CB500X - Frugal Suspension and Front Wheel Conversions

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by AKTobias, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    Got a good used X 6 weeks ago, and the very next day I hit a funky RR track and came off. Boogered the bike a little, and shattered my clavicle. Now after too much down-time, too much Netflix, and too much ADVrider, and not healed enough to play again on the bike ... I've decided to rebuild the suspension on this great little bike. BUT, I've decided against the Rally Raid Kit as the answer to the bike's lack of suspension and small front tire for any off-road use.

    Why not Rally Raid? I just like being creative ... making something functional and aesthetic out of parts and pieces is almost a lost art and too often we just throw money at a problem. I like finding solutions, creating solutions. And, I am a lame duck right now, so I have the time.

    So, for those of you who have done something similar, chime in.

    I'll upload my current plan here in a bit.
    #1
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  2. Samtech79

    Samtech79 Two wheeled lunatic

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    There was some guys in Thialand that put CRF250L suspension on a couple of bikes.
    I did just the opposite, I stuffed the 500 engine into a 250L frame.
    Them
    [​IMG]

    Me
    [​IMG]
    #2
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  3. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    Yah! This is the direction I want to go. More offroad capability while still keeping good road manners.

    Deep in the layers of talk on the CB500x on another forum I found a guy who did what I think I want:

    Front Suspension: He put an 04 YZ450 USD fork and triple clamps on front end of the X. Leaving it stock is 11+ inches of travel, which i don't need. He cut 4 inches off that YZ suspension and finally landed at 8.5 in. The stem bearings were from ALL BALLS (22-1020 lower conical bearing on the lower end and the 99-3540-5 on the top). Shimmed 2mm shim for the upper bearing, as the stock YZ upper stem id is 28mm and the 99-3540-5 has a 30mm id. Stem length for the triple clamp was exact and no modifications to the stem were required to mount to the CB500X frame. Steering stops had to be welded to work with the stock YZ lower clamp.

    Front Brake: Obviously using the YZ450 brake caliper.

    Front Wheel: He used the YZ 21inch wheel at first, but didn't like it and laced up a 19in hoop to the hub. It would be cheaper by $200+ to keep the 21in wheel but I think I'll try it once it is all together.

    Rear End: The gsxr 750 shock seems to work well for 200lb guys. (The gsxr600 is a bit soft and the 1000 is a bit hard). It fits fine, and others have made new linkage plates to increase ride height a few inches to give the bike a bit more ground clearance.

    No, this is not the precision an Drop In type of kit the Rally Raid is selling. And it is using used parts. But I absolutely love modding bikes as much as I do riding. Fixing broken bikes is a different issue. And sorting out carbs on old bikes is not anywhere on the joy list.

    After adding up the costs from what I see now on Ebay (and this is conservative):
    • $240 for used YZ fork and triple
    • $40 for used GSXR shock
    • $50 for used YZ brake
    • $100 for used YZ wheel (21in)
    • $95 for new 21 Tire
    • $60 for new bearings
    • Total: $585
    After putting it all together you'd still have to dial in that front suspension. New springs or Gold Valves, fork seals ... whatever is needed to bring used Forks up to snuff.

    So my question at the moment: What years of YZ450s can I be shopping for? Is there any difference in the bearings and stem length and brake mounting position of the 03-9 YZ and the newer ones?
    #3
  4. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    Your front end changes still won't equal your rear end changes with what you propose.

    The front will be a lot taller than the rear with a lot more travel also. The ability to change the rear very much is the limiting factor. The chain line gets all out of wack by trying to jack the rear up. The swing arm is too short.

    Who knows what the changes are to rake etc and how that will make the bike feel and handle.

    I went down your path and things just aren't as simple as they seem. How are you going to mount the ignition key barrel to the YZ forks. You may find it easier to try a set of Transalp forks and wheel/brake instead, though you will still have the trouble at the rear.
    #4
  5. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    Mounting the ignition key barrel to the YZ triple clamp is a bracket issue. I've got a bin of scrap metal for that. There's a mount spot on the YZ triple to screw it to.

    Cruz, that Transalp fork idea is a good one!! 41mm forks of the Transalp would fit the X Triples and no mods there to the steering or bearings. If I got a 2008 Transalp foks or newer one shipped over from across the pond, it already has a 19 in front wheel. That's worth checking into! They also have dual front disks, which I don't think I'll need but that's cool ... and the low fender option.

    Question ... I dunno about width measurements between the width of the Transalp and X triples. Would the difference be made up in the spacers on the axle? Is this a nonissue?

    Also, would the brake caliper of the Transalp work with the master cylinder of the CB500x?
    #5
  6. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    The 500X, 700 & 750X & the Transalp (up to 650anyway) forks are near identical inside and for measurements.
    Here is a 700X with a 700 Transalp front end fitted to it I think.
    C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_image.png

    The triples are different in width between the Transalps and the newer X bikes. (my 87 600 Transalp anyway. Axles are also different.
    #6
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  7. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    Another option:
    The 2008+ KLRs have 41mm forks which would slip right into the X triple clamps and give it some height with a modern front brake and 21 wheel ... but the dilemma there is that the axle would be 3/4 an inch too short in the X triples. Is there any way to make the front axle longer to fit??? Safely?
    #7
  8. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    Have a new one made on a lathe.

    KLE500 may also be of use.
    #8
  9. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    I took my caliper down to the local Bent Bike store here near Seattle ... lo and behold I found a set of 41mm SHOWA forks with a wheel, new tire, brake and brake line. Off a XR350R. $100 for the whole shebang. Now after cutting off a couple of loops on the springs and new seals I should have a higher front end with better suspension. The 21 in wheel might still be too much for the small rise in the rear suspension that the GSXR shock gave me (1inchish) I may bring the front wheel down to a 19 with a new hoop and spokes.
    #9
  10. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

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    The forks on the BMW F650GS/G650GS (thumper) are 41mm. 19" wire wheel.

    Thx...nlp
    #10
  11. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

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    I like that ideer too! I just couldn't find anything that worked in my budget on ebay. But that would be a quick fix and with modern brake.
    #11
  12. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

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  13. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    There is a very good reason the guys do that replacement on the gs650 so I dont understand why you would use their junk forks just to achieve a bit longer travel and a bigger front wheel. It doesn't solve the basic problems with those forks so they won't work any better on the front of a Honda than they do on a BMW.
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  14. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

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    I have over 66000 Arkansas miles on my 06 F650GS, with stock forks, springs and 15W oil. My experience of riding thousands miles of twisty, interstate, forest roads and ATV paths does not agree with your premise that the 41mm forks are junk. I realize people wanted to upgrade the GS/Dakar forks to make the thumper more dirt track worthy. I'm considering upgrading a CB500X to 41mm to make it more dirt road worthy.

    nlp
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  15. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    There will always be people who disagree with other peoples assessments on things. From owning an xch and have a fair bit to do with gs650 singles, if you are wanting to ride them harder off road then the fork itself isn't really worth spending money on. Hence all the replacements done all over the world. If it suits you stock then kudos for you as you have saved a fair bit of time and money .
    As my suspension tuner said to me when we were throwing around ideas to achieve longer travel forks and maybe a taller front wheel, why would you choose a fork that is worse than the oem fork on the bike to start with?
    #15
  16. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

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    This thread isn't about riding the CB500X "hard" off road, rather it is "Frugal Suspension and Front Wheel Conversions". I was suggesting to the OP that he might find an F650GS owner who has a cheap Fork/19" Wheel combo. With the question/pretense that this would be a "plug/play" option, eliminating the need for reworking the triple clamp.

    nlp
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  17. Blademan954

    Blademan954 n00b

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    Hey there,

    Trying to put in CRF450 forks and triple clamps in my CB500x. Surely other stem bearings where needed (All-Ball conical). Cooling is a bit in the way to have the best stearing rotation.
    Will try to lower it. Need a longer brake line. No more than a 17" front wheel even with forks lowered in the clamps. At the back, found something to raise original suspension. Can't wait.

    Any input is always welcome.
    #17
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  18. Chip_Morgan

    Chip_Morgan lieguy@gmail.com

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    I really like putting the CB500 engine into the 250L frame.....what a package!
    #18
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  19. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    When the OP wrote that earlier I was presuming he was after a lot more capable fork for off road use.
    #19
  20. scharfg

    scharfg Been here awhile

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    Hey.

    I had the Rally Raid #2 kit in mind but like the OP, I'm now looking for the less expensive option as I've been riding my X on dirt for the last couple of years (including the Idaho Back Road tour on the stock front tire) and I've realized I probably won't need the extra dirt capability the RR kit would give me for the $$.

    Instead I'm thinking of just changing out the rear shock for a better one from another bike and then installing valves/springs in the front forks.

    I have no fabbing ability so is there a shock from another bike that is pretty much plug n play? And can one get ready made drop in front suspension improvements now for the X?
    #20