Category Archives: CX500 Cafe Racer Build

Clubman handlebars installed on the Honda CX500

Clubman handlebars on Honda CX500

Clubman style handlebars installed.  I was ordering replacement cables, filters etc and this handlebar was just what I needed to get free shipping on the order.  Essentially adding it to the cart resulted in free new handlebars.  I’m thinking about firing up the CNC machine and making clamp ons for the forks for this bike but for now this is pretty good. I like the way the bars are pushed forward about 4 inches.  I don’t like the downward sweep of the bars though.  They would be better if it was about half the current angle.  I also have some concerns with the front brake master cylinder sucking air if I’m not careful with this set up.

Clubman handlebars on Honda CX500         K&N Cone air filters on cx500

Along with the new bars, I installed the new push pull throttle cables. The rebuilt carbs were also reinstalled.  My plan is to fire her up on a lil mini zacbuilt fuel tank to change the oil out post warm up and possibly ride her on the driveway a bit.

Fabricating a custom motorcycle seat for the CX 500

how to make custom motorcycle seat

The first step in any one off fabrication process is to make some templates.  I always have foam core, heavy poster board, and cardboard stock on hand for making quick templates.   In this case I started with cardboard, but it was too rigid and didn’t fit the contours of the frame well enough so I switched to poster board.   The result is the poster board template you see above in the picture.

how to make custom motorcycle seat       how to make custom motorcycle seat

The template is then used to transfer the pattern onto some 16 ga cold rolled steel.  There are many ways to cut sheet steel. I have a plasma cutter but you can see the rough hard raised edge it leaves on the left most part of the template picture above.  I chose to use an air nibbler to cut this template out.  The air nibbler allows for good clean edges and tight radius cuts without any distortion as you would get from shearing.    The next step was to run it through the plannishing hammer to shape the pan to fit the frame.  A bit of work with some slappers and it’s all tightly rolled up around the frame rails and fits well.

how to make custom motorcycle seat

As you can see, the seat pan fits well. I’m still debating on edge treatment. I think I might run a weld bead along it to round it some or possibly fold some 22ga steel over it and tack weld it in place so when I stretch the vinyl over the seat pan it does not wear and rip over time.   I’ve also started the rear fender as you can see above. I’m thinking about tucking it up into the seat pan and welding the two together into one part,  or possibly keeping it tight one the tire and mounting it to the rear swing arm.

This post Continues in part II here: CX-500 Cafe Racer – seat pan fabrication part II


CX500 Cafe Racer Build – chopping the rear frame

Honda CX500 rear frame mods


Having a vision for a project, and making that vision reality are often two different things.  Originally I was thinking I’d leave more of the rear frame for the seat.  Then I came across this bike (see below) made by the wrench monkeys.

Seeing their rear frame mods, I decided I needed to do something similar.  I’m not sold on their seat design but I like how they smoothed out the ugly factory stampings and rounded it.  This will allow the seat to more closely follow the frame and sit about 1/2″ lower at the rear.

Honda CX500 rear frame mods      Honda CX500 rear frame mods

    I did the initial cut with my trusty Milwaukee  Sawzall.  I used a large 1″ washer to scratch the final profile centered off the shock mount studs.  I then did some closer to the line rough cuts with a 5″ cutting wheel on a right angle grinder.  Followed that up with a some careful grinding and finally some hand filing to match up with the scratched line from the washer.   I hammered out some 16 gauge steel and welded it in place.  They came out pretty good. I’ll likely spray it with something after a light wire wheel buff.  When I pull the frame apart for the final painting I’ll metal finish/fill weld so that it’s nice and smooth and shiny.

Honda CX500 rear frame mods

I have also cut off the rear muffler mounts and some other frame brackets at this point.  The electronics will all fit up under the seat with some new brackets welded in place.

Cafe Racer build continues

I started in tearing down the front end tonight.  I’ve got a fairly firm plan as to what I will do going forward.  The good news is the brake caliper is good and does not need to be rebuilt.  Bad news is the MC needs to be replaced completely.  I knew about having to do one thing or another to the front brake set up on this bike before I went to look at it so I am not surprised.   I’m toying with clamp on on bars vs clubman style handlebars.  Needs a bit more thought.


I went through, tore the parts down as needed and cleaned out the varnished fuel, freed up the floats and generally gave them a light buffing.  I’m not going to polish them at this time because I might black out some or all of the carb bodies.  The carbs are ready to go back on the bike for some test riding around the yard in the near future.

CX500 brake Caliper of the bike      Honda CX500 Handlebar Mount

The Brake caliper in the left pic looks and functions well.  Bonus on not having to rebuild that.  I will clean it up a good bit and grease the pins prior to putting it back on the bike.  The Right pic shows the handlebar mount. I’m not certain what I will do here.  I suspect I may fire up the cnc machine and make a new top clamp piece eliminating the fuse housing to streamline the front of the bike.  The bike is wired with ridiculously fat wire throughout.  As part of the build I plan on addressing the excessive wiring somewhat.  I’d like to have only one small gauge in a bullet style headlight pod if possible. Maybe have a small digital unit as well.  I will make a small LED based indicator board for directional indicators, high/low/headlamp lights, etc.   I’d like to have nothing but I want this bike to be easy to ride on the street with some rider conveniences.