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So I decided to start a thread to tell the story of my 500 from the day I bought it up through the present, and add to it as things progress.

It all started one day when I was looking for another cheap bike to flip, and found this good looking little '08 500 posted locally for $600. I didn't quite have the $600 (had $500), so I called the fellow up and after just a few minutes he made it very clear he wanted to sell the bike TODAY. I always try for a better deal, so I asked what his best price was... and my jaw about hit the floor when he said "$200 if I could have the money to him before the bank closed" I only asked 2 questions... Was there a clean title for the bike and where was he located. Once he figured out I was only about 20 minutes away, he even offered to bring the bike to me. So a deal was made.

He pulled up on the bike about 30 mins later. After a quick look-over and checking the bike's VIN against the title, the money changed hands and he got into his buddy's (or maybe neighbor's) truck and away they went.

And that's how I ended up with my 500 coming up 2 years ago.

Overall condition of the bike was what I call fair.

Odo read about 10,500

The problems I found:
Badly leaking left fork leg. So bad the left fork reflector was 2/3 full of oil.
Paint was scratched and scuffed beyond salvage.
The bike had been parked outside uncovered during his ownership (about 1 1/2 years), so tons of surface rust and light oxidation everywhere.
The rear tire was SCARY. To call it bald would be a compliment. He rode not just to, but through the cords.
Pretty stout dent on the edge of the rear rim.
Front brake soft and front pads worn out.

The good side:
Clean title (Still in the owner's name before him).
Bike ran good.
Overall pretty mechanically sound.
No noticeable major damage (dented tank, bent bars, etc.)
Newish front tire. He said he had it installed when he purchased the bike. Date code showed tire was about 2 1/2 years old with plenty of tread.
All the critical bits were there and functioning (turn signals, safety switches, etc).

The next day I downloaded the manual for the bike and commenced to begin work. Bled the front brakes which fixed the squishiness, hammered most of the dent out of the rear rim and threw on a used 15" rear tire I had sitting around from another bike project, and went for a test ride up and down the street a few times. Wouldn't you know it, about my third trip up the block, the speedometer suddenly drops to 0... Now one junk speedo cable.

For about the next 6 months the bike was parked. Saving to buy a house took most of my available money. During this time, I slowly got to work on the bike, mostly with tips from the bike shop the better half didn't know about. I pretty much stripped the front end down and went through it. Forks were rebuilt, new brake pads, new speedo cable, and replacement of a lot of the now rusty chrome nuts/bolts/screws with stainless pieces. Out back, a new Shinko 712 tire, plus tube and wheel band were installed. I also took a wire brush to a lot of parts to clean the crusty stuff off of them, and the typical (for me) hardware replacement with good stainless pieces. I also went through all the general maintenance stuff, oil change, coolant change, etc.

Since I had the bike that far apart, I was planning on painting it and cleaning up the oxidation and everything all in one shot. But then we found a house and things went into motion to buy, and then actually move, and the bike had to go back together, fast. At that time, I had 7 bikes at home and 4 more at the m-cycle shop I work at (I'm not counting things like those little 50cc scooters, but I had a few of those too). I couldn't see throwing it back together in the gray primer all the bodywork was resting in, so a quick trip to wally world for some rattle can paint, and presto! the bike was now satin black. It still has most of that paint to this day.

At the new house, the better half told me I had "too many things with wheels". I don't get it... 7 bikes, 2 trucks, a minivan, and a utility trailer, some scooters... Either way, with the move, I had a bunch more projects added to my to-do list, so time to thin the herd a bit. One bike went to my little brother as a Christmas present. The Rebel I was using as a commuter went to the shop and up for sale, a couple parts bikes actually got parted out, and so on. The 500 was now my daily rider, unless I needed a truck for something that day.

I had a couple minor issues along the way. After the first day or two, the bike wanted to start flooding. Pulled the carbs and found sand in the bowls... cleaned them out, reinstall, and away I went for another day or two. Same issue again, sand in the carbs. Long story short, after flushing the tank, clearing the petcock, etc etc, it turns out a mud dauber had nested inside the rubber fuel line. Even though I was spraying the line out, it wasn't breaking everything free until it had soaked a day or so. I think I pulled the carbs off 3 or 4 times before I figured out the culprit.

After about a week riding this bike, a truck kicked up a decent size rock which traveled surprisingly high and bounced surprisingly well. It was about golf ball size, so easy to spot. I actually watched it as it bounced back up and smacked right into my right front turn signal... So, replacement lens and gasket needed. Thankfully one of our regular customers at the shop had recently picked up a Vulcan 1500 and was bringing it in for some upgrades and repairs. Among other things were new, custom turn signals since 3 of the 4 were broken at the rubber. He donated all his take-off parts to me for my Vulcan. Well, actually he said to throw them away, but it sounds nicer if I say he donated them. So there was my replacement lens, but my housing still has a hairline crack in it. Oh well, gives me a good chance to mess with people's minds when they see me draining water out... "How'd you get water in there?" "I didn't... there's a leak in the blinker fluid line"

Other than that, everything went along pretty smooth and uneventful. Oil change at about 12K.

Then I laid it down. But I'll have to add that on to this another day....
 
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