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Discussion Starter #1
Unfortunately the GB500 isn't mine (or in my price range), but I saw it and thought perhaps one of you might be interested.

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/mcy/617423975.html

My bike is, shall we say, pedestrian by comparison: '79 CM400T. I know that with its monocoque frame, fork angle and tank shape it doesn't lend itself to the cafe look or performance. It is, however, what I have and all I WILL have for the foreseeable future so I'm going to do what I can. On the plus side it has been sledgehammer reliable over the past 8 years, has a very tractable powerband for city and backroad riding, and doesn't seem to mind being wound out to 10k rpm in every gear all day long. All I've done to it is put on "superbike" bars (very mild rise) and a 2-1 exhaust. Everything else is bone stock. I don't plan to do anything to the motor, as I doubt much CAN be done to make it scream like its more sophisticated brethren. Instead, I'd like to focus on reducing weight and improving the handling and looks. With that in mind, I could use some advice:

Does anyone know if other, more attractive tanks will fit this frame?

Is it a good idea to lower the triple tree a quarter inch or so for sharper handling?

I am learning how to weld and plan to try my hand fabricating a seat/rear cowl. Any tips?

The bike is stored in a shed without electricity and thus the battery is always stone dead. I never use the electric start and would like to remove the starter and battery. There seem to be mixed feelings on battery removal and I'd like opinions and, if possible, recommendations on products to help with this.

Thanks!
 

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Dunno about the tank, some sort of fabbing is probable. The CX500 (not Custom) tank might fit, and looks good, but you will have to work out the mounts.

Lowering the front end requires care - do so in very small increments.

A good way to make a seat involves using the stock seat pan and welding or riveting the back half of a tank. See my thread, or LilBull's profile. You can also carve some styrofoam into the shape you like and lay fiberglass over it.

Your bike may not run at all with no battery.
 

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Some hondas require power to the magnets to polarize them or they will never start. cb750s and 550s are like that and I have seen the batteries get as small as an RC car rechargable battery but I have never seen somebody eliminate one without switching to a magneto.

As far as the starter, the cb400T and all its variants are one of those unique bikes where honda tried to offer "options" like on a car. Most famous of this was the honda hawk where the base model was drum brake kick only bike where you could add disc brakes, an electric starter, and a host of other hondaline accessories. It didn't really work but what is nice is that you can remove the starter on a cb/cm400T and the bike will not fall apart because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I have to admit my ignorance on the battery thing and am embarrassed to say that I don't know the difference between a magneto and what I've got. The battery is routinely so dead that it won't even power the neutral light, but the bike still fires right up on one or two kicks. It seems to me that if the bike generates enough power to start, run and power the lights with a dead battery, it should be able to do without one at all. I know the circuit needs to be complete, so I thought a capacitor like the White Brothers unit on this page would work:
http://www.jammerclub.com/catalogs/jammer/images/0022_01.jpg

Fantastic thread on your build, borzwazie. Great idea on the seat and I'll check out a CX500 tank.
 

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Ok, well your battery is low but who knows why it is going dead. It could be the battery is no good or that it is just cold in your storage unit or that you have a short that drains your battery. Either way I wouldn't go by a dead battery being proof you can eliminate it.

If I have this right - The magnets in a honda stator only polarize when there is current going through them. Without the current you will not get any charge and no start. It could be that by kicking it the battery is taking enough of a charge on the initial kicks to throw a spark and thus start your bike. It could also be that you battery is so cold that while it does have some charge it will take some coaxing to get it out of the battery.

Also, your bike may not have points. I know 1979 was the year honda switched most of their bikes over to electronic ignitions (no points). I don't know if your bike has points or pulse controllers, but if she has pulse controllers then you definatly can't get rid of the battery since they also require electricity to get the bike started.

I am pretty sure you are wasting your time on trying to eliminate the battery and maybe you should focus on getting the smallest one that will work with your amperage requirements and move on.

if you want to reduce weight, fenders on old hondas weigh a ton. Maybe you should look into an aluminum fork brace and a fiberglass fender. The more heavy metal crap you can replace with fiberglass the better off you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Understood. Eliminating the battery altogether isn't all that big a deal. I just wanted to understand how it works a little better before deciding. Thanks for the explanation.

Based on what I've read about what people think of my bike on this and other boards, I'd say the battery is the least of my worries.

Time to go shine some sh*#.
 
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