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Author Topic: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build  (Read 31306 times)

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Offline Rocker

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1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« on: December 03, 2010, 08:46:22 am »
Greetings all and thanks for stopping by. I am starting this thread to share my plans and progress of a cafe racer project that is three and a half years in the making. I first planned to start a build when I found this gem on Craigslist for $350 in 2007:

http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=23311.msg239657#msg239657

Soon after I bought it my wife and I found out we were pregnant with twins so I sold it and all my other projects.

Fast forward to today...

I've been all over Craigslist, eBay, and this forum trying to find another CB550. I lucked up and got this one on the second posting. The owner reposted it after the initial buyer never showed. I drove 45 minutes in the rain each way to get her.



I disconnected the battery, pulled all the fuses, pulled the side covers, seat was loose so I pulled it as well, deflated the tires a little, stuffed plastic bags in the air cleaner box, loaded her on my trailer, and home I went. She got wet on the ride home but nothing a day or so in a garage won't fix.

She does run but pretty rough. The throttle does not turn very much. I can see the cable trying to open the carbs but it does not move that far. No worries because I plan on rebuilding the carbs anyway.

A little about me..

I am not a mechanic nor do I claim to have all the skills to pull off a bike rebuild. I am an IT guy by education/trade. I've spend countless hours building/rebuilding PC and servers. You give me a pile of PC parts, case, and Windows...and I’ll have you up and running in no time. I have also done telephony support. I cannot tell you how many times I have rewired a phone frame or cross-connected 66, 110, or crone connection. I've even wired every room in my house with Cat6e cable. I also like to tinker and figure out how things work. I've always done basic maintenance on my cars. I once had a 1994 Civic Si hatchback that I wired with power windows/locks. I know the basic layout and stages of an internal combustion engine. I've read through the CB500/550 and CB750 Honda shop manuals and nothing seems Greek to me.

I've ridden motorcycles since I was a kid. My dad used to take me out on his Goldwing Aspencade. My feet would barely touch the pegs. I purchased my first bike in 2002. It was my 1975 CB750 K5. Not a bad first bike huh?

I know I will have a lot of questions, many of which have been answered by SOHC members and/or previous posts. Use the "search" function people...it's your friend.


The Plan

I am still not 100% certain the exact path I will take in the overall design but I know I want to make a cafe racer. I am a stickler for details and cleanliness so whatever I decide on it will be shiny and done right.  I have a lot of work ahead of me with degreasing, cleaning, polishing, and so forth. This will give me ample time to work up the design in my head.

My initial thoughts are I will powder coat the frame, swing arm, and rims black. The tank and seat will be painted white with a thick stripe (either black or red/blue). I am a big fan of retro styling and keeping things minimalistic.

Engine: - I will replace the stock cam with one from a CB650 (using 550 cam gear, 650 tach and tach cable.

Rewire: - I will replace the stock wiring harness with my own wiring, upgrade to the combo regulator/rectifier, replace stock fuse block with ATO fuses/block, move all electrics and battery to seat hump.

Brakes: - I will do a front dual disc conversion

Exhaust: - I am a big fan of the Norton style pea shooter pipes. Will probable end of getting a pair.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 10:48:15 pm by Rocker »
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2010, 08:46:59 am »
12/01/10

Lets get to the break down. I have lots to do and a long way to the finished product.

A few pics of her before the break down begins:







Let the break down begin:






Starting my parts pile:




12/02/10

More break down:








Like my homemade labeling system?



Because I can:



The parts pile grows:



CB550 says, "One day I hope to grow up and be as nice as you guys."




To be continued..
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline BruceDeuce

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2010, 08:51:17 am »
Great find, good luck!
78 Honda 550 Four (K)
79 XS650 Special
72 Suzuki TS400J Apache
72 Kawasaki G3SS 90
73 Aermacchi X90
86 Honda 450 Rebel restored
03 HD Deuce Screaming Eagle
Yamoto 50cc Quad
06 Loncin 110 Quad
85 LT250EF Quadrunner

Offline tango911

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2010, 09:02:48 am »
lookin good.  i did the same thing with the blue tape ha ha.

steve
CURRENT STABLE:
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Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 08:12:48 pm »
Pulled carbs, tappet, coils, chain:





Starting pulling forward controls, removing wiring harness tie downs, and disconnecting components:



Cleaned gunk off of engine and frame VIN tag:




Parts pile continues to grow:


The motor is free of all connections and will be pulled next.

To be continued..
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 07:29:46 am by Rocker »
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline brandEn

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2010, 08:25:05 pm »
Sweet another project to follow along with. Keep the pics coming!

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 08:09:11 pm »
Removed motor tonight:




Removed electrics and wiring harness



Cobwebs anyone??



Ol' girl got sick. Had to put down a catch pan :)



...and the parts pile just keeps getting bigger.


She's almost completely broke down. Another night or so of work and we'll be good to go.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 07:05:44 pm »
Breakdown complete!




Will start cleaning the frame and remove the center stand brackets. Then I will prep it for powder coating.

Oh yeah and the parts pile has turned into a mountail.



The pipes and wheels are off to the left. I had to leave a path open for the wife. That's her car on the lower right. :)
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline scunny

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 07:50:04 pm »
subscribed, looks to be a good clean bike. by the way, it's a 650 tach and drive you will need, not speedo.
past-cb100,ts250,cb500,cb500,gs1000,gs650g.phillips traveller
present-CB 650 retro
            VTR1000F3
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           TS185[sold]
           XL125S[sold]
           MT50 (white)
           MT50 (red)[sold]
           KN250/XS400 project
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Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 08:44:58 pm »
subscribed, looks to be a good clean bike. by the way, it's a 650 tach and drive you will need, not speedo.

Got it, thanks.

I am really happy with the overall condition of the bike. It's got road grime, dead bugs, and general muck on it but nothing that will not come off with some good cleaning. I am also amazed with how easy it broke down.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline joshuanagao

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 10:09:14 pm »
I am really happy with the overall condition of the bike. It's got road grime, dead bugs, and general muck on it but nothing that will not come off with some good cleaning. I am also amazed with how easy it broke down.
[/quote]

Ha I found the same in mine!  Cobwebs, bugs and pure nastyness everywhere!  I'm excited to see where you take the bike!

Offline BruceDeuce

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 11:06:45 am »
Looks like a great start anxious to see where it goes. Good luck.
78 Honda 550 Four (K)
79 XS650 Special
72 Suzuki TS400J Apache
72 Kawasaki G3SS 90
73 Aermacchi X90
86 Honda 450 Rebel restored
03 HD Deuce Screaming Eagle
Yamoto 50cc Quad
06 Loncin 110 Quad
85 LT250EF Quadrunner

Offline Duanob

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 11:16:04 am »
Looking good so far. you might want to break out the small boxes and zip lock baggies otherwise you will be scratching your head a lot on putting it all back together a few weeks or months from now.

I also like the pee-shooter pipes. I was thinking of taking just the lower OEM pipe and doing a 2 into 1 on each side. I think that would look pretty sweet, too.

ALso let me know if your going to sell anything, I'm already drooling over some of your pile of stock stuff!
"Just because you flush a butt-load of money down the toilet, doesn't make the toilet worth more",  My Step-Father the Unknown Poet

1976 CB550K2 Resurrected
1976 CB550F2 Barn Find
1979 CX500 Delux "HONDA-GUZZI"

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Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 12:24:03 pm »
I will be selling quite a bit of it. I bought some shelves to store the parts on. Will have them better organized this weekend. Will know in a few weeks what for sale.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline tshaw151

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 04:02:17 pm »
niiice start! im at the same point in my build, im putting her back together to get her running, let us (or me) know how you hook up that rec reg assy, as im having a hell of a time trying to get this thing together and running with a combined rec reg,

Offline Stev-o

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2010, 06:35:23 pm »
Nice project bike, odd looking rear tire, haven't seen one like it.

You are off to a good start.

PS. I wouldn't go crazy cleaning the frame if your going to blast and powdercoat it.
'74 "Big Bang" Honda 750K [836].....'71 Honda 750K project.....'76 Honda 550F.....K3 Park Racer.....K5 Fiddy Dolla Special!......CB500 Fiddy Dolla Special too!!............plus plus plus.........

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2010, 07:06:20 pm »
If you are planning on doing custom work on the bike to make it a cafe it is too early for the Powder coat, paint and the likes is absolutely last to do things right you tear down partially leaving enough there to make sure things don't interfere with other things. So if you put new bars on that they don't hit the tank for example. Once you have the entire custom bike done and fabbed up everything fits and works then you tear down to the frame like you have and paint and powder, and polish everything as you put it back on the bike. Skipping steps here is like skipping steps for a nice paint job miss ten percent and its the difference between nice and ugly. Just my two cents, I know it is exciting to see things all painted up but its worth the wait.
"Little Horse Cycles" facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Horse-Cycles/185809474769493

LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2010, 07:32:18 pm »
Score from eBay! Yes I know you can get the PDFs for free but there is nothing like the real thing.




Not done much work on the bike. Spent most of weekend cleaning up/organizing my garage after dad and I build my work bench. Made it from 25 year old fir 2x4's from my grandfather's barn. Scored the cabinates from my previous office when it closed.





Now I can start back working on the bike.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline Stev-o

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2010, 07:56:18 pm »
workshop looks good!  No beer frig?!?
'74 "Big Bang" Honda 750K [836].....'71 Honda 750K project.....'76 Honda 550F.....K3 Park Racer.....K5 Fiddy Dolla Special!......CB500 Fiddy Dolla Special too!!............plus plus plus.........

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2010, 06:13:31 am »
I had one in my garage but had to move it to my basement to make room for everything else. Plus it was 22 degrees here yesterday. Don't need a fridge atm.  ;D
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2010, 05:26:43 pm »
I am going to look at a '76 CB550 tomorrow and will probably bring it home if it is not to far gone.  I am going to do the same as you and do a complete teardown and then go from there.  This will be my first build project also.  I told my wife that I needed a project and that I was going to look at a 35 year old motorcycle to rebuild and she said go for it.  I am curious as to where you are located in north Georgia as I am up north of Atlanta (Adairsville).

Offline Zaipai

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2010, 07:41:13 pm »
Nice setup you got there. Bike tear down seemed to go smoothly.. Can't wait to see it back together.

.: Scott :.
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Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2010, 01:22:26 pm »
I am going to look at a '76 CB550 tomorrow and will probably bring it home if it is not to far gone.  I am going to do the same as you and do a complete teardown and then go from there.  This will be my first build project also.  I told my wife that I needed a project and that I was going to look at a 35 year old motorcycle to rebuild and she said go for it.  I am curious as to where you are located in north Georgia as I am up north of Atlanta (Adairsville).

Live in Canton.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

Offline Stev-o

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2010, 06:05:46 pm »
I had one in my garage but had to move it to my basement to make room for everything else. Plus it was 22 degrees here yesterday. Don't need a fridge atm.  ;D


Need a frig to keep the beer from freezing!
'74 "Big Bang" Honda 750K [836].....'71 Honda 750K project.....'76 Honda 550F.....K3 Park Racer.....K5 Fiddy Dolla Special!......CB500 Fiddy Dolla Special too!!............plus plus plus.........

Offline Rocker

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Re: 1976 CB550 Cafe Racer Project - My First Bike Build
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2010, 02:07:19 pm »
Was finally warm (enough) today to degrease the frame.



Turned out well. Most of the gook was on the lower frame and swing arm brackets. I discovered a few rust spots but nothing major.
~Rocker (aka Adam) | rocker@sohc4.net | SOHC/4 member #4151 | Facebook

Current Bikes:                   
1975 CB750 K5 pic                 
1974 CB360T " lil' twin " Rebuild thread
1976 CB550 K2 Cafe Racer build thread
1975 CB550 K1 parts bike Parted out and cut up.         
2003 VTX 1800C

Bikes I've had:
1974 CB550 K0
1976 CB750 K6

 

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