CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

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CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:38

Hi,

unfortunately I found this forum not before today, so I just copy and paste the content of my already posted posts on my blog.
It would be too much work to retype it, so please excuse this.

The whole build is documented on my blog, too:

http://cb550cafeit.blogspot.com/




Some facts about me:
I am a 20-year-old student (studying Electrical Engineering) and at the same time a trainee for plant mechanics.
Well, enough of that. Here are some facts about my project.
After a short period of time i began to search for an old motorcycle which did not have to be comlete or running at all, because i was about to change it either way.

On Friday 18th March 2011 I inspected an old CB 550 Four about 25 miles from here.
You can't imagine just with words, so I uploaded some photos for you:




Well, it is not complete, but the most parts are convenient or perfectly o.k. Here are some detailed shots:









All in all:

-front wheel and rim are perfectly o.k. (chrome is shiny)
-rear wheel and rim are convenient (the chain added scratches to the rim's side)
-brakes are as good as new
-front and rear fenders are super
-fork o.k.
-tachometer o.k.
-swingarm super
-stands o.k.
-chainguard perfectly o.k.
-shock absorbers o.k
-frame o.k.
-wiring harness super

Fuel tank, tachometer and saddle will not be used, because they are going to be changed, too.

There was a Suzuki GS 550 E available for nearly 1000$ but in a quite bad condition.
Moreover, my family owns a nearly complete engine, another frame and many, in some cases new, spare parts.

Today i got an offer for an complete running engine for about 320$, but let's see what the next days will bring.



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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:38

Last evening I brought the bike to my garage. After a distance of 50 miles "she" found her new home.

The inspection of the new engine will be on monday, but I have just begun to disassemble the bike. Of course I took some photos for my followers ;-).

Furthermore I checked if the fuel tank of an CX 500 D would fit on the frame and I am convinced that it would be looking great. With the notch for knees it really looks like a true Caferacer!



Unfortunately the tank lay a bit too high at its rear end and I forgot to took some new photos when it finally fitted.



Regrettably the hole for the screw holding the tank does not fit on the 550's frame. Because of this I have to think about a proper solution for this problem. Maybe I will get an aluminium tank, so the CX's tank may be just a temporary solution.

Meanwhile the tachometer, fenders, wire harness, brakes, handlebars and the chain are disassembled.



At the weekend I will go on disassembling the bike until the frame is naked. I will document the progress here.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:39

I went on disassembling the bike and finally finished it. Today I focused on polishing the rims and the other chromed parts.
As you can see, old and dirty changed into shiny chrome. As always I took some pictures so you can have a look on my work and the "before-after"-effect.



After quite much work an a pair of weakened arms it looked this way. Though it is not highly polished yet rust and dirt disappeared.



Unfortunately the scratches added by the chain are more visible now, but maybe I will find another rim to replace it in some time.





The worker's meal: Orange-juice! Who would waste time on eating some consistent food?



Halftime: There are still some things that have to be disassembled



Finally admiring the shining rims while the 550 lies completely disassembled in my garage. I wonder if I will do something tomorrow. With my sandblaster box I could release some parts from rust and dirt to conserve them for coating.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:41

Today I have been motivated by the good weather and went to the garage. After disassembling the bike there is now enough time to think about colors and other plans.

Probably I will place the battery and the electrics with the fuse box under/in the seat to clean the triangle in the frame. I am not shure if I will place aluminium plates in the triangles from both sides to cover it, because the original side covers are missing.

In addition, I am thinking about a black painted frame and titanium painted tank, seat and headlight case or a dark red painted frame with equally painted headlight case and ivory-colored tank and seat (which will be actually saddled with black leather). The combination of a dark red frame and black parts would be lovely, too. Hard decision...

Right, the last posts are copied from my blog. I think its good to post my progress here,too.

Today I bought a good engine together with an old 4 in 4 exhaust system (which was for free). I think the mufflers are useless so I am going to cut them off to use the exhaust headers for an rebuild.

Here are some pics of the engine for you:












In the lower picture you can see the CX's tank lying correctly on the frame. The cord marks the original tank's lower line. As you can see the CX's tank lies about 3cm higher than the original one, but I think that will have no negative effects on the looks.
The screw, which fixates the tank on the frame does not fit here, so there is some work to do to make it fitting by adding a selfmade plate out of aluminium or sth else.






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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:42

Yesterday I thougt about a solution for the mounting of the CX 500's tank on my frame. My first approach to a solution was to use the old holes for the original tank and to manufacture an adapter which will provide the new hole for mounting the CX's tank.
For this I used a 4mm thick aluminium sheet and the result makes me quite confident. As usual, I took some photos for you:















Ok, I had no milling machine so I used the good old drill press and file. There are still vibration-reducing rubbers missing, so it will look quite good, when its finished. Finally I am going to have the adapter plastic-coated, so it won't attract much attention with the plastic-coated frame.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:43

I noticed rust on the upper ends of the dip pipes already when I disassembled the bike. After questioning myself how I would get rid of it I used steel wool and wire brush to remove as much as possible from the upper ends, where the chrome had its best time a lifetime ago.
The result didn't make me confident so I am thinking about coating the upper ends just to the maximum dip length. I know this is not a good solution, but I will purchase a 'new' pair of dip pipes in time when the main work is done.

Photo:



Furthermore, I devoted myself to the tank again and thought about a possible solution for the front mounting with the tank-rubbers on the frame. They have to be relocated to guarantee a good placement on the frame. For you I outlined a first draft in Paint.

The marked sleeves have to be set back about 4-5 cm and enlarged about 3 cm to the tank's middle axis. Again I will manufacture an adapter out of a half pipe steel profile and place an end stop for the tank rubbers on the frame.





As visible on the photo, the sleeves are to short and have to be enlarged to the frame.



By the way: Anyone here who had ever coated the ends of the dip pipes as I thought about?

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:44

Yesterday I thought about all the positive memories connected to bike tours with 2 persons, so I decided to try out something "new". I will combine a seat offering space for two persons which is changeable to a single person's seat.
The seat of the new Moto Guzzi V11 served as my inspiration for this build.

I took my pencil and made some quick drafts, explainations will follow:



As you can see on the picture, the style of an hump seat will be assumed. Instead of using sheet I will try to manufacture it out of GRP and cut it nearly in the middle. The cut off piece now makes the difference between a single and two person's seat (orange). It will be fastened by flat screws and offers still enough place for the LiFePo4 accumulator, the fuse box and the rest of the smart electronics.



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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:45

Today I ordered some tank sealing, so I can put the tank, wrapped into an old blanket, into the concrete mixing drum for sealing. I thought it would be better to do this before removing the old paint. Let's see what the next days will bring...

After a short pause I am back again with some news:

-the tank sealing has arrived

-my thoughts about the mounting of the speedo and tacho led to a result

-the fork brace is bare now

-I purchased carbs which are as good as new

I took some pictures again, so here they are with fitting comments:







These are the new carbs with some chrome, which is actually not really my taste, so I think of changing this. In some time I will clean them in my ultrasonic bath to make them shine like new carbs.



With my CAD program I printed a pattern for the mounting of the instruments. I used 3mm aluminium for this.









After some drilling and filing the mounting was finished, it just needs some surface treatment now.
In fact, I am not sure if this one will look good enough in the end, but I'll judge about this later.
When there is a bigger budget available I may be able to get something better looking.

These days I will hopefully finish the adaption of the tank, then seal and undercoat it.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:46

Last week I managed to proceed though I had not much time to spend. There are a few things that have been finished now:


-I overhauled the shocks, they look like new ones now
-The adapters for the CX's tank are finished
-I prepared the tank for welding


As usual I took some photos for you:



The shocks before


The springs after removing the paint


After pre-coating




After coating, now assembled with new shocks




The tank with cut off mountings


The new mounting which will be welded within the next days



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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:47

Yesterday I started to disassemble the engine I bought about 3 weeks ago.

I tell you, this is a quite unpleasant surprise: The rocker's cover was destroyed by an untensioned camchain, all 4 pistons are rubbish (piston rings of at least 1 piston are bursted into several parts because they had too much space), several adjustment screws have had their best time.

I didn't made it to the gearbox yet,so I hope there won't be another surprise. To get new pistons or a complete cylinder with few miles will be expensive enough, the prices for parts here in Germany are unreasonably high.

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:47

Hello mates,Yesterday I blasted some parts with glass beads and the result is clean, oxidationfree aluminium.
The fork brace and some other parts will be polished, the others are going to be left as they are now, but clearcoated.

Pics:







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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:48

Today the seat arrived and I stripped it down.
The cover was raddled so don't worry about destroying a good one. I took the rubbers off so I can use them later when the seat is finished. Furthermore the seat is quite rusty so I have to weld a smaller crack later when the hump is finished.

I shot it for about 13 $ on ebay, still a good price I think.Some pics:











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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:49

Hi,
Today I tried to cut a original form out of a styrodur block for my seat hump.
After I finally had won the struggle to get my mother's electric bread cutter, I was wondering about the possible appearance of the hump.
All in all, I decided to judge about this spontaneously and began to add a form to the block.
The result is not the worst one I think Wink:





With a good view on the hump and some finishing work I got this one now:





The flat ending will provide space for a nice taillight and the holes were caused by a glue which actually was praised as a solvent-free - HAHA! ???.

Soon I will start to laminate the form, as soon as the holes >Sad are smoothed.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:50

Yesterday I swapped my 550's fork tubes with some other "new" old ones I shot on eBay. In fact, these pipes are about 20mm longer than my old ones so now my 550 has the 750's fork tubes. But it does not matter and maybe it will provide space for a decent pair of handle bars right above the fork brace.


Because I do not own a polishing machine I had to overhaul the rest of the fork by hand with a stripe of cloth and polish.



Moreover, I thought about a possibility to guarantee fast access to the electrics placed in the seat's hump. I am not in the mood to tinker around the hump about one hour to change one fuse. The result of my thoughts is now kept in a paper model.







I am going to cut a paxolin plate which fits the bottom of the hump. This plate will be cut as a frame as you can see in photo 1 and 2. It provides the frame for the second plate where the electrics are placed on. The second plate will be connected to the first one with screws and guarantees fast access to the electrics, which can be taken out of the hump this way.


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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Tue 17 May - 1:52

So this is the state of today! (05/17/11)

I am proud to tell you some news. Yesterday I laminated the seat's hump with my father's support. This kind of work is more effective with 4 hands Wink.

But now to the report:



The method for successfull work is proper preparation!



As you cannot Very Happy see in the picture the hump is painted with tinting paint which closes the pores of the Styrodur surface so the solvent of the resin cannot melt the form down.





This is the result of my first attempt to laminate some parts.
I have experiences in handling GRP but never had done the donkeywork before. All in all I am confident with the result of this first try.



For those who questioned themselves which bike the front wheel in the last picture would fit. Here it is: My old moped, a Kreidler RMC from 1978. Still in a great shape but with a slightly leaking carb, but that's another story and a typical 2-stroke-disease.





Today I smoothed over the hump with 2 components filler. It still needs a second treatment but this will be my work for tomorrow!

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  sven on Tue 17 May - 22:15

Wow! Very nice build but just too much info to dwell on the details.
Just want to mention: don't you clearcoat the beadblasted parts, that'll
look shitty Crying or Very sad
They won't corrode as easy as you might think, just wd40 or so them and it'll be fine!

Best regards
Sven
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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Wed 18 May - 14:51

Hey, thanks for the tip. I would rather polish the parts than clearcoat them, but maybe I will leave them as they are.

Yesterday I spend some time to finish the tail, but that was not enough for me so I decided to cut the just laminated tail and adapt it to the original seat's ground plate.
Just look at the pictures, descriptions follow:



This is the hump next to the ground plate, laying as it will be on the plate after adapting.
The result is an overall length of 780 mm for the seat (tank to tail's end).



The red arrow marks the position of the seat's end. Quite long, isn't it?



After I trimmed it with the angle grinder it fits relatively well.



It isn't fastened yet so excuse the bad angle of the tail.





As you can see in the picture, the ground plate has still to be finished to smooth the round forms, as shown by the two red lines.



Unfortunately the resin attacked the Styrodur's surface so the original form was destroyed.



That's the way I cutted the original ground plate to make it possible for the tail to fit on it. It still has to be finished and welded then.

So that is enough for today, going to relax while I'm swimming.

Oette

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Toecutter on Wed 18 May - 21:32

Great progression , awesome pictures and sublime technical overall. I will go deeper into all of this but theres too much at once. !!

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Thu 19 May - 20:22

Woho Black Betty....

Hi!

Today I took the grinder and worked on the seat again. The pictures are explaining themselves, but I will describe the cutting process nevertheless.









Here you see the finished seat plate. Just the crooked sheets will be trimmed into the right lenght. I bend them to make them fit the tail just provisional first.
Finally, there is now enough space for the battery, the fuse box and the starter relay. It all will be connected with one connector (except the starter relais, which will be connected with a high current plug) guaranteeing fast access to the electronics.



I corrected the edge so the seat plate is now smoothly curved.







Finally it looks like that. As a first result it looks not bad, I guess. I hope the whole shape will be good when the bike is finished, but at first I am just a bit confident with this work.
The most interesting aspect to change the original seat was that I could use the folding mechanism of the original seat.

Oette

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Clamps and seat

Post  Oette91 on Wed 1 Jun - 19:14

Hi,

Today I began to work again after having a short break. The following tasks were to do:


-exchange fork seals
-reproduce the tank's clamps out of steel
-make some sheets to enforce the seat's stability
-coat brake caliper


Unfortunately the 30 year-old fork seals were stuck as hell. Is there any proper solution to get them out?


A couple of pics of today's work:




The clamps I made of steel fit between the tank and the frame now.


Oooops, cracked.




These sheets shall reinforce the seat and close the crack when they are welded onto the seat.

Furthermore, I thought about this color for my bike:



It's called silver raw titanium and I think it would fit. What's your opinion about this color?

Greets

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Sat 4 Jun - 2:06

Yesterday I spend some hours to overhaul the carbs. My work consisted of: Disassembling, an ultrasonic cleaning treatment, new greasing and reassembling.

The results are looking pretty good now, after reassembling had taken much of time and nerves.



Disassembled and sorted by each's carb parts.



Many, many screws.



Our "little" but useful 4 litre ultrasonic bath.





Right one: Before / Left one: After - looking better, isn't it?



Greets

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Toecutter on Sun 5 Jun - 10:56

Looking good man, thanks for sharing the pictures, Now with these resluts its easy for me to deceide to buy myself an ultrasonic cleaner !

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Sun 5 Jun - 17:06

Toecutter wrote:Looking good man, thanks for sharing the pictures, Now with these resluts its easy for me to deceide to buy myself an ultrasonic cleaner !

It's a senseful investment in every case. Not only good for bike's parts :)

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  CB-Racer on Sun 5 Jun - 18:06

Very well documented project! Very useful for others that are not so experienced and want to learn how things can be done.
I also like your idea to make the seat transformable to a dual seater.
Keep up the good work! I will keep on following your project for sure.
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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

Post  Oette91 on Sun 5 Jun - 18:10

Thank you. Because I have to run this project with low budget until autumn, I decided to focus on the idea with the convertible dual seat later again. At first the just manufactured seat will be used.

The dual seat will be made of steel then, when I get another original seat plate.

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Re: CB 550 Caferacer "Betty"

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