Clunking my CX Cross Country

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jlevers, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    The Kid

    [​IMG]
    Me demonstrating proper safety procedures


    I am a short guy on a tall bike. I enjoy...well, mostly fixing my bike, since it doesn’t usually work. Aside from that, I like finding hard ways to do easy things, I enjoy basically any form of exercise, and I will happily engage anyone in a debate about anything at any time. And, as cliched as it sounds, I love to see new things, preferably from the seat of a motorcycle. I’m just starting a gap year between high school and college, and plan to explore as much as possible in that time.


    The Bike

    I ride a 1979 Honda CX500, which I love dearly, and which does not brake very well, but breaks with panache. When talking about it, I prefer to exchange the words “mechanically unsound” for “personality”...make of that what you will. I bought it in April of 2016, and it’s the first bike I’ve ever owned or ridden.

    Here it is in its natural habitat:

    [​IMG]

    And as it looks now (with empty luggage):

    [​IMG]

    It’s neither the fastest nor the most comfortable bike to ride cross country, but it’s what I have...and I love it! It also needs a name, so I’ll update y’all on that when I come up with one.


    The Plan

    I’ve been planning this trip since last winter and I’m unbelievably excited. I’m starting in western Massachusetts (Northampton area)

    [​IMG]
    Downtown Northampton


    and ending in Bellingham, WA.

    [​IMG]
    Bellingham


    (I didn’t take those pictures)

    I was originally planning to leave on July 15th and end the trip in Whistler, BC, arriving just in time for Crankworx (a huge mountain biking event) at the end of August, but my bike didn’t want to cooperate, so I had to delay the trip while I fixed it. At long last, it’s working, and I plan to leave in one week (Friday the 18th)! Here’s the overview of the route:

    [​IMG]

    If you want to lay eyes on the full interactive route, it’s right here: https://trips.furkot.com/ts/Ht23fE. The route/trip planning thread is here. I very recently discovered a great tool called Kurviger.de, which has inspired me to change some boring parts of the route in the last couple days. It’s basically Google Maps, but for curvy roads...sounds good to me!

    One thing I’m trying to work on is not feeling like I need to stick to the route/itinerary that I planned, so I may stray massively from this schedule and route...who knows!

    I can’t wait to meets lots of cool people (inmates and...outmates? Is that a word?) and see lots of new places. I’ll definitely be making heavy use of the Tent Space thread. I’ve already experienced a lot of generosity through this site, both in gear (thanks @oldtouring B, @rickj, and @boatpuller) and advice, and also through http://cx500forum.com, where I’ve received a massive amount of technical help. I had never worked on any vehicle before I bought my bike, so the learning curve was intense. I’ve also had the pleasure of riding with (and receiving advice from) @flei.

    My best friend/cousin Jonah (couldn’t find a new picture, so here’s an old gem):

    [​IMG]

    He’ll be coming for the first 5 days or so, and rides a 1980 CM400T. Originally, we were going to do this whole trip together, but life got in the way. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about a) doing a lot of riding far from home by myself and b) the fact that I’m not coming back—I’m living on the west coast for the next year or so. Despite the nerves, I’m really, really excited!

    I’m going to try to do this RR live, but I probably won’t be posting updates every day since I’m unlikely to have reliable internet. So, maybe a brief phone post every day and a longer post every few days? I’m not sure, but regardless of what happens, I’m going to finish this RR eventually. And future posts will have more pictures. Hope you all enjoy!

    P.S.
    While I make a big deal of how much my bike breaks, I just spent the last two and a half months fixing it up, so I’m hopeful that it’ll be a bit more durable now. Also, I’m totally open to feedback on the RR as it goes along, since it’s the first thing like this I’ve ever done and I want to make it fun to read like many of the reports I’ve read.
    #1
  2. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,117
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Let me guess, you had it apart to replace the water pump seal? If you didn't, you will eventually. FWIW, that can be done with the engine in frame. Search cx500 Shep method.

    Great bikes though. My son and I did a project of building one out of two parts bikes.

    Enjoy your trip of a lifetime. It will be an amazing experience. You seem to have the right attitude. Go with the flow. Don't get in a hurry. Have fun!

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
    #2
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  3. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Yep, I replaced:
    • water pump seal
    • cam chain/tensioners
    • stator
    • CDI w/ Ignitec
    • clutch
    • misc. nuts and bolts
    • probably other stuff I'm forgetting
    This bike has given me a ton of trouble, but I think I've finally defeated it! I can't wait to leave....
    #3
  4. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

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    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Wow, you did it right. Now that I think of it, we did basically all the same except CDI. Don't think if it as giving you tons of trouble, think if it as giving you tons of learning opportunities!

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
    #4
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  5. HOTPASS

    HOTPASS F*ck cancer.

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,025
    Location:
    Pollock pines, CA
    Very much IN for this one.

    Reminds me of the legendary "go west young man RR" of years ago.

    Good luck!
    #5
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  6. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    33.496960,-117.195289
    Good luck on your trip, Jesse!

    I'll be following along with great interest. As many have stated, don't hesitate to holler out if you find yourself needing any help or advice. Lots of us old guys and gals on this site who are excited to see a young man spread his wings and go off on your 1st great adventure.

    Ride safe,
    Rick
    #6
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  7. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    6,231
    Location:
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    And you're...... finally..... off! Have fun. It's going to be a big adventure and certainly not your last one. It's been a pleasure getting to know you a bit; I think you're a great kid. It's corny but, the world is your oyster.
    #7
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  8. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,689
    Looking forward to this one! Kinda reminds me of Kern County Kid: When Were You Young!
    #8
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  9. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Western Mass.
    With a much happier ending, please!!!!!
    #9
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  10. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale Lonely Rider

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Cleveland,Ohio
    Love to see these young guys getting out there.
    I SO wish I would have done this when I was young.
    I will be following along.
    Good luck!
    #10
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  11. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile

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    Ride safe my friend. Your great attitude and personality will serve you well on your adventure.. Be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be careful on your first hour after you leave. The excitement can cause a break in your concentration..

    Try to post a short update daily because several of us old farts are watching!!
    #11
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  12. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Good luck on your journey. Best advice I ever received at your age was "don't ignore your gut feel".
    #12
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  13. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the wishes everyone, and I'm glad that people will be following along!

    As soon as I leave, I'll start doing that...for now, nothing's really happening yet, so not much to tell. Today I went to the beach :lol3
    #13
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  14. Passim

    Passim Still here

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    139
    Safe journeys jlevers... :thumb
    #14
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  15. Runswithscizzors

    Runswithscizzors Been here awhile

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    Ditto what Tropicaldale said......great to see you getting out there!
    #15
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  16. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
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    Location:
    memphis
    if you need anything when you get close to Memphis I have a pretty full shop... i'm within sight of the I40 bridge that crosses into Arkansas...
    good luck and enjoy the ride... it's all about the stories after... gather them well
    #16
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  17. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

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    memphis
    slow start?
    #17
  18. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Nope, I was just posting the RR about a week before I left. I'm leaving this Friday. Also just noticed it's supposed to rain on Friday...:doh
    #18
  19. Duanob

    Duanob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    Seattle
    Now UR talking! I have the same bike. I've always said, older bikes put the adventure in ADV.

    What do mean it's not comfy? That seat is big enough to put on a Goldwing! In fact I thought they must have had a bunch of extra G'wing seats at the Honda factory and said "hey, let's use them up on this little 500 just for fun!" :) The good thing about the CX's is if they are maintained they will run forever as long as the electricals don't get corroded. I take mine on weekend jaunts around Washington State all the time. Love it on 2-laners. Good luck and will be watching the trip.

    BTW I think you're taking the smart route through Western Washington, most people ride right up I-5 the most boring drive in our state. If you have the time you might right out to Ilwaco and ride the coast around the Olympic peninsula to Port Townsend, a whole lot prettier and better riding.
    #19
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  20. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    363
    Location:
    memphis
    I have always liked this bike actually forgot I had one in the warehouse a 650 turbo version... knew i liked em and was looking at a few when my 13yo son... said " you know you have one in the warehouse don't you" I had to go look... once I saw it i remembered it... never rode it... so who knows what shape the fuel system is in... I'm good about dumping stabil into tanks... so maybe I did..
    Looking forward to your ride...

    and the offer is open if you need anything while in memphis... I have a gated area downtown if you want to camp... might have an empty condo... always have tools and a shop
    #20
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