Friday, December 23, 2016

Honda CB500F Rebuild Part 1 - Ten Years Gone

In 2005, on the very last day of my Junior year of high school, I bought a motorcycle.

I had first noticed it the year before...just a headlight and handlebars peeking out from under a tattered tarp. It was wedged between the garage and side fence of a neighbors house. I had seen it every day that year as I walked from my bus stop to my house, and I had no clue what it was.

On the first day of summer vacation, I walked home, grabbed what I thought was a fairly impressive stack of cash (150 bucks, living large!), and walked up to my neighbors house to make an offer on whatever that headlight belonged to.

He agreed to sell, as he had purchased it as a project and stalled years ago. We walked into his driveway, where he pulled the sun-bleached and torn tarp off of a beat-up, rusty, but entirely complete 1971 Honda CB500F. We agreed upon a price of $75, loosened the seized front brake caliper, and I pushed my prize down the sidewalk to my house.

I will document the various rebuilds, accidents, and blow-up before I decided to strip it to the bone and start over in 2016.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Honda CB500 - Shakedown Run To The 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

This project is huge for me, for many reasons. This was the first bike I ever owned. I purchased it in 2005 when I was still in high school. I literally pushed it home from a neighbor's house on the last day of Junior Year. Rebuilt it, rode it, rebuilt it, crashed it, rebuilt it, wore it out, blew up the engine, stored it, and rebuilt it once more to what you see here:

She started as a 1971 Honda CB500F. Over the last two years (which will be covered in future posts), I retrofitted her with a 1981 CB650 engine, custom carburetors, intake, 4-2 exhaust system, upgraded suspension, powdercoated frame, period hard bags, upgraded electrical system, and a refinished bench seat.

And on Thanksgiving, I took her for the inaugural shakedown Manhattan... for the Macy's parade....because that seems like a good idea :-D

Drew and Maggie

The Mighty Steeds


And as anyone could have unforseen breakdown occurred on the ride home. The bike sputtered and died as I coasted off the LIE at my exit, and a quick examination showed why: All of the lights were dim, and the tank was full of fuel. The alternator had failed at some point, and she had finally run out of electrons.

So I (bravely) called my friend to pick me up, we retrieved my truck and trailer, and recovered the bike before going to Thanksgiving dinner

I have since determined that the rotor coil failed, and replaced the original with an upgraded piece from Rick's Electric.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

CL450 Racer - Mt. Washington Auto Road - Memorial Day 2016

This past Memorial Day Weekend, my friends and I traveled to New Hampshire to ride our motorcycles up Mt. Washington. Bags were packed and bikes were started....except for me, who opted to wuss out, transport the bike in the bed of my pickup truck, and unload it at the motel.

(Despite the jokes, my buddies had no problem filling the rest of the available space with their extra luggage and tools :-P )

We arrived at a motel in North Conway on Saturday night, and hit the Auto Road on Sunday. Afterwards, we explored the back roads and ate ourselves into comas back in town.

(All photos courtesy of Maggie Rusch)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Biodiesel Sportster Land Speed Racer - Troy Mini Maker Faire

The Biodiesel Sportster has been accepted as an exhibit at both the Troy Mini Maker Faire and the NYC World Maker Faire!! Here is a link to the post from the Troy Faire:

Meet The Makers - John Petsche

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Biodiesel Sportster Land Speed Racer - Ohio Mile 2016 Part 2

Here are some photos from the other competitors who showed up!

This is a homemade steam car :-D

They used a Doble-style flash boiler fired by propane, and the engine is a heavily-modified Mazda rotary engine. They machined custom rotor housings out of solid stainless to prevent rust and optimize the port positions. Unfortunately, they suffered a valve failure on their first pass and had to retire without completing the run.

 This is a land speed racing Ford tractor with a flathead V8. Apparently, this was a factory-available conversion back in the 30's and 40's. The rear tires are sourced from a Boeing 747.