Project Café: 1973 Honda CB500, Part 5

Rebuilding the front brake caliper and installing new brake pads

| September/October 2009

One step at a time, our Project Café Honda CB500 is coming together! We’ve sent our tank and side covers off to Craig McGlothlen at Precision Motorcycle Painting, Inc. ( in South Bend, Ind. Regular readers will remember the spectacular job Craig did on our last project bike, the 1971 Triumph TR6C, and we’re looking forward to seeing his magic paint work on the Honda. Early Honda CB models had tank badges that clipped into the side of the tank, but to give our Café a more custom look, Craig has filled the indentions, a process he does the old-school way with lead, not body filler. Our tank has already been prepped and primed, and we’re just days away from seeing the finished product.

We also got a Café Fender Wide from Omar’s Dirt Track Racing, Inc. ( Designed for Seventies and Eighties bikes with wide gas tanks, it comes with a vinyl-covered seat that attaches to the fender with Velcro. The fender comes in white gelcoat, so we’ll be sending it off for paint too, but first we have to build a mounting system for it.

This issue’s “How-To” project takes you step-by-step through rebuilding the front brake caliper and installing new brake pads. Be sure to also check out our web exclusive step-by-step guide to rebuilding the master cylinder.

Back in black
They’re back! We’ve been talking for several issues now about having our wheels rebuilt by Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim, Inc. ( in Azusa, Calif. Last issue our hubs had just gone out the door, and a couple of weeks later, they showed up all finished and mean lookin’. With new black anodized Sun aluminum rims and stainless steel spokes mounted to our stock polished hubs, they’re perfect — even better than what we imagined when we sent them off. 

Within a day we had our new Continental ContiGO! tires ( mounted on them. These are one of the latest tires from Continental, a cross-ply tire designed for all-around use. Not as soft and sticky as a track tire but not as hard as many of the classic-tread-style touring tires mounted on many classic bikes we see, the ContiGO! tires should provide the perfect mix of good grip, good water displacement and still last many miles — and we love the the tread pattern.

Continue on to Part 6 of the Project Cafe: 1973 Honda CB500 rebuild.

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