Archive for the ‘exhaust’ Tag
It 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
For some reason I seem to be on a Norton kick at this time. I want one. That big long stroke motor, watching the front wheel shake at stop lights…wait a minute, we’re heading into a way different topic of discussion here…uh, back to motorcycles.
I think the main reason I’m on this Norton kick is because my friends at ‘Left Coast Racing’ and I are getting ready for another Bonneville LSR run in couple of months with a pair of Norton’s. We currently hold a Land Speed Record with a rather built up 1959 Norton.
The very first Norton I ever took for a ride was a ‘rode hard and put away wet’ 750 Commando back in the early 70’s that my step dad rescued from some guys back yard. It was a lot different from the BSA’s and Triumph’s I had been riding, and honestly…at that time, I liked my Lightning 650 a lot better. But, being the good motorcycle souls that we were, we went about resurrecting it…a project that took over a year and a lot more money than my mom knows about.
During that same time, we were also upgrading a Triumph Bonneville from a standard 650cc to a Weslake 750 model (again, another story for anther time…and a really good one??). The Commando rebuild was a lot easier thanks to people like Brian Slark, Domiracer and Berliner. At the end of the year both motorcycles were finished, broken in appropriately and then taken out for a proper thrashing…Sunday morning on Angeles Crest Highway.
I fell in love with the Norton. Up to that time my motorcycling life had been with high revving two strokes, and somewhat high revving (by then current standards) English and Japanese twins, the Norton was a different feeling altogether. Where my BSA would feel light at the bars, the Norton was dead steady, the BSA needed some revs to get off a corner quickly, the Norton just needed a nudge on the throttle…the BSA needed you to pay attention, the Norton just went along with however you were riding that day (even with a minor (major) hangover).
The Norton was sold to a friend of a friend of a friend or their third cousin by marriage twice removed (no Alabama jokes here…) and was never seen again. I had grown to love that motorcycle and was sad to see it leave the garage…the guy didn’t even ride it home, he put it in a pick up truck!??? After all the work we did?… and he didn’t even live 20 miles away!! This was way before the days of ebay and buying a motorcycle on the other side of the world was easy.
So today, while working on our other websites, http://www.ilovecaferacers.com and http://www.themotoworld.com and cruising ebay looking for yet another project bike for a friend, I came upon a very nice Norton that is ready to ride and has some very nice bits and pieces.
This is a 1974 850 Commando that is a runner but…it has been sitting for years according to the owner so if you buy this bike you really need to go through the carbs, change the fluids, probably the tyres…all the standard stuff but I think this bike will be well worth the effort.
The bike has been outfitted with the Dunstall bits that really make it great, starting with the Dunstall 2 into 1 into 2 exhaust system. This exhaust is worth the price of admission alone, it is a work of art in every respect…performance and looks. The beautiful tank and that very slim front fender (I put one of those on the front of my H2, it was pretty worthless as far as fenders go, but I loved how it looked), the 850 also has what looks to me like Lester mag wheels. This Norton only has only 8800 miles on the clock and like I said before, with just some standard service, should be a wonderful ride.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and a little more info. This is a great bike for the money.
I’m contacting the seller about this bike to try to get more details and more photos. If this is, in fact, a 2004 Sportster, then it is the first full conversion (including tank but minus some cool 18″ wheels) that I’ve seen. A tank like that is exactly what I want to do to my bike. I’ll post updates as I get them.
BTW, the reason I’m not sure about the year is the oil tank. I can’t tell from the photos, but it is either a 2003 tank (non-flush oil filler cap) or it is a 2004 tank with the side cover removed. If anyone has an opinion, please let me know…
No matter how many times I rant and rave about bikes missing some key cafe racer feature, I always manage to find these bikes again and again. Here we have a 1971 BMW R60 that’s been cafe’d out… almost. Everything is there except the bars. I know, I know, the bars are more comfortable than clip-ons or clubmans. But they just don’t work with the rear-sets. And having your feet behind you doesn’t work so well if your hands are up high.
However, if you want a BMW cafe racer, this is a perfect bike for you to finish up by selecting your perfect set of bars or clip-ons that fit you perfectly. The price is relatively low at $1,800 with 2 days left and a fair number of bidders. I expect it will close higher, but not sure how much. It’s a clean bike with most of the cafe mods done already…
A while back I posted a listing for a Hogbitz Sportster cafe racer that was the most expensive bike to ever hit the blog ($25K asking price). It was relisted at least once, if not multiple times. This Norton comes in a close second with a Buy-It-Now price of $22,500. As is this the second Norton in a row I’ve posted, it is interesting to compare the bikes, and what differentiates an unrestored Norton Commando from a fully restored and cafe-racerized (including lots of motorwork) Norton Featherbed/Manx. I guess the difference comes down to this 1962 Norton being what is essentially a show bike with a hopped-up motor you could ride, versus the 1971 Norton Commando posted before being an unrestored daily rider that has a frame in good shape with “no visible cracks”.
You decide. $22.5K for a beautiful bike that has been gone through with a fine-tooth comb, or $7.5K for a bike that you might put a little elbow grease into over time (and maybe a motor rebuild while you’re at it). It would be interesting to see what this bike sells for, but it is a Buy-It-Now with Make Offer (2 offers so far), so we won’t be able to watch any climbing auction prices.
Here’s a nice looking example of a first-gen Commando that has been converted to cafe-racer duty. Overall, the modifications are spot-on, but I do have one minor quibble: the rear ride height. Shocks one inch longer would really balance the bike front-to-rear, and lifting the back end up would also probably quicken the handling just a smidge.
Other than that, this is an unrestored runner that is currently not seeing much action in the auction. There is a a day and a half left in the auction, and the current price is $4,550. Reserve has not been met, but there is a Buy-It-Now price of $7,500, so we can probably assume the reserve is set somewhere around $7K. With only two bidders so far, it seems there isn’t a huge chance the bike will end up selling.
Up for auction on eBay with about a day left is this nice-looking BSA Lightning. The seller seems to have done a lot of work to it (details copied from the original listing and pasted below), and it certainly looks the part. Interestingly, the bike seems appear to have a mechanical/hydraulic hybrid front brake (see the last picture below). I think it wouldn’t be inappropriate to have a brake reservoir on the clip-on givent hat it is a disc front brake, but I appreciate the stripped-down look. Overall, a very clean build with classic good looks.
And I forgot to add this in originally: no chain.
- Lightened and Beveled Crank Shaft
Balanced Rotating Assembly
Raised Exhaust Ports with +.100 Exhaust Valves
Lightened Valve Gear
274-274 Duration / .375 Lift Megacycle Cam
New Valve Guides and Valve Job
+.020 Forged Pistons 10:1
1 3/4″ TT Pipes with Custom Alloy Tips
Custom Alloy Intake Manifolds
36 mm Dellorto (Pumpers) Carburetors with Alloy Velocity Stacks
Dyna High Output Ignition Coils
- Modified T-160 Triple Tree & Forks
Modified T-160 Rear Hub & Alloy Sprocket
Front & Rear Lockheed Disc Brakes
Custom Fabricated Alloy Brakes Reservoir
19″ Front and Rear Wheels with Stainless Steel Spokes & Nuts
Alloy Fenders and Custom Made Alloy Brackets
Custom Made Alloy Clip-on Handle Bars, Instrument Cluster, Side Covers, Chain Guard & Tail Light/Licence Plate Bracket
Custom Made Rear Set Shift and Brake Lever Assemblies and Linkage
Alloy Brake and Clutch Levers
Vintage Alloy 2 Cable Throttle
Modified Pre-1971 A65 Seat
I’ve been trying to be nice lately. Really. Haven’t you been able to tell? But I can hold back no longer…
There are three things wrong with this bike. I’ll take the flack if you disagree. First, the seller is unclear on whether or not the bike is a 1978 or a 1979. Maybe that doesn’t matter from a technical standpoint, but it does from a “seller knowing his sh!t” standpoint. Secondly, there is no paperwork to go along with the bike. That can make it difficult to register (especially here on the left coast). Thirdly, the seat. Do I need to spell it out? The TL1000R seat is just wrong. It was iffy on the actual TL1000R, and here it is just not right. The stock seat would be better. A pillow seat would be… well, not better, but not worse.
I get the fact that all of us trying to build cafe-styled bikes makes choices as we design the final look, but this feels more like someone who had an extra TL1000R seat sitting in the garage. That reminds me, I’ve got a TZ250 GP seat in my garage that I just might mount on the ’05 Sportster. I’ll post a pic if I do it. :)
Beautiful. Nothing much else to say. I might have missed some minor detail that’s out of place and someone will point it out. Don’t care. Here’s some specs and more pictures below. There’s more pics and the seller’s writeup if you are interested in learning more or trying to buy the bike. The auction’s at $8,200 with 2 days left and 17 bidders (reserve HAS been met)…
The engine features the work of noted tuner Leo Goff including a balanced lower end, 10.1 pistons, Norris SS cam, and gas flowed head resulting in a very fast and smooth 750 Norton motor.
Steering Damper (Manx type)
Multi Rate Valve Springs (S&W)
Special Camshaft (Norris SS hotter than 2S Combat cam)
Paired Monobloc 1 1/8″ Carbs
Competition Manual Advance Magneto
5 Gal Racing Tank
The tach and speedo were restored by Nisongers.
The magneto was rebuilt by Doug Wood.
The only flaw is some acid stains on the left silencer from a vented battery (since replaced with a sealed unit).
The bike is very strong and smooth and is ready to ride.