CB550 Tracker Pipes and Bodywork


“How are we doing
on the CB venture?” The query weighed heavy on my mind as I thought-about the plateaued progress of our 1975 Honda CB550F venture bike—dubbed the Everyman Tracker. Not in contrast to the gems amassing mud in your storage, our bargain-bin Honda had been placed on the again burner for extra urgent issues, and a mad thrash was wanted for my superiors to maintain the religion.

I used to be sensible when cooking up the antidote for stalled-project syndrome, planning to knock out a number of odds and ends and the massive fabrication jobs that remained. Whereas we didn’t scratch each merchandise off the record, I’m chalking this up as a win—with restored enthusiasm for the construct. Typically the progress is small in comparison with the pile of grinder mud on the bottom, and there’s no denying how far this bike has come since we traded 4 Benjamins for it.

Honda CB550 Custom Exhaust
Funds Exhaust Overhaul

The exhaust in your basic bike speaks volumes (heh), however within the case of our dirt-cheap Honda CB550, our rusty outdated aftermarket pipes advised a story of damp storage and developments handed. I don’t know who made these outdated megaphones or if I may make them look acceptable, however our restricted finances meant I needed to give it a shot. Inspiration got here from fastidiously curated Instagram reels, and I devised a plan to shorten the pipes considerably and add a pair of cones on the finish to breathe new life into this outdated exhaust.

I began by hacking 4” off the top of the megaphones, which additionally freed up the welded-in baffles. We’re not begging for consideration right here, so I dissected the outdated baffles and minimize them shorter to be reused. After a boatload of chopping, becoming and prep work to take care of all of the rust, the outdated baffles could possibly be reinstalled in practically the identical style as whoever made them.

With the straightforward half performed, it was time to manufacture some cones from scratch—a course of that concerned extra arts and crafts than I care to confess. A sample may be made by rolling some paper right into a cone, chopping the top off, and giving it one other go when not one of the dimensions are proper. The completed sample will get transferred to metal, and also you’ll need to go along with a skinny gauge in the event you’re rolling it like I did.

I dug up a scrap piece of 20 ga. (.032) metal for the cones, which matched the thickness of our outdated aftermarket exhaust and rolled simply on our mixture shear, brake and roll. I used to be capable of get the form 90% of the best way there, however that final 10% must be fastidiously honed in because the cones have been welded to the pipes.

MIG welding 20 ga. isn’t that tough, however I can let you know it’s much less pleasing with .035 wire in your spool and a giant ol’ Millermatic 350—the one welder I had out there on the time. As an alternative of laying beads, the pipes and cones have been joined one tack weld at a time, and also you’ll inevitably must fill in spots as you costume the welds.

The transformation is delicate, but it surely appears loads higher than the dated megaphones we had earlier than, and the price was subsequent to nothing. In addition to time and consumables, the one expense concerned was changing the lacking exhaust {hardware}—which sadly consists of 4 separate items per pipe. Nonetheless, that’s far cheaper than any aftermarket choices out there for this outdated bike immediately.

Honda CB550 Custom Bodywork
Scrap Bin Bodywork

As our CB550 makes the leap from sofa-clad cruiser to stripped-down hoonmobile, it’s clear we have to give you new bodywork to go with our truncated entrance fender and bitchin’ Tuffside Road Tracker saddle. Whereas you could find plastic common quantity plates on the net, we had a stash of 14 ga. (.064) aluminum (in all probability 3003?) and I used to be dying to present it a go.

I experimented with a number of totally different shapes for quantity plates for the edges, losing numerous hours within the Cardboard Aided Design section. Basic rounds didn’t work, however the Honda’s chassis has a pair of tubes that run parallel with the shock, so mirroring that line was a should. The ultimate form does simply that, together with enclosing the triangular open space that can home our battery, electronics and air filter.

There’d be little pleasure in a pair of flat sheets affixed to the edges of the bike, so after laying my patterns out on our scrap aluminum, I took the entire 2’ sheet over to the bead curler for some aptitude. I need to say that feeding the entire sheet into the bead curler helped management warping, however I’m no knowledgeable and I’ve heard this may be higher dealt with by wheeling the half first. I began with the step dies and put a 1/4″ step up on the quantity plate space, and put a 1/2″ spherical roll forward of it. With the bead rolling completed, I tough minimize the plates on the band noticed and used a flap wheel and recordsdata to get the ultimate form.

Now we’ve got some snazzy plates, however these must be hooked up by some means, and we ideally desire a tool-free fastener so crucial parts may be accessed in a pinch. I elected to make use of some self-ejecting dzues fasteners, that are good as a result of the quarter-turn fasters are retained by the bezels. That means when you flip them and the panel is launched, the dzues isn’t on the free.

The method began with eradicating all of the tabs on the body that secured the outdated plastic facet covers, permitting for closing fitment of the brand new aluminum items. The self-ejecting dzues quicker has a novel backing plate, and these must be fitted and welded to the body as effectively. Earlier than the feedback part lights up, I’ll say that the wing-nut-style dzues fasteners are simply placeholders—since they’d be all up in your online business. I’ve to order in additional of the common slot-style fasteners, and these will get riveted to the aluminum panels.

With the edges performed, I moved to the entrance and made a easy, however nostalgic, rectangular plate with the identical 1/2″ step within the panel. It’s minimize out to simply accept an LED, however I would like to plot some mounting tabs for the panel so I can get the LED aimed proper. The naked aluminum items have been begging for a little bit one thing, so I scoured my storage to search out my outdated brushes and 1 Shot paint and laid one of the best stripes my beat-ass palms may handle. I’m blended on whether or not it was an excellent effort, or ok, and I’ll have a look at it once more with contemporary eyes later.

Honda CB550 Sprockets
Mirrors, Chains and Sprockets

The very last thing this viewers wants is a reminder to exchange historic chains and sprockets, however we determined to improve some whereas we have been in there, and it’s possible you’ll need to as effectively. I ordered 520 sprockets from Sprocket Specialists, as they provide utterly customized models to your specs.

We geared down a bit on the entrance metal sprocket, and the rear is aluminum with the ‘scorching slots’ choice to spice issues up. It’s lighter than inventory and a handsome sprocket, however the Honda’s hub seal retainer covers lots of it. I used to be additionally bummed to search out their lead time was loads longer than anticipated, and the rear sprocket required an excellent quantity of file work to get it becoming proper.

Honda CB550 Sprockets
To finish our re-gear, I ordered a D.I.D. 520DZ2 chain with nice specs and a touch of flashy gold coloration at an reasonably priced worth. We went with a typical chain as an alternative of an O-ring or X-ring chain, as a result of if reminiscence serves, each are too large and can put on into the oil seal on CB550s—except you’re employed over the entrance sprocket on the lathe. That’s one thing to concentrate on whenever you’re swapping chains and sprockets—level is, all the time do your analysis and double-check measurements.

motogadget mo.view classic mirror
Searching for a simple win to exit on, I riffled by means of our components stash for different trick bits and located our motogadget mo.view mirrors. In addition to being tremendous adjustable and an exceptionally well-built piece, the mo.view is glassless, and the mirror floor is definitely polished aluminum. With mirrors being one of many first objects to make the trash whenever you begin tinkering with a motorcycle, it’s laborious to overstate the worth of a mirror that doesn’t really feel chintzy or appear to be an afterthought.

In spite of everything that, I actually want a chilly one. I’ve a number of issues to tidy up now, and hopefully, the following time you see this machine we’ll be tackling {the electrical}—my favourite

Honda CB550 Custom Bodywork

Bike EXIF thanks MotogadgetTuffsideBridgestoneLowbrow Customs and Biltwell Inc. for supporting our Honda CB550F tracker construct.


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