Nov 3, 2015: Naked as a J bird! Well, almost…

Hi Jamie,

I hope you’re still hangin’ in there, bro! I’ve been pretty busy and we have indeed made some progress! I did find out the the back rest I previously mentioned is actually set up for a slightly larger CB750 and is waaaay too damn wide to fit your CX. However, on the brighter side I do have a stock rear chrome luggage rack. This rack was actually made for this model bike and mounts the rear turn signals to it. I have included a picture of it mounted on the bike and I looks really great! Now if Tammy slides backwards on acceleration, the worst that will happen is an imprint on her ass that resembles either a mini barbecue grill or a xylophone. That’s wrong, isn’t it? I lost my “filter” years ago soooooo. I think Rhonda stole it. However, this rack actually has the two forward ends of the tubing frame open with plastic collars inside them. Being a very old school scooter tramp, I know these are actually bushings. These bushings are inserted into the tubes to put pressure on another component. A loop style backrest! The backrest has a forward facing padded rest mounted to a round tube frame with the two lower legs facing rearward opposite the back rest side. These two rearward tubes slide directly into the forward facing tubes of the rear rack. Somewhat like a trombone action. A really clever design. It may take awhile but they are out there and I shall find one. Of course the other option is that, being the crafty bastard that I am, I’ll just fabricate one! Anyway, the picture will show you how good it looks with just the rack mounted.

Now for some exciting stuff. I have the old gal stripped of all the electrical wiring, handle bar cables and controls, headlight, horn, front brake controls and caliper, carburetors, fuel tank, seat, and radiator. Pictures are included of everything in plastic containers. I use plastic containers because they don’t get soaked with water or fluids or get that nasty ass musty smell from growing mold like cardboard does. Not to mention that it protects the parts much better. Everything you see in the boxes will be disassembled and completely cleaned and then reassembled. I included two pictures of the headlight bucket with the dirty wiring followed by another picture of the same wiring cleaned with Simple Green. I will definitely be cleaning out that headlight bucket and coating it with rust converter. That is some cool shit man. Spray it on rust and when the rust turns black, it is no longer oxidized! Gotta wear a mask with some of this stuff otherwise it will try to do the same thing to your lungs. I mean, who wants to sound like that 75 year old truck stop waitress who smells like the ash tray on your table, right??? To my previous point, everything including the wiring harness will be cleaned. First, I soak the brass connectors (just the connector) in brown vinegar. Brown vinegar has a 5% acetic acid concentration and is the best thing I know of for cleaning brass or copper safely. You can toss a practically black penny into it and over night it will come out looking like new! One has to be patient since the acid concentration is only 5% so the harness connectors will sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours and will get a light wire brushing when done to make them shiny again. Green corrosion on old harness connectors is not our friend. Its kind of like a sinus infection, just a different shade of green. I put that in there for Rhonda. I can hear her gagging even as I type 🙂 Yeah, she proof reads my letters. After that, (cleaning the harness, not Rhonda gagging) I generally hang the harness from one end or from the middle, depending on how long it is and then spray it down with Simple Green, followed by light nylon brush scrubbing, followed by a wipe down rinse with a rag soaked in clean water, followed by a drying wipe down and finished with a wipe down of WD40. Makes them look almost factory new. The key to making an old bike look good is cleanliness and shine. I’ve seen bikes that had great paint on the fender and tank and there was this ugly nasty ass wiring harness looking like it laid in the mud just before they put it on. I mean WTF??? Do the whole job! Another thing I think is really lame are so many guys are taking an old bike and just spraying the entire thing with a coat of primer and calling it a custom bobber, then asking $1500 for it. Somehow, a motorcycle tire painted primer gray just ain’t stylin’ and it tells me someone has probably been sniffing the spray paint to get their stylin’ ideas.

I still have more tear down to do, but as I said previously, I want to set the valves and since I don’t have an engine stand I will do that on the bike. That is the next step and I’ll send pictures with my next letter. I leave both wheels on the bike when I do engine work so it is more stable than placing a motorcycle jack under the engine and removing the front end. Not many things suck worse than having your scooter fall over putting some nice cracks in that pretty cracked aluminum or on that gray covered cranium. Worse if one of those pieces happens to be the edge of the cylinder head. Removing the valve covers will also tell me if there is much sludge in the engine. If so I’ll clean the oil passages and check the oil pump, but as the oil I drained out of it was nice and kind of the color of pale root beer, I expect it will be fairly clean inside. It was running nicely when I went to look at it so I think we’re golden on that one. I know it will be somewhat boring but I will send before and after pictures of components as I clean and restore each one. Cleaning ain’t exactly exciting but I really enjoy taking something from dirty and dingy to a clean and, in the case of wiring, colorful as new condition. It is such an important step in making an old vehicle look great. Generally what makes a bike, or any vehicle for that matter, that’s been sitting for a while look so crappy is the layer upon layer of dust and corrosion that has accumulated as it sat for what has been usually years. One of the first things I do when I bring a bike home is give it a good thorough washing all over and then hose to motor down with WD40. WD40 makes it look really clean and shiny right away, but the reason I do that is to soften up and old grease and oil that have collected dust/dirt and become as hard as wood pecker lips! Old grease impregnated with road dirt can be damn near impossible to remove without breaking out the ol scraper.

I have created a list of what you asked for. You may be in a place right now where you don’t have many choices, but out here you do, so as you think of things just let me know and I shall add it to the list. Once it is met I mark it done, just like this:

Stock handlebars – done

Stock seat – done

Black wall tires – done

Small fairing, w/radio (silverwing) – planned

Tank logo w/ Illinois Innocence Project and place for release date – planned

Tank color – ?

That should work to keep us “aligned” so when you sit your ass on it for the first time, you can truthfully say “It’s exactly the way I imagined it!” We can do that.

Well, I did finish the Miami bike. I put a little over one hundred miles on it to make sure it was actually complete and working well and then it went to a guy in the mountains of NC, up close to Boone. Really pretty up there and close to the Blue Ridge parkway. I traded him for an unfinished Yamaha XS650 chopper. Construction wise it’s 95% done but wiring, a few simple part fabrications like the headlight mount and rear fender fit up and final paint. I plan for it to be the last bike I build and I wanted to go back to my youthful roots and build an original wild ride. It has a hellaciously long springer on the front and is so low it’ll probably scrape speed bumps even at a crawl 🙂 Don’t know yet but I may have to get that frame up out of the grass for highway ridin’! I included pictures of both the finished CX and the chop. It will be awhile before I do much to it. I have to clean and set the Goldwing’s carbs and then degree wheel the point timing to the camshafts to get it to run correctly. The old Wings are very touchy but not impossible to work on. When set up correctly they are one of the best motors on the market. Most good for well over 200,000 miles if well maintained. Yep, no joke, 5 zeros in that last number. The newer models (1500 cc size) are known to do double that. There is actually a bike mechanic in Dubuque, Iowa who has worked at the local Honda shop for decades. Rides his Wing to work, even in the winter. The bike has over 450,000 documented miles on it and was so impressive the local news did a story on it along with the local paper. I personally saw the bike and it looks like new! F**kin kewl!

I manage my time in segments for the sake of consistency. It works like this. I’ll take somewhere in the neighborhood of one or two nights after work to restore the CX’s wiring harnesses, using the method I mentioned earlier. Then depending on where we are with the project, let’s say I’m waiting on carburetor parts and gaskets for the CX, I may move to the Nighthawk engine and spend two nights cleaning it and getting it ready for paint when warm weather returns. I would really like to have all of our bikes done with the new chopper almost complete by this time next year. Farming out the paint save WEEKS of time on each bike and I am glad to do it. I’ll paint the engines or, for your CX clean to original engine silver if that is what you’d like. the Nighthawk engine will be gloss black for certain.

One really cool thing I did see on your CX is a balanced air ride stock front suspension! The 1980 I just traded did not have that. It may have been a 1981 CX500 first. In one of the pictures you can see me pointing to a hose connecting the two upper fork tubes with one of the tubes having a Schrader valve (fancy correct name for the typical valve used in tire valve stems and most devices inflatable with air) as an air input. This allows you to stiffen the front suspension for tighter handling on curvy roads. My green bike has a valve on each tube so they have to be checked individually.

I’ll keep sending updates and you keep replying so we can get this bad boy done! You’ll be amazed at how good parts will look once I get them clean. Next month I’ll be looking at getting the frame of your CX and my Nighthawk “powdered” and that is really exciting, because once that is done we begin the process of turning them back into “road warriors”. The local shop powders in black all the time so they will just hang both frames with existing contracts, which cuts down on the cost. I think that is very cool. They love to do motorcycle parts and I’m (now we’re) glad 🙂

By the way, we are including a color chart for you to look at. Black would be a good color if you want the innocence logo to be in the blue w/light blue color scheme, but if you want orange then by God that’s what it will be!

Well that’s about it for now, my friend. Keep the faith and I hope I am giving you some things to envision rather than just laying in bed staring at the ceiling.

All my best


What a rack! (Sorry, Tam, not you, the bike!) I know, so wrong on so many levels…









Naked as a J bird! Well, almost









Parts is parts and they gotta be taken care of. Some of this is worth some bucks. Carbs routinely sell for $200 needing a full rebuild (Hence they get their own tote 🙂

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Air ride! This’ll keep your bike on the road and your nuts off the tank.









Dirty to clean. That entire headlight bucket interior will be rust converted black when done. I don’t know who the sadistic bastard was who decided all the front end electrical connectors should go inside the headlight bucket instead of an actual electrical box to be protected from the weather but when he gets to heaven, I think Jesus may give him a real hard time before letting him in. These are no fun and the edge of the bucket ain’t very forgiving either!

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The finished CX “Miami”









The “Miami’s” replacement.

















Take a look at these and if you like one  or even a combination of two for a tank color let me know. Just use the letter row/number column to communicate a choice.









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