1st Time Builder_71 CB 450: Project Rat


and on the 8th day God created the motorcycle...
Hi everyone, I figured I use this opportunity to introduce myself and my project. I'm Brad, from Pittsburgh, PA and this is my 1971 CB 450. This is my first attempt at building a bike from the frame up, or anything mechanical for that matter. I picked her up from a college kid in eastern PA for 170 bills. I'm pretty happy with the progress so far, let me know what you guys think. And thanks to all for the wealth of info and inspiration, this is a really great site.

When I brought her home:








Still needs a lot of work, more to come...
VERY COOL!!!! hell i even dig the stock bars... they look alot like a flat tracker set up... very cool... what is the plan with this sucker?
You're starting with a good platform; I like the changes you've made so far, though I do hope you're going to reinstall the fork gaitors, or get new ones on there, to protect those fork tubes...
Hey guys, thanks for the responses. JRK, the boots are yours for the cost of the shipping, just send me your info in a PM.

My plans for the bike are to keep it lean and mean, only adding that which is necessary. I'm on a budget, so I can't afford to go crazy on it. This project is more for me to learn the ropes. My to do list for now includes: new fork/dust seals, new rear sprocket, and 11inch short shocks for the rear.

I have to agree that the 500 tank looks sweet, the original is in the first pic, it's the blue one in the background.

One question for you guys. Anyone know where I can get a decent universal throttle that will work with this bike?

Thanks again.
So I'm stuck waiting for parts, new grips and short shocks should be arriving on Monday!

In the meantime I figured I'd do a quick cardboard mock-up of the seat shape.

I plan on making a sheet metal base and build the rest in fiberglass.





I'll more picks when I get me other parts installed.

Can't wait to see the bike with it's new stance.
Found this on my doorstep when I got home this evening. 8)




I still want to lower the front by another inch or two. I'll take care of that after I replace the seals.


I also got started on a DIY tank strap. I should have it finished tomorrow night.

Mental note. 11 inch shocks look SWEET! I don't like how high my bike currently sits. I think the CLs sat a little higher than the CBs anyway. How do you lower the front? Shorten the springs and less oil?

I also love the tank. Although, personal preference, I would hammer in bigger knee dents. 76 cb500 tank you say? My stock tank doesn't hold much and I don't like the lines.

Damn, I had a line on a 76 cb500 parts bike for <$100 but the guy flaked and we never met up. Now he's not responding.

Fear, Interested in a trade? I have a spare set of CL pipes. I know you want them. :)
that is a killer stance... you should drop it and make it so the rear tire can travel under the seat... then mold your seat to allow for that... would be SICK! but it would be LOW (will be any ways) so you will not be able to really slam the corners... but it will look cool as hell and have a real diff ride that low... would be cool... hell the 350 i got to build after the 500 is going to be crazy low ... speaking of... the original bars you had on this bike the flat tracker style... you want to sell those?
hrutkayb said:
I'm Brad, from Pittsburgh, PA

I'm not the only Pittsburgher here anymore? Nice...maybe in the spring we can get a ride in together, so that we don't have to dodge the Harlys alone.
Hey Flugtechnik, although I could really use an exhaust (seeing as I have none), I don't think I can part with my tank. I really like how it sits on the frame.

As far as lowering the front end, I was going to push the fork tubes through the top tree about another inch or two.

Joe, I'm diggin your ideas for the seat, but I don't think I have the skills to pull something like that off...yet. ;)

The bars you're talking about are actually off my other bike, 04 599. 8) 8) 8)


I know, I know I'm being stingy with my parts, but I would like to turn it back to stock if I ever sell it.

TJ, nice to hear from a fellow Pixburgher, glad I'm not alone.

We'll definitely have to hook up when the weather gets nice. ;D
Finished up my tank strap this evening. Not very pretty but it works.




This will be it for a while. Next on the list is to replace the fork seals. Totally dreading this, any advice is very welcome.

Oh, I was needling Fear_My_Twin. He was looking for some CL pipes and he was bragging that he had two tanks. I like the tank strap. I probably need one since there is nothing holding my tank on except the rubbers in the front and the seat pressed against it. But I don't like my tank so I probably won't waste my time.
Where did you get the shocks? Is there another model that uses the 11 inchers so I can get some used ones?
These pop up on ebay every once in a while.

Not sure if these particular ones will work on a 450.


Here's where I got mine, great site and service, they delivered within 3 days or so.


Not sure if you can find these used, I believe they are an aftermarket item only. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong though.
Flugtechnik said:
Where did you get the shocks? Is there another model that uses the 11 inchers so I can get some used ones?

i've got a pair that i used on my 500t for a few weeks. i ended up needing more clearance than i could get with the 11"ers. $60 shipped and they're yours.
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