CX650 "Custom" ADV bike build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by SloMo228, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Well, I joined this forum to get some ideas for planning a long road trip next year and made the mistake of reading a bunch of trip reports from people riding dual-sports and getting off the paved roads, and it looks like a blast. And while it would be nice to go get a new GS, I'm a broke-ass grad student.

    Hence this thread. I've always had a soft spot for Honda's CX twins, since a '79 CX500 was the first bike I ever owned. So when I saw a CX650 Custom listed locally for a few hundred bucks, I jumped on it. It's in kind of rough shape but the mileage is really low, only a little over 10K on it. The bad news aside from the surface rust and scrapes is the god-awful 80s chopper styling. Gotta do something about that.

    Anyway, my goal with this build is to create something with roughly equivalent specs to the V-Strom 650, which seems to be a popular dual-sport ride around here. The CX650 produces just about the same power and weighs about the same as the V-Strom (actually the CX will likely weigh in about 30lbs less than the Strom after I'm done stripping it down). The CX actually has about 14" of available travel in the rear, but I'm going to limit that to about 8" or so to avoid damage to the driveshaft. Up front, I'll be swapping in forks from an XL600R, which will give me about 9" of front suspension travel.

    Wheels will be 17" rear and 18" front, which gives me decent options for dualsport tires. I have a 19" front I can use as well but it would be mismatched and would probably bug me too much visually.

    Aesthetically, I'm going for an old-school scrambler/WWII type look, since that will be easier to pull off than trying to mimic modern DS bikes. Hopefully, this will all come together fairly quickly, I've done my homework on this one and everything is more or less bolt-on for this build. I'm sure the MIG will come out once or twice, but for the most part this should be pretty straightforward.

    Pics to come later!
    #1
  2. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Sounds like a fun project to me.
    go get 'em tiger!
    #2
  3. gkam

    gkam Adventurer

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    :lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk


    I' m restoring a CX 500.
    #3
  4. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Here's what it looked like to begin with (not my bike, but close enough):

    [​IMG]

    I forgot to take pics of the initial condition of the bike. :shog Just imagine the above except the seat is torn and the whole bike is filthy.

    Since I plan to use this bike as a commuter, everything has to be in good condition, so I start tearing it down:

    [​IMG]

    And then a little more:

    [​IMG]

    And that's where I left it after the first day of work, I've got today off too so it's back out to the garage for some more progress. I love working on this bike, everything is so simple. I mean, most of the bikes I've owned have been vintage bikes which are all simple by modern standards, but this one seems designed for ease of maintenance. For example, dropping the engine was all of unplugging about 6 wires, dropping the exhaust, pulling 5 engine bolts, and lowering it out of the frame. Took maybe 45 minutes to have the engine out starting from a fully-assembled bike. Didn't even have to drain the coolant, the radiator came out with the engine. And the wiring harness is so simple it's a joke.
    #4
  5. bkowal

    bkowal Been here awhile

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    I have a '83 CX650E, the Euro sport model, not sold in the US. Same basic bike, engine is identical. Bike has 120,000kms and still runs like new.

    While you have the engine out, replace the stator. It will fail, fix it now. Also, replace the plug caps/wires. There is a resistor in there that corrodes over time giving you a weak spark. You can sometimes take them apart and clean them, but better to replace the 25 year old ones.

    Same power as a VStrom 650? Not quite. But they do have a pleasant surge of power above 6000rpm
    Lighter? Good Luck, the CX's are heavy beasts.
    #5
  6. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    The two bikes are closer in weight and power than you might think. I'm not sure if these specs are 100% accurate, but here's a comparison:

    2012 V-Strom 650: 65 peak HP, 485 lbs wet.
    1983 CX650: 65 peak HP, 480 lbs wet.

    I'm not saying that the CX is the equal of the Strom (the Strom will DEFINITELY out-brake the CX, and the frame is stiffer, and the electrics are better, and a bunch of other things), but it does seem to be in the same league, at least on paper.

    I got those specs from these sites:

    http://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/suzuki_v-strom_650_abs_2012.php

    http://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/honda_cx_650_c_1983.php
    #6
  7. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    CX is a great bike.
    #7
  8. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

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    :*sip* keep it coming, always enjoy these types of builds and I especially like the CX motorcycle.

    SloMo, remember you said: " for the most part this should be pretty straightforward." I hope you are right and you won't have to eat those words. Good luck, thousands are watching....:D
    #8
  9. bkowal

    bkowal Been here awhile

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    Aussies dynoed it in at 35.4kW (47 HP). My butt dyno agrees.
    http://australiancx.asn.au/files/CX650E-Two_Wheels-8306.pdf

    These guys tested the new Vstrom 650, dynoed at 66HP
    http://www.ridermagazine.com/road-tests/2012-suzuki-v-strom-650-abs-road-test.htm
    #9
  10. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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  11. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    More progress today. Went to work with the wire wheel and de-rusted the frame, it was actually a lot better than it looked at first:

    [​IMG]

    Then primed:

    [​IMG]

    I painted too, but I used a light gray paint that is almost exactly the same color as the primer, so I didn't take another picture. I have a few free hours this weekend, so hopefully more progress will be made. The new parts are starting to trickle in via UPS, which is good since I don't have much more to do as far as re-finishing - gotta start reassembly after that and I need parts to do so.

    Basically the only thing I'm not sure on as far as parts matching up is my wheels and brakes. I'm 95% sure the 17" wheel I ordered will fit, but won't know for certain 'til it gets here and I do a test fit - if it doesn't I'm in trouble because the stock wheel is a ridiculous 15". I know the front wheel I want will physically fit the XL600R axle, but I'm kind of taking a shot in the dark as far as getting the brake caliper in the proper position, it might require a custom-made bracket. Not a huge deal.

    The biggest unknown is finding a decent-sized tank that fits close enough to work. I have a few to try, hopefully one is at least close enough to "massage" into the proper shape with a hammer.
    #11
  12. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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  13. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    No pics of progress, since it was either too cold or too humid to do any more painting over the weekend, there's really nothing to look at yet. Still waiting on parts to come in (mainly the rear wheel and the XL600 forks) before I can make any more real progress.

    I replaced the steering bearings with new tapered roller bearings, drained, removed, and flushed the radiator, wirebrushed the rust off a bunch of fasteners (everything's going back on with antiseize on it, this bike's going to be ridden in winter), cleaned up the wiring harness connections, and gave the engine a quick scrubdown - the factory paint is actually still in pretty good condition, so I'm just going to leave it for now. Not really worth repainting it right before winter.

    I'm trying to decide between the Shinko 244s and 705s for tires. I live in an urban area so most of my riding will be on the street since this will be a commuter. Any dirt riding will be on weekends or days off. So I'm leaning toward the 705s as they're more street-oriented. But, I also plan to ride this as often as possible, short of ice storms or blizzards, so I need grip in the snow. Seems like the 244s might be a bit better for that. I'm also considering buying some of the Aerostich studs and I feel like they would work better in the 244s as well. Any input or other suggestions would be appreciated.
    #13
  14. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    My tank arrived today, along with a couple other boring parts like a carb kit and battery. I mocked it up to see how it will fit, and it looks like it will be close enough to work! :clap

    [​IMG]

    Hoping that the forks will show up soon, then I can start putting this thing back into some semblance of a motorcycle. I still have to figure out a seat arrangement, I was thinking about using one of those sprung saddles, or just a flat bench seat. I definitely think I'm going to have to modify the frame a bit to get rid of the "chopper dip," probably just cut out the top of the rear triangle and weld in straight tubing to make things flat there.
    #14
  15. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    That tank looks like it was made for the bike!
    Excellent choice and in great condition too.
    Winner! :clap
    #15
  16. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    :lurk
    #16
  17. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Thanks! It was kind of a shot in the dark. I spent a couple days looking at tanks on eBay, pestering sellers for measurements. It took a while to find a tank that looked good, was in decent shape, looked like it had enough room underneath to fit over the CX's engine hangers, and didn't cost a bunch of money. I got this tank for about $50 shipped. It's kind of rusty inside, but not too bad - it can definitely clean up.

    I'll have to make some mounts for it, but I'm happy with it. I thought I was going to have to beat in the bottom of any tank I got. Now I have a decent looking tank with another gallon and a half of extra capacity compared to the original. :D
    #17
  18. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Still waiting on parts... :baldy

    It was nice out today, too. Could have gotten a lot of work done but instead all I could do was putter around in the garage. I cleaned up and painted a few parts, and decided I'd rather have the frame black than gray, so I repainted the frame. I left my phone in the house, though, so I didn't get any pictures, not that they'd be particularly exciting.

    I also ran out of welding gas, and couldn't get any more since it's a Sunday, so the tank will have to wait 'til my next day off... Hopefully this week I can make more progress. I've got Thursday off, fingers crossed for decent weather - it's been cold and rainy almost every day this week.
    #18
  19. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Today was a looooooong day at work, didn't get home 'til 10:30, after a nice "refreshing" ride in the rain through Detroit at night and having two morons pull out in front of me and nearly kill me... :kboom

    Anyway, when I finally got home, I had several big boxes waiting for me. My forks and rear wheel are finally here! I'm skipping class and calling in to work tomorrow to finally make some real progress on this thing. :D Hope it's all gonna fit.
    #19
  20. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Well, I set about fitting up the new parts I got today. Mixed results, unfortunately.

    The rear wheel was a happy surprise, the drive spline matched the rear end, the drum brake fit perfectly, and the CX650 spacers fit as well:

    [​IMG]

    I thought I'd done well, until I looked at it from the back and noticed this:

    [​IMG]

    The offset is all wrong. :cry This wheel came off of a mid 80s VF750, which has the final drive on the left-hand side instead of the right like the CX. I had hoped it wouldn't really matter, but no such luck, obviously. Crap. Now I have to figure out something else for the rear wheel since I definitely can't use this one and I'm not going to use the 15" stocker since there are no tires at all available for that goofy cruiser size.

    But, on the bright side, the XL600 forks fit nicely, I was even able to use the CX axle so I know everything is in the correct alignment.

    [​IMG]

    The CX front brake bracket won't fit the XL forks, but making a new bracket won't be too terribly difficult. (The mess in the background is my other project, currently on hold while this one is in progress - a basketcase GL1500. What a headache, all that plastic)

    I hope I can figure something out for the rear wheel. There is, if all else fails, one option - I'm told I can pull the rear cover off the engine, then swap a CX500 output shaft so that I can use the CX500 final drive. This would be a PITA since the final drives aren't a bolt-on swap. I'd have to cut off the flanges of my 650 swingarm and a 500 swingarm and then weld the 500 flange to my 650 swingarm. :puke1

    My best bet now is to fit a Comstar from a CX650 Turbo, but those came with rear disc brakes, so I'd have to swap all that nonsense over and then fab mounts for the caliper bracket. The plus side would be gaining a rear disc instead of having a drum in the back, I guess, but doing that will drive the cost of this project much higher than I want.

    I'm open to ideas, if anyone knows of a Honda shaft drive bike that has a drum brake and a right-hand shaft drive, let me know. The problem is that the CX650 uses a different drive flange than most other Honda shafties of the era.
    #20