Who knew a paint job could be so transformative?
That’s right; my 1980 Honda CX500, my first bike stolen and then recovered blown up, rebuilt, and now broken again has been retired temporarily to the storage unit with unknown maladies including but not limited to idle issues, failing stator, and every seal on it is pouring out fluids of various types. Furthermore in my pursuit of a particular style I had hacked off the passenger seat and now found myself with my wife wanting to tag along and no bike to carry her on. So enter this red ode to the 80s.
This is a 1981 Honda CX500 Custom with a Vetter Windjammer and full luggage. I paid $550 for it from the second owner who bought it from the original owners for $1500, rode it once, realized he wasn’t able to manage such a heavy bike, and then parked it in the grass for two years where it accumulated some surface rust and a lot of dirt and refused to start.
Cleans up nice, doesn’t it? The obvious differences between this and the 1980 I had before is the fairing and bags, but this also has front air suspension, a nifty trick absent on my 1980 model.
Low miles indeed.
Came with literature, which I love. Also a brain bucket painted the same color as the bike which I’ll probably never use because anything less than a full facial (eyyy) helmet is a death wish.
The bike has two issues:
1. Carbs could be better after sitting for two years. Unsure how to approach this. I put my clean carbs from my other bike on there and it idles funny so I guess I suck ass at cleaning carbs somehow despite the aid of compressed air and an ultrasonic cleaner.
2. The starter button doesn’t work consistently which, aside from not starting the bike, means that the headlight also doesn’t work consistently because the headlight circuit runs through the starter button to enable pushing the starter to interrupt the headlight so the starter gets all the amps it craves.
Both issues should be quickly solvable I hope. Tomorrow I’ll take the carb out which will enable me to access the starter button. Then hopefully that part is serviceable and I can take it apart to clean off the contacts some. The carbs... I’m not entirely sure. I may just slap the carbs back in that it came with and run as much fresh gas through them as I can, maybe with some Seafoam for good measure.
Other than all that the plan is to just ride the crap out of this thing. It’s a super weird product of its time and an absolute time capsule and I kinda love everything about it despite being staunchly anti-fairing for a while. Once I get everything fixed and make sure the mechanicals are solid I’ll probably be taking a few road trips with the wife on it!
I only rode it two blocks with a funky idle due to my messed-up old carbs from the other CX and the lack of proper tags but it rides brilliantly if not quite a bit more top-heavy than I am used to. The front air suspension is the most hilariously smooth thing in the universe and the nose points defiantly skyward any time I touch the throttle, dipping down to acknowledge the common man when I shift gears.