Pulled the carbs

05.31.2007 | 11:03 pm | 1981 CB650, CB650 Custom, Project bike

After looking over the section in the manual on removing and cleaning the carbs, I dove into the task. I got one of my neighbors to give me a hand getting them off the bike. The rubber sleeves that go between the carbs and the intake ports we pretty much glued to the metal after 26 years. We pried and pried and finally got them off.


Following the shop manual, my other neighbor Jerry and I started taking them apart, one by one, and cleaning them up. There was quite a bit of dirt in them, so I am not suprised that it would not run. Here is Jerry taking the main jet off.


We got down to the last few steps and found that 2 of the screws holding the cover on were stuck. We tried everything we could think of to get them loose, but they stayed stuck. We ended up using the Dremel tool and cutting a slot for my BFS (Big Friendly Screwdriver). That did the trick and we got them off.


By the time we got done cleaning them up, it was late, so we decided to call it a night. I had spent over 5 hours working on it, but some of that time was also spent putting paint stripper on the nasty black paint and cleaning the carbs up so they are silver looking again.

 Next week I will work on getting the 4 carbs put back on the bike. That should be a trick, getting the cables and hoses all lined up and reinstalled again. Then I can put the tank back on, and see if she will fire up. I am guardedly optimistic.

Clymer book arrived

05.31.2007 | 1:56 pm | 1981 CB650, CB650 Custom, Project bike

The Clymer’s shop manual I ordered arrived yesterday, along with the color coded electrical diagram for the bike. I sat down and looked through the chapter on R/R’ing the carburetors, and it looks pretty straightforward. I don’t imagine I will have much trouble removing them and cleaning out the plugged up jets. I may work on it tonight for a bit when I get home. I will, of course, post the results of my efforts.


Liquid glass applied

05.29.2007 | 10:01 pm | General

I put the first coat of LG on the front fender, side covers, and tank. They were already pretty shiny, so it was hard to tell if there was much difference. The directions say to let it sit out in the sun to “cure”, but I only had about an hour of sunlight left, so I don’t think it did much. The directions also say to add 2-3 additional layers of LG, for a much deeper shine and color. I will try that in the next day or so and see what it looks like.

Liquid Glass

05.29.2007 | 1:36 pm | General

After hearing rave reviews about this product, I went to Advance Auto Parts and picked up a can.


 It is kind of pricey, a 16oz can is $22 USD. I will polish up the bike with it and see how it comes out. Stay tuned…

A little more cleanup

05.28.2007 | 5:28 pm | 1981 CB650, CB650 Custom, Project bike

My wife worked on a few parts of the bike, the first being the chain guard. It is chrome, but the chrome is in kind of sad shape, but still shiny here and there. It had years of crud built up inside, layers of dirt mixed with chain oil. Several applications of solvent and a flat blade screwdriver took care of it. She polished up the outside and it does not look too bad now. 


The windshield had been mounted so that the inside of the shield rubbed against the back of the speedo and tach, so there are some scratches on the inside of the shield. I don’t know that we will be able to get them out, so I may have to leave them. You don’t really notice them when the shield is on the bike.



The seat actually turned out to be in pretty good shape. Some cleanup with Meguiar’s leather cleaner and it looks pretty good. 


The tank emblems were covered with black paint, so she put some stripper on them and got into the crevices with toothpicks. They came out fairly nice. Some of the gold finish is coming off in spots though, so they may need some touchup. I need to find a good picture on the web somewhere, so I know what they are supposed to look like. 


The “project bike”

05.28.2007 | 12:33 pm | 1981 CB650, CB650 Custom, Project bike

I was looking for something that would get me out from in front of the TV and the computer, so I thought it would be fun for the wife and I to buy a project bike that we could work on together and then sell it when we were done. I found a 1981 Honda CB650 Custom for a few hundred bucks, so we bought it and have begun the process. It will not currently run due to the carbs being plugged up. I ordered a shop manual, and once it arrives, I will have a go at taking the carbs off and cleaning them up.

The previous owner had spray painted much of the engine and exhaust with a hi-temp black paint. There is quite a bit of orange peel on it, so the worst part of this project will be getting all the old paint off and trying to restore some semblance of the original look to the bike. I don’t want to actually restore it to showroom looks, but to make it a good looking bike that will be fun to ride for someone.

Here is the bike as it looked when we bought it:


For example, here is what the muffler looked like with the bad paint job:


A liberal brushing of paint stripper, some sandpaper, and some elbow grease and it came out looking like this:


We did a lot more cleanup on the bike. I will post more about that later.

The bike gets transformed

05.26.2007 | 9:29 pm | General

After the first fairly long trip, it was quickly discovered that the stock seats were extremely uncomfortable, for both the rider and the passenger. So, I began to research aftermarket seats. I found that most people seemed to like the Mustang seats, so I watched to see if I could find them for a good price.

In the meantime, I had joined a Honda Shadow forum at www.hondashadow.net, and found a post from another rider who was selling a barely used Mustang seat for a substantially reduced price. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had the new seat, a Memphis Shades windshield, a windshield pouch, and a Cobra sissy bar. The bike dressed up quite nicely. By the way, www.hondashadow.net is a wonderful site with lots of friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable people. If you have a Honda Shadow, I highly recommend this site as one you should visit often!


I have been pricing some performance exhausts, but have not yet decided what direction I want to go.

How I got my current bike.

05.26.2007 | 9:15 pm | General

My wife and I had been talking about getting a bike, and had looked at Honda GoldWings because we wanted to be able to do some long range trips. Based on our research and the sage advice of 2 of my best friends (who happen to ride), we decided to get a smaller bike rather than jump in over our heads with a big touring bike.

After deciding how much we were willing to spend, I jumped on eBay to try to determine which makes/models were in our price range. The first bike I found was a 2003 Honda 750 Shadow American Classic Edition. It was described as being in pristine condition, and the pictures seemed to bear that out. There was only 90 minutes left in the auction, so I lurked until there was only 30 seconds left, and put in my bid and ended up winning!

It was located in Jupiter Florida, which is about a 3.5 hour drive from our house, so we rented a trailer and drove down to pick it up that Saturday. It was, in fact, very clean and only had 2,600 miles on it. We completed the sale, put the bike on the trailer and brought it home. As a side note, on the trip, we saw the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile driving down I-95!

The bike was completely stock, with the exception of the aftermarket saddle bags.


I parked the bike in the garage, because I had been planning on taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course, and did not have my motorcycle endorsement yet.

Two weeks later, I had successfully completed the course, got my endorsement, and was good to go.

Welcome to my Blog!

05.26.2007 | 7:25 pm | General

Welcome to my blog about motorcycle riding. I returned to riding after a 30 year hiatus, and have been getting my “feet” back under me and learning to ride all over again. I am going to chronicle my rides, adventures, experiences, and pictures. I am also rebuilding a “project bike”, and will document that effort as I go along.

Thanks for stopping by!