The Honda CB650 Motorcycle

Restoration Project

Started With the 1981 CB650 Frame

After four years of sitting completely dismantled, I started working on the 1981 frame.

1981 CB650 just before the bike frame was completely stripped

1981 CB650 just before the frame was completely stripped




The only thing I didn’t remove was the steering column. I didn’t want to start messing around with bearings and since it looked in good shape and I wasn’t going to sand blast the frame, I kept it on.

Back in October 2004 when I dismantled the frame, I broke one bolt. This summer, I thought it was a good idea to try and remove it myself. Was I wrong! In theory, I think I did everything right but it just turned out a big mess. Since the bolt broke flush against the frame, I used the grinder to flatten it. I then used a reverse drill bit to drill a hole right in the middle of it after heating it up with a propane torch.

In a perfect world, this should have loosened the bolt and it should have come right off… Instead I broke the drill bit inside the bolt. I won’t mention what else I tried because it’s too embarrassing, but I finally brought it to a machine shop where they removed all the junk I put in there and they had to re-thread to M9x1.25. This cost me 4 times what I would’ve paid if I had brought it in first. Now I have to get that oversized bolt way across town. Although I still would have had to do that anyway since I broke the original one. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this whole incident.

Once this was done, I started by using steel wool to remove some surface rust on the frame. There was very little. I then sanded by hand using 220 grid paper, then 400. Initially, I wanted to paint the frame the same color as the gas tank and side covers but decided against it. I thought it might look weird. I changed my mind several times but I finally decided to paint the frame, swing arm and other frame pieces FLAT BLACK in a flash of genious. I then went ahead and did it before I changed my mind again. I guess we’ll see once it’s all assembled if it was such a great idea.

For painting, I used Dupli-Color Acrylic Enamel DA 1605 Flat Black. Here it is, after it’s painted:

The 1981 CB650 frame in flat black

The 1981 CB650 frame in flat black

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3 Comments

  1. looking for a good set of carbs for a 79 modle cb650 hope you can help. thanks ron

  2. text me if you have any or know of any carbs.

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