How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 | Rider’s Library

How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 | Rider’s Library
How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 | Rider’s Library

How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 Book

How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 | Rider’s Library
How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650 | Rider’s Library

Having owned a 1982 Honda CX500C now the main ride of my oldest son, Jesse, and its touring cousin, the GL500 Silver Wing, I found the latest Enthusiast’s Restoration Manual by Ricky Burns a great resource for these unique motorcycles. “How to Restore Honda CX500 and CX650” is a companion book to Burns’ books we told you about last year.

In 2014, we told you about “The Beginner’s Guide to Classic Motorcycle Restoration” and “How to Restore Honda Fours.

If you favor vintage Hondas, these books are very useful not only for full-on restorations, but for maintenance and rebuilds. For example, I used Burns’ book on “How to Restore Honda Fours” as a resource when reassembling my 1974 Honda CB350F from its Bonneville tech inspection tear-down. (See the story on that here. )

The CX500, GL500 and CX650, manufactured from 1978 to 1983, have proven to be amazingly durable workhorse-type motorcycles, still in use as a courier machine, daily commuter bike, light touring machine, even finding new life as a vintage class racing platform and stunning custom creations. As such, there are still a lot of these bikes on the road, but all those years and miles are bound to catch up with even the most lovingly maintained machine.

The CX/GL 500/CX650 bikes were a marked departure from nearly everything that had come before—certainly in the Honda product line. The transverse pushrod V-twin engine had four valves per cylinder, dual carburetors, liquid cooling, while the running gear featured a five speed transmission, Comstar wheels, twin-shock rear suspension on the CX models and monoshock (Pro-Link) rear suspension on the GL models, and shaft drive. In many ways, these bikes are very different from what most owners are accustomed to working on, if they had never had one before. That’s where Burns’ book can become an owner’s best friend.

Unlike most shop service manuals (which Burns advises to have on hand, as well), Burns starts out with some sage advice on how to assess the scope of the restoration project. This can help the prospective project bike buyer make a realistic appraisal of whether restoration of the bike in question is within their budget, skill level and whether the bike is worth restoring at all.

Once the project bike is in hand, Burns describes the process of disassembly, stripping the bike to the frame, restoration of the engine, transmission and driveline work, brakes, wheels and tires, fuel and exhaust system, electrical system, instruments, switches, seat, cables, suspension and aesthetic work of polishing, painting, badges and decals.

Once all that is assessed, restored/repaired/replaced, Burns provides a chapter on how to put it all back together, final preparations to make the bike road-ready and how to handle the first post-rebuild start-up to avoid undoing the work just completed. Safe riding, sourcing parts and a bit on customs and conversions are also covered.

The 176-page soft cover book provides 757 clear, detailed color images with descriptive captions and technical information. This is a feature that gives the book an advantage over the typical shop manual—they tend not to be all that well illustrated and what images there are sometimes are not very clear.

Whether a full restoration of a vintage Honda CX/GL is in the plan, or you need a guide for a limited rebuild or maintenance, “How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650” is an excellent resource.

Models included in “How to Restore Honda CX500 & CX650” are:

Honda CX500, GL500, CX500 Delux,CX500 Custom CX500 EC Sport (Euro Sport) CX500 Turbo
Honda CX650, GL650 Silver wing , CX500 Custom CX500 ED Sport (Euro Sport) CX650 Turbo
Honda CX400 Honda GL400

Book data:

  • Title: How to restore Honda CX500 & CX650
  • Author: Ricky Burns
  • Published: 2015 Paperback. 176 pages.
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • ISBN: 978-1-845847-73-9 MSRP: U.S. $59.95 U.K. £35 Canada: $64.95