::: Honda CX650 Cafe Racer - Made in Vietnam

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
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Good morning guys,

I really love to have a Cafe Racer bike. It somehow could help to slow me down a bit after riding fast with my VFR.
Besides, I can use that Cafe Racer to comute to work daily istead of driving my car or my VFR. A small Cafe Racer seems much more reasonable for the traffic like in Hochiminh City.

Getting around internet, study quite a lot bike types which may be converted to a Cafe Racer. Lastly, I decided that I gotta buy a Honda CX to modify it to be a cafe racer bike.

There are couple of things I love from the Honda CX:
1. Good looking engine block.
2. Drive shaft.
4. Stable and smooth, as it 's a Honda.

Finding a good old CX in Vietnam is not an easy job. I 've seen one or two GL/CX400 in Hochiminh City, never seen a single CX650.
Well, I gotta have one, CX650.
That why I decided to buy a CX650 from California and ship to Vietnam.
Paid the seller Feb2012. I got the bike in my hands Aug2012! Damn slow US boat. Hehe....
First, I have to say that the modification is not done by myself as I don't have a big enough workshop. A motorcycle workshop helps me to do the physical works.

This would be not a everyday update thread, so, let's take it easy by starting with a Vietnamese coffee, I'll be right back:

_DSC1477-2.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Now, let's see how 's the bike...
This photo was taken by the seller in Feb 2012:
IMG_0219-1.jpg


Due to some unforeseen reasons, the bike was delivered to me in Ho Chi Minh City in July 2012. No problem. I am a super patient guy.

First met the bike, let's take a round view:
DSC00702.jpg


DSC00709.jpg


DSC00708.jpg


DSC00710.jpg


10xxx miles on the clock:
DSC00712.jpg


I have ridden the bike for about 5km and feel really great. After some months but just two three time press the Ignition button, it starts.
Really smooth and powerful bike. Much better than what I though.

During the waiting time to the boat to arrive, I have also bought a set of front forks from a US friend in Maryland:
_DSC1969-1.jpg

Right, by air is faster by boat! The upside down front forks arrive much earlier than the bike.

I have also been walking around the forums to find the ideas for my project.
Found a very good thread in ADV forum with lots of very good advices from the member named Sparkymoto.

I have put up the bike and my ideas to see how the thing would look like afterward:
Design.jpg


Options and options.... create... edit.... delete... create....
Design2.jpg
 
Jul 25, 2012
169
1
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Hi Viet Horse, looking forward to more on your project whilst it progresses. I love a good cafe racer! Just thought I'd post a couple of pics in case you come up against a similar hiccup with your project: here's a few shots of my old one in early stages..... I designed the tank based on traditional Manx Norton lines but went for a modern seat unit as I really don't like the old "hump" seat.... and I think it worked beautifully. However, I wanted to use the standard shocks but as you can see from the first pic the seat unit was way too low and at an ugly angle.

281832=11897-Cafe%20Racer,%20May%202005%20001.jpg


I didn't want to bring the lower fixing for the shocks on the swing-arm forward as that'd be ugly too, and I liked the rake the original shocks were at. So..... enter a really nifty and very strong bracket which solved both problems.

281832=11898-Cafe%20racer%20with%20primer%20001.jpg


Think you might agree she turned out ok? 1993 H-D 883 Sportster to 1200 Cafe Racer.

281832=11899-1200cc%20H-D%20Sportster%20Cafe%20Racer.%20Sept%202005%20001.jpg


Good luck with the project, really looking forward to seeing the progress.
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Chiang_Mai_Martin;281832 wrote: Hi Viet Horse, looking forward to more on your project whilst it progresses. I love a good cafe racer! Just thought I'd post a couple of pics in case you come up against a similar hiccup with your project: here's a few shots of my old one in early stages..... I designed the tank based on traditional Manx Norton lines but went for a modern seat unit as I really don't like the old "hump" seat.... and I think it worked beautifully. However, I wanted to use the standard shocks but as you can see from the first pic the seat unit was way too low and at an ugly angle.

I didn't want to bring the lower fixing for the shocks on the swing-arm forward as that'd be ugly too, and I liked the rake the original shocks were at. So..... enter a really nifty and very strong bracket which solved both problems.

Think you might agree she turned out ok? 1993 H-D 883 Sportster to 1200 Cafe Racer.

Good luck with the project, really looking forward to seeing the progress.
Thanks for your head up.
I will try to make the bike leveling horizontal. That would be adjusted mostly by the rear monoshock - I can not do much with the front forks as I am using the upside down front forks and those forks have very limited adjustment range (they have different tube diameter at the triple tree connection area).
For my CX, I also have to deal with the frame under the seat. The frames there are not straight, they bend a bit and make a bloody ugly level of the bike.

P/S: Great looking HD cafe from the last photo!
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Well, let's back with the project photos. A quick visit and discussion with the shop in the morning.

Weather was so good for anything related to motorcycle:
DSC00754.jpg


First time ever I can use my camera for some close-up look to my bike - who was born in 1983:
DSC00735.jpg


She has not so small heart:
DSC00724.jpg


DSC00743.jpg


DSC00719.jpg


Her name:
DSC00727.jpg


5 gears:
DSC00726.jpg


:happy5:
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
I was spending around 2hrs at the workshop discussing on how to make the dual front discs instead of original single disc.
After two days, they have completed the mounting with perfect air-gap from the wheel to both front forks, and also the two break calipers.

Right disc:
DSC00952.jpg


Left disc:
DSC00961.jpg


There are two shim plates have been inserted into both side of the "rim base" (well, I am not sure if I am using incorrect word!!??).

Because of the differences between two sides of the rim, so two plates have difference thickness. That was a difficult part for getting a correct measurement. Otherwise, the two discs could not fit with the two break calipers.

We used long bolts to mount the break disc and the shim plate to the "rim base".

DSC00953.jpg


So, here is how the front end looks like:
DSC00950.jpg


DSC00963.jpg


The wheel looks bigger than with the single disc, right??
DSC00957.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
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0
I tried to make a comparison btw mine and some others'. I (electronically) borrowed the dual headlight:

Frontends-1.jpg


Mine looks not so good!
trustme.gif


This rearshock looks a bit old:
DSC00728.jpg


So that why I bought a Ducati 1198 OEM monoshock to replace - this monoshock is almost new, just on the bike for some hundred miles:
Ducati1198Monoshock.jpg


This is how I make the trial fit:
_DSC0697.jpg


Side view:
_DSC0696.jpg


We will make a support from the bottom frame, just about 2-3 inch height. All the rear frame will be chopped off:
_DSC0695.jpg


Overview of the rear shock design would be like this:
Design-2.jpg


I may need a little frame (diagonal brace) to support the rear seat. That's not an issue, as soon as I leave a room for the air filters.
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Mocked up the rear monoshock (from Ducati 1198) to my CX:
DSC05648.jpg


Well, got some issues here. The shock a bit long; its reservoir cylinder is fixed and it could not be turned the other way round to the the horizontal position. So... that's the only way and the best way to fix the shock. That's how we fix the shock to test the shock traveling.
Got the bike straight, held the rear frame and pushed it hard, I can notice the gap (distance) from the bottom of monoshock to the rear tire almost unchanged, just some mm variation,

DSC05653.jpg


After fixing the position for two ends of the shock, we will make a sketch for the shock support frame, there would be some options to consider.
The whole rear frame will be chopped off. A new frame - looks like the CBR rear frame is my choice to make.

In other hand, the 1mm steel plate to make the front mud guard:

DSC05656.jpg


Gas tank removed and the new tank will be built very soon:
DSC05659.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Following with previous posts, bike leveling almost done, front forks already fixed, rear monoshock also fitted with some dummy braces and plates.
Last week, they was struggling with the gas tank. It 's quite a hard job due to my difficult requirement.
However, today, they have done almost 2/3 of the tank job:

DSC_01712.jpg


Right side view:

DSC_01592.jpg


Left side view:

DSC_01612.jpg


And the tank bottom would be done by next couples of day, then the tank cap and nozzle:

DSC_01622.jpg


Front mud guard has been done:

DSC_01722.jpg


Chopped of the rear frame to make a new rear frame - idea of a sport bike rear frame:

DSC_01662.jpg


Those two diagonal braces toward the rear will be chopped off:

DSC_01642.jpg


I have a try to get the right place of foot pegs, gear and brake pedals:

DSC_01552.jpg


The gas tank supposed to be slopped to the front a bit more:

DSC_01562.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
It's 2013 time, let's see something different:

The rear monoshock, yeah, the most difficult part has been done, like this:
DSC_0239_zps0bf91fb5.jpg


Holes are made on the steel plates to make it looks lighter:
DSC_0251_zps22c26344.jpg


How it looks?
DSC_0241_zps5327bb63.jpg


The seat with seat hump is also made:
DSC_0243_zpsa358fc8f.jpg


The bike now has the Ducati look
icon10.gif
:
DSC_0254_zps1e8695aa.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Let me make a trial to see how's riding posture should be:
DSC_0249_zps73aeae1f.jpg


DSC_0245_zpsa91d6cc2.jpg


Obviously the foot pegs should be lowered. And the gear and brake pedals would be pulled backward around 15" or so.

The guys are doing the job of making the exhausts:
DSC_0258_zpsbbb3b3a3.jpg


They said my requests are so complicated - but dang, they can do them all...
DSC_0259_zpsb4be9c38.jpg
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
11
38
Wow, that is coming along nicely.

You've applied some effect to your pictures? The colors seem almost "cartoon" like. Will you paint the frame or go for a "rat bike" look? I think it looks pretty cool as is, but probably rust could become an issue over time?

If you took the marking off the engine covers this could easily be mistaken for an old Moto Guzzi!

Keep us posted!

:happy1:
 

Franz

Ol'Timer
Jun 28, 2007
1,660
2
0
Very nice project you have there VietHorse ! Takes some time to get this done and also some available funds, doesn't it ? :D
Hope to see the finished Coffee Racer soon and I'm sure you'll enjoy riding it. Good luck with the coming jobs, cheers, Franz
 

Ian Bungy

Ol'Timer
Sep 19, 2006
2,310
313
83
www.chiangmai-xcentre.com
Coming along Nicely Mate. Looking very good! I would consider Bracing the Rear Swing Arm from approximately where the Old Shocks mounted up to the New Shock Mounting point? Other wise You will get some Flex and Twist! Should look Cool when Finished! Keep up the Great Work!
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
TonyBKK;289838 wrote: Wow, that is coming along nicely.

You've applied some effect to your pictures? The colors seem almost "cartoon" like. Will you paint the frame or go for a "rat bike" look? I think it looks pretty cool as is, but probably rust could become an issue over time?

If you took the marking off the engine covers this could easily be mistaken for an old Moto Guzzi!

Keep us posted!

:happy1:
Howdy Tony.
The bike was sitting in the shop for too long so all the naked metal are rusted. I don't want to bring you all so ugly bike and others, so that why I put some retro effect to photos. Rat bike is not my favorite anyway.
You rite about the engine. I really like Guzzi, but it seems strange name to Vietnam market. Especially to the mechanic shops as well. If having Guzzi here, I don't have anyone or anywhere to service. That 's one of reasons made me chose Honda CX.
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Franz;289841 wrote: Very nice project you have there VietHorse ! Takes some time to get this done and also some available funds, doesn't it ? :D
Hope to see the finished Coffee Racer soon and I'm sure you'll enjoy riding it. Good luck with the coming jobs, cheers, Franz
Thanks Franz.
Customized motorcycle, especially Cafe Racer must not be rush. And I think I have overcome that requirement. Dang... It took me more than a year now!!
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Ian Bungy;289844 wrote: Coming along Nicely Mate. Looking very good! I would consider Bracing the Rear Swing Arm from approximately where the Old Shocks mounted up to the New Shock Mounting point? Other wise You will get some Flex and Twist! Should look Cool when Finished! Keep up the Great Work!
Hi Ian, thanks for your comments.
The supporting brace you mentioned is quite familiar to the cafe racer, especially for the old BMW. I have though of that at first and have referred to the below bike by SparkMoto:

bmw_cafe_racer_3.jpg


Then I have studied quite number of motorcycle designs, which are for the mono rear shock without the brace, then come to decision of making it to my bike. Just something different from other cafe racer.
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Ok guys, let's continue with the customized exhaust cans.
There were two extension tubes have been added to connect from the headers to the cans, yeah, slip-on type.

DSC08850_zps4ee4f476.jpg


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Here's how the cans fit to the bike:
DSC08838_zps8076b460.jpg


DSC08857_zps43289a9e.jpg


DSC08859_zps639bed6a.jpg


DSC08844_zpsab0fa5ad.jpg
 

rhiekel

Ol'Timer
Feb 23, 2003
304
1
0
Very nice work. Like the attention to detail. I have owned two Honda 650 CX bikes , except mine had a turbo on them... :)
A very solid bike overall. The sole weakness was the stator on the 650 Turbo bike would fail at between 15 and 20 thousand miles. A pretty serious repair as the entire engine had to be taken out of the frame. Not really sure if this stator issue
applies to the non turbo 650. Think it does as the engines are virtually identical.... Anyway good luck with the project,
I look forward to seeing the finished bike !!
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
rhiekel;289870 wrote: Very nice work. Like the attention to detail. I have owned two Honda 650 CX bikes , except mine had a turbo on them...
A very solid bike overall. The sole weakness was the stator on the 650 Turbo bike would fail at between 15 and 20 thousand miles. A pretty serious repair as the entire engine had to be taken out of the frame. Not really sure if this stator issue
applies to the non turbo 650. Think it does as the engines are virtually identical.... Anyway good luck with the project,
I look forward to seeing the finished bike !!
Thanks. I'd like to have a CX Turbo as well. However, it seems too expensive. If I am not mistaken, I 've never seen any CX Turbo converted into Cafe Racer.
I don't see any issue to my Stator up to now.
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Well, let see what I could do with the front part of the bike.
Ok, keep the ODOmeter and Tachnometer. I really love the idea to keep those, as it shows the bike's real ODO itself.

DSC08829_zps6a6d21f8.jpg


Just keep the neutral light, replace the ignition lock by a smaller one:

DSC08839_zps1dbf8247.jpg


And just keep the original headlight, less thinking for the time being for the headlight configuration. Not too bad:
DSC08828_zps583ab519.jpg


DSC08845_zps9d4d9554.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Some more before dis-assembly for painting...

Rear view to the bottom of the seat:
DSC08860_zpsdb0865f9.jpg


Engine:
DSC08842_zps485b9d19.jpg


DSC08841_zpsd3b8688a.jpg


DSC08833_zps198426d8.jpg


Side view:
DSC08848_zps548a715b.jpg


Rear mudguard need to extend a bit to both side:
DSC08855_zpsf522c727.jpg


Well, waiting for the colors...
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Now it's the time of disassemble all the parts and ready for painting. Heart keeps tumbling.

First is the the chassis:
DSC08894_zpsbd0d4a3d.jpg


DSC08895_zps62816673.jpg


This area is the most important one as well as the triple tree area.
DSC08897_zps30d17306.jpg


Minimum job to the rear wheel, just get it clean:
DSC08892_zps14a4b036.jpg


The rear shock riser:
DSC08881_zpsecf45faa.jpg


Close up:
DSC08882_zps093205f2.jpg


And here's how we get it clear from water clogging:
DSC08886_zpsac0324ee.jpg


This is also required minimum job:
DSC08885_zps40e71f61.jpg


This radiator sucks. Well, just get it refurbished to save some cost:
DSC08889_zps96f780b2.jpg


Front dual-disc and the shim plates - need to blast and repaint:
DSC08887_zpsa745e33a.jpg
 

VietHorse

Ol'Timer
Jan 9, 2011
516
0
0
Gas tank, view from bottom:
DSC08898_zps3c5b2ed1.jpg


Battery housing, it would be underneath the engine:
DSC08899_zpscde66dea.jpg


This 's to secure the number plate:
DSC08900_zpsb237f366.jpg


You are looking at the seat and the seat hump. Those are removable type with some bolts underneath. The bike will have a different look with another seat:
DSC08904_zpsbaad1f91.jpg


The exhaust cans, will be painted matte black:
DSC08901_zps205b99d7.jpg


DSC08907_zps1b0d6538.jpg


...