Wednesday, August 31, 2005

550 Four

Ladies and gentelman, I give you.....the Honda CB550. In all it's leaky, ill running, glory. The picture is not great art and the bike has changed slightly since. I've owned lots of different makes and models of bikes. A few years ago I had to sell my nice bike. It was a Yamaha SRX-6. It ran great, was pretty, did all the things I want a bike to do. It had to go to pay some bills, but I would not be bike-less. (Only bike people understand this.) I started deciding on what to buy before the SRX was sold. Someone reccomended the CB550. I considered many things; twin cyclinders, single cylinder, european, asian. I picked up the local sale paper and there it was. 77 CB550. Did'nt run, no title, $200.00. Sweet. A fool and his money etc.... This was the day before someone came to buy the SRX. I called about the Honda and we arranged a meeting just across the Indiana border where the Honda lived in a shipping container behind a construction shed.
The next day someone came by my house and bought the SRX. For the first time in many years, I had no motorcycle. I got in the truck and drove out and looked at the Honda. Long story short, I only was without a bike for a matter of hours. So after sitting for awhile at the folks house I started working on my first inline four cylinder Japanese bike. The carbs were dangling off the side, it had a diamond pattern brown Corbin king and queen seat, no sidecovers, and huge holes in the stock exhaust. I've since sourced a seat, sidecovers, exhaust, and title among other things. Each of those items could be a post in itself. I actually held a valid Maine title and plate for a while. I've never been to Maine, by the way, but I had a bike registered there. I put new shocks, tires, bars, mirror, clutch plates, cable and rebuilt the carbs. So, now the $200.00 bike is a dribbling, ill running, ugly bike that cost me well more than I should have ever paid.
Special thanks to Joe Dirt for helping me get her dialed in so she runs now.
The front wheel looks like someone tried to change the tire with an eight pound sledgehammer.
It provides a very nice shaking sensation at anything over about 5mph. I replaced all the top end gaskets to get rid of the oil spray that was hosing down my right knee. Now whenever I park it leaves an eight inch puddle of oil inder it. Very classy. The centerstand rubs the chain as a result of the aftermarket exhaust. The stock pipes had a stop to keep the stand from swinging up too far. Now that that pesky stop is out of the way my bike is trying to saw itself in half.
All of this doesnt really bother me, though. The little thing is quite endearing and with only 8,000 miles there's not much wear on the mechanicals. I know all about the CB550's and I just scored a front wheel on ebay so there's hope......


Lucky said...

That's a cool looking bike! Good luck with getting it sorted.

Blatz said...

I will give you a pan to put under it so it does not goop up your new garage floor.

red said...

The CB/CL Series are tanks! I'm facing the "no title" issue as well with a possible free ninja 500. Maine you say... hmm, I heard Maryland also has a very helpful DMV.

red said...


I've torn down 2 CL/CB450s, so I might be able to give you some insight into the twisted minds of the Honda engineers. My 73 450 should be done soon, just waiting on the head to get out of the shop.

Grumpyunk said...

Grasshopper, your KungFu is strong. You must trust the Force.......oh wait a minute, had a power switch there for a second. Sorry.

Anyway, you'll get it sorted out 'cause it'll be worth doing. Looks like a real good start so far. As far as costs go - try not to keep all of your reciepts in one place. I find that there is an inate ability in most of us that allows us to rationalize the cash outlay for shit like this. As long as you don't force yourself to confront the actual facts to often by looking at that pile of reciepts.

I find it helps to know how much the parts would've cost from the dealer also. Then you can say to yourself - "That front wheel assembly woulda' been $300.00 dollars new. I saved over $200.00 bucks on this. Shit, I can afford those tires now!
Practice it. It works.

Surly said...

Wow! someone other than my Mom reads the blog!

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