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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, I'm fresh to the forum, but wanted to shown my 1982 Honda 450 I've been building lately. Last year I rebuilt the intake and carburetor and was really unhappy with the stock muffler. Recently I catch the racer bug again, trying to get ready for spring riding season. So what the hell, thought I'd share with the project log here.

My Hope: To invite discussion about design choices and necessary consideration throughout the building process.

Bike specs: 1982 Honda Nighthawk CM450E

Intention: To make a custom vintage cafe racer

Supplies ordered:

New mufflers
LED headlights w/ built in signals
new handle bars
grips
new gauges (speedometer & Tachometer)
new wiring harness supplies
new seat making materials
refurbished gas tank
rebuilt brake lines
new cone style filters, rebuilt carb, & intake (done last year)
fork lowering & coloring
Plan to do various painting

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Ordered all new wiring and connectors for new harness

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Cut off the back end and started to sketch out some ideas on a seat redesign.

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Test fitting the new muffler. Kind of want an adapter to angle it up a little.

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Bring you'll up to speed, I've taken the front end of the forks and handle bars apart and ordered a lot of aftermarket replacement parts today.

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Need to find a way to coat the forks yellow on top. Wonder if anodizing the steel cylinder or zinc coating would work?

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Need to take the forks apart! but I don't have the right allen wrench. Another run to the store...I think it's 13 mm...

I'm going to try to get the gas tank painted today after I bondo the necessary area. Really like the silver grey metal tank style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
What do you think about custom gauge and dash setups for vintage cafe racers? Anybody out there have pics of custom dashes for 450 or 550 bikes? I looked around and didn't see what I wanted. I'm think about making a flat plate to mount gauges and putting indicator LEDs into the dash plate it's self. Made a quick model to see what it looks like. What do you think?

Honda dash.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
After waiting a few weeks, I finally received most of the parts I ordered. Now I can start putting back together.

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The seat making materials came too!

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Took the front forks apart to rebuild and lower an inch. I also wanted to yellow anodize the lower aluminum casting for an accent color. I sand blasted the castings at work and buffed them with WD40 and scotch brite pads. After getting a few anodizing quotes, I decided to try Dupli-Colors metal casting transparent yellow paint, which gives a very similar look to color anodizing.

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So after all that, it was the weekend and I had time to work on the bike. At the beginning the bike looked like this.

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Then...

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And then...

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Just laid the seat material up there for effect.
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Starting to get closer, but I got to sleep at some point:shock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello from Fort Wayne!


Looks like a great build ... look forwars to seeing how your bew dash gauges work out (i want new on mine)

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Hello Lost Cause! Nice to see another Hoosier here. Here are a few dash ideas I was thinking about. Might wait towards the end of the build to decide about the dash setup. Worried about how everything will fit together (Headlight, handlebar, ignition, wiring, etc). I'm surprised more people don't do something custom with nighthawk dashes. They're pretty bland stock.

CX 500 dash.jpg

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Moto Guzzi Le Mans Cafe Racer by DMOL__4.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Currently have about $100 in 2 new gauges and a ignition switch. I'll still need to get a mounting plate and LED lights for indicators. I hope to keep the indicators light under 30-40 dollars and the mounting plate I'll likely get at work for free. I'm trying to get the gauges and everything set down into the plate more for a cleaner custom dash look. It's probably not hard to get a flat plate and cut it to shape if you have a decent metal cutting wheel and grinder though.
 

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Currently have about $100 in 2 new gauges and a ignition switch. I'll still need to get a mounting plate and LED lights for indicators. I hope to keep the indicators light under 30-40 dollars and the mounting plate I'll likely get at work for free. I'm trying to get the gauges and everything set down into the plate more for a cleaner custom dash look. It's probably not hard to get a flat plate and cut it to shape if you have a decent metal cutting wheel and grinder though.
Does this include the magnets for speedo ... or are you still running worm drive ?

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just bought a new worm speedo and cable. Also includes a tach gauge, but my bike didn't have a tach originally. Leaving that to figure out later, but I didn't like the single speedo look and found the factory indicator light gauge not compatible with the new bike style.
 

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Just bought a new worm speedo and cable. Also includes a tach gauge, but my bike didn't have a tach originally. Leaving that to figure out later, but I didn't like the single speedo look and found the factory indicator light gauge not compatible with the new bike style.
If you get out under 200 (and it spunds like you might) you are way ahead of most I've seen.

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
So I had an idea on the seat. Just cut up the factory seat and build off that. So I took the seat apart to see the condition.

It was rusted!

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Quick trip through the sand blaster and rust be gone!

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Now cut marks.

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And now we're getting somewhere.

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Cut marks for tray.

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And a place for electronics.

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I think this is a good platform to build a cafe racer seat now. The key is to get the seat lined up with the bottom of tank.

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Seat to be continued...
 

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Idea for new seat design. Just got to start and get it made, but my family wants to spend time with me. "Here son hold my beer and hand me that wrench" :lol:

View attachment 239138
Haha, that sounds familiar. I knew all the tool types and sizes by the time i was 8 or 9. Best way to learn. and much better than sitting in front of a screen. Very few young kids can barely do anything for themselves these days. Good thought on modifying the original seat pan, much less frame work to mess with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Been there before. I was about 9 or 10 years old when my dad was taking out a steering column from his old ford truck. I was the Gopher! "Get that 7/16 wrench", that brings back memories. He had his tool chest in the kitchen and half the room filled with tools. I hated working a cars at the time, but sure does come in handy now.

Ford truck.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
So what a crazy weekend! I was home alone with my kids and decided to hangout with them mostly. Sunday my friend Sam came over and we worked on the motorcycle. Wife came home after a all week academic conference in Ohio. Apparently it was crazy because she started drinking wine as soon as she got home. Before that, I got a few things done on the cafe racer.
A quick update before I get back to the family.

Got foam for the seat and I learned two things. You need good foam spray adhesive to put the blocks together and a good foam cutting knife. Did not have either of these and I try a work around. Just ended up wasting time. After going back to the store, I started to get some where.

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Also got a good start on new wiring harness while I was waiting for seat stuff to dry. Had about 90% of the original wire color but had to switch out two wires with a new setup. Think I got all the wires laid out. Just need to install new connectors to the ends. Seems to be going pretty fast though. I think the seat is just a pain in the ass. Helps to go work on the wiring to reduce frustration.

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Also worked on the handle bars a little. The new grips I ordered are not exactly the same as the old. Had to trim some of the plastic off the throttle grip to fit the housing. While doing that, I broke some of the plastic.. sh*t!.. Oh well I have some crazy strong epoxy that will probably fix that. Time to call it a night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Onward push to the finish line. It snowed again in Indy today:( but I'm determined to finish this bike and have it running in about a week, hopefully just as good weather starts. Current focus is finishing seat and new wiring harness. I really wanted to go all out on the seat to realize the vision of the bike I wanted in my head. Here is the current progress.

Bought the fiberglass supplies and got the foam shaped. Cutting and grinding the foam is a bit trick because I have never done it before. First try didn't come out right so I started the second time with a new block of foam nicely glued together and was more careful not to take off to much at first leaving the block larger and sanding it to shape. Patience is key here. It's very easy to cut too much off and hard to put it back.

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Taped the whole seat to prepare for casting. Afterwards I realized the corner of the seat metal needed cut. So had to cut and re-tape the corner. You can see a blue line on the picture if you look hard. Also used a wire and taped a outline for the seat cushion as a guide. I saw someone else do this and remembered think it was clever.

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Went to the store and bought fiberglass supplies. Put some powder on the seat as a release agent for the fiber casting.

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Mixed up some resin and cut some fiberglass strips and applied it to the seat. I focused on the seat hump for the first application.

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While that was drying I worked on the wiring harness.

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A few of the pins had double wires going into the connector, but the new Molex connectors I got were too small for double pinning. I had to solder a tee connection into these wires about an inch back.

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Update continued.....
 
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