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Old 10-07-2012, 03:59 PM   #90
Leaf OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Brandywine, WV
Oddometer: 398
Another Lawn Ornament!

So, I went and saw a guy about another CB900 Custom today, an '81 (although it was advertised as an '82). We ended up settling on $1200, which was probably $400 too much, but it's the best one I've seen on the local craigslists, and he was a really nice guy. His wife even invited me to dinner, and the food was amazing. Then we went down to his workshop and looked over his ZX10 project. I ended up inviting him over for a tour of the local twisties in the spring.

I geared up like I was expecting to get run off the road by the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse (questionable bikes scare me at high speeds, but on the other hand I don't want to throw down money unless I am sure that they run decently), and took the bike out for a test drive.

I'd never been on a running DOHC-4 before this, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The guy lives up a long dirt road with deep gravel, so I was taking it pretty easy and puttering along with the throttle barely open out to the hardtop, because I didn't want to risk losing the thing in the gravel before deciding if I wanted it or not. :P The bike was pop-pop-popping on deceleration like a piece of crap all the way there, and I was starting to mentally kick myself in the hiney for driving all the way down there for something with burned valves.

Then I got it out onto the hardtop and cracked the throttle open about 3/4. It bogged for a second, but as soon as it got off the idle circuits, that thing let out a roar/scream the likes of which shook the foundations of the heavens themselves, the back tire shifted sideways a good 6 inches, and it took off down the road like a rocketship and pulled my eyeballs down my throat. I didn't get it past 3rd in low range. The speedometer cable is broken, so I don't know how fast the thing was going, but I'd guesstimate somewhere in the 90 MPH range. O_o I got scared and backed off, put it in 4th and cruised around at moderate RPMs. Never made it into 5th or high-5th. Gobs of torque everywhere, as long as I stayed up in the mid or main jets.

Same color as the parts bike. I think that between the two of them, I can put together a pretty nice machine.

... which is good, because the left sidecover is missing. I am pretty sure there is one in the parts bike box.

There is some rust on the starter cover. The one on the '80 has some rust too, but not as much. I think I'll clean the '80's up and swap them.

There is an oil leak around the tach drive. At first, I was afraid that it was the dreaded inner seal, but at second glance it looks like the outer seal is just missing and someone tried to stuff some RTV or something in there instead of fixing it proper-like. That'll be much easier to fix!

Stock 4-into-4 exhaust, which pleases me. They are hard to find nowadays.

But some bozo removed the baffles. The PO says it was the previous PO... Possibly this is the reason for the farting around at low RPMs, maybe in conjunction with partially clogged idle circuits (he said he hadn't started it for like 10 months before I got there). The internet says I can get baffles for $50/each. Ouch. But needed. I don't like loud bikes.

There is also an exhaust mount bolt missing! D:

Might have to paint the headers. I am not sure if that will buff out. If I have to paint them, I might wrap them, if I can find out whether wrap really does make them rust out again faster or not.

Someone cut the 2-3 crossover pipe off and welded a patch in, too. -_-' Also, oil leak around the filter cap, apparently. Not so big a deal with the filter cap, but I am not sure if I should leave the crossover off or try to make one. Might be able to cut the one off my junky aftermarket 4-into-2 and weld it in there, if I can get everything lined up right....

Crack in the fuse cover. I have one on the other bike that should fit.

Non-OEM bars. Much, much pullback, and very uncomfortable. I guess the OEM 900 bars will be coming back off the 400 and going on this bike instead. A shame, they make the 400 so much easier to steer! :<

The tank looks very good for being 31 years old. This is good, because the other tank is nothing but a rust farm!

Looks like someone spraypainted the engine cases without proper surface prep (there is overspray on one of the carb insulators). Hopefully it will buff off decently. If not, I guess I will swap covers from the other engine.

This shock cover is nasty, but the boots on both are still good. I'll probably rebuild the ones from the other bike and put the boots from this one on them. He says they hold air, but leak down slowly, so I guess it's a rebuild no matter which ones I use!

The rear brake locked up solid while I was unloading it at the Leaf Shack. Good thing that didn't happen while I was test-riding! D:= I broke open the banjo bolt and that loosened them up, so I reckon the rear MC must just be full of dirt. Hopefully a good cleaning will fix that and it won't need a rebuild. All the MCs and calipers on the other bike are locked up solid.

It also needs fork seals, but I didn't get a picture of that. The tubes are wonderfully smooth, though, unlike the pitted crap that is with the other bike.

So yeah, I think I paid too much for it, but it's the best 900 I've found. Time to stop fooling around with the box of junk and get something roadworthy before the snow hits. The 400 doesn't have a beefy enough charging system to run any heated gear....
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