THERE’S A FLY IN MY … TACHOMETER

THERE’S A FLY IN MY … TACHOMETER

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  • On 18th July 2015

As you may have read already, the minimalist approach was the main principle followed when building BLACKSQUARE and consequently the bike has no instruments such as speedometer or tachometer, signal lights, warning lights, etc.  However, when the original 1977 HONDA CB550, which later became BLACKSQUARE, came to the workshop back in 2012, I noticed that there was a dead…

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IGNITION COILS TEST

IGNITION COILS TEST

Don’t make the mistake I made in buying a new set of ignition coils just because you tested the originals exactly as described in the HONDA CB550 WORKSHOP SERVICE REPAIR MANUAL and concluded that they were no good.  Like all mistakes I’ve made, this one too, was due to misinterpretation and ignorance. On the subject of…

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ELECTRICAL SYSTEM BASICS

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM BASICS

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  • On 27th May 2015

Miles of wires.  Literally.  Some say that modern cars may have as many of 40 miles of wires in them.  Add to this hundreds of individual electrical components (such as relays, circuit breakers, switches, sensors, instruments, etc., not to mention heated steering wheels, computers, video cameras, folding mirrors at the push of a button and…

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SHIFTING GEARS

SHIFTING GEARS

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  • On 17th May 2015

Ever wonder what happens when you are shifting gears? “The bike goes faster or slower. That’s what happens.” Well, true.  But that’s not what I meant.  What I meant is what actually happens inside the transmission box as you go from first gear to second, from second to third, form third to forth, and from forth to…

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BETTER EXHAUST CLAMPS

BETTER EXHAUST CLAMPS

Exhaust clamps.  Those seemingly easily “customizable” components, which nobody ever customizes.  Why? Is it because the original HONDA exhaust clamps are so good that no improvement is possible or desirable? Virtually all of the hundreds of custom HONDA CB550 I have looked at, in which the builders have retained the originals, seem to imply that such…

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THROTTLE ASSEMBLY

THROTTLE ASSEMBLY

Well, I failed.  NO PLASTIC was one of the design principles I followed.  And in my enthusiasm, I failed to appreciate that a battery’s case is made of plastic and no other material is available.  How could I not realize that?  What was I thinking when I declared NO PLASTIC? Was I blind?  No.  The battery…

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CHAIN ADJUSTER

CHAIN ADJUSTER

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  • On 12th April 2015

A custom motorcycle is a work in progress. It really never ends. Just when you think it’s all done, something else catches your eye and you go, “How about making that a custom part?” The chain adjuster screw was one of those parts in my case. Once the decision is made, another question comes up….

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CHOOSING A CAFÉ RACER JACKET

CHOOSING A CAFÉ RACER JACKET

No café racer project is complete without the requisite café racer jacket. To stir the pot at the get-go, let me say that what is generally referred to today as a café racer jacket preceded what has been defined as a café racer bike by at least a couple of decades.  Those jackets were better known back then as…

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IGNITION SWITCH

IGNITION SWITCH

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  • On 7th April 2015

Warning!  MAKING CUSTOM COMPONENTS COULD BE ADDICTIVE.  Needless to say that in my particular case, the probability implied by “could be” became an absolute certainty. I was hooked. In pursuing simplicity (see Minimalist Approach), I initially pondered the possibility of retaining only the kick start and eliminating the electric start.  Taking this approach a step further, I even considered…

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TALES ABOUT TAILLIGHTS

TALES ABOUT TAILLIGHTS

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  • On 5th April 2015

Don’t make the mistake I made in thinking that you can buy a couple of vintage taillights, put new dual-filament light bulbs in them and they’ll fit perfectly. They won’t. And don’t make the mistake I made assuming that all lenses are the same “standard” size. They aren’t. Equipping your custom bike with custom “period looking” taillights…

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PRIMARY SHAFT REMOVAL TOOL

PRIMARY SHAFT REMOVAL TOOL

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  • On 3rd April 2015

The primary shaft is called “primary” for a reason.  Without it, your motorcycle will not move.  And neither will it start when you push the START button.  If you are rebuilding your engine from the bottom up, you will, of course, have to remove everything including the primary shaft.  Since it is press-fitted, a special…

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THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

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  • On 31st March 2015

How powerful is the HONDA CB550 engine? How does it compare to other engines of its day? You are not going to believe the answers.  I guarantee it.  If you already knew the facts that I’m about to relate here pertaining to this “little engine”, the unpretentious HONDA CB550, let me buy you a drink or…

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