CMS-Japanese Motorcycle Supply Parts

How to get a 17-inch rear wheel on a Honda CX500, GL500, GL650

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This is a write-up from Murray of Murray's Carbs on how to get a 17" rear wheel in Reverse Comstar style for your Honda CX500, GL500 or three-stud-final-drive GL650 motorcycle.

The sample photos provided are for a bike with a disc brake rear but the process is the same as the CX.

Start off with a GL1100 17" rear wheel, which can usually be found on eBay US, eBay AU, eBay UK and eBay CA. Note that not all of the GL1100 rear wheels are 17" - make sure you don't get one of the other sizes if it's 17 you're after. This process will work for the other sizes of Reverse Comstar wheel, but you'd want to ensure that the wheel you get is the size you're after...

Mark the position of the spokes on the donor rim - as you need to put them back in the same place they came from. You also need to pay attention to which edge of the spoke is on the outside and which is underneath the adjoining spoke. One suggestion is to put blue masking tape on the spokes, mark a start position on the rim and then number the spokes in order. Stand over the rim, take a photo so you don't forget or lose track and repeat the process for the other side.

Remove what hub bolts you can with a socket (I have done this before and found a vice grip/socket combo can work well), and as far as the outer fasteners go you should drill the rivets on the outer part of the flanges out. Use a cobalt drill bit - cobalt won't break, dull or get a chip trapped that can wallow the hole through the aluminum. You want the holes to be precise and a perfect fit for your bolts.

Here's how to get a 17-inch rear wheel in Reverse Comstar style on a Honda CX500, GL500, GL650 - this opens up possibilities for rear radial tyres and more.

Where the rivets were, carefully center punch then very precisely drill an 8mm hole on the rim edge then put good quality bolts in there - use 12.9 grade bolts for all of the hardware you're replacing. You want an unthreaded shank on the bolt - i.e. the part that is going through the flanges and the rim should be solid and not threaded to maximise it's strength.

12.9 socket head bolts to replace rivets and 12.9 hex head bolts to replace the stock bolts. Steve F found that 40mm bolts had a perfect unthreaded shank, just had to cut the threaded section down.

Fresh bolts installed:

Here's how to get a 17-inch rear wheel in Reverse Comstar style on a Honda CX500, GL500, GL650 - this opens up possibilities for rear radial tyres and more.

Murray torques to the bolt manufacturer's spec - so check with whoever you get your bolts from. He also uses thin stainless backing washers.

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