Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Finished!

Gauges Right side Back side Top
Tank and seat Badge Lower front Left side

I’m happy to announce that I rode my creation for about 20 miles today, and it was a blast. I wanted to get a few miles on it, but not too many before I go back and re-check all the nuts and bolts.

You may notice that I made a few small changes. I changed the tachometer faceplate to black, installed a small digital speedometer just below the tach, and made a small bracket to relocate the ignition key to the left side of the tach. The digital speedometer is there because my homegrown GPS-based speedometer is given me some problems, and I am tired of messing with it for now. Relocating the ignition key allowed me to pull the tach in closer to the handle bar, and I think it gives it a cleaner look.

After getting the instruments worked out (at least for now), I re-synchronized the carburetors again and took it out for it’s first significant ride. The bike really draws a lot of attention, there were looky-loo’s everywhere.

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Tank badges

1977 CB550F

Just a quick post to show the bike with the badges I ordered. If I’m not mistaken, the badges were originally for a Superhawk, but I think they look great on this bike. I had to bend them slightly to match the curve of my tank, and they were originally screwed into place with two recessed screws, so I cut the heads off of four stainless steel recessed screws and JB welded them in place. I mounted the badges using the same kind of double sided tape that is used for mounting car molding.

Paint job is finally finished

Finally, after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, the paint job is done! It’s not perfect, it has flaws, but I did it myself, and I’m happy with the results. I have been mostly following the advice of an article I found online. I sprayed the body work with three coats of brilliant silver, and five coats of clear, waited several weeks for the lacquer to cure, then wet sanded the finish with 1200 grit sandpaper soaked with warm soapy water until the finish was perfectly smooth. After all that sanding, the finish was flat and had lost it’s clear coat shine completely. I was a little nervous about the result, but my reference article confirmed that this was to be expected. Today I finished the last step in the process, I rented a DeWalt polisher and bought a Meguiar’s SoftBuff polishing pad and a bottle of Meguiar’s Mirror glaze swirl remover number 9. This stuff is amazing and applying it was easily the most rewarding part of the entire process. Within minutes the shine was brilliant. I tried to capture pictures that demonstrated the reflective qualities of the finish, if you look close at the seat cowl, you can see my neighbors house across the street, a few trees, and clouds in the sky.

After all that work, I couldn’t resist temptation, so I put some gas in the tank and took it for a ride around the neighborhood. It’s not really ready for that since I still have to build the gauge bracket and hook up my tach/speedo combo guage, but it was fun anyway.