Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Time to breakout some tools...and work on the Grey Porridge

Project,  from grocery getter, to a 'Gentlemen's Express'

My Honda CB 550 , also known as 'The Orange Crate' officially down...with a very blown head gasket. It served me well from the time my Toyota was destroyed by the 'suddenly sleeping' woman who ran into it last summer. Now that I have the Honda van, I can tear the Honda down. Back to my original plan of building a 'Cafe Racer'...or as I prefer a 'Gentlemen's Express', referring back to an old 'Cycle Magazine' article....November 1975. Will try to find a picture from that article to insert here ---------------------------------------

The "Gentlemen's Express" My bike will be a blend of this idea and a "Cafe Racer"

November 75 issue of Cycle magazine with a Honda CB550 known as the 'Mantle piece'

I purchased the CB 550 with the intention of replicating a 1971 CB 500 I owned in the seventies. That bike had a lot of CB 550 parts and some nice suspension upgrades. It had a set of Candy Orange metalflake tank and side covers from a 550 Supersport model, and a sectioned seat and tail from a 750 Supersport, with a custom made taillight. Yeah, Koni shocks and a shortened fork assembly from a 750 Supersport....with the front brake from the 750 as well. Phew! Exciting stuff in those days. Working at a repair shop in a motorcycle wrecking yard, meant I had my pick of parts...for good prices...miss those days! The engine was lightly 'breathed on' ...ran a ported and polished head from a 550 on the stock 500 pistons and bores. Picked up a Hooker Header, some after market ignition coils, ran jetted up 550 carbs....and damn if it didn't make enough power to slip the stock an upgrade to a 550 clutch with Barnett plates and 'racing' springs....and it was as quick as a lot of the 750's around town in those days, and sometimes beating them up to about 100 mph....when the bigger bikes would start to breath. Ah, memories...this time round...think I'll work more on handling,,,,and keep things mild in the engine department...maybe a bigger bore..depending on what the current bore looks like...and build more of a touring express.Yeah, somewhere between the two bikes from Cycle magazine. Something to take out for a couple days up, or down the coast...runs up to the hills...with a sleeping bag and some camp gear.

Somehow I missed the Sacramento Autorama this year...guess I'll survive. Coming up in May is the Sacramento Mile. My favorite GNC racer, Sammy Halbert, is switching from Harley Davidson to Kawasaki for his 'Big twin racer'...and continuing to ride Yamahas in the smaller displacement races...will be interesting to watch. Of course DirtQuake USA is happening again in June. Haven't heard any news on the 'Moto Melee' rally...another thing I'd like to do. Then there are various rides for old bikes that Occhilungo...(aka Pete Young) has mentioned here and there.  Sometimes more modern bikes are allowed to tag along....maybe this year?

The 550 earlier this last summer on one of the few joy rides to the local Sacramento river.

Project CX... Grey porridge...I have another tank for this bike....maybe some grey paint?

My Honda CX 500..the ignition switch/fork lock bit the dust...have to see what I can find on-line....waiting patiently for an exhaust system....yeah and a better looking and fitting seat!!  I have a cobbled together temporary exhaust system, using the stock head pipes....some extension pieces and a pair of HD Sportster mufflers. As I get my home welding department back together, I'll dig up the two into one header system I started several years ago in a night adult machine shop class.  

Here's a screen shot from Sammy Halbert's Facebook page....getting results on the new Kawasaki already....Go Sammy! 

Weekends here...time to get busy!
An update in the racing...
From Flattracklive's Instagram...results from racing in Florida. Sammy got a second with the new bike.

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