Author Topic: The CB 350 Project.........with video.  (Read 11409 times)

Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« on: Sep 03, 2012, 10:54:28 »
I moved this post from out of the "cafe" section since the more I look into things, the more I'm unsure of what this bike will actually become. All I know is that I have a vision (somewhat), it will take some time and I'm sure some aspects will evolve as I go. It'll be a cafe/brat/rat/whatever.................and ridden continuously as I go. It won't be a full-blown cafe so......I moved the thread.

Here goes again.......

Figured I'd better start something (project-thread wise) as the time is drawing near. I'll be tearing this thing apart very soon.

Bought this '71 CB350 (I know, I know......... another CB350  ::))

I decided on it for a couple of reasons. First, this bike will be my in-town commuter so a huge bike didn't really fit for me. Also, parts are obviously not so hard to come by and being my first moto-build, I figured I didn't need the extra challenge. It's a good size and this one was complete, running well and certified without any issues either so I was good to go. Faulk it............I bought it.

Got it home and cleaned it up the best I could. Not bad really.

After that, I rode it for a week or so. Clutch cable was pretty gnarly and ready to snap so I did replace that pretty quickly.
Made myself a coffee, grabbed some tools and sat my arse on the concrete.

When I opened the case, I honestly believe I was the first in decades to be in there. There were sticks, leaves, mud, trolls you name it in there! Didn't capture the initial opening but you can see some of the shyte left behind in the bottom of the case there.

Easy job and got it all done and cleaned/adjusted in about 45 minutes. Changed the bike big time! I was stoked!

As a side note; and maybe you all do this anyway, but I employed a trick I use (on a bigger scale of course) when routing internally routed cables through road/mountain bike frames. Saved me time as I didn't need to remove the tank at all. I just wrapped a bit of tape around the old cable housing (at the clutch end) and continued on wrapping it around the new housing (lever end).

No probs!

Now, slowly push the new cable up while gently pulling the old cable out. Take your time not to pull them apart or this is all for nothing  ;). Nice and gentle and in a few seconds, your cable routs itself! Thing of beauty.

You guys probably all do that anyway but just thought I'd share for any noobs to moto (like myself).

Anyway, back to the bike.

Once that cable was replaced, I basically have been ripping around on it none stop after the kids go to bed, during my free time (whenever I get that) or during errands and stuff. I've been amassing parts like crazy and I really want to get started on some stuff.......but, it seems a shame as I'm enjoying it too much right now.

One thing I did do was bring my camera along each time I headed out and grabbed a bunch of clips. Mashed them together a few days ago and made this little video for something to do. And, I guess, document what it looks like before the parts swap.
<iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p> from Steve Arseneault on Vimeo.</p>

I posted that in another thread the other day. Sorry for the repeat but I figured I'd add it here too.

Today, I headed to a salvage yard to pick up some stuff and found a massive amount of stuff. SENSORY OVERLOAD!!!  :o

There was shit everywhere........this is just the tip of the iceberg!
One of a million corners I was in. This one, to look for a good seat to cut up

Fender searching...........

Side cover searching.........

..........don't need anything in there........yet

Anyway, it's late, this post is crazy long and I'm beat. Just thought I'd get this intro over with and I'll update the build as I go. I'll try to add video of the progress too.

I'm new at all this stuff but have been surrounded by classic car restoration folks my entire life (my dad is BIG on it) so I don't think I'm "entirely" hopeless but I'm the first to admit, I know squat about motorcycles. I'm learning fast though  :)

I'm giving it my best shot. We'll see how it goes.

I'm sure I'll have loads of questions for you.



Anyone for pipes?? I'm tellin' you. SENSORY OVERLOAD when I was there.
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2012, 14:24:56 by New2meCB »

Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
Re: The CB Project.........with video.
« Reply #1 on: Sep 03, 2012, 11:03:40 »
Did some more work.

Unfortunately not anything that will change the bike cosmetically yet. I absolutely HAD to change out the rear swingarm pivots. I let it go for a while but the rear end flex was more than a little unnerving. It was starting to freak me out a bit and, quite frankly, I had horrible visions of catastrophic failure (unlikely but......) I decided not to wait. Got right in there and swapped them out.

Nice brass bushings freshly pressed in.

I'll start with some of the cosmetic stuff very soon. Still waiting on parts. At least this job is (pretty well) done.

One thing that I wasn't too happy about was that the inner collars were absolutely terrible! I can't seem to find these things anywhere either. Anyone know where I can pick these up?


Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #2 on: Oct 03, 2012, 00:32:02 »
Better do some catching up here. Been busy.....   :)

Another little and quick changeout.

Swapped out the giant aftermarket pipes that came with the bike (Big Berthas as I'd dubbed them) for some 12" Shorty's. Holy, what a difference. I love the sound of these pipes. I take it easy in my neighbourhood as to not tick anyone off but the Harleys in the area are still far louder.

While I was at it, I took the time to wrap the pipes as well.

I then started pickin' away at a few more things.......

Old side covers were toast.

The new(er) side covers were rough but a little better.

So............started prepping for paint.

Stripping and masking.

After stripping and a few coats; more masking.

Then a couple coats of white.

Scrape and sharpen raised edges and VOILA!

Out with the old, in with the new. Black!

A little detail for the Japanese bike :)  Tank badges....

Fabbed up some new indicator light mounts for the rear (new lights after powder coating) and refurbished a shift linkage (found at salvage yard) as mine was causing me some grief.

Then, on the very same day, my new rear shocks arrived.

Slapped those on and lowered the rear of the bike a hair.

Ground off the front fender (leaving just the arch for powder coat) and got into bobbing the rear fender.

Then, while I waited for powder coated parts to return, I got to some polishing.


After.........You know it's done when you can see my flannel jacket in the reflection :)



Once that was done, I started into the forks. Couldn't believe my eyes when I poured out the oil: milk white!! Yikes........

Internals and upper legs turned out to be quite nice after some cleaning/buffing though (thankfully) and I replaced the seals without issue. Well........ALMOST no issue.

I spent hours (literally) trying to free the left leg's chromed upper "crown" but there was no way. Had absolutely no choice but to hack the shit out of it to get it off.  ::)  I cleaned it up and straightened it enough temporarily so it's usable. I'll head to the salvage yard in a week or so and pick up a new one. It was going flawlessly until that point.

It started off very gentle with light twisting. Then a little more force. Then a slight bit of extra force with some lock jaws. Nervous about damage, I aborted that. I then poured the penetrating oil to it with some more attempts. Then some soaking and more attempts. Then I was back to the lock jaws with some soaking and more attempts - loads of force. Heat? Sure. A dab of heat. A dab of heat and oil and coaxing. OK Oil gentle tapping. A little more tapping. OK, a little heat, oil and tapping.........

Ah F#$% it!


There you go B#%&H!!   

aaaaaand done.


Then did some extra work to get the front end to sit the way I wanted

At this point, I was still waiting for the powder coaters and this is a running mockup (as I've dubbed it) and the bike is run all the time. This was the longest stretch off the bike so I just kept right on moving ahead. This time by ripping into the front end.

Mounted the new clip-ons and moved the controls down.

Re-wired the new lights, and manage to get everything running (using original stuff) right down to the neutral indicator and high-bean indicator lights. Everything works. Sweet!

Went back later in the day and cleaned up the wiring the best I could and finalized the bar and control positions (pic below). Doesn't look too bad, for now really. When the full mockup is complete and I have everything in order, I'll be tearing the entire bike down and redoing the whole wiring harness so........ Like I said, good enough for now.

Now that I see the gauges up there though, the look MASSIVE. I will no doubt be swapping them out at some point as well.

I also despise the OEM controls. Anyone know where I can get some nicer aftermarket stuff or newer OEM stuff with most (if not all) the functionality intact? By that I mean, has the starter, horn, indicator etc. switches present?

I'm not building a cafe here. I'd like keep all the controls. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Then FINALLY, I ended up getting my parts from the powder coaters.
Put the fender on and connected the rear markers. I was happy. Looked good. Not a show bike good, but, good.

At the same time, I started the work on the wheels.

After a couple of days of prep, paint, sand, paint etc......... Move the plants, dry the wheels.  8)

Unable to resist, slap the polished bits on to visualize what's coming.  ;D

While the tires get mounted and wheels get balanced, I make up some plugs for the triple to fill the holes where the old handle bar mounts once were.

Tire returned, slap on the wheels, tail light and finalize minor adjustments.

Other side

Slap the plate on and headed out for a 1 hour shakedown ride. YEEEHAAAWWWW!!!!  8)


Bike runs awesome! Pretty stoked. That fork is so much nicer now that it actually functions as it was meant to and actually had good oil in both legs (as opposed to half water in one and NO oil in the other   :o )

Still loads to do on this build but not right now. I'm gonna run it a while.

Anyone know where I can get a shorter front brake cable that won't cost me 100 bucks or more? Any other stuff out there compatible with it?


Offline hallin222

  • Posts: 163
  • aka: HonkyKong
    • HonkyKong Customs moto-art
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #3 on: Oct 03, 2012, 00:39:35 »
I like this stuff a lot.  Nothing radical, just simple modifications, but all having a pretty big impact.  Nicely done.

Offline jakeZ70

  • Posts: 138
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #4 on: Oct 03, 2012, 02:39:38 »
I need to shorten mine as well. I found this video a while back. Looks simple enough, but not something you would want to half-ass.

Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #5 on: Oct 03, 2012, 10:02:31 »
Good link! Thanks! I like how he details the exact solder to use as well. Pretty cool.

"Half ass"? No way......... If I can't do it right or a way that I'm 100% positive will work, I won't do it or it doesn't get done. Especially when it comes to front brake cable  ;)

No messing around there. I may give this a try and see how it goes. Temp's have always been a problem. He's got an interesting solution indeed.

Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #6 on: Oct 03, 2012, 10:05:00 »
I like this stuff a lot.  Nothing radical, just simple modifications, but all having a pretty big impact.  Nicely done.

Thanks, man. Appreciate that.  :) Still loads to do.....

Offline jerryz

  • Posts: 87
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #7 on: Oct 03, 2012, 13:10:00 »
I like your approach...very clean and nicely done! Great job on the polishing...what tools you use for that?

Offline JustinLonghorn

  • *
  • Posts: 6575
  • No Purple Hearts, No Blue Ribbons
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #8 on: Oct 03, 2012, 13:18:42 »
Nice subtle changes. Very clean. Keep up the good work, sir.
I'm going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge.

Into The Sunset, CB750 build

TT500 the Animal

Offline New2meCB

  • Posts: 388
    • The Slow Spoke
Re: The CB 350 Project.........with video.
« Reply #9 on: Oct 04, 2012, 00:26:32 »
I like your approach...very clean and nicely done! Great job on the polishing...what tools you use for that?


As far as the buffing goes, that was a huge pain! Took a while.....

Installed an 8" spiral sewn (I think that's what they call them) buffing wheel onto a bench grinder. I put some buffing compound onto the wheel and went at it. I had the best luck starting with the brown blocks and finishing with the white compound blocks.

I also purchased some smaller wheels and ends in a bunch of different shapes and sizes to work with a variable speed drill I have and very small bits to work with my Dremel tool for the really hard to reach spots.

I always started  with the brown (or "rouge" I think they call it) block and finished up with the white. The bench grinder was awesome for the initial heavy stuff and the drill proved to be fantastic for most of the rest. It just took a really long time.

I'm no buffing expert but I did learn a lot throughout the process like "cutting" when against the wheel and "smooth" with the wheel. There is some technique to it all - getting it even. Loads of on-line tips and stuff to look up.

May be some better compounds out there that would have made it easier but I don't know. These all turned out nice so I'm happy enough. Did the fork legs too and they went really well and took no time at all. I had it mastered by that point  ;)

Thanks again for all the kind words all!
« Last Edit: Oct 04, 2012, 00:40:20 by New2meCB »