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Time for a re-do. I changed my mind about the looks of my CB550. It’s just not café enough. The remedy? Lower bars, different tank, cafe seat, mini gauges, and remove the mirrors. Yep, seriously.

The first big change had to be the seat. Café seats are typically shorter (solo seats), and incorporate a cowl to keep you from sliding off when you twist the throttle. I selected the Interceptor from Roc City Café Racers, along with the seat pad. It has a classic look, but also has a nice flat spot at the end of the cowl for a brake light. I have not yet permanently installed the seat, but it is shown mocked up in the pictures below. The cowl will give me a great spot to hide all the electronics/battery. I picked out a cheap tail light that I am thinking about incorporating into the seat. I also plan to relocate the license plate (again).

The stock CB550 tank isn’t terrible, but I really liked the looks of the CB500T (twin) tank. It is a bit larger, and just looks “right.” I happened to get a good deal on one in great shape. Just like the seat, I have not yet permanently installed the tank. I plan to move the front tank mount forward slightly, and then I’ll need to fabricate something to attach the aft of the tank. The petcock is in a slightly different location – it may be fine, but I might need to relocate it also.

The bars needed to be lower, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for clip-ons yet. I settled for a set of clubmans from Lossa. They aren’t quite as extreme as traditional clubmans, but still plenty low, and look better with the radiused joint. I removed the stock idiot light/handle bar clamp, and replaced with a simple set of handlebar clamps. No need to go aftermarket on the clamps, as Honda made them for other years/models. Part #95014-22200. I found my set on eBay.

The headlight wasn’t quite right either – it was too small, and too close to the bars. So I replaced the headlight brackets with longer ones, and went back to the stock 7” headlight bucket. The HID was really bright, but quite frankly I wasn’t too fond of all the “black boxes” need to run it. It also had a bit of glare. A big 7” headlight and OEM bucket just looks the “best.” I installed a Candlepower brand headlight with H4 bulb. No blue tinted BS here. The candlepower came with a quality Narva bulb, but I also bought a GE nighthawk just in case. My headlight ring/retainer was missing a few pieces, so I replaced it with a new one. My headlight bucket was also missing a few of the sleeves and screws that hold the headlight in, so I also had to order those separate from partzilla (3X each: #93500-050160B, #94111-05000, #61304-292-000). A few of the sleeves were a loose fit, so I just glued them in with 5 minute epoxy.

Stock gauges look goofy with low bars, so I opted to buy 2.5” mini gauges (60MPH @ 2240RPM for the speedo; 1:7 ratio for the tachometer). I have a larger than stock front tire, so my speedometer won’t be perfectly accurate, but that’s not a huge deal to me. The mini speedometer has LED idiot lights built in, which is why I got rid of the stock idiot light handlebar clamp. These things are probably made in China, but seem to be darn good quality. My only complaint is that the high beam indicator is super bright. For now I have the gauges attached to the stock gauge bracket locations, however they are too close to the headlight bucket, which is why they are sitting at a funny angle. I will most likely make a custom bracket that will spread them apart a little. Wiring them is mostly straight-forward, the only snag is the blinker indicator – you will need a couple diodes. I’m too lazy to sketch a wiring diagram, so I’ll try to describe it in words. Keep in mind the wire colors below are from my 1975 CB550, and may vary based on year/model:

Connect the following to ground (motorcycle green):
     Speedometer Yellow/Black
     Speedometer Blue/Black
     Speedometer Black
     Tachometer Black

Connect to +12VDC switched supply (motorcycle black):
     Speedometer green
     Speedometer red

Connect to +12VDC Illumination Circuit (motorcycle brown/white):
     Speedometer Orange
     Tachometer Red

Neutral indicator:
     Speedometer Green/Black to Motorcycle Light Green/Red

Oil indicator:
     Speedometer Red/Black to Motorcycle Blue/Red
 
High beam indicator:
     Speedometer Blue to Motorcycle Blue

Blinker indicator:
     Speedometer Yellow to cathode side of 2X diodes, and then connect motorcycle Light Blue to the anode side of one diode, and motorcycle Orange to the anode side of the second diode.

Note: Two diodes are necessary to make the turn signal indicator work for both L and R turn signals. The cathode side of the diodes (the side with a band) should connect to the speedometer yellow wire. Diodes should be sized based on the draw of your turn signal bulbs. Size the diodes using I=P/V, where I is current in Amps, P is power in Watts, and V is voltage. My blinkers each use 21W halogen bulbs, therefore the load is 42W per side. So 42W/12V = 3.5A.  Add another 20%+ for safety factor, and I come up with about 4.2A. I ended up purchasing some 5A 60V rectifier diodes (Schottky #SR560). Probably overkill, but overkill never hurts.

I also finally got around to installing spools on the swing arm. I have been using my aluminum rear stand with paddles for a while, and it always makes me nervous that the bike could slip off. Spools are much easier to use and much more secure. I bought a set of aluminum Vortex spools that use a 6mm SHCS. FYI the spools came with class 12.9 screws, and should be good to better than 2700 lbs each in single shear. I found a good spot in the swingarm on each side (see pics below) to drill/tap the M6 holes and install the spools. I did some very minor clearancing of the weld bead so that the spools would fit perfectly. The stand itself is a little on the short side, but I’m still able to lift the rear tire about 1/8” off the ground, which is all I need.

So beyond completing the tank and seat install, what’s left? Glad you asked:

Big stuff:
- Engine rebuild (plans include boring out to 600cc, a cam swap, and raising the compression ratio)
- Paint/powdercoat
- Rewire

Small stuff:
- Mini gauge bracket
- New steering bearings/conversion
- Lower front end
- Brake lines (probably need to be shorter now)
- Exhaust wrap


Here's a short video that shows the lighting/illumination on the mini speedometer:
 
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It’s been 6 months since I posted an update. Major changes are brewing, as you will soon see in the next update…

I started, but did not finish, the gauge restoration (more on that later). The stock gauges are fairly easy to pull apart – just carefully bend up the lip on the chrome crimp ring that holds the gauge halves together. The gauge guts appear to be in great shape, thanks mostly to the seals incorporated into the gage design. I won’t go into too much detail on the repair process, as there are plenty of guides on the internet/YouTube. The big things to address are the needles, gauge faces, needle damping pot, polish the glass, and clean/grease the clockworks.

The needles can be removed by pulling them straight off - be careful not to bend them! The gauge face is then held on with 2 small screws. I found that my gauge faces were slightly warped. So I first applied some heat with my heat gun, and then put some weight on them with a flat piece of steel to straighten them out as best I could. Next I wet-sanded the faces to remove all the old faded and cracking paint. I sanded all the way down to the plastic with a sanding block to further ensure the faces were flat.  Vinyl gauge face overlays (stickers/decals) can be purchased through eBay. Most are already pre-cut. I noticed, however, that the odometer/trip odometer slots in my faceplate were not real square. So I opted to contact the seller of the overlays and purchase the overlays without the slots pre-cut. This would allow me to cut them with a fresh razor after application, and ensure they matched the slots in the plastic face. Applying the overlays was fairly simple. I cleaned the plastic with alcohol first, and then sprayed with water, and squeegeed the face on (I used a credit card). Keep the protective cover on the outermost face (or put a paper towel over the exposed face) to ensure you don’t scratch the vinyl. After application, I sandwiched the faced under some heavy books for a few days. I then used a fresh razor blade to trim the slots/holes. The faces came out really good. In fact, my only complaint is that the overlays say “ND” (Nippon Denso) at the bottom, rather than “Nippon Seiki Japan.” Call me picky.

The white portion of the needles were actually in really good shape, and most people could probably get away with just re-painting the tips. You probably already guessed that I, instead, opted to re-paint the entire needle. I initially tried bead blasting a scrap needle to strip it, but the heat from bead-blasting warped the needle tip (and now you know why it is a scrap needle). The needles themselves appear to be made of copper. I ended up just scuffing my needles with sandpaper (carefully!), and using a toothpick to hold them into a block for painting. I’ve tried specialty needle paints in the past without much luck, so for this project I just used gloss white Rustoleum spray paint. The tips were done in Ace brand Fluorescent Glo Spray in “rocket red.” Regular masking tape doesn’t work well for small parts like this, so I just used scotch tape for masking.

The housing containing the glass is made up of 5 pieces, mostly seals (see picture), and can be disassembled by hand. With the glass out, it can be polished (if needed) with your favorite glass polish.

The gauge guts can be cleaned and lubricated (sparingly) with white lithium grease. At this point you should also consider re-filling the needle damping pots. These little containers, which couple the needle to the shaft, contain a thick oil to prevent the needle from bouncing. Over time the damping oil leaks/evaporates. This is also a reason why gauges should be stored facing up (damping pot cap up). Use 30,000 cSt (centistoke) viscosity silicone oil. This can be readily found, as it is commonly used in RC car differentials/shocks. The caps can usually be carefully pried off, and then the damping pot can be filled (use a syringe if necessary). Glue the cap back on when re-filled.

With all that done, the gauge can be re-assembled. Re-crimp the chrome crimp ring, and whala! If you couldn’t tell by now, I did not complete the gauge restoration, because I opted to change direction on which gauges I wanted to use on my motorcycle – more on this in the next update.

Other random stuff:
If you’ve kept up with my earlier posts, you will remember my trick fuel filter mod (mesh screen). I was concerned that it may get clogged and/or not flow enough fuel. Indeed, it worked great for a while, but finally got clogged enough to limit fuel flow. There just isn’t enough surface area to get the job done. Lesson learned. Long story short, I replaced the custom screen filter with an OEM filter, and now I’m back in business. The filter kit, complete with screen, seals, etc. are still available new. Part #16952-341-671. I got mine from partzilla.

You will also remember from a previous post that my K&L stick-on wheel weights started to fall off. I replaced them with some Motion Pro #08-0455 weights, and so far so good. These weights also blend in better, because even the adhesive backed tape is black in color.

I’ve been running cheap non-metric polyurethane fuel tubing for a while. It has held up well, but because it is not as thick as metric fuel line, spring hose clamps don’t work so well with it (and I hate worm gear hose clamps). So I found some metric (5.5 X 10.5mm) cloth braided fuel lines on eBay, and it did the trick.

I also finally pieced together a toolkit. I got a partially complete one from eBay a while back, and have been hunting for the missing pieces for a while. I found most on eBay, and bought a few new pieces from partzilla. I plan to incorporate a spot on the bike to store this toolkit, along with a few extra odds-and-ends.

I have also been keeping my eye out for finned engine covers. I got my hands on a racecrafters finned points cover. Still looking for a finned stator and clutch cover.

 
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Aesthetically the seat and the tank were fugly. The tank was missing half its paint, and the seat was as crunchy as a taco. Long term the tank will be painted professionally, and I may end up with a more of a cafe-style seat... In the meantime however, I thought I'd spend some time making what I have look better.

I started with the tank. I yanked the Honda emblems off, and stripped the tank with a flap wheel on my angle grinder. I would've put it through my bead blasting cabinet, but I figured I would never get all the glass beads out of the tank. The tank had a few dings in it, and this being a temporary paint job I opted to keep it simple and throw a little bondo at it. A coat of self-etching primer and another coat of rustoluem gloss black, and it looks MUCH better than it did. While I was there, I also installed a new tank cap seal, and cleaned the vent. It took me a minute to figure out how to remove the "guts" of the cap - turns out it just has 4 "prongs" that grip the inside of the cap (see pics below).

Next I addressed the seat. I had already purchased a seat cover, and new foam via eBay. The cover was similar to OEM, but was fully stitched and does not have the heat-seam (no big deal to me). I believe the foam was actually for a CB750, but I figured I could make it work (it was the only new foam I could find). 

I removed the hinge, rubber bumpers, etc. on the seat, and then pried the clips open to pull the cover off. Obviously the bike sat outside for a while, as the seat pan was quite rusty. At some point someone attempted to repair the seat with staples and vinyl repair paste. I used a wire wheel on my angle grinder to get the big rust flakes off the pan, and then used my bead blaster to finish the job. The pan itself has a fair bit of pitting but it didn't rust through, and still seems to be solid, so I will re-use it. I primed and painted the pan with rustoleum gloss black.

The foam required some shaping to fit the pan. I used my die grinder with a 40 grit disc for this job. I recommend a full face shield and dust mask for this because it makes a HUGE mess!  I basically just did my best to make it look similar to the OEM foam. Eventually it fit the pan pretty good, so I glued it to the pan with some 3M spray adhesive. The topside of the foam could use some shaping to match the OEM foam (CB550 foam is lower profile and a little more round than the CB750 foam I got). I actually opted not to shape the topside of the foam, and I'm happy with the way it looks.

I glued a trash-bag to the top side of the foam to make the seat cover easier to stretch over the foam, and then started installing the seat cover. I recommend leaving the cover out in the sun for a bit to make it easier to stretch. This is about where you will realize that the "trim" that holds the OEM seat to the pan is a part of the OEM seat cover. Many folks simply just cut it off of the original seat, and re-use it. I opted to try some edge trim I got from McMaster (#8451A47). This trim is easy to cut with a PVC cutter - you just need to place the blade in-between the metal bands in the trim to cut it without crushing it.

I opted to cut about dozen 1"-2" long pieces of the edge trim to temporarily install the seat cover and get it straight. Once I had it where I wanted it, I replaced each piece with one long strip of the trim. It worked rather well. I glued the ends of the trim in place with a little RTV. I opted not to install the passenger strap, as I prefer the way it looks without it. After all this, I re-installed the hinge and rubber bumpers, and put it back on the bike. Looks good!

I'm still undecided as to whether I will replace the seat with something that has more cafe-styling. I actually like the look of the seat as-is, so for now it will stay.

 
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Short update: After riding more than a few miles with the dual front discs, I found I was having a couple issues. 1) The brakes were dragging, and 2) they were squealing. So I pulled the front brake assembly apart (again) to investigate. The return hole (the tiny one) in the master cylinder was not clogged, and the caliper bracket pivot was free and smooth. This was where it hit me: I did not replace the piston seal, and I had re-used the old pistons which had some pitting. These are likely prime reasons why the brakes were dragging. So I installed new piston seals, as well as some new phenolic pistons. The phenolic pistons are lighter (by about 98 grams each!) and will never pit.

While I was in there, I also did everything I could to eliminate the squeal. I put a good chamfer on the pads with my belt sander, re-lubed the mechanical contact surfaces (not the friction surfaces, duh!) with caliper grease. Finally, I thought I would also try an insulator. These things are basically punched out of gasket-maker material. They go behind the inboard pad, between the pad and caliper. Honda designed the pad to "pivot" on a radiused ball on the back of the inboard pad. This "feature" leads you to believe that the pad will always stay square to the rotor and wear evenly... If you actually study the mechanics of the caliper arm, you will see that it really doesn't help that much (just look at an old worn pad - notice how it is NOT worn even). Best I can tell this insulator essentially eliminates the "pivot" of the pad, minimizing the chatter and noise.

So did all this fix my 2 issues? YEP!

Other randomness: I finally installed the left crankcase cover - had to buy a good used on eBay, as my original had some chain damage. I installed yet another K&N filter, this time on the engine breather. I got tired of the extra-long adjusters on the rear, so made a couple shorter units. I also finally replaced the rear peg rubber (one was melted). And finally: now that the hot weather has set in, the adhesive wheel weights have started to fall off. Doh! I think I need to scuff the weights, and use a little 3M VHB to fix...

 
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The tail light saga is a long story, so I'll try to spare you the boring details. Long story short I did quite a lot of Google image searching for the perfect tail light for my motorcycle. What I thought I liked was a tail light called the "mini Texas" (shown bottom left in the picture of the 4 tail lights). It was backordered and I waited and waited for it. Its a nice little tail light, but after holding it up to the motorcycle, its not my style - probably better suited for a bobber or similar.

So I went back online and ordered 4 other different tail lights (that would be 5 total, for those of you keeping track). What I finally decided on is an old school Lucas-style tail light. It is a repop made by Emgo with an aluminum housing (similar to this one). Its much smaller than the OEM tail light, yet has some café racer style to it. While I was at it, I also took the time to chop the rear fender. I took roughly 5 inches out of it, and it looks nice.

I re-located my license plate to a bracket that is attached to the lower shock mount. I had planned to make my own, but got lazy and ordered this one. I wound up using a short spacer on the mounting bolt to get the spacing I wanted. At some point I will fab my own version to get rid of the spacer. For the top two license plate bolts, I used LED bolts for illumination. I also added a second brake light (an LED module) on the license plate frame. Its a waterproof unit, and uses VHB adhesive to attach.

After some brake light testing, the hydraulic brake light switch failed and would no longer trigger the lights. I've actually run into this problem before on my VW. Typically the switch contacts get melted/scorched because of the load across them. At the time I was running an incandescent 1157 bulb (8w/23w dual filament) and the LED module. These brake lights have a draw of 1.92A and 72mA respectively, for a total of about 2 Amps when both brake lights are illuminated. The easiest way to solve the problem is to throw an automotive relay in the mix, so that the switch is not seeing the 2 Amp load, but rather just triggering the relay. For all you nerds: a typical Bosch relay coil draws about 160mA (FAR less than the 2A the brake light switch was seeing). For further protection, a flyback diode can also be installed (make sure you orient the cathode correctly). Refer to this reference for a basic wiring diagram, to include the diode (note that the capacitor discussed in this reference is overkill IMO). I installed a new hydraulic brake light switch, and no longer have any issues. Note that I also installed a new mechanical brake light switch for the rear brake.

To take it a step further, I also decided to convert the 1157 incandescent tail light to LED. LED's draw much less power, which is important on a motorcycle. I used this LED bulb in red. Note that with LED's that are put behind colored lenses, you must use the same color LED as the lens color, otherwise strange color filtering effects take place. I was a bit worried the LED bulb wouldn't be as bright, but if anything its actually brighter than the incandescent! The pictures don't do it justice. For comparison, the brake light on an 1157 incandescent draws about 1.92A, but the brake light on the LED bulb draws about 165mA (nearly 12 times less). To add extra visibility, I also added a brake light flasher. This particular one has a bunch of different modes, and works really well. I have included a video of it in action on my bike below.

For you nerds who are thinking "hey, you probably don't need that relay you just installed anymore, since that LED bulb draws much less than the 1157 incandescent bulb" - you are probably correct, BUT it still serves its purpose. Note that the LED 1157 bulb draws 165mA, and the LED module draws 72mA for a total of 237mA which is still greater than the 160mA that the coil of the relay draws (so there!).

While I was in the LED conversion mode, I also swapped the incandescent idiot lights and gage illumination lights with LED's. I tried a bunch of different styles from superbrightleds.com, and finally settled on the best: for the idiot lights, I used 1 each of these LED bulbs (12VDC, 120 deg. beam angle) in yellow, blue, red, and green. For the gage illumination lights, I used these LED bulbs (12VDC, 90 deg. beam angle) in green. Overall this configuration of LED's looks really good, and matches what it looked like with incandescents. Note that the face on my tachometer is very faded, which is why the color bleeds through so much - this will be fixed once I restore the gages. Also note that with LED's that are put behind colored lenses, you must use the same color LED as the lens color, otherwise strange color filtering effects take place.

After doing some night riding, I came to the conclusion that my H4 bulb wasn't cutting it. A potential solution could have been to install a better bulb and run the headlight wiring thru a relay directly from the battery, but I thought I would give an HID kit a try. I used a cheap H4 35W 5000K hi/low kit from DDM tuning (hard to go wrong for <$40). It was shipped directly from China - but appears to be high quality. The kit comes with the bulb, harness, ballast, igniter, and a relay unit for switching the high/low beam (which really only extends/retracts the bulb via a solenoid). I hooked it all up, placed the igniter right behind the headlight bucket, and the ballast went under the headlight bucket attached to where the old brake junction/switch used to go. It actually works rather well. The high/low beam option doesn't make much difference - it slightly shifts the beam up higher, but not by much. Otherwise, it throws out a crap-ton of white light. As an added bonus it draws less power than the old halogen (35W for the HID vs. 55W for the halogen). The only downside is that there is some glare and the cutoff pattern isn't real crisp, which is typical of an HID conversion using an H4 based reflector (the best HID systems use projectors). Glare and strange beam cutoff patterns can cause a problem with oncoming traffic, but can be mitigated with good headlight aiming. If I were doing a lot of night riding, I would probably convert to a projector based system, but for the occasional night run this setup works for me.

Here's some video of the brake lights in various states of ambient light. Note that the camera doesn't do a particularly good job of picking up how fast the lights strobe due to the frame rate:
This is a video of the LED idiot lights and gage illumination. Note that the face on my tachometer is very faded, which is why the color bleeds through so much - this will be fixed once I restore the gages. Also note the HID was not installed yet for this
video:

This is a video of the HID headlight:
 
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Long time no update...  So one of the few complaints about Honda's CB is braking performance. I had noticed that the front end appears to lend itself to dual discs with a few minor modifications. Further investigation on google indeed proves it can be done, so prior to buttoning up the front wheel and balancing it, I set off to convert to dual discs.

Obviously the first step was to get another brake rotor, caliper, and caliper bracket which is easily accomplished thanks to eBay. I studied others attempts at performing the conversion. Although many appeared successful, they were fairly crude. I was determined to find a better way. After taking a few measurements, it was obvious that the trim ring (AKA gear box retainer cover) would get tossed, and the speedometer drive would need modification to "slim" down the overall thickness, to allow the brake rotor on the speedometer gearbox side to fit. It is normally the trim ring that captivates the "ears" on the speedometer drive. The speedometer drive then engages the gear in the speedometer gearbox, which in turn drives the cable attached to the speedometer. Simple enough. This all assumes you want to keep the mechanical speedometer - I did. Although I realize that my speedometer will not be "correct" as I will have a larger than stock front tire... But I digress.

Without the trim ring to captivate the speedo drive, I needed something new. I realized that if you place the "new" brake rotor on the front wheel (speedo gearbox side), it creates a pocket nearly equal in depth to the thickness of the flange of the speedo drive. So my solution was to have a buddy of mine (thanks Kenny!) chuck the speedo drive in a lathe and turn the OD down such that it fits within the bore of the brake rotor, and then simply install a couple small #4 flat head cap screws to attach it to the front hub. This requires drilling and tapping the front hub, but its really not a big deal. The slip fit between the OD of the speedo drive and the ID of the brake rotor centers the speedo drive, and the 2X FHCS fixes it in place, allowing it to drive the speedo gearbox. We there? Hello? If you arent following what I'm saying, the pics below may make more sense. Note that if you wish to replace the oil seals in the speedo gearbox, the smaller one is a 4.8X15X4 (search for Honda #91256-240-003), and the larger one is a 34X48X7. For the time being, I'm using the old oil seals as I plan to eventually have the speedo drive gearbox housing powder coated.

Next I performed an optional step: Drilling the brake rotors. Back in the day, drilling brake rotors was done for good reason. I'll spare you the details, you can google it. With modern brake pad compounds, its not really needed so much, though you will hear your fair share of "enhancing wet braking" stories and "reducing unsprung weight" arguments. Some have merit. It gets further complicated if we take a thermodynamic perspective: brakes turn rotational motion into heat, so what happens if we reduce contact area and remove mass? Bueller? Long story short, there are many arguments for and against drilling rotors. I did it mostly because I felt like it. And if you are curious, my drill pattern reduced the weight of each rotor by ~0.19 lbs.

Drilling rotors is not rocket science. I started by creating a template with a pattern I liked. For those interested in my template, click here for the 8.5X11 version, or click here for the 11X17 version. Note that the 8.5X11 version will need to be joined together to create 1 complete template. Also be sure to print the templates actual size with no scaling. I opted for 0.25" dia. holes spaced such that I get maximum hole-to-hole wall thickness to prevent cracking. I taped the patterns on the rotors, and center punched them. I then setup my el-cheapo bench top drill press (in the living room!) in a box to collect all the chips. I used a couple quick clamps to hold the rotor in place. The secret to this job is to use a cobalt drill bit, with cutting fluid, at around 600-700 RPM. I used a Bosch bit, with tap magic as cutting fluid. Once done, I used a countersink bit to deburr and countersink the holes.

With that all accomplished, I was able to assemble the front wheel far enough to balance it. I used the same process prescribed in my previous blog post. The front wheel took a bit more weight than I hoped (60g) - its not the end of the world, but I may go back and break the bead loose and move the tire around on the rim to try and make it better. Also note that in order to torque the front axle correctly, you will need a 23mm deep socket that has at least a 1.5" deep engagement. I found that my impact socket was not cut deep enough, and had to purchase another (Lowes had one that worked). Make sure to put a bit of anti-seize on the axle threads to prevent the aluminum axle nut from welding itself to the axle.

You will notice that only the hubs have been powder coated, and most of the other components (brakes, calipers, brackets, etc.) were left alone and are fugly. My intent is to build the bike first, and then it will be torn down, probably more than once, for paint/coatings. I jumped ahead on the wheels, as I do not wish to re-lace, re-true, and re-balance all over again.

It was finally time to fit the completed front wheel assembly to the bike. And it almost fit! Turns out the fork braces built into the front fender interfered with the tire. The solution was easy, I carefully "flared" them around an old piece of exhaust tubing (~3" OD), which provided me with enough clearance for the tire. While I was there, I also opted to shorten the fender. I like the "classic" look of the fender struts, so I opted to shorten the forward side of the fender and eliminate that strut, but keep the aft portion of the fender the original length with the strut. Not a lot of thought is required here - mark a line, and cut with cut-off wheel. Keep cutting until it looks good. 

A larger master cylinder should be used to drive the dual discs. There are many options. I am using one from a mid-70's GL1000 Goldwing. It has similar "styling" to the OEM master cylinder to retain the classic look, but uses an 11/16" piston for driving dual calipers. I found mine on eBay - it was beat up and worn out, so I got it for cheap and rebuilt it. K&L makes a rebuild kit, and new reservoirs can be found (I got both on eBay). The master cylinder required significant cleaning, and it was a bear to remove the retaining ring, even with the appropriate tool. I lightly honed the bore, and verified it was within spec with my mic. I opted to use my aluminum OEM reservoir cap rather than the new plastic version.

One important final step is to shim the caliper brackets as required to ensure than they are square to the rotors. I simply used washers and found that the original caliper bracket was fairly square, but the new one needed adjustment. I also found that I had to use a button head cap screw on the upper-most caliper bracket attachment for access reasons.

The existing caliper adjustment bolt/spring can be used with the new brake caliper bracket, you just need to place the jam nut on the inside of the flange, rather than the outside. I, again, opted to take a different route: I had my buddy Kenny turn a blank on his lathe that is longer than the OEM bolt (thanks again Kenny!). I was able to cut the threads with a die, and the slots with my dremel. I then found a slightly longer spring at the hardware store. What can I say, I'm a sucker for symmetry.

Finally it was time to button it all up. I used a ton of new parts (listed below). In regards to the lines and such, I opted to go with a modular banjo style setup, making it easy to customize. I got rid of the factory caliper hard-line in addition to the 3-way brake joint where the OEM brake light switch attaches. I also opted not to use the rotor dust covers. You will notice I clearanced the speedo/tach bracket so that there would be plenty of room around the new brake lines/fittings. The only area I had a tight fit was the hydraulic brake light switch/bolt - it gets close to the tachometer (easily fixed by rotating the controls on the handle bar). Below are the new parts I used, inclusive of the rear brakes:

- Goodridge speed bleeders, 7mm X 1.0 pitch, and new caps
- Goodridge crush washers: Use at banjo interfaces
- 4X Goodridge 3/8-10 35 deg. banjo fittings: One for each line at the master cylinder, and one for each caliper
- 2X Goodridge banjo bolts, 10mm X 1.25 pitch: Use at calipers
- 26" Goodridge brake line: Rider right
- 30" Goodridge brake line: Rider left
- K&S hydraulic brake light switch, double bleed, 10mm X 1.25 pitch: Use at master cylinder
- K&S rear brake light switch, mechanical, universal
- 2X EBC FA13 Brake Pad Sets, Kevlar: Front
- EBC 316 Brake Shoes, Kevlar: Rear

From here I bled the system, and everythign seems to be working fine. Needs a road test to be sure. The only thing left is to figure out some brake line clamps - I'm thinking P-clips or similar. For now I simply have the lines zip-tied in place. Also note I am using, and recommend, ATE brake fluid. Some prefer "super blue," however it has a tendency to stain reservoirs (but makes it easier to determine if you have flushed the system). I prefer the standard ATE type 200 DOT4, which is the same as super blue, only without the blue dye.

 
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It was a bit cold in the garage over the holidays, and this along with my winter laziness of avoiding the constant shuffling of vehicles to make space in the garage, lead me to lace, true, and balance my wheels in my living room. Yes, you heard me right. This would not be the first (or the last) time I have done something like this. I have also been known to store car parts in my kitchen cabinets, but I digress. In  my defense, I used a good size chunk of granite surface plate that leveled out quite nicely, and was very stable - even on top of my carpet.

I started by cleaning up the hub bores with solvent just to ensure there wasn't any media from blasting leftover - don't want that stuff in my new bearings. I also took the time to cover everything I could in blue painters tape to help prevent the inevitable scratches.

Lacing is a lot easier than it seems. Long story short, there are two different types of spokes: "inner" and "outer" (leading and trailing) which you can identify by comparing the amount of bend in the hook portion of the spoke. If you bought new spokes, like I did, this will be much easier as the different spokes will likely be bagged separately. If you put them in the wrong side of the hub, it will be fairly obvious, as they wont line up to the holes in the rim very well. I started with front hub, and the spokes that slide through the hub from outside-to-inside (see 2nd picture below). I loaded all these spokes on one side of the hub, and then passed them trough the rim. Skip 3 holes, then the next spoke goes in the fourth... Repeat. Its relatively intuitive as far as which spoke should go into which rim hole. If you get confused, refer to the pictures of your wheels that you hopefully took before dismantling them. Flip the wheel over and repeat, again with the spokes that pass through the hub from outside-to-inside. Now its half done, and time for the spokes that pass through the hub from inside-to-outside. Then repeat the whole process yet again for the rear wheel. I installed the nipples loosely after applying a drop of oil (supplied with the new rims/spokes) to prevent them from galling.

Before setting up the truing stand, I opted to lightly tighten the spoke nipples using a criss-cross pattern and a special bit I modified. I used a gunsmithing torque screwdriver at a low 10 in-lb setting to directly torque the nipples sans spoke wrench. This step is not required, but I feel that this got me roughly in the right  neighborhood as far as truing, which should create a good starting point for the rest of the process.

This is the point where I realized it might have been better to have installed the bearings at the hub level, rather than wait until the wheels were laced up. Oops. At any rate, to make life easier I threw the bearings in my freezer for a bit. Then I used some bearing drivers on my hydraulic press to press them into the hubs. The hydraulic press isn't a requirement - the bearings can be driven in the old fashion way (BFH).  My new bearings are OEM Honda Japan units and came pre-greased. For reference I used 2X 96140-63020-10 on the front and 1X 96140-63040-10 and 1X 96140-63050-10 for the rears. The new front bearings were double shielded (the originals were only single shielded), and  the new rear bearings were single shielded just like the originals. These bearings are relatively inexpensive, and therefore worthwhile simply to replace vs. try to re-use old units. With the bearings pressed in, I reinstalled the bearing retainers (with a smidge of anti-seize) and tightened with my OTC 6613 pin spanner. Then I used a drift punch, to drift material from the hub into the notches on the bearing retainers to  lock them in place.

Helpful hint: I have had very good luck sourcing many OEM Honda parts through Power Sports Plus. The trick is to know the Honda part number, which can be found in the OEM parts list. Another helpful hint: The exploded views in the OEM parts list (sometimes also depicted in the OEM service manual) come in very handy, especially when you forget which way certain parts should be oriented at assembly.

Note that if you opt to use the Harbor Freight balancing stand, the supplied axle is probably BENT. I checked every box at my local store, and they all had this problem. At best they are 0.060" out. Otherwise this is still a decent stand, and all that is needed is a new axle. Precision shafting can be sourced on McMaster. In my case, I simply purchased some rod stock from Ace, which measured within 0.003" (TIR) on my V-blocks. I shortened the rod stock to the appropriate length with my chop-saw, and used this new axle for truing front and rear wheels. The supplied "cones" are a bit of a loose fit around the axle, but this isn't as big of a deal as it seems: For truing we really desire to spin the wheel about the bearings in the hub, rather than the bearings on the balancing stand (this essentially removes the error inherent in the stand/axle/cones). Balancing is slightly less sensitive, therefore spinning about the stand's bearings isn't as huge of a deal - though rotating about the bearings in the hub is best, so long as they spin very freely (which may not be the case on the rear wheel as I discuss later).

To true the front wheel, I setup the stand with my new rod-stock axle and the supplied cones. The triangular end pieces on the stand put enough friction on the rod-stock axle to prevent it from turning, instead allowing the wheel to spin about the bearings in the hub (which is what we want to help remove error!). The cones are set-screwed in place so that the axial (side-to-side) position of the wheel does not shift. I setup two indicators, one to measure radial (vertical) run-out, and one to measure axial (side-to-side) run-out simultaneously. I opted to indicate from the "inside" surfaces of the rim to prevent from scratching the final finish of the rims that would be seen.

From here it was just a process of slowly rotating the wheel and loosening/tightening to reduce the run-out. This is a slow process where I made LOTS of small adjustments: A few revolutions of adjusting radial run-out, and then a few revolutions of adjusting axial run-out, then repeat. Using my trusty spoke wrench, I would slightly loosen or slightly tighten as required to improve the run-out . You have to use your judgment to figure out which spokes need to be loosened or tightened to improve the run-out; its a bit of an art. Be sure not to go too crazy - if your run-out values continue to get worse, stop and start over before you twist your rim out of shape. Work your way to the best run-out value you can achieve (mine are listed below). Final torque values on the spoke nipples are technically 22.8-26.4 in-lb front and 18.0-22.8 in-lb rear. While special torque wrenches are made for this, I am not completely convinced they are necessary and opted to go by feel using my spoke wrench. You can also go by the sound the spokes make when tapped with the spoke wrench (if you trust your ears). Final run-out values for my front wheel was: 0.007" radial & 0.008" axial. The spec is 0.020" with a max limit of 0.080" for both radial and axial.

To true the rear wheel, I found that I needed to clamp the rod-stock axle to the stand to prevent it from spinning (again, we want to rotate via the bearings in the hub to help eliminate error). Essentially, I followed the same steps as discussed above for the front wheel to true the rear wheel. Final run-out values for my rear wheel was: 0.007" radial and axial. The spec is 0.020" with a max limit of 0.080" for both radial and axial.

Once trued, I started to re-install some of the components. The front wheel got the 22x36x8mm dust seal (#91252-300-003) pressed into the bearing retainer. The rear wheel got the dampers re-installed, along with the final drive flange and its associated o-ring. The original o-ring is a 2.6x79mm (#91261-323-000) which I had a hard time finding. In the end, I used a 2.62x77.5 from The O-ring Store which seems to work fine. The final drive flange also received some new studs (found them at Ace) as the originals were a bit chewed up from some chain damage. 

The next task was mounting the tires. The first step was to trim down any spokes protruding through the nipples. I did this with my Dremel. Then I used rim tape over the center of the rim (covering the nipples). I'm sure the rim tape was fine by itself, but just for a little extra protection I also used old school rim strips. Mounting the tires themselves was a bit of a challenge. I started by putting just a tad of talcum powder inside the tires to help allow the tube to spin a little in-case I needed to adjust it. Then I put a small amount of air in the tubes so that it kept its form. I again broke out all my tire spoonsrim protectors, and blue painters tape. I drew the direction of rotation on the painters tape, just to be sure I mounted the tires the right direction. I highly recommend leaving the tires out in the sun for a while if possible so that they are more pliable. I used plenty of soapy water for lubrication, and found I needed to use a couple clamps to keep the tire bead over the rim, while I worked my way around with the tire spoons. If I had to do it all over again, I would have used pledge (yes that pledge! Turns out its a great lubricant for mounting tires). I lined up the red dots (heavy spot) on the tires with the valve stem to hopefully achieve balance with less weights. I managed to get the tires on before realizing I hadn't gotten the valve stem through the hole - so that took a bit of finagling to get it right. With the tires installed, I aired up the tubes until the beads popped into the place. Whala!

After a bit of research and a few tire diameter and gearing calculations, I decided I wanted to slightly re-gear. Instead of going with the stock 37 tooth rear sprocket, I had a custom 39 tooth sprocket made by Sprocket Specialists out of 7075 aluminum. I installed the new sprocket, along with the sprocket side plate. On the sprocket side plate I installed the (#90753-283-000) 34x55x9mm oil seal (I had to RTV it into the side plate bore as it was a bit of a loose fit), as well as a new 2x92mm O-ring (from the o-ring store). I opted to use new wave washers and hex nuts to attach the sprocket vs. the original "D" washers that get bent. This was mostly for aesthetics - I'll keep an eye on the hex nut torque to just be sure they don't come loose.

With all this hardware installed, the rear wheel was ready for balancing. To balance we are not as concerned about holding the wheel in the exact axial position, so we can use the Honda axles. This, however, requires the wheel balancing stand to be slightly modified to accept the length of the OEM axles. I simply drilled several new sets of holes in the baseplate, which allow the arms to be moved inward. The triangular pieces on the end of the arm, which normally justify the rod-stock axles (which I used for truing) can flipped down, to allow the OEM Honda axles to hang out over (see the 8th picture from the end). Statically balancing is straight forward - turn the wheel a little, stop, and see if it stays put or rotates. If it rotates, let it settle and mark the heavy spot. Tape some weight to the wheel on the opposite side and repeat until you find a weight that achieves balance. I opted to use black sticky weights, as I thought they looked better than the crimp on spoke style. Right now, only the rear wheel is balanced, as the front wheel needs further modifications for the dual disc brake conversion prior to balancing it. My rear wheel took 40 grams (20g on each side of the spokes), which isn't terrible. One further option is to break the tire bead and rotate the tire on the rim to try to achieve a better balance (move the heavy spot on the tire around).

I deglazed the rear brake drum with a bit of sand paper, and then installed the new brake shoes and springs on the rear brake panel. I used a touch of brake grease on the metal to metal contact points. Then I installed the completed rear wheel on the bike! While I was there, I also installed a new heavy duty RK chain and JT 17 tooth front sprocket. I also oiled the chain and tensioned it. Since I used a larger rear sprocket, the adjusters are nearly maxed at the 'minimum' setting, so I may need to use some shorter adjusting screws so that it doesn't look funny. Overall the rear wheel came out great - and looks awesome.

In the next update I will cover the dual disc brake conversion, front wheel balance, and a few other things.


Here's a quick vid I shot of the front wheel spinning after truing. Ignore the 'jump' you see (there was a machine mark in one spot). I know the indicators are hard to see, but TIR is 0.007" radial & 0.008" axial!
 
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I was OBE (overcome by events) over the holidays, and therefore I'm way behind on posting updates. I originally thought I would capture the entire wheel build in one big update, but instead of trying to boil the ocean I will split it up to keep it short and sweet for visibility and awareness.

My overall goal was to disassemble the wheels, lace up new rims, true them, mount/balance new tires, and convert to dual front disc brakes. While I didn't quite meet my schedule goal, I have made good progress and its all starting to come together. 

I started the process by pulling the real wheel (again). The brake panel assembly and sprocket were the next to go. For whatever reason, my bike was missing the sprocket cover plate (the one with the 34x55x9 oil seal & 92x2 o-ring) - so I had to grab one off of eBay. The brake panel assembly is simple enough to tear down: Remove 2X cotter  pins, and 2X springs and it is basically done.

I soaked the rear bearing retainer nut in penetrating oil, and carefully drilled out the drift punched locks (which can be seen through the 4X retainer nut holes) with a small drill bit. I made my own spanner out of some junk I had laying around and it mostly consisted of perforated square tubing with a couple bolts of appropriate size protruding though to engage the holes in the bearing retainer. I later picked up an OTC 6613 pin spanner which works equally well. If I remember correctly, the rear bearing retainer was a left hand thread and the front was a right hand thread. 

With the rear bearing retainer off, I was able to remove the hub flange, the 79x2.6 o-ring, and all the rubber dampers. My hub flange had some scarring, probably from a past drive chain issue, which I will need to massage to make it look better. With all this removed, all that's left in the hub are 2 bearings and 2 collars. While the bearings can be removed via "classical" methods (a BFH), I choose to take the easy route and use my hydraulic press. Getting the first bearing out is somewhat of a puzzle. One option is to shift the long collar around inside the hub and try to get a "bite" on the edge of a bearing to drive it out. Instead, I found that it was much easier to press out the smaller bearing first by using a 16mm socket to press against the short collar, which fits through the inner race of the larger bearing (i.e. press out the small bearing by pushing on the short collar from the "large bearing side"). Generally speaking, the components in my rear hub were actually in decent shape. The bearings could be been used again, but I will opt to replace them.

Next is the rear tire/tube. I started by removing the valve core to deflate the tube completely. I purchased a cheap bead breaker, but the tire separated from the bead easily by hand. All that is needed here is soapy water, 3X tire spoons, and 4X rim protectors to get the job done. The rim protectors clip over the edge of the rim and give you something to pry against with the tire spoons, so that you don't mark up your rims. Don't forget to remove the hex nut holding the tube valve to the rim. Overall, the process was pretty straight forward. The trick is to pull each tire bead to the outside of the rim on its respective side. In other words, don't try to pull both tire beads over the same side of the rim. With the tire and tube out of the way, the rim strip should also come off easily. This is a good point to stop and take a bunch of pictures of the spoke pattern - they will come in handy when time to re-assemble!  I used a spoke wrench to get each spoke loose, and then used a screwdriver bit on my drill gun to remove all the spoke nipples and separate the hub from the rim. Now you should have a rim, hub, and a bunch of loose spokes. Time for a beer.

The front wheel was easy enough to remove from the bike simply by disconnecting the speedo cable and removing the 2 axle clamps. This is, however, where I ran into a snag. I tried to loosen the front axle nut so that the axle could be removed from the hub. The shop manual suggests that a wrench and a short piece of round-stock (which goes though the hole on one side of the axle to give you leverage) was enough to do the job... I guess 38 years being bolted together and some rust took its toll. I fought with it for quite a while, and no amount of penetrating oil helped. After bending several cheater bars, I finally had to hit it with a torch, an impact gun, and another huge cheater bar to get it loose. I removed the brake disc and then tried to slide the axle out of the hub, only to find that it was stuck to one of the bearings. So I wound up driving it out, complete with bearing, speedo drive, trim ring, and speedo gearbox. I never found the 58x2 o-ring that should have been behind the speedo drive.
 
Once that was taken care of, both front wheel collars came out easily. I had to put the front axle assembly on my hydraulic press to remove the bearing that was seized on it. Turns out that this bearing was in terrible shape. Its obvious the front wheel seals had been bad for a long time, the grease had all fossilized, and the components inside the hub rusted. This particular bearing was one of the worst I have seen - it had about .100" play in the inner race in every direction. I added a short video below to try to capture how bad it was. On the plus side, now I know where all the play in the steering was coming from! The process of removing the front axle and nut mangled it to the point where I opted to replace it with another good unit via eBay. At this point the front wheel bearing retainer came out much like the rear - I drilled the drift punch locks, soaked in penetrating oil, and used a spanner on it. Be careful if using a screwdriver & hammer to remove the retainer, as it is made of aluminum and is easy to distort. The 22x36x8 dust seal simply pried out of the retainer. I again used my press to remove the 2nd wheel bearing, and then removed the tire/tube from the wheel just like I did on the rear wheel.

Before slapping the wheels back together with some new parts, I took some time to file some burrs and sand some scars out of the aluminum. I had intended on putting the hub parts in my cabinet to bead blast and then spray-bomb in gloss black. After some thought, I decided that it would be worthwhile to powder coat instead (I did not want to have to disassemble all this again to re-paint if the hubs started to deteriorate). I ended up taking the parts over to Anderson to be blasted and powder-coated. 3 days later and the hub parts all had a shiny new coat of cardinal P009-BK180 gloss black powder coat on them. Powder coated cast aluminum tends to have bubbles in it, but my parts all looked great. Despite masking critical areas, I still had to cleanup the finished parts a tad - nothing a fresh razor blade and a dremel cant handle.

In the next update I will cover all the new parts and their sources (bearings, seals, o-rings, sprocket, etc.), wheel lace/true, and tire mount/balance.


A short video of the bad front wheel bearing. The video really doesn't do it justice.
 
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Somewhat of a short update this time, but don't despair - the next one will be much more significant (it will include tire removal, and wheel disassembly)...

So, I got the rear turn signals installed. No big deal - found a good spot on the rear fender where I could fit 'em. I also threw on a solid state flasher I picked up from Dennis Kirk. After a little wiring magic, my turn signals all work now. Amazing! All I need now is that darn brake light that has been on backorder for 3 months.

I managed to get a decent tach/speedo off eBay. Though I plan to restore mine soon, I needed something in the meantime that wouldn't fall apart while I ride down the road. My originals were Nippon Seiki's, the new ones are Nippon Denso's. I'm not really sure why some bikes use NS and others use ND's. Regardless, it turns out that the new tach was not indicating accurately. So I'm currently running the ND speedo (which is accurate per the GPS on my phone), and the NS tach. I also routed a new set of cables to them. These will hold me over until I get around to restoring the gages.

I finally got tired enough of the oil drips on my driveway to do something about the leak. I was certain it was the oil seal around the shift lever. I managed to get out the old one without tearing the engine apart, and installed a new one thanks to a custom tool I made (a piece of the old handle bar I chop-sawed). Unfortunately, that's not where the leak originated. Turns out the plug just above the oil seal I replaced for no reason was the culprit. At some point the chain rubbed the plug, causing the leak. The only way I can see to replace the plug is to split the case, which I don't plan to do until rebuild. So I did what any  professional repair person would do: I smeared RTV all over it. Its ugly, but it solved the problem for now. I'll fix it the right way when I rebuild the engine.

You will recall from a previous blog posting that I tore out the original petcock screen because it was nasty, and threw in a couple cheap in-line filters between the tank and carbs. I never really liked them. There is barely any room for them, they are fugly, and I'm pretty sure they were screwing up the fuel flow, so I trashed them. Instead I hatched a genius plan to make my own filter screen. I picked up a 12" x 12" sheet of stainless wire cloth from McMaster. Part #: 85385T115, which has a .0017" opening (31% open area). This is roughly equivalent to about a 50 micron filter. See the pictures below to see how I integrated the mesh into the petcock: There is a plastic assembly which holds the "tubes" and just pushes in the "D" shaped bore of the petcock, so I simply cut out a matching "D" shape piece of screen and put it between the housing of the petcock and the plastic portion. Now any fuel that flows down through the "tubes" and out the body of the petcock must flow through the filtering screen. The downside here is that the total surface area of this screen is much smaller than that of the original screen (likewise in comparison to the in-line filters), which potentially means some restriction of fuel flow and/or faster clogging. This could all be calculated, but rather than perform these administrative jumping jacks, I opted to just give it a try. So far so good!

The new rims and spokes also arrived (very quickly I might add) from Buchanan's. They look great. I went with their own Sun Rims brand, aluminum, black anodized, 19" X 2.75" front, and 18" X 2.75" rear. Also got a full set of stainless nipples and spokes in the OEM 10 gauge diameter. I can't wait to get these laced up, they are going to look good.

Finally, I threw in a quick video (below) of a portion of the "last ride" before new rims/tires. I've been keeping the speed and RPM's down, as I don't quite trust the old tires, engine, brakes, or bearings (for good reason as you will see in the next blog). And yes, I realize the video is super shaky and all you can hear is wind noise - I'm working on that.

 
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Spent some time this weekend bolting on some new parts. I started with the new rear shocks and progressive springs. I'm really happy I went with the black springs - they look good. I also opted not to install the dust caps, as it just looks a lot cleaner. The ride height increased a fair amount with the new springs, so there is now a nice air gap between the fender and tire, but I think the new tires will help with that.

While I was in there, I also installed a new rear brake strap. Its a nice aluminum piece from Joker Machine that replaces the boring looking OEM steel tube.

I finally decided on Mirrors! It took 4 sets before I made up my mind. In the end I went with a set of Ken Sean bar ends, only I modified them so they are not bar ends anymore. I had to cut off the boss (bar end mount) and drill out the holes for M10's so I could bolt them to the controls. I went through all that trouble because they are the right size, and they have an old school look that will fit in with the build.

The tires and tubes are in, though I still need to order the rims and spokes. Both tires are Metzeler Lasertec's. 110/90-19 front, and 130/80-18 rear should really change the look of the bike. The tubes are Bridgestone ultra heavy duty, and by the looks of them, will not be real fun to install; I'm not completely convinced they even need air in them.

The OEM horn sounded like half dead cat being mauled by a coyote 10 miles away, so I replaced it. The new one is a PIAA sport 500hz, and it is pretty loud. I removed all the stupid looking stickers they put on it, so it blends in better. I may end up relocating it at a future date.

The forks needed to come out, so I was finally able to use my shiny new harbor freight motorcycle lift. I had to make some innovative spacers (2X4's bolted together) to get around the exhaust which somewhat detracts from the awesomeness of the made in China aluminum lift, but I digress. While the bike felt pretty sturdy on the lift, I opted to rig up some more supports just in case, as I wasnt sure what the CG was going to do once I yanked the front end. I pulled the forks complete with tire, and brake. The fork gators were removed, and so were the OEM headlight brackets. I also replaced the old fork springs with new progressive ones. I'm sure the fork oil needs to be changed, but I plan to install new fork seals before I bother with that. The upper portion of the forks were a bit rusty. I cleaned them up best I could for now. Eventually the upper portion will be painted black.

I put in a new H4 headlight with a new bucket. Overall it is a slightly more compact unit (7" dia), which makes wiring a little tricky, but looks nice when finished. I also got the new front turn signals installed. Turns out the new signals have the same thread as the headlight bucket, which makes things go together real clean. I'm not completely fond of how I routed the main harness into the bucket (around the frame head and behind the brake joint), so I will probably wind up re-routing it in the near future. The headlight works, but the turn signals stay on solid rather than flash. The flasher is good, so I suspect they stay on solid due to the current draw. I had planned to install a solid state flasher relay anyway, so its just one more excuse to buy some more parts.