Can This Barely-Running Vintage Honda Make A Good ADV Bike?


Maybe and maybe not, but it got the Bearded Mechanic and Brick House Builds to team up…at last.

Taking your tools to a bike for the first time can be intimidating for a variety of reasons. If it’s a super new bike, the fear is that you don’t want to put that first scratch or mar on it, or inadvertently strip some threads.

That type of fear goes away completely if the bike you’re working on is a bit of a basketcase, because you strongly suspect that hey, at least you can’t make it worse. And whether you’re correct or not, it’s how you feel, man. And so, you put a little swagger in your walk as you saunter over to your toolbox and prepare to operate.

What could possibly go wrong?

YouTube’s The Bearded Mechanic has seen some things, including the horrors of an OCC chopper that was apparently not built particularly well. Now, he’s decided to take a beat-up old Honda CX500 that he got at an auction and turn it into an adventure bike. And it’s for him, not for a customer, so he can do whatever he wants, as long as he’s willing to pony up for the parts.

Sure, parts aren’t cheap, but they’ve gotta at least be a little cheaper than the cost of buying a brand-new adventure bike. It’s also way more fun to build your own, especially if you can talk BJ from Brick House Builds into flying out to help with your CX500 project. 

This is the second part of a series, so you can of course go back and watch it from the beginning if you want to see how it all started. Basically, the first part focused on taking all the stuff off the bike that Craig (aka TBM) knew didn’t work, as well as doing a compression test to check whether it was even worth messing with this motor in the first place. While the results weren’t fantastic, both cylinders did have compression, so it’s a go on that front.

He also spent a bit of time perusing parts catalogs, including making the crucial decision that he’s going to test fit his new dirt bike handlebars and then decide which snowmobile bar riser he wants to throw on the thing in order to suit how he fits on the bike.

In this episode, BJ from BHB shows up with a literal rolling suitcase full of parts for the project. He’s ready to work on the carbs (one of his specialties), and he’s also brought some nicely polished engine guards to at least attempt to keep those protruding cylinder heads from getting too banged up on the trails. 

For his part, Craig is ready to rock with some Racetech gold valves for the front fork, as well as a cool LED headlight with a yellow cover to hopefully set up. He’s also got a set of nice, knobby Shinko tires to fit to the stock CX500 wheels to make it a little more dual-sport capable. The stock wheels are alloys, but it’s not clear exactly how much off-roading he intends to do on his ADV once it’s built.

If you enjoy either The Bearded Mechanic or Brick House Builds, and especially if you enjoy both, you should definitely have a good time watching them work together in Craig’s shop in this video. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll help inspire you to work on whatever project of your own you’ve been putting off. 

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