Archive for the ‘honda’ Tag

1973 Honda CL350 Cafe Racer

Picture 8It is no secret that I love, I LOVE!!! Honda 350′s…and I’m not the only one. The CB is by most accounts the biggest selling motorcycle of all time…hell, I have four of them! CB,CL and SL models. A couple run, one’s a parts bike and the other is in boxes, milk crates and hanging from the rafters in my barn.

My love affair with the Honda twin began in 1971 when I was in a ‘one-upmanship’ contest with my friend Eddie. Even though I was riding a BSA 650 most of the time, the contest revolved around smaller bikes. Eddie won a couple of times but when I got my first SL350, his ‘little’ Yamaha DT1 250 was left in the dust…literally.

I eventually sold the SL350, after I had slogged it through the deserts of Southern California for a couple of years only to regret it a few years later. So…the search was on for another. I ended up with a 1972 CB350 that had been sitting out in a back yard for something like 10 years or so. That little 350 looked pretty bad, but it was all there and the price was right, a hundred bucks. On to my trailer it went (flat tires and all the spiders you could want, plus a dead mouse in the right side airfilter) and home it came with me. I still have it…25 years later.

Once home, some basic service, a lot of elbow grease and a few (?) new parts and I was back on my favorite little Honda twin. Over the years I put a mild cafe treatment on the bike, lower bars, changed the exhaust, moved the pegs back a bit, upgraded the suspension, I even put good tires on it. Now it is waiting for the big bore kit I recently acquired to be installed.

Building Cafe Racer out of a Honda 350 nowadays is a pretty easy thing to do. Parts are available easily; tanks, seats, controls,suspension, you name it and with a good credit card you can have it delivered to your door the next day. But here is the thing about building a vintage cafe racer,if you’re going to do it right, it ain’t gonna be cheap and it ain’t going to happen over a weekend. The time,effort and money you put into it is for your own pleasure…when time comes to sell it, don’t set your hopes too high.Picture 10

So, on that note, I found a super sweet CL350 that has a whole lot of nice parts and a lot of love put into it and is being sold at a reasonable price (so far). This CL motor has been gone through, it didn’t need much it only has 4837 miles on it, carbs rebuilt, new electrics, etc, etc. Then we get into the really cool stuff.

The bike was stripped down and everything was either powder coated, painted or polished. The wheels got new spokes, bearings and tires. Suspension was all redone front and rear, nice handlebars, rearsets and the exhaust, which may be a bit loud but it sure looks good. I really dig the instruments and the headlight arrangement. I think I’m changing the vision I have for my own new 350 project.

This is a really nicely done Honda 350 that will last for a long time both mechanically and styling. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.

Oh and one last thing, the Honda advert says top speed is 100mph…don’t believe them…maybe 95mph is where it tops out. But with a very little work, the little 350 will ‘Do the Ton’. Have fun.

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Picture 41973 Honda CL350 Cafe Racer

1980 Honda CX500 Custom Cafe’

Picture 5The Plastic Maggot. That is what the British and European press called the CX500, and deservedly so. I think, however, that bad styling got in the way of some great technology. Yes, the bike was patterned after the Moto Guzzi 500 v twin but Honda did some things to make it much better, Styling not included. Little things like twisting the cylinders so that carbs wouldn’t hit the riders knee’s. The CX500 really was and still is a really good motorcycle, hey, even police departments around the world loved these bikes.Picture 4

The CX500 was especially nice when cafe’d up.
I found a nice example on ebay this morning that looks like it would be a lot of fun to ride. The seller did some simple but nice upgrades, some minimalistic styling, which follows true cafe racer form, and made this bike ready to ride right now with nothing to do. Nice bike.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and more info. The other thing about CX500′s…they really sound good with a more flowing exhaust like this one has.

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Picture 141980 Honda CX500 Custom

1976 Honda GL1000 ‘Bold wing’

Picture 13This is how most all of us look at Gold Wings…old guys riding the interstate with the onboard stereo blasting away and at the end of the day staying at the Holiday Inn. I know this from experience. My dad got back into motorcycling after about 30 plus years and his goal was to ride a Gold Wing. I started him on a CB350, then a CX500 Silver Wing and eventually a GL1100 Gold Wing. He didn’t use the stereo all that much but he did like the Holiday Inn.Picture 12

Me, I remember when the Gold Wing first arrived on the scene. I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico and the local Honda dealer had the Honda rep come out and show everybody the GL1000. What a boat…until you rode it. Yeah it weighed a lot, and yeah the steering was kinda slow but when you got it up to speed, this thing worked!

Because of its low center of gravity the GL series of Honda’s handle really well, add to that the torque of the motor and you have a bike that is ripe for going fast. All it needs is a bit of suspension work. Instead of cushy go for sporty. Honda originally brought out the ‘Wing’ as a sport bike not a tourer. Craig Vetter made a tourer out of the GL not Honda.Picture 14

So, over the years many ‘Wing’ riders figured out the true purpose of the GL and made some great cafe racers out of the big four. I found a really nice one on ebay today. A few modifications, nothing serious, but nicely set up. The bike has only 38K miles on it, which in ‘Gold Wing’ miles is barely broken in. This is a really nice motorcycle. If any of you out there think a first generation Gold Wing is just an old mans highway cruiser,think again…these bikes can fly., hence the name.

For info and more pictures, click on the pics below.

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Picture 91976 Honda Gl1000

1971 Honda SL175

Hmmmmmmm…….. Maybe it’s a board track racer?

Honda SL125 1971 Cafe Racer 0011
Honda SL125 1971 Cafe Racer 0012
Honda SL125 1971 Cafe Racer 0013
Honda SL125 1971 Cafe Racer 0014
Honda SL125 1971 Cafe Racer 0015

1978 Honda CB550 Cafe Racer

This is an interesting bike with a mix of cool/new parts and a couple of relatively major things that need to be fixed. Easily, the best aesthetic feature is the cafe-style seat with the frenched taillight. And the paint looks really deep and glossy on the seat, tank, and the one side-panel that is visible in the pictures. I personally don’t really get the upside-down superbike bars, but there are a fair number of “cafe-style” bikes out there with them. The motor has a number of internal performance parts, and there are a lot of new consumables that come with the bike. It does, however, need a new stator and a ring job (according to the seller). I am pasting a full list of the mods and parts after the pictures.

I’m not quite sure what to make of the Buy-It-Now price of $2,500 for this bike given the re-ringing and stator replacement that the buyer will have to do. But the auction is currently at around $700 with 4 bidders and a little less than a day left. I would guess the bike won’t pass the reserve price, but we shall see where the sale of this bike ends up…

Honda CB550 1978 Cafe Racer 011
Honda CB550 1978 Cafe Racer 012
Honda CB550 1978 Cafe Racer 013
Honda CB550 1978 Cafe Racer 014
Honda CB550 1978 Cafe Racer 015

    Hand made “Frenched” Tail light Café Racer Seat
    Chrome mini Bullet Turn Signals
    Gloss Black Single Stage Paint
    “Kreemed” Gas Tank
    Flanders Café Bars
    MAC 4:1 Exhaust System
    Web Cam Springs & Titanium Retainers
    Web 58B Camshaft
    Ported and Polished Head
    Head Decked for Higher compression
    New Old Stock BETOR Racing Shocks
    New EBC Clutch and Spring Set
    New Sunstar Sprockets
    New EBC Brakes, Front and Rear
    New Wheel Bearings Front and Rear
    New Fork Seals and Bushings
    New Battery
    New Petcock
    Carbs have new needles, seats, and gaskets in them
    New points and condenser

    Needs to be done:
    Stator has an issue on charging side, works sometimes, needs to be replaced.
    Will need new rings, smokes at start up, goes away as engine warms.

A Couple Of eBay Relists…

I noticed these two relists on eBay this morning, and I wonder if they will sell this time around. I am kind of surprised that the Honda has 20 bids thus far (but still not meeting reserve), whilst the XS650 has zero bids. I get that the Yamaha needs a small amount of completion work, but still…

Yamaha XS650 1981 Cafe Racer 01


honda cb750 1974 brit cafe 01

1975 Honda CB400 Cafe Racer

This is one of the more modified cafe racers to come up on eBay in a long time. Whether you love or hate the seat, the rest of the bike is built to the hilt. The seller claims the bike “runs super strong”, and from the spec list we have no reason to doubt him. Check out some of the modifications…

    Yoshimura Racing 466cc pistons and rings
    A.P.E. Racing block and ported heads
    Race camshaft
    Titanium valve spring retainers
    Keihin 26mm smooth bore
    Dyna ignition
    Triple clamps from 1979 CBX
    35mm CB550F forks, clear powder coated, 10 wt oil, new seals
    Works Suspension front dual spring kit (#230XH)
    Daytona aluminum front fork brace
    B900F Koni shocks NOS, #7610, 14″ (+1.5″ of std)
    Dual CB550F rotors and calipers, trailing mounted (as opposed to stock forward mounted)
    Baker Precision stainless steel brake lines
    CBR900RR master cylinder and adjustable level
    stretched aluminum tank custom made in England
    Pro Flo 35mm clip-ons
    CBR900RR footpegs and linkages

So what’s the good? Lots of cool modifications that should make this one of the fastest CB400′s around. And what’s the bad? That seat. Oh yeah. The bike ain’t cheap, either. With about a day and a half left in the auction, there are no bidders and the starting price is $3,900. However, there is no reserve, so if there’s one bid, the bike will sell.

Honda CB400 1975 Cafe Racer 011
Honda CB400 1975 Cafe Racer 012
Honda CB400 1975 Cafe Racer 013
Honda CB400 1975 Cafe Racer 014
Honda CB400 1975 Cafe Racer 015

1970 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer

There isn’t much that needs to be said regarding this bike. It is just plain beautiful. This is pretty much the epitome of the small-bore Japanese cafe racer. There’s a ding on the tank, but the seller seems to be very honest about the bike. The price is only at $2K with 24 hours left in the auction, and reserve has been met. It might be a good chance to get a well done cafe racer for a reasonable price…

Honda CB350 1970 CR 011
Honda CB350 1970 CR 012
Honda CB350 1970 CR 013
Honda CB350 1970 CR 014
Honda CB350 1970 CR 015
Honda CB350 1970 CR 016

1973 Honda CB750 (Stock Bike For Project)

If you are looking for a decent starting point for a cafe racer project, this might be a good bike to begin your work. It’s a 1973 Honda CB750 that is basically stock and in good shape. The seller provided a good list of his recent upgrades to the mechanicals, so I just cut and pasted the list shown below. There are a few more pictures on eBay of some of the details on the bike, but these give you an overall idea of what this bike has in store for you…

I don’t know if this bike is going to sell or not. It has zero bidders with just over a day left in the auction, but the starting price is at $2,500. Buy-It-Now is set at $3,200. If everything works as stated by the seller, this bike appears to be in line with what a decent CB750 is currently worth. I’d love to see pics of this bike after it gets the cafe treatment…


    Had a Honda mechanic replace all the gaskets in the upper half of the engine. Head gasket, valve cover gasket, etc…
    Carbs have been cleaned, rebuilt and synched
    Valves have been timed
    Gas tank has been lined
    New OEM petcock fuel valve
    Clutch has been rebuilt with OEM Honda parts, OEM clutch cable is new also
    Brakes have been serviced and checked out
    Original air box replaced with pod filter, carbs were re-jetted at this time with 120′s, i also have the original air box with a new K&N filter
    Rear fender has been removed and replaced with a fender eliminator kit and LED rear light. Looks great on the bike. Turn signals were flush mounted and look better this way
    New EMGO rear shocks have been added to replace the originals that were pretty useless. I still have them though
    Low (super) bars have been added to give it more of the cafe racer look. Note- these are not “clubman” bars because i found them to be uncomfortable
    Added a headlight visor to front light
    Original chain has been replaced with an o-ring chain
    New battery added last summer
    Original paint on the gas tank (pretty sure side covers are repro)
    I have the original tool kit and original manual from Honda
    I also have 3 additional manuals, including the official Honda service manual which is amazing
    Tires have plenty of tread on them
    Electric ignition and kick start both work great
    All lights, guages and electronics function perfectly


Honda CB750 1973 Cafe Racer Project 01
Honda CB750 1973 Cafe Racer Project 02
Honda CB750 1973 Cafe Racer Project 03
Honda CB750 1973 Cafe Racer Project 04

1975 Honda CB750 (Good Project Bike)

If you’re looking for a good starting point for a cafe racer project, this might be just the ticket. It’s being auctioned on eBay, although the price is a bit high. However, the seller is stating what needs to be done to it (wheel and steering bearings), so if you were to utilize the Best Offer function, you might be able to get the bike for well less than the $2,900 asking price. Ask questions of this 100% Feedback seller ahead of time if you have questions about anything not mentioned in the listing…

Honda CB750 1975 Cafe Racer Project 01
Honda CB750 1975 Cafe Racer Project 02
Honda CB750 1975 Cafe Racer Project 03
Honda CB750 1975 Cafe Racer Project 04

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