08-10-15: Making Choices, Scooter Tramps, Motorcycle Whores, & PA State Troopers

Hi Jamie,

Rhonda says ya’ll had a great visit! That’s awesome. Everyone was so excited to meet you and now you know what some more of the family looks like. Well, if the face to face didn’t scare you off I guess nothing will! Don’t worry about me; I’m adorable which is why I’m married to a hot chick. She walked me through the protocol so when I can get up there I’ll know what to do when I come in. I have no idea right now when that time might be but I have added visiting you to my bucket list!

As far as being reckless, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t in their younger years. Every Pennsylvania state trooper out of the barracks in my home town knew me by name. My bad habits were fast loud cars and all the associated nasty behavior that come with it. Racing, drinking, etc. I’m an old married 63 year old now but back then a “juvenile delinquent” like me is who you kept your daughters away from. The family pet too, if I was on my motorcycle. Just kidding…I had my own dog. I paid so many fines the District Magistrate knew my car by sound. Her name was Donna Combs. She even said once,” I heard you drive by my house last night. That was you wasn’t it?”  It was me. Apparently, having the only Camaro with straight Thrush mufflers, made me unique. In an over regulated state like PA, you are actually breaking the law if you modify your car in any way at all. Loud pipes then equaled altered exhaust which carried a nifty $50 fine…and that was in 1975!

Moving right along, attached please find pictures of your bike!

Jamie’s CX500Custom



I hope you like it. It’s a CX500C very much like the one I am just finishing and just slightly smaller than the green bike I sent pictures of before. She’s got 39,000 miles on her but for these Hondas that’s nothing. She started right up when I went to look her over. These are the bikes Honda made into the long distant Silverwing Interstates, back in the 80’s, because of the smoothness of the engine. I love these sideways V-twins because they do a “torque roll” like a car with a V8 engine, when you rev it up! This old gal is super solid with a good tank and nice mechanicals. It runs smooth and the only thing the engine does need is a valve adjustment. No biggie. I’ll be going over the motor to make sure it doesn’t leak and everything that needs to work actually does. The valves are set up just like a car with overhead rocker arms. I will be rebuilding the carbs which is also easy to do…well, since I have a manual specific to the model it is. Considering I’ve done two sets in the last two years that’s a piece of cake. I already have two brand new black wall tires and rear brake shoes for it.

Right now it is fairly bare bones, as you can see in the pictures. As it sets, it is a very good place to start. All the main pieces you need are there and with it basically down to the frame you can do all kinds of different things. I should have the “Miami” bike (as I’ve come to call it since it’s ocean mist blue) done completely in less than three weeks. As soon as it is, I will start tearing yours down for reworking. Rhonda is going to be the “historian”, taking pictures as we progress, and we’ll be sending update pictures and notes with my letters.

So now it’s up to you to make some decisions! Naturally you don’t have to decide them all at once.

What color or colors do you think you might like?

Do you have any designs you like? (flames, graphics, etc.)

What style of handlebars? (Ape hangers, straight drag bars, pull backs)

Handlebar styles to choose from.

Rise tends to indicate the height of your hand position from where the bar mounts to the upper triple clamp.

Ape hanger handlebars with 14” rise


Drag style handlebars with 4 inch “dogbone” risers


Standard rise (about 6”) handlebars


What style seat? (single solo, full length factory style two up)

Solo seat on my “tail dragger”


Full length two up (riders)



What style frame?

Bobber (cut off right behind the seat like my green bike

Full length (will have to be for a full length two up seat)

What style tires? (white wall or black wall)

There ya go, just a few simple questions! Naturally, you don’t have to answer them right away.

Let’s start with the basic question, since that’s the one I need to start the rebuild from the ground up. What style frame would you like, bobber or full length? Once I know that I can make some suggestions on how we should set her up.

There you have it, the beginning! If you wish let me know what items I can send to help you make decisions. Pictures of the military bike and the Miami bike show a bobbed frame versus a full length frame and a solo seat versus a full length seat. They should help you decide the style. After that, I can send some color patches to help you decide what color you might like.

I hope you find this exciting because I’m wound up tighter than an eight day clock! I have no idea what the hell that means but my dad always said it when he was wired for 480. He always said that when someone else was freaked out. My dad was one of those guys who would do shit like test an electrical circuit by lightly touching it with his fingers. He did it one day in the furnace room when the blower motor wouldn’t kick on. Unfortunately, it, being a steam generating coal furnace, had sweated a puddle of condensation. Dad had been standing in it when he touched the wires. Dad used a test light after that. Amazing that he didn’t end up drooling in his cereal with some of the shit he did like that. He worked as a service technician for the PA Gas & Water Company and was a trained electrician. I think that was his moment of over confidence followed directly by his moment of humility. He was a cool guy and thought Rhonda was the best thing that ever happened to me. He started drooling in his cereal shortly after that statement. Mom loves Rhonda too.

Mom is in her late 80’s and still runs around like a B-B in a rubber room. Wide open throttle. They celebrate her birthday every year by removing another buckle off her straight jacket. Just kidding. She would kick my ass if she heard me say that. I used to prank call her. She’d answer the phone and I would say shit like “Is this the lady who dances topless at birthday parties?” There would be a moment of silence…and I could hear the wheels turning…followed by a “You little bastard, talking to your mother like that!” and then she’d laugh so hard she’d snort! Gotta have some fun. She too loves Rhonda to pieces.

OK back to bike stuff and some questions you asked me. The longest distance I’ve ridden at one time is about two hundred miles. I have not ridden across country like many of my friends but one of these days soon I plan to ride the 8 hours to PA to see an old friend of mine. I ride to work every day if it isn’t raining in the morning. I don’t care if I get wet riding home. When I lived in Dubuque, Iowa a group of us got together every Thursday after work and rode for about 150 miles. We’d ride somewhere and eat dinner/supper and then ride home. Sometimes I didn’t get back until about 9:00 and I’d have all these little bug wings sticking on my vest. Rhonda would almost gag when I told her it was free protein and that I’d been eating em’ for 50 miles! Since moving to NC, I really like to get up in the “twisties” of the Blue Ridge Parkway. When you get out, WE HAVE GOT TO RIDE THE PARKWAY. It is amazing. I’ll take a few days of vacation and we can ride it through several states…none of which are Illinois!

You asked me why the military (green) bike doesn’t have a front fender. I wanted it to have a little chopper “flavor”.  It makes the front end look longer and “back in the day” the chopper rarely had a front fender as to accent that long front stretch. Yep, when the road is wet I get a free shower! I got away with leaving the fender off because it actually has a fork bridge. That is the part that keeps your front forks from flexing. You need that when riding fast so the steering stays solid. The CX500 like yours and my Miami bike actually use the front fender as a fork bridge so we need to either leave the front fender on or fabricate a fork bridge to run between the forks using the fender mounting holes. I see some guys take the front fender off on these old 500s and don’t bridge the forks. All I can think is “it’s just a matter of time” and they’ll look soooo cool ricocheting off a damned pine tree. Ignorance ain’t bliss in building scooters. Scooter is my favorite term for a motorcycle. I refer to myself and other riders as scooter tramps. Another old school term which tends to raise eyebrows with some folks. When I get that reaction I want to say “Well, I could have said motorcycle whore!”

OK Jamie I’m closing for now. Want to get this letter to you so you can get back to me with what you want. I am really ready to get started on this! I know there will probably be some lag time between our communications but that’s OK. I am also rebuilding my 1985 Nighthawk at the same time so I’ll just move back and forth between them. Attached are the pictures of different styles I mentioned.

Take care and keep the faith, brother!



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