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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a 1975 CB500T and want to customize it a bit. It's in mint condition despite minor pitting, however I'd like to streamline some.

Do you have any pics of this make & year? I'd love to see if anyone has a bike out there with any of the parts similar to what I'd like to use. I'm not that familiar with street bikes, but am planning on educating myself.

I found bars and a (single 9") seat I'd like to use on J&P Cycles site, but am not sure if they'll suit my needs and would love to pre-visualize
them on the same bike. Also, move the tac down, simplify the headlight bracket, remove the blinkers, fenders and gigantic tail light, etc...

I'd also be grateful if you could point out other sites that I should check out - I didn't see any 500T links on your site.

The bike has 732 miles on it and looks like it was kept in the dark for 25 years - a real gem.

VINCENT SKELTIS STUDIO, LLC
649 MORGAN AVENUE, SUITE 3-F
BROOKLYN, NY 11222
 

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Vincent,
Welcome to the group. The short answer to your question is, this isn't an exact science so be an individual and go for it. The CB500t was only produced for a couple of years and was not Honda's best seller so it isn't that common. It was a direct descendant of the CB/CL450 from 65? 66 through 74 or there abouts, so there is lots of parts availability.
Now, here is the long answer . Anybody that wants to mess around with Hondas of this vintage shouldn't dabble around on the edge of the puddle. Jump in with both feet and start collecting up parts bikes and pieces. You will need them!!! If you try and buy all the individual stuff you will need you will go broke and get frustrated waiting on a dealer or parts place. Start scouring e-gay, bone yards riding buddies garages or any other likely places. You can no longer afford to have any pride. Get down and dirty and start sucking up your selected model. Next you have to start collecting parts from other models that will fit as upgrades. I think that Johnny B. is partial to VTR250 front forks. Personally, I am liking XL350 forks and a variety of 18' Honda front wheels. If you don't have the space or the time then you really need to limit your changes to bolt on kinds of pieces. In your particular case I have always thought the CB500t was the most Brit looking of the Jap bikes and have really liked the shape of the fuel tank. I am considering one on one of my CB350s for the street. I would remove all the stuff you mentioned and carefully put it away since with as low miles as you have that stuff may be worth bucks later if someone is looking at restoration or maybe even for you later. Find some old beater 450 parts to hack up for tach and speedo mounts and such. I really suggest taking a cruise through a boneyard and pick what you want. Don't be afraid to mix and match models and brands, Hondas run good with Kaw, Yamaha and Suzuki parts on them. It is all about the look. Check this site out and look at what Drainyoo is getting into with his CB200t. Same issue, don't be afraid to dig into it and get your hands dirty. I recommend a grinder and a welder are your friend. Personally, I don't like just removing fenders, I think it looks unfinished. I like front fenders off of the CL models. They are shorter and don't have braces. I like them painted either black or tank color. I shortened up the rear fender from the front and painted it too. Then I mounted the taillight off some dirt bike that I had around. Again just get after it and check back here with any questions. We have all been there and with a torch, anything can be made to fit. Most likely it will be a work in progress for many fun filled years to come. Cafe is a way of life, and if you are lucky you will start racing them too.
Good luck with all this you poor sap,
Ken

AHRMA 412
Vintage racing - old guys on old bikes
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ken,

I welcome your irony, and advice. I basically dislike the idea of buying parts online, sight unseen, however it's the easiest way to access nice condition oldie-but-goodies. Considering I hadn't seen any cafe'd 500T's on the web or in person, I wasn't sure if I'd like it cafe'd, though, my hesitation regardless of seeing one out there, would not have stopped me, and by no means would I ever copy someone elses shit (see my website for individuality!)

Some great advice for boneyard pickins', we'll see what Brooklyn has to offer. A grinder is something I need to pick up, but I already have a mig welder from building some frames a while back. I'm not actually looking to plate or chrome anything, I really just wanted to remove some parts and add a few, not dig too deep right now - I haven't the spare time at this moment.

I think you could be right about the asethetic choice re: the cut fender, rather than simply removing it. I do like the way it looks unfinished too, it's quite raw and unflinching.

I've included a picture of the bike I just bought, and a retouched version of what I'd like it to look like in a few weeks. Pretty easy stuff. I'm going to take a crack at changing the bars tonight, to some gnarled cafe bars, thought the wiring will most likely piss me off. I'm pretty sure the wiring goes through the bars.

Here's the pics.

Vincent






VINCENT SKELTIS STUDIO, LLC
649 MORGAN AVENUE, SUITE 3-F
BROOKLYN, NY 11222
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This picture I posted is a VERY dramatic version of what it'll look like after it's done. It's a little too "hard" looking and obviously, it's a photoshopped picture to simply get an idea of the end result.

(The top picture I posted of the bike in the driveway is not the exact bike I bought, however the bike I bought is the exact same bike in the exact same condition - the guy I bought the bike from had no good pictures of it, so I found this one online to use - They are identical in every way)

Is that your bike on the stand in the picture.

Vincent

VINCENT SKELTIS STUDIO, LLC
649 MORGAN AVENUE, SUITE 3-F
BROOKLYN, NY 11222
 

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it is very rare to see a 500T with its original brown seat in good shape. Personally if the bike is really nice I would consider buying not so nice parts to hack and save the good stuff for when you go to sell the bike or put it back to stock.

That being said, the cb500T was the natural evolution of the cb450, however evolution does not always mean continued survival. In the case of the 500 it grew heavier than the 450 and was not as well recieved. The first thing I would do is put that bike on a diet.

There are plenty of universial fiberglass seats and tanks out there that can fit your bike (take careful measurments of the frame). Airtech is one supplier, 1hotwing on ebay is another (I like his seats).

If you want to do the budget route, take everything off that is not essential to the bike running, then put back just what you need to get tags in your state (usually this means a mirror and signals). You can swap out things like the seat if you find lighter versions. I don't know how noise friendly your neighborhood is but I would consider a lighter muffler than stock or drag pipes (the cheapie way was to use a set of car cherry bombs or to just hacksaw the factory pipes). The stock mufflers are kind of a neat shape however and if you are in it just for looks then keep them.

Your rendering kinda looks like a street tracker (dirt track bike for the street), rather than a solo seat I would consider a flattrack or dirt track style seat as this will be lighter and give you some plate and taillight mounting options.

good luck.
 

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Vincent,
I'm agreeing with Geeto on this one. Save the good parts and get some beaters to get the look you want. He is also right in that if you want the raw minimalist look, that pig needs a diet. I would start with the exhaust. The 500t exhaust weighs about a milloion ponds and is big plus it has a big expansion box at the front of the engine. You might want to consider getting a set of up pipes off a CL450. Remove or change out the muffler and it might give you the look. For a seat that is similar to your rendering is what I did on my race bike. I trimmed the hinges and seat latch plate off the frame. This will let rou use a considerably narrower seat base. I stripped the cover and foam off a stock seat and split it lengthwise. Then I placed it on the frame and overlapped the halves to as narrow as possible. I riveted mine but you can weld. I cut the foam down and stretched to original seat cover back over and pulled it tight. It came out as a nice narrow flat seat. Finally you should consider wheels and tires. Look at different diameter wheels and bigger tires. Many wheels will just bolt up with some spacer work.

AHRMA 412
Vintage racing - old guys on old bikes
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The bike is mint, and that said, I will certainly save the original parts to put back on for future sale or storage of the bike.

It's a great find, however a awful first bike in many ways simply because it's too nice of a machine for me to get my hands dirty with the original parts. I will have to find used parts and keep the stock ones safe.

The bike rendering I posted is something to my liking, but yes, it is a much heavier with the original exhaust. The shape of the original exhaust will be hard to part with, and will probably be the last thing I decide on altering/switching out (I'll most likely keep it on the bike.)
I'm also looking for smaller front & rear blinkers and will try to find a shortened front & rear fender.

I'm debating on whether I'd like a single triangular seat (see pic) or a thin rectangle. You (Ken) mentioned I'll have to shave the seat locking mechanism to do this? Would I have to move the battery and contents below the seat to also do this or doesn't it (the single seat) bolt directly to the existing frame?



The overall look of this bike will not be that streamlined, but much thinner than it is now. I like the look of the European tank style, and I'm fond of the exhaust. Everything else is fair game.

I've read a good amount of reviews on this bike and they all say the same things - most of which are true...It's not very forgiving in the lower gears at low RPM's - the bike jerks and spits. It's not very smooth.

I've built a good amount of things working with wood, metal and various other materials, but the bike work will be my first shot at this - I thank you for both for your help and advice. I'll be frequenting this forum often as I plan to have this bike ready in the next few weeks.

Vincent


VINCENT SKELTIS STUDIO, LLC
649 MORGAN AVENUE, SUITE 3-F
BROOKLYN, NY 11222
 
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