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Zen was a little weirder... much more abstract
 

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Discussion Starter #42
i don't think people are saying engineers are infallible, they aren't. But the point we try to make with every newbie is that if you are going to modify something - improve it, and at the very least use the same principles of math, science, and logic that the person who designed the thing used.

most conversations with newbies can be summed up like this:

"newbie: hey I just found out about this cool thing by looking at pictures on the Internet. I have never ridden a bike before but I saw them do it on the youstergrams and it looked easy so I bought a completely different type of bike that doesn't run and an angle grinder. Should I cut 6inches off or 7?

cr.net: hey maybe you should get a license, make the bike run, learn to ride, and then read and research some basic things because what you are looking at looks like a bad idea.

newbie: sounds hard, plus I already bought the angle grinder. Can't you just tell me what I have to do to make this thing happen that I see in my mind but you can't?

cr.net: well no because nobody wants your death on their conscience. How about you take some easily attainable baby steps instead?

newbie: but.....angle grinder.....bzzzz.....sparks...then I get cool bike. Beside that guy did it and he's not dead.

cr.net: yet. He's not dead yet. Why listen to us you are just going to ruin your motorcycle anyway.

newbie: you guys are old. I hate you. You're not my real father."

Fin
I see what has happened here. Some guys involved with/interested in vintage superbike racing started a website and named it appropriately for the time. Along came a fad, some T.V. shows and pipeburn and all of a sudden dudes with a CB350 and an angle grinder show up to brag about their art project. Idiots got a hold of Chevelles, Mustangs and Chargers and ruined them. The same is happening with vintage bikes. The upside - If you have a nice one that is original, the trend of chopping is making yours increase in value.

The bottom line - I have gained some solid advice from this forum. If it had a name like vintagesuperbike.net, the right people would come here seeking fixes to problems that the core group would like to help with. The term "cafe" means just that. Dudes that hang out in cafes. None of the core members hang out in cafes. This is a good place to learn about technical things but it is not at all a place to come to talk about your Seca with knobbies and expect accolades on your artistic vision. That said, Motorcycles are art...so long as art follows function.
 

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Since the most recent bike I own is a 1995 Suzuki Bandit (my 2007 Vespa doesn't count as a motorcycle) I think I can be labelled an old guy despite being 32 yo (and riding since I was 6).
 

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I've seen everyone from techs to PhDs from within our company get put into a development engineering position and not last a year. Education doesn't determine who's going to be good or bad at it. Nor does title. .
Well written post. This bit ^^^ struck home. I'm not an engineer and wouldn't call myself a technician, but have spent my entire career working with both.
Technicians cover the full spectrum from people who just throw parts at things until something sticks, to some who can troubleshoot pretty much anything. Those are the ones that should have become engineers. In the distant past, a couple of fellows showed up here waving their factory training certificates, but those by themselves are good for lining the bottom of the birdcage and thats about it. Generally speaking, it just means they showed up... although in recent times some factories have switched to competency based training which requires them to exhibit some level of skill.

The engineers ran the full gamut as well, from the dumb as a sack of hammers, to absolutely brilliant. Where you really get to see what's inside their head is out in the real world. Diagnosing an engine that has turned itself into chutney is one thing, but an accident or fire investigation can give some real insight into how smart they really are.

Best tech.... built his own frames, did his own engines and got himself a #1 plate. Best engineer.... from Romania worked for Bosch at one point. Got to work with him on a few projects... brilliant, but humble fellow who enjoyed sharing his knowledge.
 

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I see what has happened here. Some guys involved with/interested in vintage superbike racing
]
Vintage racing. not Vintage superbike racing, and some of the original members were involved when it was just "racing" and there was a "Cafe Racer" class in the AMA.

started a website and named it appropriately for the time.
Appropriate because those interested in racing old tech were also interested in riding performance older motorcycles on the street. And many had an interest in the original cafe racers.

Along came a fad, some T.V. shows and pipeburn and all of a sudden dudes with a CB350 and an angle grinder show up to brag about their art project.
Along came money, As in someone saw an opportunity in the receding wave of chopperdom to keep interests in motorcycles alive by resurrecting something. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with recycling, and fashion being cyclical, or even money, but a lot of the people trying to drum up interest were applying "chopper" logic to a genre of motorcycles that were the literal antithesis of choppers.

Idiots got a hold of Chevelles, Mustangs and Chargers and ruined them.
I think a better analogy is Hot Rods, vs Street Rods, vs "Kustoms". If you look at the original hot rods of the 40's they grew out of a post war need for speed - old junk being re-purposed to go fast. Some people saw these custom cars and said "I don't need to go fast but I want to make it look cool" and Lead Sled customs grew from that same origin point (same as choppers and racers _ I am oversimplifying here but you get the idea). Much later on you had guys trying to apply both Kustom and hot rod techniques to other cars that weren't normally part of either genre (fat fendered cars from the late 30's to the mid-50's). The hot rod guys didn't want them because they sacrificed speed for comfort, and the Kustom guys didn't want them because they were still "racy" style cars not into the low and slow ethos. These cars became street rods - eventually becoming their own thing and taking their own name.

I don't hate this new trend of putting knobbies on old racy looking sport bikes, or cut solo saddles and marginal monoshock conversions to dual shock bikes (if done right), I just think it needs to find it's own name and stand on it's own two feet as something else instead of pillaging "cafe racer" and it's history. It's not a natural evolution - the cafe racer died our circa 1992 because it evolved into the replica racer sport bike movement. This new type of custom can't just misappropriate 60 years of history because it would make a good t-shirt, it needs to find it's own legs and be its own thing. As long as it is pretending to be something it isn't, you are always going to have confused people coming here and wondering why they get hate for low bars on an intruder or knobbies on an ex500.


The same is happening with vintage bikes. The upside - If you have a nice one that is original, the trend of chopping is making yours increase in value.
Japanese bikes were already increasing in value because they were treated as disposable for so long that many got destroyed before this trend. Honda made 500,000 SOHC cb750s in the production run, compared to 55,000 for all norton commandos made. People saved the commandos mostly, but SOHC cb750s used to litter junkyards, swap meets, yard sales, etc. They used to use the engines to build legends race cars, werido trikes, ultralight airplanes, etc... this is just a new era of the destruction. But also increasing in value is not a on the whole good thing. Yes I would like my 750 to increase in value, but I don't want to be priced out of the market like I have with a lot of other bikes either. There is a balance here that needs to be maintained. I want to see people get into this hobby too, and having a higher price for the bike just means a higher bar to entry.

The bottom line - I have gained some solid advice from this forum. If it had a name like vintagesuperbike.net, the right people would come here seeking fixes to problems that the core group would like to help with. The term "cafe" means just that. Dudes that hang out in cafes. None of the core members hang out in cafes. This is a good place to learn about technical things but it is not at all a place to come to talk about your Seca with knobbies and expect accolades on your artistic vision. That said, Motorcycles are art...so long as art follows function.
Nobody is changing the name.

I hang out in cafes more than I ride motorcycles, and I like to think that at this point I am a core member. I also go to bike shows, go on rides, hang out at peoples houses to help them fix bikes, have lent out my bike for people to get their license, etc.... Three times now I have changed cities and become actively involved and a staple in the local vintage bike scene. I have even mentored people who came here with "artistic vision" and were local to me and helped them see the light about building cool customs based on what the bike told them through riding. I am the change I want to see, and I accept that there will always be people who just want someone else to do all the hard work for them and have an uncompromising vision about a subject they have naught experience in and seek to gain naught experience in by doing. The internet just makes it easier for those people to show up here and say a lot of dumb stuff before fucking off to somewhere else, because the medium makes it easy to do.

This place will always provide help to those who are open and receptive to it.

/fin
 

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Special thanks to Geeto67 (the saltiest dog of them all). I came here because I bought a GL500 that I planned to cafe because I had seen some cool builds and I like the engine configuration. His advice to another member boasting of his find - “Open dumpster, insert motorcycle.” Haha! It took me some time to understand why...but I did. Sold it and bought an '80 R100 that I will customize but keep whole.
I showed up here originally with a GL500 and got a similar reception. In my case, I wasn't planning on making a Cafe Racer (whatever that is) out of it, just shaving off a few hundred pounds and turning it into something a little more interesting to ride. I had been trying to find a 650E, but even though we got them here, they don't come up for sale that often. At the time, I wasn't aware of what people were doing to CX's etc and that most ended up looking like parade floats so understand the reaction. Anyway.... years later and I still have the GL with modifications that include everything but the VIN tag, but bought a MG V11 to scratch the itch for the 650E. Still would be tempted to drag home a 650E if one came along for a decent price.... its a different bike entirely.
 

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contrary to popular belief (and what I may have said in the past) I don't entirely "hate" the cx500 and cx650. I do find them interesting motorcycles when they run and work correctly. However, I think they have things going against them that make them pretty terrible beginner bikes and project bikes: Water cooling, oddball cam chain, and inaccessible stator being chief among them. I also feel like the earlier ones share so much out of the cb450 hawk parts bin, they end up feeling like a rocket ship built by the lowest bidder. I think the turbo, eurosport, and GL500 & 650 models are also some of the most interesting bikes honda made that decade.

If you are a newbie rider, new to working on small engines or motorcycles, or new to working on anything in general they are just a terrible place to start. Ideally the best place to start is with an aircooled two stroke single or twin, and move up from there, but there are some aircooled japanese 4 stroke fours that are strong enough and reliable enough that they could keep you in basic maintenance tasks while learning to ride. Also aftermarket plays a huge part in selecting a project bike and something like a cb750 SOHC is just going to be a way better complex beginner motorcycle than a cx because it's aftermarket parts support is huge as well as the knowledge base. Heck, even an actual guzzi is a better starting place than the cx500/650 because it's an aircooled, pushrod, twin that has a large following and all the complexity of farm implement. cx500s were cheap for a reason for a long time - once they went bad, they went really bad. And for a while honda, who had parts available for bikes going back to the 1960's, wasn't supporting them either.

If you are a seasoned mechanic, then obviously none of this applies to you - it's just another machine that you can fix as long as you can get parts for it.

The thing that frightens me the most about them is that they were an experiment in "stressed member" for honda. The diamond frame was honda's attempt to see how little heaving lifting the frame had to do on it's own - consequentially is quite weak without all it's parts bolted to it. People who buy these bikes don't really think about that and cut whole sections out of an already weak frame thinking it is just like any other old motorcycle frame from japan of that era: strong as a bridge and poor handling. Every time I see one converted to monoshock my skin itches with how flexible that setup must feel and how much stress that swingarm must be seeing that it was never meant to hold.
 

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Begs the question as to why the GL500/650 isn't worth a fortune because it already has the desired (sort of) rear suspension. Better frame as well. Similar to 650E, except i don't know if the E has the extra double walled stuff at the rear to support the trunk, bags and rotund passenger. Still has the ugly stamped steel bits though. I've had some interesting conversations about why that engine came into being.
 

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When I was wandering through the scrap yards yesterday I was looking for something that I would want to fix up and ride but absolutely nothing caught my fancy in the way of motorcycles, all I seen was good kneeler racing sidecar engines and suspensions :| you know you are old when you have thoughts about riding something with 3 wheels, even if it is dangerous as all hell..
 

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Begs the question as to why the GL500/650 isn't worth a fortune
Because Moto Guzzi's exist and older ones aren't that unapproachable in the US price wise.

because it already has the desired (sort of) rear suspension. Better frame as well. Similar to 650E, except i don't know if the E has the extra double walled stuff at the rear to support the trunk, bags and rotund passenger. Still has the ugly stamped steel bits though. I've had some interesting conversations about why that engine came into being.
I am pretty sure, like 90% sure, that the core frame design between the cx500 & cx650 turbo and the cx650E are the same. Obviously mounting brackets are different but the core design is there. Looking at the GL500 and GL650 frame it looks like they could have been made in the same jig. All three (4?) variants use the pro-link suspension setup so it is possible that the frame has the double wall tubing to make sure the frame isn't twisting under the weight of a passenger. On my ducati with the single offset shock - ducati was very clear that a passenger cannot sit on the rear frame that isn't supported by a second shock because it causes the frame to bend out of square. When they built the two up model of the same bike in 2007 it has twin shocks but no real changes to the frame otherwise. I have to imagine that honda, in it's penny pinching ways, just used the same frame spec for all of them, which is probably why the turbo and E are known for their handling (and also the 37mm forks where as the US market cx500s and cx650s had 33mm forks - except for the "Custom" cx650C which had 39mm).

The clutch loading of the bike isn't going to change no matter what, so be it GL, CXT or CXE it's going to carry 430lbs (approx - 195KG) and that's it. People think GVWR has to do with suspension but really suspensions are designed to take three to 4 times the shock loading in weight due to bumps - it's whether the clutch and trans can hold pulling that much weight along at highway speeds. The GL can't carry more than a cx650E, the engine, trans, and clutch isn't any different it just makes it easier carry 430lbs with all it's various trunks.

I have heard lots of stories about the cx engine origin as well, primary of them being that it was meant as a direct competitor to the smaller moto guzzi's and the R65 bmw where honda felt it had a gap. they may have also seen a chance to take a bite out of HD's beginner sportster. The original cx500 made 48hp out of 497cc's - 4 more than an R65 and 883 sporty and the same as a V50 II. It was right in the sweet spot of the middleweight V-twin market. It is all speculation though. I feel like the CX500 and variants are proof that no matter how functional a motorcycle is, if it ain't pretty it won't have legs to survive. Be still your beating heart because I am going to say nice things about the CX500: The cx500 when new or less than 20 years old was a very capable motorcycle in stock form. The forks were awful, and the rear shocks left something to be desired, but it was reliable, relatively low maintenance as long as it was kept running, and handled way better than it had any right to. I saw many a rider on one do things on that bike that I would never have believed had I not seen it in person. that being said, it was still a 500lb 48hp bike that was worth dick in the 90's and 3rd anf 4th owners abused the heck out of them. I often joke that in the 90's they were the low level dirtbag/pot dealer bike of choice in NYC and for good reason - they were short, nimble, capable, and easily overlooked. The engine was and still is as ugly as they come and that's probably why we saw a 6 year production run and didn't see a second gen in 1984. Again all speculation on my part.
 

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Yes very similar frames. Not sure about the double wall thing. Only know for sure the GL had it. Some photos show the Turbo and 650E having the same (almost identical) frame, as the GL, but I think in some cases the photos may be interchanged with GL... because there are also photos (that appear to be from the parts book) that show the rear section of the frame is different on the E. Could be model year change or from another market Either way.. all it was is a tube slid within the rear tubes. The inner tubes were about a ft long and just went past the intersection of the down tube. Holes were drilled in the outer and the inners were tacked in place. Basically took the tube from (roughly) .065 to .120
Gone on mine due to dietary constraints as it no longer serves any purpose. No bags, no trunk, no passenger...... but properly tied together to prevent any undue twitching or skin loss.
 

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honda did that trick on a lot of frames though. Some SOHC frames and the DOHC F models have that same setup as well. I remember years ago an angle grinder happy newbie complaining about how hard it was to cut through his cb750F frame so close to the shock mounts, lol.
 

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It's 2019 now snowflakes, go join some cafe ricer group on facepage like the rest of the nubs if you can't take a little scrutiny.
 

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You know the difference between kids and old guys,
Kids don't really want to learn about stuff they just want the answer.

That's bullshit, there are equally lazy old guys too, they just know not to stand their ground and pick a fight when they get told no.

Edit: Fixed a hilarious autocorrect mistake made by posting from an ipad.
 

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Thats bullshit"mothers are equally lazy old guys too, they just know not to stand their ground and pick a fight when they get told no
I love how when I was growing up, all the adults would say "don't believe everything you read on the internet" and "Wikipedia isn't a source."
Yet now those same adults are explaining to me that facebook told them there's a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizza parlor.
 

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lol You're dating yourself, computers and internet are a recent innovation, we were taught to use a slide rule :| and if you didn't learn well your teacher might even hit you with it.
 
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