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Author Topic: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)  (Read 16158 times)

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Offline cafe75-550

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This is the article "The Gentleman's Express" from "Cycle" magazine of November 1975. Like "The Mantlepiece" article it features a pretty modified CB550. One of the big things that it has is a diagram on page 4 of the article of how to machine a CB750 piston so that it will fit a CB550, yielding 591cc's and a higher compression ratio. There are also lots a of little tricks in there that the owner of the bike did to really set up a cool CB550 that still looks fairly standard. As with "The Mantlepiece" article I've reduced the quality of the scans a little to host them on my photobucket account. They're still plenty big but if you want the originals just shoot me a PM, keep in mind all of the files together will be around 20 mb, so it would have to be emailed in at least two separate files...Also, if its like the last article I posted the site here will reduce the size of the images a bit in the thread, open them in separate windows/tabs to get the full image.

Enjoy!! ;D

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Offline SClay115

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2007, 04:40:56 pm »
That IS really cool. I like the old-school ads. Way before my time, but I love that stuff.

Steve

masonryman

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 05:41:45 pm »
Thanks, cool post, I might have find some one to do some turnin

Mark

Offline merc2dogs

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 06:17:27 pm »
Don't know what's more fun, reading the articla, or reading the ads!

$160 for a new kerker chrome exhaust! No wonder I felt rich making $75 a week in jr high!

 I've never owned a 500 or 550, 350's by the score, 750's up the wazoo, 900's and 200s, but never a 550, and for the longest time the 500/550 was my favorite bike.

Ken.

Offline 736cc

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 06:42:09 pm »
Sheesh, I remember reading that article when it came out. Those were the days...

Offline Dougy Dougy Dune Buggy

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2007, 12:45:14 pm »
That looks like my bike a few years back!
DWYJ
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ONE DAY
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Offline ChevelleSSLS6

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2007, 09:34:43 am »
That IS really cool. I like the old-school ads. Way before my time, but I love that stuff.

Steve

x2... I came around in 85.
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Roodki

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2007, 03:37:22 pm »
Hmm, thats a really cool article, and a really sweet bike.  Thats kind of the direction I want to go with mine, slightly more sporty but something that wont kill on a road trip.  Does anyone know exactly what kind of handlebars those are?  I'd looove to pick some like that up for my bike.

Later,
-Chris

Offline cafe75-550

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007, 07:22:04 pm »
Hmm, thats a really cool article, and a really sweet bike.  Thats kind of the direction I want to go with mine, slightly more sporty but something that wont kill on a road trip.  Does anyone know exactly what kind of handlebars those are?  I'd looove to pick some like that up for my bike.

Later,
-Chris

The bars are usually referred to as "euro bars", and just have a lower rise and pullback than the stockers. A bunch of different companies make them, all in slightly different dimensions...

You can check on Ebay, or from one of the retailers that carries other Honda stuff...
New bike!
'07 Triumph Speed Triple 1050
Never enough projects!
'75 CB550 "Cafe", '76 CB550 parts bike
'64 Norton Atlas featherbed/'71 Triumph 750 Triple (Triton project)
'68 BSA Thunderbolt (frame and cases, project in the wings)
'57 Triumph Thunderbird (frame and mostly complete engine)

Offline Glenn Stauffer

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2007, 02:48:12 am »
Do you have larger scans available of this article - something like 300dpi jpg files?

Offline CrisPDuk

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2007, 03:24:42 am »
 8)

Roodki, them bars look almost the same as the last set of bars I had on my 550 before I got the clubmans, those bars came from a stock UK spec '83 CB400 twin

My set are now gathering dust in the garage, with on prospect of ever being used again, if you can get to the north-west of the UK you can have them FOC ;)
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1985 H100S

Offline 736cc

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2007, 05:31:37 am »
 U better believe articles like that were a major influence for me. Like many of us, I lived and breathed sporting motorcycles since the mid 70's, and haven't been cured, yet! Here's another pic of a highly modified CB500Four. QUIZ: Anybody recognize the fellow posing and the manufacturer of the exhaust header?.



Offline SteveD CB500F

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2007, 08:25:40 am »
Looks like Mike Rutherford.
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Offline Hondell

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2007, 11:18:06 am »
Hmm, looks like Basanni
1972 Cb750 resto- 1972 Cb750 stoplight racer- 1972 Cb750 vintage touring - 1979 CBX- 1982 Kaw GPZ- 1968 Honda SS125A

Offline JohnG

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2007, 01:46:04 pm »
on the handlebars, it was common in those days to use CB400F bars as they had very little rise and came with holes to accomodate the Honda wiring.  The only drawback for a 750 was they were not very wide and you missed a bit of the leverage.  For a 550 they were real good.  A wider option was a BMW set which also had a low profile.

I had a friend with a 550F and the single best improvement he made was to drill holes in the airbox and change to a K&N filter.  The improved airflow gave the motor a noticeable gain in mid-range.

   john
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1979 CB750F
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1983 CB1123F - Rick Stetson motor

Offline noelocol

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2007, 02:30:39 pm »
This is the article "The Gentleman's Express" from "Cycle" magazine of November 1975. Like "The Mantlepiece" article it features a pretty modified CB550. One of the big things that it has is a diagram on page 4 of the article of how to machine a CB750 piston so that it will fit a CB550, yielding 591cc's and a higher compression ratio. There are also lots a of little tricks in there that the owner of the bike did to really set up a cool CB550 that still looks fairly standard. As with "The Mantlepiece" article I've reduced the quality of the scans a little to host them on my photobucket account. They're still plenty big but if you want the originals just shoot me a PM, keep in mind all of the files together will be around 20 mb, so it would have to be emailed in at least two separate files...Also, if its like the last article I posted the site here will reduce the size of the images a bit in the thread, open them in separate windows/tabs to get the full image.

Hello,
I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the article at: noelocol@rogers.com

Thanks

Noel
___________
Noel
noelocol@rogers.com
www.DoTheTon.com

Offline Kemp

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2008, 07:20:15 pm »
U better believe articles like that were a major influence for me. Like many of us, I lived and breathed sporting motorcycles since the mid 70's, and haven't been cured, yet! Here's another pic of a highly modified CB500Four. QUIZ: Anybody recognize the fellow posing and the manufacturer of the exhaust header?.




Jewel Hendricks - Kerker exhaust

Offline 736cc

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2008, 08:17:03 pm »
Jewel Hendricks...ACTION 4 exhaust
[/URL][/img]


Offline Ecosse

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2008, 09:36:49 pm »
Lately I've become curious about what cast wheels from other manufacturer will fit our bikes, specifically my 550 but others too, and what modifications if any are required. In the interest of minimal hijacking feel free to PM me.

Are these Kawasaki wheels?

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Offline Steve_K

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2008, 04:01:38 pm »
Jewel Hendricks also did some of the machine work on "The Mantlepiece".  He also wrote a book called "Superbike Preparation"   A cool book and where I first saw that photo. 
I had a 75 550 that was similar to the Express, but no engine mods.  Gordon Jennings and Cycle magazine are still cool after all these years
Steve_K
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Old rides:305 Honda, CL350, 74 CB550
 05 SV1000S, 88 CBR600,92 VFR, 88 Hawk GT, 96 Ducati 900SS, 98 Kaw ZX6R, SV650

Offline Kemp

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2009, 01:50:55 pm »
Am curious as to what the power was like when you built your 590 "Gentleman's Express", did you get any dyno readings? I have a '73 CB500 which is in nice original shape. I'd like to make a bit of a period sleeper out of it by modifying the motor and handling. I have a Powroll 590 kit, heavy stud kit and 650 cam which I was going to put in but I'd still like to keep the stock exhaust for the look. Would this work or be too choked up? For handling I've changed to tapered brgs in steering stem, progressive suspension fork springs, Thinking of putting in 750 swingarm (1 inch shorter) with needle brg, Progressive Suspension 418 shocks maybe 1 inch longer ( to quicken steering) and decent tires of course. What do you guys think, any tips on what works best but still looks original?

Offline bwaller

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2009, 05:31:35 pm »
To make the 590 really work to potential a less restrictive exhaust and bigger carbs are needed.

But to retain the "look," stock components will do fine, you'll need to jet those carbs accordingly. You could use the stock air plenum and a single large K&N in place of the airbox/stock filter, or a Unifilter supposedly supplies more air than the stock filter too.

Some of the latter 750 swingarms are longer, the earlier are actually shorter. I think a new pivot tube and brass bushings are as good as is needed. Replace wheel brgs while you're at it.

Removing weight really does help. My 590 with a 58a cam, makes 51hp at the rear with 32lbs of torque. Not a rocketship, but a nice step up in power for the middleweight.

Offline Kemp

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2009, 06:51:58 am »
bwaller thanks for the tips. In your 590 are you using different exh and carbs? Are the carbs open or filtered? Do you have any issues with clutch slip (my bike slips if I shift quickly, clutch is hair trigger)? Your power readings sound good, that's a substantial gain over stock. Where is max hp on your dyno chart? Do you have any issues with daily driveability?

Offline moham

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2009, 09:12:44 am »
Do you have any issues with clutch slip (my bike slips if I shift quickly, clutch is hair trigger)?

If you've got a 500, the clutch is notorious for slipping (so I've read, I've not ridden one), while the 550 model included clutch design improvement.
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Offline Steve_K

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Re: The Gentleman's Express, "Cycle" 11/1975 (cool 550 engine mods!)
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2009, 09:25:46 am »
In Motorcyclist from May 1975 there was an article on improving the 5000's clutch.  They used clutch plates from a Honda CB 450.  I read the article in  Brooklands Books' "Honda CB500 & CB500 Fours Performance Portfolio 1971-1977."  By the way the Gentlemans' Express article featured a Cb550 with a supercharger!
Steve_K
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Old rides:305 Honda, CL350, 74 CB550
 05 SV1000S, 88 CBR600,92 VFR, 88 Hawk GT, 96 Ducati 900SS, 98 Kaw ZX6R, SV650

 

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