I know we are a little late filling you in on the details of the CB500 chopper that Daryl built, so I wanted to do a post to show off the finer details of his bad ass machine.
I mentioned that he had rolled the old 1973 Honda CB500 out of the shed and started cutting things up a while ago in an update here on LMYR. If you missed that you can find it here and get up to speed.
The bottom line is, this is anything but an ordinary CB500. The bike he started with however, was bone stock. A forgotten, weathered motorcycle that hadn’t seen the road in decades.
Now, for the purest’s here, lets get one thing straight.
Neither Daryl, or I, or any of the gang here is taking restorable classic machines and cutting them up. We are very aware and sensitive to the nostalgia and collectibility associated with classic bikes. Everyone has their own idea of what is considered “restorable condition.”
There are many bikes that were customized, or chopped back in the day. Honestly, lots of them are piles of sh*t, and probably unsafe at this point if the frames were poorly altered. Then theres the old swiss cheese frames, with a hole drilled every 4 inches for something useless, hacked wires, weird date aftermarket stuff, anything added in the 80’s… forget it. Terrible. I can only assume its because of lack of information in the pre-internet days. These fall into the category of un-restorable to all of us I’d say.
Even more motorcycles from this era were simply left to rot outside or in sheds.
To me if, you have shot paint/dents, missing parts, rusted wheels/spokes, and rotten exhaust or mufflers, it will cost more to track down all the original pieces than the bike is worth. This is not a practical resto candidate.
This CB fit that description to a T.
Ok, so with that out of the way back to this awesome old Honda four. As I filed you in on with the first update, the bike has a raked frame and a dropped seat. The drop seat frame is an old method of lowering the seat height for that chopper stance with out converting the bike to a hardtail.
Its called a “konged” frame, and it involves some very careful cutting and welding where the backbone meets the seat tubes, or rear, of the frame.
The rake was a cool project to watch. It was intended to be a “mild” rake, which gives us a laugh just to say at this point . But hey, It looks great, it sits right, and its all good.
This bike is chopper all the way, from the custom 4 into 2 fishtail exhaust to the sunrise orange flake paint. Oh, did I mention that its over 7 feet long?
The forks are modified CB750 aftermarket 6″ extended, which end up being 7″ over stock length on the CB500. Dirk turned some spacers from aluminum for the fork, so it can use the stock springs and plungers. They worked out great. He also made a simple 4 bolt fork brace from a hunk of aluminum as well.
Perhaps my favorite part of the bike is the made-from-scratch forward controls. The foot pegs themselves are actually cut from the old fork tubes that came off when then the 7 inch extended tubes were installed. The rest of the materials were either ordered, or scrounged up around the shop. The riding position looks cool, and is also comfortable as can be on a long haul.
The 16″ ape hangers bring out the best of the stretched out low down feel of this bike, making it a pleasure to sit on.
The seat is embossed leather and the seat pan was cut by hand from Kydex, then curved with heat and clamps. Now, I’ve seen daryl make some really impressive stuff before, but I’m fairly certain he can’t sew. I actually saw him try to iron a shirt once and it was shocking. Anyhow, he farmed out the upholstery to a local business for the copper colored alligator-stamped leather seats.
All the mechanicals were sorted out. The carbs were given Uni foam filters, jetted and vacuum synced. Various seals and bearings got replaced, the front brake parts almost totally replaced with new, and new tubes, tires, rims, and spokes.
The wiring was redone and is mainly under the seat in a custom made pan. The ignition system was upgraded from points to an electronic unit as well for reliability. The crusty rusted rear shocks were replaced with an after market pair. The cost of these imperative parts all heavily off set by the fact that this neglected bike was purchased for just 400 dollars.
The idea here was clearly to build a head turning 70’s chopper thats also road trip ready and reliable.
No 70’s chopper is complete with out a sissy bar, and the one on this bike is a spectacle in its self! 36″ tall tubular loop with a sea foam greenish mermaid cutout welded into the center. The metal mermaid was made of steel and purchased as wall art off of Ebay.
There was a lot of tinkering and tuning and scratching our heads to get everything working right. Dirk has loads of patience and an excellent knack for breaking down these big projects and executing. He turned this one out in a matter of weeks and after a short shakedown, she’s ready hit the road. Not too bad for his first one!
After multiple thrilling trips to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the bike was plated. Our bags have been packed and we are out of here. Taking off for a summer road trip south and west and back again.
Stay tuned… You’ll be seeing a lot of this bike the next month or so!
Awesome job Dirk!