Author Topic: '71 Honda CB350t cafe-inspired build  (Read 12136 times)

Offline krafty

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'71 Honda CB350t cafe-inspired build
« on: Nov 30, 2013, 17:35:22 »
Now that this bike is officially mine (long story, but let's just say that it's no longer super-easy to get a title for a motorcycle in Michigan when the previous owner lost it and doesn't want the hassle of finding it) it is time to start a build thread.  Sorry in advance for the length of this first post.

I have been looking into motorcycles for a while now - probably the past 10 years or so - on an infrequent basis.  When a co-worker rescued an '83 750 from a relative and started working on it I finally decided to bite the bullet and look for something myself.  I have plenty of experience with vintage British cars (MG, Jaguar, Triumph, TVR, Healey, etc.) but most of the cool British stuff was out of my price range, at least around here.  After spending some time reading I settled on wanting a Honda twin from the late '60s through the '70s, with leanings towards the 350 or 400.  I've always wanted a vehicle as old as I am and came close with my '73 MGB/GT.

This bike had been popping up on the mid-Michigan CL off-and-on for a while now, so on a whim I drove the 2hrs on a Saturday morning last month and ended up bringing it home.  It's a '71 Honda CB350 with (for whatever reason) a '71 CL350 engine installed.  It wouldn't start but spun over and had great compression and was fairly complete.  It's got some goofy home-made ape-hangars on it and is missing a side cover and the speedo cable, but otherwise it is complete.

I plan on building a cafe' bike of sorts, while retaining the fenders in some form.  The gold paint will be going away (just the sight of it makes me a little queasy, to be honest) and it's likely going to be mostly black with some antique white and orange accents.  I'm going to have the frame powder-coated after tweaking it a bit, although I don't plan on any huge frame modifications at this time.  My initial thoughts were to keep the seat pan and make a new seat using it, but as you'll see, that's really not an option at this point.

Arrival at our shop (where it will be worked on during Thursday-night shop nights and over the weekends)

Beginning the teardown and discovering all the rusty bits

These carbs look a lot like the Zenith-Strombergs I deal with on later MGBs and Triumphs

No, these handlebars will NOT be re-used.  Yuck.

Working on British cars has made me collect a ton of SAE and Whitworth tools, but it looks like I'm going to be buying some metric stuff pretty soon...

Ape-hangars gone...  much better

As I mentioned, the seat pan can't be re-used.  I was hopeful when I first pulled the seat off that it would somehow survive, but the seat foam had collected too much moisture (and mouse pee) and by the time I sand-blasted it the whole thing turned into Swiss cheese.

No wonder this thing turned so hard... there were only 4 intact bearing balls on the lower steering bearing.  The rest were rust/dust.

Someone had tried removing the battery box with a prybar before realizing it was screwed in.  After sandblasting it I used a piece of 1/8" steel as a dolly and quickly repaired the bent areas.  (You can see the right side has already been fixed, getting ready to work on the left side)

I also cut off the air tube from the bottom of the box.  Eventually I'll remove the regulator bracket as well, but at this point I wasn't sure what I was doing with the wiring, so I left it intact.  Because of all the rust in the battery box I ended up with 1 pinhole (where one of the spot welds was, go figure) which will need to be repaired yet before powdercoating.

« Last Edit: Apr 30, 2015, 10:31:36 by krafty »

Offline bubonicplay

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Re: '71 Honda CB350 cafe' build (my first motorcycle)
« Reply #1 on: Nov 30, 2013, 18:29:34 »
Great quality pictures, what camera are you using? That tank looks pretty mint right? I would almost hate to paint over it. Maybe find a beater tank?

Offline krafty

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Re: '71 Honda CB350 cafe build (my first motorcycle)
« Reply #2 on: Nov 30, 2013, 19:22:46 »
Thanks!  It's a Canon PowerShot G15

We got it last year on the recommendation of a friend who photographs and edits for Classic Motorsports and Grassroots Motorsports magazines.  It takes great pictures, especially in low-light conditions.  You can see some higher-resolution pics here:

And this is a full-resolution shot for comparison:

The tank actually has a dent on the left side that will need fixing, so it's not as mint as it looks.  The nice part is the inside is almost pristine, so no flushing/sealing necessary. 

You can see the dent here: or here  (both full res)
« Last Edit: Nov 30, 2013, 19:27:31 by krafty »

Offline krafty

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #3 on: Dec 03, 2013, 16:53:36 »
I sandblasted the headlight brackets, straightened one that was bent, and welded the reflector holes shut.  I'm going to skim these with a bit of bondo to smooth them out (I hammered out most of the dents, but with the captive nut still back there it's hard to get everything nice and smooth).

I also started playing with the front end.  I disassembled everything and have started to clean.  The pitting in the tubes isn't bad and it isn't near where the seals slide, so they're good.  A bit ugly, but I have plans for that.

As I mentioned, I needed a new steering shaft.  I found one in great shape on EvilBay for a reasonable sum (which also happened to have both steering stops, mine had one broken off).  Not wanting to run the lock anymore I decided to cut it off.

I painted the lower triple with DP90LF epoxy primer and some DuPont Centari 99A Pitch Black.  I have a feeling most of the bike will be done in that color.

Oh, and I secured myself a license plate.

Offline rundown

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #4 on: Dec 03, 2013, 19:35:16 »
Looks like you have your work cut out with this one.  Fortunatly it lookslike you have the shop facilities to deal with nearly anything.

Offline krafty

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #5 on: Dec 28, 2013, 11:38:45 »
I've spent some time working on some detail items (cleaning and polishing the front brake assembly, fitting the seat, etc.) and have made enough progress that it was time to take the bike apart.

There's still lots of cleaning left to do, but the front forks are almost back together.  I have a couple of items to paint (saving them all up for a big batch of primer and paint maybe this week) and will be ordering up the primer and paint on Monday.

I ran the frame to our sandblaster yesterday morning and while I was out running errands they de-gunked it and stripped all the paint off with aluminum oxide.  There are couple of small holes which I was expecting, but nothing earth-shaking.

The biggest problem I may have created for myself is that I may have inadvertently bent the shifter shaft.  I was cleaning the engine outside and it slipped off the cart I was using to roll it around on.  HOPEFULLY it is still OK, but I may be searching for another one if it is bent and I can't get it back into shape.
« Last Edit: Dec 28, 2013, 11:42:01 by krafty »

Offline VonYinzer

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #6 on: Dec 28, 2013, 12:23:39 »
Good stuff. If you haven't scrapped them, I'd take those old bars off your hands.
Like a river that don't know where it's flowin'
I took a wrong turn and just kept goin'

Offline Bunz

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'71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #7 on: Dec 28, 2013, 13:29:32 »
Nice tear down progress. I'm in for watching how this comes out. Great photos so far. I like to see these old bikes brought back from the dead.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline krafty

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #8 on: Dec 28, 2013, 19:01:09 »
Oh, and the most important piece of all finally arrived today - the title!  I think there were about 18 individual hoops I had to jump through (some were flaming!) but in the end I did it the right way and the fair way.  Not the cheapest way, but I feel good about it.

Offline origin8or

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Re: '71 Honda CB350t cafe build
« Reply #9 on: Dec 28, 2013, 22:52:50 »
Looks like you're making good progress. I am working on a 350T at the moment so will be watching this thread, oh and totally jealous of your shop space.

always building something new...