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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all.

So I just purchased my first bike for $1000 and feeling some buyers remorse. Was definitely a bit eager to buy a bike and didn't stick with my original plan. Was originally looking for a Honda CB500, CB550 to fix up and convert into a cafe racer/tracker. Really wanted one from the 1970's but couldn't find one lower than $2000. Naturally they're a popular bike to turn into a cafe so maybe that's why they're so rare to find, or maybe it was just my area. So I stumbled upon this Honda CM450 for $1400 and got a little impulsive, and talked the guy down to $1000 after seeing that it runs pretty well.

Bike has 57,000 km's (yes km's, from Toronto) and seems to have been well maintained. Frame in good condition, engine runs well despite some minor rattling which my old man (general motors mechanic, little familiarly with bikes) says might be the cam chain...a tad worried it might turn into an elusive gremlin and potential money pit. Full disclosure, I'm a newbie with engines, both cars and bikes, but really wanted to learn on something and figured this was a good opportunity. Bike even came with a manual that lists every part with pics. Just wondering if this bike would be worth trying to get running well, and turn cafe...

A bit unnerved to find out that this bike is very challenging to turn cafe because of it's frame. But I'm of two minds on it: maybe try and sell it again and keep on looking for a CB for an easy cafe conversion, or accept the challenge to turn the bike into something more original than the common CB cafe. Maybe convert it to a tracker style bike. Don't see a lot of these bikes converted to a cafe or tracker. Love the way CB's look, but they're so damn common to cafe. Kind've into the idea of doing something more original.

What do you guys think? Did I waste my money on this bike? Should I try and flip it for something more forgiving to work with?

nighthawk.JPG
 

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Welcome to the forum. Great to see another 400 series here. Looks nice. Best to just leave it stock and ride it for a season, get to know it and what you'd like to change.
 

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Welcome to the group. If the book you refer to is the factory service manual you're off to a good start. You might browse through our project logs, I'm betting you could have one of the most distinctive and enjoyable café trackers on the block.
 

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If as you say you are a newbie, especially regarding your driver's license, then learn to ride, ride around a lot, get to know about how traffic acts
(as essentially you have to ride with the assumption you are invisible and ride accordingly) and get to know about maintenance.

Take advantage of your dad's knowledge and fix any disasters and do maintenance with him so you can learn.

If the manual is factory Honda, great, if Chilton or Clymer, then use it sparingly but refer to the FACTORY manual as gospel.

Nice ride. I think you'll have fun with it.

Welcome aboard. We're here to help and share your stories with ours.

As for Cafe'ing it, sigh, remember, you'll ALWAYS get more when it's time to resell if stock
rather than converted to your idea of "cool" which may be beyond the ability to return it back to stock.

If you must have a café racer, then buy something later and newer with full fairing and appropriate accoutrements.

Plenty of BatBikes around
 

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Welcome to the group. Love your bike CB450 SC. I got one too. It's my everyday rider. They ride and handle great, gets about 70 mpg. Don't feel bad, $1000 is a good price for one of those, I've seen them go for $1500 all summer long. Here's a picture of mine.
IMG_1744.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guys thanks so much for all the insight. I know wanting to convert something to a cafe or tracker is pretty unoriginal, and I just realized it might come off as a reductive way to talk about a bike that is already a nice looking bike just stock. And yes I believe it's the shop manual:
IMG_4707.JPG

So I'm deciding to keep it. As far as what I'm going to do with it, I think I'll go with peejay's advice and ride it stock for a bit. Maybe make some minor changes along the way. But first things first: getting the engine to run as good as possible. Meaning I'll be looking into this potential issue with the cam chain. Anyone ever had issues with engine rattling and cam chain?
 

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You have an odd model for the US market. The 1984 CB450SC never made it here, Canada and the rest of the world saw it. If you check the online Honda fiches for parts you'll probably find no listing for that year. Pm sent about the parts catalog.
Being new to the world of bikes is a good thing, you'll learn and have fun. I really suggest leaving her basically stock for the rest of this year until you've had time to ride and learn, seat time is a great education.
As for the rattle I would go through all of the basic maintenance on it, valves, cam chain, balancer chain, plugs, mixtures, etc. There's a sticky topic in the SOHC Misc. section about the "new to you old bike" that you'll find useful.
 

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You have an odd model for the US market. The 1984 CB450SC never made it here, Canada and the rest of the world saw it. If you check the online Honda fiches for parts you'll probably find no listing for that year. Pm sent about the parts catalog.
Being new to the world of bikes is a good thing, you'll learn and have fun. I really suggest leaving her basically stock for the rest of this year until you've had time to ride and learn, seat time is a great education.
As for the rattle I would go through all of the basic maintenance on it, valves, cam chain, balancer chain, plugs, mixtures, etc. There's a sticky topic in the SOHC Misc. section about the "new to you old bike" that you'll find useful.
Thanks, really looking forward to learning on the bike.

I've read that when ordering a part for the 1984 model, anything made for the 1983 and 1985 will work. This at all true?
 

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Thanks, really looking forward to learning on the bike.

I've read that when ordering a part for the 1984 model, anything made for the 1983 and 1985 will work. This at all true?
I'm not sure, probably or it may be an 83 part will work but an 85 won't. I just figured out that I have to consolidate all the parts PDF's into one so it'll be awhile, right now they are all individual sub assemblies or fiche pages.
 

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Hello, jontom88, and welcome to HondaTwins!

So I stumbled upon this Honda CM450
CB450?

for $1400
If the motorcycle is in pretty good condition, that might be a good price. I've seen "fixer-uppers" go for $500 and $800 (only one would start though, lol). Would depend on location, I guess.

it runs pretty well.
Good sign.

Full disclosure, I'm a newbie with engines, both cars and bikes, but really wanted to learn
You came to the right place.

wanted to learn on something and figured this was a good opportunity.
Seems like a good first motorcycle, assuming you don't have short legs. Even then, it'd probably fit but reaching the ground would be more of a stretch. It's light - harder to drop maneuvering around the driveway, easier to handle at parking lot speeds. It's got more grunt than a 250cc - but it's not a Hayabusa :lol: ... It's a standard, so you're not scrunched down over the tank like on a "crotch rocket" but you're not leaned back like on a cruiser. For the era, I think it's somewhat sporty and was supposed to be a decent-handling motorcycle when new. It's a twin - so pretty simple to work on - and a "parallel," so both cylinders are in the wind (cooling). They had decent power and decent mileage. I think a 3.7 (US) gallon tank. Not a super-strong electrical system, the alternator specification (new) was 170 watts @ 5,000 RPM; but if it's running decently, it'll just about start when you look at it ;) , so it all evens out... but if you ride in the colder months and wish to use heated glove liners, vest, et cetera, then you might want to look at ones that use a battery pack. Many parts are still available, but if you have the factory exhaust and it's in good condition, take care of it. Seems like these motorcycles were fun to ride on back roads but were decent commuters as well. Top speed in 5th (new) was supposed to be something like 105 or 110 mph, IIRC. There is an over-drive sixth gear which brings down the RPMs at steady Interstate cruise speeds (just drop a gear or two to pass).

I'm less than six feet tall and I wonder if people with legs that are much longer than mine would find it uncomfortable to ride long distances on it (due to the design of the seat, the rider can't scoot back). It appears that I'd have no trouble running out a tank - or two - of fuel, however. I think I read that there is just enough "lean" that an average-sized rider would feel neutral (against the wind) at 60 or 70 mph. I have seen these for sale with windshields, so I know that there were ones that'd fit. IDK which ones. Storage space is minimal; I guess you could store your wallet and/or cell phone in the compartment under the tail(/seat), but that's about it. Then, again, if you'd have needed on-board storage, you could have bought a Helix ;) .

wondering if this bike would be worth trying to get running well
Compression test, clean/adjust(/?rebuild?)/synchronize carburetors, adjust valves, change oil - using the correct grade of JASO M0 rated oil - and filter, check air filter, pull those little black plugs from the rubber drain lines hanging down under the motorcycle and drain the nasty watery stuff (remember to put the plugs back in). Spark plugs. Brakes. Checking the chain/sprockets. Shocks and front fork stuff. Things like that? Or does it appear to need more than regular maintenance?

Somewhere around here is a stickied thread about the "New to you Honda Twin" (or something like that). It's a checklist of things to do, mostly playing catch-up on maintenance and the like. Either in that or nearby will be information on reading the DOT date codes stamped into your tires. If they are more than a few years old, you'll want to replace them for safety reasons. The stock size is best.

If it's really in great shape or can be gotten to that level cheaply/easily, then you've got a good little motorcycle that isn't so little after all, lol. It'll carry two people around town or you across the country. I don't think the suspension is up to carrying two people for long distances. You could probably scrape the pegs in the curves if you wanted to.

and turn cafe...
Eh... Not so much. These CB450SC / 450 Nighthawk motorcycles look pretty good stock. They run great stock. The stock exhaust is great for the engine and was designed to be usable from idle to the 9200(?) RPM redline. They're safe, the suspension fits the tire size fits the braking ability fits the engine fits the transmission fits the... Kind of thing :rolleyes: . Assuming you're not 480 pounds, 4'6" (or 6'6") tall, ride on single-track, etc., it ought to serve you well in the state it came from Honda in. According to at least one source, there were saddlebags and windshields available as options, at least with the later year(s); I have never seen one with 'bags, though, and IDK if the ones I saw with windshields came that way or not. Engine seems to make its power above 6,000 RPM; do not be afraid to run the higher revs if/when you need power - it doesn't like being lugged.

Maybe try it stock for a year (or three). Get it in great shape, do the maintenance, and enjoy a nice, decent-performing motorcycle that you can depend on. convert it to a tracker style bike. Don't see a lot of these bikes converted to a cafe or tracker.

Love the way CB's look
Well, there you go, then :D .

but they're so damn common to cafe.
To me, 99% of the "cafe," "tracker," "flat-tracker," "rat," and "bobber" motorcycles seem to end up looking like all the other ones in their respective category. It's like... You remember several years ago now, when a certain... type of women started getting tattoos on their lower back area (aka "tramp-stamp," "bear coaster" :lol: , etc)? <LAUGHING> There's not much you could put there that'd make me... "Gee, I just happened to notice that you had the complete original language version of the Iliad back there, and that's pretty unique." But, well, I don't imagine I'll find myself uttering those words. I woke up one day and wondered, "Is it still non-conformity when everybody and their brother does the same thing?" How about trying for the "showroom new" look? Or you could paint it... A PO of mine painted it blue (1982s were black or red), but it's more like the early-mid '80s (I think?) Gold Wind blue, and he painted the front fender to match like some of the later years (although I think they might have gone to a plastic fender at that time, IDK). If you want to get fancy, you could find someone who is good at airbrushing to do something custom. You'll have something different, but it'll still out-handle and out-perform the average "cafe" special, lol....


What do you guys think?
I think if you are the right height to fit on it comfortably and aren't double-sized weight-wise, you found a pretty good all-around motorcycle. You can always go bigger - there's just no need to ;) .

Did I waste my money on this bike?
Not if it's in decent condition and/or your local market says that you won't find one cheaper. I'm a bit biased, though. I'd probably take a PC800 if it came with a complete set of NOS replacement body panels (it's got a trunk), but other than that, I think mine is adequate for me.

Should I try and flip it for something more forgiving to work with?
IDK what you'd consider more forgiving, a thumper? Learn it. Learn on it. Enjoy it. You've probably gotten a PM by someone about an FSM by now. That and the wonderful people here (including a few real gurus) ought to be all you need for knowledge. Get some JIS screwdrivers (and/or a manual impact driver with JIS bits)! Those "phillips screws" that you see all over your motorcycle are NOT Phillips screws, they're Japanese Industrial Standard ones. Easy to remove if you have the right tools, easy to round off and cuss because "they're too tight / stuck / <ARGH!>" otherwise.

Regards,
 

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Cam chain adjustment is real easy on CB450sc. Start the bike and warm it up good with a quick spin around the block. When you get back set bike in center stand. With bike idling at 1200 rpm or less, crack loose the bolt in the middle of the cylinders underneath the carbs, (1/2) turn. wait a second or two for the spring to set the adjustment and tighten the bolt back up. Your done. If you sill hear a chain noise its the counter balance chain. You have a manual. follow the procedure in it to make the adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cam chain adjustment is real easy on CB450sc. Start the bike and warm it up good with a quick spin around the block. When you get back set bike in center stand. With bike idling at 1200 rpm or less, crack loose the bolt in the middle of the cylinders underneath the carbs, (1/2) turn. wait a second or two for the spring to set the adjustment and tighten the bolt back up. Your done. If you sill hear a chain noise its the counter balance chain. You have a manual. follow the procedure in it to make the adjustment.
I did loosen that cam chain tensioner nut while the bike was running, rattling got louder, waited, and tightened the bolt again and rattling persists. So maybe it is the the counter balance chain? The old man thinks it's a worn out tensioner or chain/cam chain sprocket.

Here's a video with the engine running:

Rattling definitely coming from the cylinder/cam chain tensioner bolt area.
 

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I was looking at that CB450SC (Toronto) as well and ended up buying a different one from a guy in Kitchener. The bike I bought has about 38K on the odometer and seems to run fairly well, if a little balky at a steady throttle. I took it for a slow spin around the downtown core on the weekend and noticed some smoke coming from around the engine block. Seems there was some oil seeping from either the bottom gasket or the middle gasket. I cleaned it up while running with some water and diluted dish soap to cut the grease and then took it for another run. I ran it up in second gear to about 50km/h (the tach is broken so I don't know the RPMs). When I got to the next light, I noticed a fair amount of oil had splashed onto the engine block and was smoking. I pulled over and turned off the engine to check the oil to see if it was low and I couldn't get the dipstick cap off. Anyway, I rode it slowly home and checked the oil again - a little high (about 5mm over the high line). Could too much oil cause the leak? With the oil spray getting on a few other parts of the engine block, I can't exactly tell where the oil is s coming from. The fins above the exhaust pipe outlet are totally dry so it doesn't seem to be the top gasket. Sorry if I'm not great with the technical terms - my first bike and I'm completely new to tinkering on engines. I checked the breather hose and it's clear. I checked the air filter and it's clear. Is it possible that the oil line from the base of the engine to the cam cover is blocked? Could that cause leakage? I love the bike - the look, the stance, the riding position, the sound, the size, all of it - but I don't really want to sink a pile of dough into a lost cause. I'm trying not to feel like I was taken advantage of by the seller. He claimed it was running perfectly and was used regularly until the end of the last season. Anyway, tips are appreciated. I have a few pics on my phone that I'll try to post soon.
 

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the tach is broken so I don't know the RPMs
Check the Gearing Commander website to see if your motorcycle is listed. Remember to count teeth on your front and rear sprockets - if they're custom, that'll change things, but you can enter that information at the GC website. If you're lucky, it'll be listed and you can find out what RPMs in each gear correspond to, in terms of road speed. Assuming your clutch isn't slipping, of course.

)Anyway, I rode it slowly home and checked the oil again - a little high (about 5mm over the high line). Could too much oil cause the leak?
IDK. It might depend on just how much "too much" you are talking about. BtW, I would think that tracking down the issue that is causing your oil level to increase would be of comparable importance to finding/repairing a leak. If it's fuel getting past the rings, well, you're diluting the oil with gasoline (that might cause a leak or at least worsen one that was previously unnoticed, I suppose) and that won't lubricate all that well, lol. Would be bad for several things, probably in short order. I'm no expert, of course....

Regards,
 

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Srahome, first of all, welcome to the forum. Wash it down where you think the leak is again. Then sprinkle some baby powder there. Take ir for another ride. There will be a gooey mess where the actual leak is.
 

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Thanks for the tip re baby powder. I'm thinking of taking it for a short ride (5k) tomorrow. I'm fortunate that the tach drive is working but am finding it hard to locate a replacement gauge. Thanks for the tip about the RPM to road speed from Gearing Commander. The clutch and gearing seem good so I'm not worried about slipping and could probably rely on road speed in the interim. I don't think the oil level increased after I rode it, it was a bit high (5mm above the line) when I bought it. When I check the oil i don't smell gas so I'm hopeful it's not gas dilution - that would be pretty bad news. Does anyone have experience with the bolt at the bottom of the oil pipe leaking? I'm starting to feel like I'm hijacking this post - maybe I'll transfer my question to the tech forum. Sorry.
 

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Meant the oil pipe running from the cam to rhe base of the engine.
 

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Hi Jontom! Welcome to the forum.

We have about the same bike. I got a 1985 CB450SC about a month ago and have been busy rebuilding it. It will be a good bike for you to learn on. It's (relatively) simple, the factory manual is great, and the people here on this forum are amazingly helpful.

I think you got a good deal for $1000 if it's running well.

I got mine for $800 and have spent about another $1200 to get it into good mechanical order. This includes replacing most of the seals and rubber parts, tires, bulbs, chain, sprockets, brakes, and a few specialty tools along the way. (probably some other stuff I forgot too ;) )

Great to see another CB450SC on the forum!
 

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We'd sure like to see some pics of it.........
 
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