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Honda GB500 thread

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by Spurlock, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. JPCollinsworth

    JPCollinsworth Compulsive Spender

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    Oddometer:
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    Bill - I've never seen one for sale but I'll keep my eyes open for you. I was able to buy the entire NOS tool kit except for the spark plug socket. I believe that the only part I'm still looking for is the rubber boot that holds the side stand warning lamp.

    I sent all of the chrome pieces that I couldn't buy NOS to a shop in Wisconsin for re-chroming. They did a great job. I couldn't have the fuel cap re-chromed but I found a NOS one still in the plastic on the UK Ebay site.

    Although all the paint was in like-new condition, I had everything carefully wet-sanded and clear-coated by a friend of mine here that specializes in restoration work on BMW bikes so that future scratches could be polished out.

    I've got way too much money in mine, but I'm planning to hand it down to my 13 year-old grandson when he's older.

    Right after I committed to buy mine, another one showed up on Craigslist here in Vermont about 30 miles from me. He'd bought it new, sold it and them bought it back. He had the entire Supertrapp exhaust (I only have the muffler) and a Mikuni carb. He also had the stock parts though. Interestingly, the only tool he had was the spark plug socket.

    These are really beautiful bikes and the detail that Honda put into them with all of the purpose-built parts is amazing. The two bolts that secure the rear of the fuel tank are just one of many examples. There's still a lot of NOS hardware available but I'm sure it's all limited.

    -John
    #21
  2. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    Thanks to all who have contributed so far. In an effort to draw in more GB enthusiasts I thought I'd sprinkle in a few of my GB add-ons and modifications. First up is a small tool bag I mounted to hold flat repair supplies. It's a small vinyl bag with a velcro closure on the flap that I found on ebay. Nice and out of the way and it seems to fit the style of the bike.

    [​IMG]

    It was intended to be strapped in front of forks or behind a windshield. Instead I made two brackets from aluminum flat stock. The front bracket bolts to the seat grab bar bolt, and the rear uses the turn signal stalk.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To reinforce the bag I added a 2" wide piece of aluminum flat stock inside, riveted to the brackets with blind rivets. Some thin foam glued to the aluminum pads the rivets from damaging the contents.

    [​IMG]

    Inside I carry (from left to right):
    -a home made jack stand to prop either front or rear wheel off the ground
    -a Donor Hose to allow quick transfer of air from one tire to a repaired flat if needed to seat the bead on tubeless tires.
    -a MotoPump
    -patches and tire plugs

    NOTE: I've converted my rims to tubeless by sealing the spoke nipples with a special tape. That's a subject for another post if anyone is interested. But going tubeless means I don't have to carry tire irons and a tube, and generally would not need to remove the tire from the bike.

    [​IMG]

    The jack stand is just a piece of 3/8" all-thread with a U shaped rod welded on top, an aluminum tube with a threaded plastic plug on the bottom, a screw on foot, and a nut. This would let me prop up either tire when plugging. Not as handy as a center stand, but much better than laying the bike over on its side!

    [​IMG]

    -Bill
    #22
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  3. JPCollinsworth

    JPCollinsworth Compulsive Spender

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    Thanks for all of the great info and tips Bill. I would like to get the details on converting the rims to tubeless. Both of my tires lose air, 2 to 3 psi a week. I noticed you have a block under your kickstand in last picture. Mine leans way over on the stand but it doesn't appear to have been bent. I'll post a picture the next time it's off the chock. I also like the bar-end mirrors.
    #23
  4. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    Thanks John. I'll post the tubeless conversion soon. And yes, the GB side stand does seem a bit short. When parking I always look for a high spot to place the stand.

    -Bill
    #24
  5. jethrocephus

    jethrocephus His Honorable Right Minister of Flying Monkeys Supporter

    Joined:
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    My bike came to me, the third owner, with Progressive Suspension rear shocks, cartridge emulators and SS brake lines , I would say it handles really well with this set up. Mileage is about 12k, I believe. I'm the third owner, second owner only put a couple hundred miles on it.

    The stainless front fender was also on the bike when I got it, I plan to put a brand-new stock front fender on pretty soon.

    I had a guy modify the taillight housing for me and put this taillight on it

    [​IMG]

    Also, bought some adjustable foot pegs for a CB-1, shaved them down a couple millimeters and installed them on my bike. Makes all the difference in the world for me, I have a 32 inch inseam and my 58-year-old knees did not appreciate the factory pegs.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Rode 50 or miles or so yesterday, a really fun bike only wish it had more power, it really should have been a 600cc.

    Mine is jetted very nicely and the Jack Batson exhaust is a work of art, although loud. Starts really easy, no choke, will usually start first kick in the warm weather.

    Also, the rear cowl on mine is carbon fiber, paint is perfect.


    [​IMG]

    One did sell in Hickory, NC just over a year ago for $7500......


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #25
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  6. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    Thanks for the info, great looking GB there. That seat cowl is a work of art. Did you make it or do you know the history? The stock ones all seem to crack around the mounting holes at some point, so I assume someone manufactured a replacement from carbon fiber?

    -Bill
    #26
  7. JPCollinsworth

    JPCollinsworth Compulsive Spender

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    Very nice jethrocephus,

    really like the tail light and cowl. Wright brothers made a 600 cc kit for the GB500 but the only one I've seen for sale was with the complete bike and that was a few years ago.

    i
    #27
  8. JPCollinsworth

    JPCollinsworth Compulsive Spender

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    Oh just noticed the fly screen. Is that still available?
    #28
  9. jethrocephus

    jethrocephus His Honorable Right Minister of Flying Monkeys Supporter

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    I believe it is a Dart fly screen of British descent. Or possibly a National??


    Bill, rear cowl was on the bike when I bought it, sorry, no help. It's quite a piece and was probably expen$ive. I do have the stock one with obligatory repaired crack.
    #29
  10. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    I've always loved these bikes but the cost lately has made it prohibitive to buy one (read: the wife will scream if I spent that much and there was no place for her to sit!). They are consistently in the $5000 - $6000 range around here. Maybe they will come down someday, the CX500 Turbo has a bit. They were in the same price range a couple of years ago as the GB500 but lately I've seen a couple of decent turbos for less than $3000. Also I wish Honda would've given them a bit more oomph in the power department. Not sure how hard or expensive it is to pop a bit more HP but then you run the risk of ruining the originality. All in all they are a classic! Have fun.
    #30
  11. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    I've heard an XL600 cylinder and piston can be swapped in easily for a big power boost. Power is a personal thing though. To me the GB500 has more power than I can use in 99% of my riding. I do appreciate the feeling of fast accelleration, but since I alternate ridingthe GB with my CB125 and XL250, the GB always feels like a rocket ship in comparison!

    -Bill
    #31
  12. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    It's August 31, 2016, if anybody lives in teh Bay Area here you go:

    https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/mcy?query=GB500

    1990 Honda GB500 Cafe Racer - $2800 (alameda)

    Classic bike for sale to a good home. Needs to be ridden. Always garaged or under a cover. Less than 30k miles.
    GB500-1.jpg
    #32
  13. insomnia

    insomnia Been here awhile

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    I seen one in a magazine advert before the summer of 91 when I saw the only one I ever seen in the metal . I walked past it and stood and admired it a while it rode past further up the street . what a cool bike . I had a chance at a nice clean lowish mileage xbr 500 a few years ago for not huge money . I slipped up . I have allways liked the old Honda singles I rode a xl250 motorsport at around 14 then a cl250s ( just like the silk road only dual seat see them on you tube ) when I was 19 . my current bike I would really love to buy is the Honda cb400s . they are not too unlike the GB 500 and with a bit of work could be easily made to look similar . a pair of ace bars get the seat reworked manx Norton style and bigger gas tank . but for me they are fine just as they are . I know they were a Japanese home market model as was the also very nice cl400s that does well off road seeone on you tube very impressive it is . but I am not sure about other markets or if they can be imported to the US ? they make their way to the UK allright but cost £3000 for a mint low mileage example . its ok money for a rare bird in fine fettle I say .
    #33
  14. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    All my life I've had spoked wheels and tubed tires, and done roadside repairs with patch kits, spare tubes and tire irons. So after getting a GB500 with no center stand and DID alloy rims the prospect of flats became a whole different challenge. I've had Akront alloys on bikes in years past that were no problem but these DID's need a bead breaker to get the tires off the rims. And with no centerstand, just getting the wheel off would be tough in a roadside repair situation.

    I like to be equipped to fix flats on the road so I looked into converting to tubeless. The advantage for me is being able to just plug, pump, and get back home without even having to remove the wheel from the bike. Plus a 12V pump and plug kit are much easier to carry than patches, spare tube, pump, tire irons, and portable bead breaker, to say nothing of having to remove a wheel with no centerstand. So about 18 months ago I converted my spoked GB wheels to tubeless and wanted to share my experiences.

    There are lots of online discussions about converting spoked wheels to tubeless. Methods include:
    - sealing each individual spoke nipple with silicone seal (it works but is a god-awful mess and adjusting spoke tension is bound to break the seals).

    - getting a tube from a smaller diameter wheel, cutting around the circumference, and laying it into the rim's drop center like a big rim strip, then laying a bead of sealant under each edge.

    - sealing the entire drop center area with special tapes.

    All these methods seem to work if done carefully. There are 14 pages of discussion on these methods in a forum here:
    http://supermotojunkie.com/showthread.php?5090-Tubeless-for-under-10-00
    I chose the tape method. First I looked at the Outex Tubeless Conversion Kit found on ebay or here:
    http://www.ronin-cycles.com/product/27
    I decided to go with another recommended tape, the 3M Extreme Sealing Tape #4412N, info here:
    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_WW/VHB_Tapes/Home/Products/three/two/
    This stuff is 2mm thick, extremely sticky and conforming, and withstands temperatures from -40 deg F to 200 deg F. I bought a 5 yd. x 2" wide roll for $31.54 here:
    http://www.zoro.com/g/Extreme Sealing Tape/00090401/

    [​IMG]

    The Outex kit comes with mylar sticky dots to cover each spoke nipple to allow for future adjustment without damaging the sealing tape. Using the 3M tape on my rear wheel, I decided to try just trimming the existing rubber rim strip narrower to maximize tape contact area on the rim. After sanding the rim free of any corrosion and thoroughly cleaning with acetone followed by isopropyl alcohol, the rim and strip looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    3M recommends final cleaning with 50/50 isopropyl and water, so after one final wipe down I applied the tape. Per the Outex video demo I overlapped the tape near the valve stem hole, using a piece of the release paper between layers, then cut through both layers so the ends formed a perfect butt joint. I then added a short piece covering the joint and providing a double thickness for the valve stem. Here it is before trimming to width:

    [​IMG]

    I pressed the drop center areas thoroughly with a rubber roller, then used a razor knife to trim the edges just below the bead lip. Getting the excess tape off the rim is definitely a bit of work if it has been pressed at all. This stuff grips like crazy.

    [​IMG]

    The valve stem is from NAPA Auto Parts:

    [​IMG]

    The front rim is a bit narrower so to get the most tape-to-rim contact I decided to cover each spoke nipple with 15mm dots punched from 10 mil plastic tape, rather than use the cut down rim strip. To make sure the nipples could still turn easily I stuck a 10mm dot punched from 4 mil plastic bag material in the center of each tape dot before sticking them over the nipples.

    The tires mounted fine, I took special care to use rubber lube over the tape and tire beads to avoid pulling the edges of the tape loose. After inflating I wished I could see inside the tire at how the tape was conforming to the nipples and rim curves. As it turned out I immediately got my wish as the rear tire had a nail hole in it! The previous owner had had a puncture and replaced the tube. So I pulled the tire off and took a good look. The tape looked great, tightly plastered around each nipple and seated perfectly to the curves of the drop center. I've since worn out and replaced both tires and the tape looked perfect. I've ridden around 7,000 miles and have had no flats or problems. I've also converted the rear rim of my XL250 and both wheels of my NX250 using the same method, with no problems.

    Along with going tubeless I carry a 12v pump and Dynaplug tubeless tire plug kit (both from http://www.motopumps.com), and a "DonorHose" for setting the bead back on the rim if necessary after a flat (from https://www.bestrestproducts.com/p-45-donor-hose.aspx).

    [​IMG]

    The whole kit fits easily into a small tool bag mounted to the side of the bike:

    [​IMG]

    So now I'm feeling much better equipped for a roadside flat, especially since much of my riding is in areas with no cell coverage. And two side benefits are about 1-1/2# weight savings per wheel, and they lose air at about half the rate of tubed tires.

    -Bill
    #34
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  15. ReconnaissanceMan

    ReconnaissanceMan Adventurer

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    I really liked my '89 GB but family pressures forced the sale after owning it for just a year in 1991. A lawyer in Austin bought it from me for what I paid the dealer. It was a 'demo' but not many interested in cafe bikesr back then, so the price was heavily discounted.

    I'd buy another if it wasn't for the crazy money the go for now.
    #35
  16. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    Yeah, they are a sweet bike and I would like to own one someday but there are other bikes that are just as cool and fun and a lot less cash like a CB400F Supersport or even a CB450T Hawk, both cool, nimble, fun to ride, and get lot's of attention and at least half the cost. (although the 400Fs are going up a lot in price, I can still find a nice one for <$3000) Plus you can ride two up on either one if in stock form.

    Sorry to the OP don't mean to thread jack! :) I still love checking out the Tourist if I see one on the street.
    #36
  17. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    Agreed, the 400F is a very sweet bike! Just restored this one for my riding buddy:

    [​IMG]

    -Bill
    #37
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  18. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    I found your thread yesterday Bill, you did an awesome job restoring that supersport! You are also a great friend to have restored it for someone else! I was pretty close to buying a 400F but I went the '76 CB550K instead. A bit bigger and a bit more power for the highway. I had a great time with it, I learned a lot about it. Then I bought a 76 CB550F Supersport and restored it. I still regret selling that bike! Here is a pic of both together a couple of years ago. I love old classic Hondas! CB550s 003.jpg

    Again sorry to the OP for thread jacking!
    #38
  19. Spurlock

    Spurlock Long timer

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    Beautiful pair of bikes there!

    -Bill
    #39
  20. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    #40