For a year now there have been Craigslist wars going on in my house, me looking up vintage Hondas, and my husband insisting that they are a horrible first motorcycle and telling me to go with his first bike - a Ninja 250. Either that man really loves me, or he figures I'll never come around because we got my vintage Honda.... in cardboard boxes. Today marks day one of this rebuild which, coincidentally, is also my first rebuild ever. I thought I'd throw it up here for others to see/critique/advise.
Here she is on the back of the truck coming home. Jane is a 1973 CL 350 and in pretty good shape, just disassembled. Aside from being a bit rusty and in pieces, she's a solid bike.
First order of business was to lay out all of her pieces on the operating table. She did have a lot of extras (unless I am missing something and she's actually a semi truck that needs 47 blinkers) so I sorted through and picked out the most viable parts and threw the others into the "box of shame."
Some are extra, some aren't really hers. I'll save a few of her extras in case I lay her over and need some replacement parts, they rest will probably go in the Frankenbike heap in the corner of the shop.
Tank and side covers will be repainted. I haven't decided yet if they will be harvest gold (like my first motorcycle was) with black accents, or if we'll give her an OD green base with cream and black accent. There is a great upholstery place down the street that I'm going to have quote a recover, otherwise I'll do it myself. Engine seems sound, although we haven't gotten into it too much. I have to cut some new gaskets because the ones she had were shot.
The frame is being powder coated black and what chrome I can't clean up with a wire brush and some steel wool will be sent out for a more professional refinish. Most of the small pieces cleaned up really well with just a bit of elbow grease. Luckily I have the patience to sit for 5 hours buffing chrome- and a heated parts washer. If anyone has advice on cleaning up rusty chrome I'd love to hear it. Most is superficial- the only part too rusty to salvage because of horrible pitting were the front forks, but the previous owner bought replacement triple trees (notorious for busting on 70's Hondas) from an '80's CM400 that fit great so I've also grabbed a set of forks for an '81 CM400 for $14 on Ebay. Worth a shot and if they are junk I'm only out the cost of a couple of bombers of beer.
Stay tuned. She'll be coming together this winter and hopefully chasing around all of you this spring!