So for as long as I can remember it seems I've been helping other folks build their dream bikes doing metal/fiberglass fabrication and custom painting. If I wasn't working on someone else's bike I was flipping bikes to support my other habit, long distance touring. I've been flipping bikes since years before I had my driver's license. Buy a bike right, clean it up, catch up all the maintenance and repair any damaged paint then sell it for a modest profit. A few years back I vowed to build a bike for me. One that wouldn't get sold. I started with a XS650 Yamaha that I am building into a little rigid bar-hopper style bike. Then in the middle of that my wife decides it's time to build on an addition to the house and completely remodel it. That was three years ago. Now that the home is all but finished my interest has turned to the many long neglected projects in the garage. The Yamaha project is a little out of reach at this point. I have the donor bike and the custom frame but not much else. There's a lot of dollars and time to cover before I can call it done. So what's the solution? Buy another project of course. I'm connected through my job to a wrecker service locally. They get a number of cars and motorcycles over a year's time on mechanic's leans. That happens when the owner never pays for the tow/storage and they eventually forfeit the vehicle. The owner of the wrecker service knows I have an affliction for wounded and neglected motorcycles and that my wallet is an easy target. I recently purchased two from them. Both Honda fours. I've owned many a thumper, vertical twin, V-twin and V-4 motorcycles but never an inline four. One of them I bought is this 1976 CB550F Super Sport. After a little research I discovered the bike on this platform was only built three years('75-'77) and there's kind of a cult following for them. In the end I bought this for only the intro to a song and it was even currently tagged and running with a new clear title. I could be in trouble. Looked pretty scary when I first brought it home but it's a 16K mile bike and I could see a very cool cafe style bike hiding underneath the rust and bad modifications. I mean just look at the seat. Damn shame I never got the name of the upholsterer. It even has a very rusty MAC exhaust system. The Super Sports were originally born with a 4-into-1 exhaust systems. Prior to the Super Sports all inline fours by Honda were either 4-into-4 or 4-into-2 systems. I'm probably going to replace it with another MAC system. The crash bar is going along with the oversized seat, turn signals and tail lamp. A few hours later I had successfully broke into the bike. Maybe I should explain... one thing I didn't get was the keys. I removed the side cover and carefully extracted the hinge pins from the left side of the seat. The striker on the seat is rubber-mounted and it flexed just enough get a long-handled 10mm wrench on the nuts that held the striker. Viola! Seat successfully removed with no damage to the seat pan or latching hardware. I even saved the beautiful upholstery! Then it was time to break into the gas tank. Similar process. I used a plastic wedge from one side and made just enough room to remove the hinge nuts with a slim 10mm wrench. After the hinge was free at the rear of the fuel door the spring-lock was easy to trip with a small hook. Another lock thwarted. At this point I've also removed the passenger pegs(permanently), chain guard, crash bar, rear grab rail and turn signals. Looking better already! With a little disassembly done it's time to fix some obvious issues, namely a new set of lock and keys and handlebars. The stock bars suck for a cafe bike but I wasn't real fond of full cafe ergos. I had a brand new set of Biltwell moto-cross bars left over from a previous flip bike. They would be perfect for this project and it was cool that first item was already in stock and paid for. I ordered the lock and key set from Classic Cycle Parts and tackled the first modification required to change out the bars. When you look at the bars upside down the differences seem subtle but they're actually not. First, Honda ran the wiring through the handlebars and I wasn't about the cut slots in a new pair of Biltwells. This is a cafe bike not a show bike. I want the wiring on the outside of the bars like modern bikes so you can change the bars without tearing half the bike apart. The second thing you notice is they're 3" lower in height and 1-1/2" narrower. It makes a huge difference in the way it feels and looks as you'll see. The switch housings would have to be notched to accommodate the wiring outside of the bars. It's an easy modification but you only get one shot to get the fit right and there's only one place in the housing to let the wiring exit properly on the underside, This is the clutch side before... ... and after. After cutting I softened the edges with a pin file so there were no sharp edges to cut the juice. With both switch housings modified, the new ignition switch installed and the cables lubed everything was reassembled. Starting to get a little sexy, eh? Just getting the garbage off the bike, cleaning it up a little and installing a new set of bars has really changed the attitude of the bike. Note how clean and damage free the sheet metal is. The next step for this project is to "bob" the fenders. Stay tuned.