1980 Honda CX500 Deluxe Motorcycle, Vintage Bike
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  1980 Honda CX500 Custom Deluxe Motorcycle Rebuild Story 

 

  The Goal Here is to Rebuild the 1980 Honda CX500 Honda Custom Deluxe, Repaint the Motorcycle and Teach Blaire how to fix Bikes  

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Blaire Painting Fenders and Side Covers of the Honda CX500 The project worked in several parts.  I bought the bike for $400 from Brian.  He just bought a truck and the truck that he bough had some serious problems.  He spent money that his wife didn't want him to spend and all of a sudden he was in trouble.  I drove the bike quite a number of times and it always ran great and Brian took pretty good care of it.  So, against my will, because I didn't need another bike and I really didn't have any extra money, I bought the bike from Brian anyway.  The second part of the project was to train Blaire on how to use shop equipment and how to fix bikes.  The third part was to make this bike run and look like it was totally new. After taking the tank and other parts off that needed to be painted, Blaire and I got started.  On this job, she learned to mix the paint, prep the motorcycle for painting, mask it off and then do the spraying. Oh, and clean the whole gun and everything.
More Blaire Painting Honda CX500 Custom Deluxe MotorcycleBlaire did all of this very well and never complained when I made her work like mad.  This Honda CX500 Motorcycle had to look perfect.  I had to do a lot of computer work on YellowAirplane.com and I really didn't have the time to do all of the training with Blaire so I painted the whole bike only black.  Just after we completed the paint job and it was completely, Blaire bought the tank back into the garage and in the process, she dropped it and put a small dent on the top. Washing the Honda CX500 Gas Tank before paingintI yelled at Blaire and told her that she had to be very careful.  She said that she was careful.  I then yelled, "You're not careful enough".  So we had to do more sanding, filling the dent and repaint the motorcycle tank.  I thought that I wanted to make this Honda CX500 look like a super nice custom motorcycle, so I decided to go ahead and put the flames on it.  Blaire learned about motorcycle painting the hard way, as most of have to if we really want to learn.
Blaire Painting the Tank of the Honda CX500 MotorcycleBlaire learned how to use different grits of sandpaper, tape off the tank and in this picture, you can see that she is not being careful again.  The tank absolutely should not be held like this.  It is so easy for it to fall off of the stand and get bent again. The Motorcycle Tank is Masked off and Painted RedIf it did get bent again, I too would have been bent again. But, everything turned out ok.  So we went on to the next step in painting this 1980 Honda CX500.  We masked off the tank using fine line tape, then regular masking tape. Here you can see it after we sprayed the red paint on it.  This was the color of the flames.  The important thing to do is to sand the whole tank after every coat before the masking and the spraying of the red.  This is very important because if the subsurface isn't totally smooth, the red will still go on nicely, but when the red is sanded, the bumps in the black subcoat will show up and will stick through the red making a real bad mess and a repaint.
CX500 Tank with the masking tape taken off, now you can see the flamesThis is what the tank looked like before sanding the red, applying the yellow pinstripe tape and then the clear.  The whole secret of painting is to have the subcoat perfectly smooth and a solid coat.  you will need to use all the same colors of primer because unless you are painting the tank all white or black, the colors will all be different where the colors of the subcoat are different.  I learned this the hard way.  Or should I say my friend Bob learned it the hard way and I watched it happen as he painted his truck. Honda Gas tank after the paint job was doneThis is the finished paint job on the Honda CX500.  Once a guy named Tom McGradey painted my old CB750 K4 and did a fantastic job. He did a trick on the emblems that I have never figured out.
Full view of the Honda CX500 after it was completeTom, if you read this article, please contact me.  I think you are a great painter and a good guy. But he did the trick to the emblems and painted them, leaving the edges of the lettering absolutely perfectly smooth.  I could never accomplish this, this is why I'm an amateur motorcycle painter and he was a pro. Honda CX500 Instrument PanelHere's the instruments of the bike.  They look very nice.  The bike sat for about three years because I was too injured to finish it, so all of a sudden, when I started driving it again, the speedometer started to stick.  As the bike accelerated up past sixty miles per hour, the speedometer would only read about thirty.  I thought that this was going to be a big problem, but it started to stick less every time I rode the bike.
Honda CX500, my house in the backgroundThis is a good view of the CX500 after it was complete. In the background, you can see my house.  I own the website, YellowAirplane.com, I have a yellow house, a yellow truck, a yellow hose and a yellow comb, if you can believe that. CX500 Honda Headlight ViewThe seat on the bike was just like brand new, the chrome looked really great and the bike just runs great.  This bike is for sale on ebay so before I put it up for sale, I wanted to be sure that everything did indeed run right.  I build the bike to be my personal bike and it have the same paint job as my Kawasaki ZN700.  The Kawasaki was a real nice motorcycle, but I had to sell it before so I could pay for the tickets to go to the North Pole.  I'm sorry that I sold the Kawasaki, and at the same time, I'm not sorry because it was absolutely necessary that I went to the pole because "God Sent Me to the North Pole".  Read that story.
Honda CX500 Deluxe MotorcycleBut anyway, the CX500 came out very well.  I polished the chrome, valve covers, intake manifolds and other parts of the bike.  It just came out beautiful. Honda CX500 Dual Sport Motorcycle Valve CoversThere's a secret to polishing metal.  On most bikes, you start out with 240 grit sandpaper and really work hard and take off a lot of metal.  You will know when your ready for the next step by washing the part and then looking at with a magnifying glass.  If you see little tiny pits that didn't get sanded, you need to sand some more.  This first step takes more time than you will imagine and is super important.
1980 Honda CX500 Motorcycle Comstar Composite WheelAfter the 240 grit, you start doing the same thing with 320 grit, 400 grit, on up to 1200 grit, then use #400 steel wool and Mothers Metal Polish.  And this makes the finish almost like a mirror.  Then you use just a paper towel and the Mothers alone and the aluminum will look like a mirror. Blueing on Mac Headers on the ole Honda CX500In the left picture you can see the Honda's Comstar wheel.  This is a composite wheel that is lighter and just as strong as a cast aluminum mag.  At least that's what I'm told.  But this Comstar is a lot lighter than the cast mag wheel.   Now, back to the polishing.  The #400 steel wool is fantastic for mirror polishing the chrome too. 
Left Side Cover of the Honda CX500With the paint, I use the fine grits of sandpaper on them and finish with Mothers metal polish.  It works great! Honda CX500 Rear Wheel showing Mac HeadersThis is a picture of the Mac Header.  it took me a while to get the jetting right and I should have looked it up on the web first.  In the process, the pipe turned blue.  But parts of the pipe will turn blue since it is a single walled, very thin racing header and a thin coat of chrome. 
Reflection in the Honda CX500 Gas TankHere's a picture of the webmaster, taking a picture of the bike and the reflection to show how shiny the paint actually can be. This is not a Honda Fake, it's a Real Honda CX500This paint is Western Enamel, which is a two part paint.  The paint uses a hardener to get a super hard, super glossy surface.  The paint actually comes out in a high gloss when it is sprayed, but it needs to be sanded to get the orange peel off of it.
You can see the reflection of the trees in the Honda Gas tank paint jobYou can really see the shine in this picture and see how nice the seat is.  Who ever gets the bike will have a nice one.  I never took the engine apart because it didn't leak and ran just like new.  So I cleaned and fixed everything else, replacing all cables and rebuilt the carbs at $75 per carb for the rebuild kits.  Those motorcycle shops pull in the bucks on parts. The YellowAirplane.com Truck in the backgroundAnother picture of the bike and the YellowAirplane Truck in the background.

I didn't want to sell the bike, but I have nine motorcycles and I want to get it down to just two. My Kawasaki Ke100 dirt bike and my 1972 CB750 and that's it.  All of the other bikes were bought for parts for the 750 rebuild and I found out that those other bikes were real nice and there's almost nothing wrong with them. So I have six 750 Hondas at this time.

CX500 Honda in the front yardThis is the last time I will be seeing the bike. Today is May 2nd 2009 and I will still put about a hundred miles on this bike before it sells on ebay. CX500 Tank CloseupSo a dream of my personal Honda CX500 is coming to an end.  It turned out to help a friend, give me some good times riding the bike and taught Blaire a whole lot as part of the Y-I-BET on the Youth of America program.  I want the new owner to appreciate this bike and take care of it as it was taken care of all of its life.  And to have a great time this summer driving a 1980 CX500 Motorcycle.

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Copyright Dates:  05-30-2013

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