT IN YOUR NAME. I know you don't have $900 but this time of year any running bike that you can ride is at least worth that amount. You are going to spend three times that $900 amount getting your lump of shit running. Plus you don't know what little parts have already been pillaged off of it.

Personally I wouldn't pay $900 for a cm400 but I wouldn't buy any running "hawk" era parallel twin honda for more than $500 - we used to trade these bikes around like baseball cards, last year I got two running titled ones for free. The best thing you can do is part out the cm400 on ebay, take the money and look for something a little better. cb350, cb360, cb450 something like that.
 

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BTW - the nada value for a "Good" 1981 cm400E is $600. Fair is $450

http://www.nadaguides.com/default.aspx?LI=1-23-38-5697-0-0-0&l=1&w=23&p=38&f=5698&m=0028&d=1500003039&y=1981&ml=H&gc=AM&gtc=MC

good is defined as:

Presentable sheet metal, engine, and frame with signs of wear. Not totally detailed but very clean. Frame should be straight and unaltered. Shiny, attractive paint but may have evidence of minor fading or imperfections. Starts, runs, and rides good. May need some minor mechanical or cosmetic work but is fully usable and enjoyable as is.

Fair is defined as:
Fair — Starts, runs, and rides OK but needs some work. Motorcycle shows signs of use but not abuse. Any previous restoration or mechanical work is older and not holding up well. Cosmetics, body, and mechanics all need work to some degree. This is a complete motorcycle with most sheet metal and body parts being correct but only in fair condition.
 

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yeah but nada is useless! but, a non running, non titled bike is also useless... well not quite but its not the kind of bike up for discussion about looks/riding positions etc.


you need to look into getting a title, even if you have to practice signing someone elses name 50 times. i dont know why people wait to ''fire up the engine''... check that shit and make sure it atleast shifts!
do the lights come on? horn work? are there fuses? will the kickstart even move?


if youre looking for a massive rebuild project stick with a cb, because i dont know if you noticed or not but the frames on cms are terrible.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I haven't picked it up yet. I am considering what you guys are saying and will probably not buy it.

All the parts are there. I know that. But there is no telling how much work the engine needs. And I thought it would be easier to apply for a lost title.
 

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Well, for future reference; I forget if Bike Master is carried by Tucker rocky or Parts Unlimited, but almost ALL dealers have the catalogues. They cost about $18 -$20 retail and most places either have them in stock or can get them in a day or 2. Save the shipping- NOT EVERYTHING ON EBAY IS A BARGAIN. Check your dealer, P.U., etc. for parts first. And don't</u> get electical parts like tail lights from EMGO.
 
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