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Old 04-03-2014, 11:51 AM   #1
Allanrps OP
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Question CL350 in a box

Hey guys,

this is my first post on the forums, although in the last couple months this site has proved invaluable to me as a source of information on bikes. I'll just spit it out; never touched a motorcycle, got little to no mechanical experience, homeschooled 16 year old kid. I've decided that this summer I want to leave home (Pittsburgh) and bike around the western US and eventually down to South America, so I'm frantically trying to get a hold of an old honda or yamaha that I can take apart, get familiar with, and have running and ready for my departure late in the summer when I have my license.

I've found a CL350 in a box 2 hours away from me, and I want to know whether I should go for it, or if I'll be in over my head. It's titled and under 400 bucks. I'm willing to put in the time and effort, no matter what it takes, but I want to know if you guys think its reasonable and if you would help me out with it. I know some people who have some experience with mechanics that could help me out, and I'm a pretty bright kid. I know you guys see a lot of projects come and go unfinished, but I guarantee I'd stick with it. Its a life goal, not just a fun project. I've got a budget of around 2,000 dollars and 4-5 months.

Thanks,
Allan
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:28 PM   #2
sailah
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Allan,
I'm in Pittsburgh, shady side, for the next few months if you need help with anything. I've got most anything you would need or access to it.

Personally I would probably start with spending more of your budget to get a bike that you can hear run and the remainder on fixing stuff that needs addressing like new tires, brakes, chain etc. without knowing the internal condition of the engine, it's awful hard to know if you are buying someone else's headache. Internals of engines can get expensive quick and who knows what is missing.

With a running bike you can at least take pics and post them and someone with knowledge of the bike can tell you what to check. You can also ride it and gauge how well it has been taken care of.

Other than the typical craigslist ads, in pa you can buy bikes at salvage auctions without a license. I've gotten some real deals on crashed bikes that can easily be out back into mechanical service. Cosmetics may be rough but chances are good to get a late model bike for short money. I don't recommend doing it without talking to someone first as there are no refunds and you need to know what you are doing. And they all have titles. I went to copart.

Anyways, I know a lot of really good motorcycle mechanic type guys around this area if you want to get in touch.

Unless a bike in box is free, I'm not paying money for it is my advice.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:19 PM   #3
Allanrps OP
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Thanks for the advice sailah, that's really helpful. I'll definitely look in to salvage yard auctions.

About the bike in the box, its coming from a bike shop, and I'm assured that all the parts are there and the motor is complete and in good condition. The guy said he got it from someone who tore it down to paint, but never got around to putting it back together. I definitely understand how this wouldn't be a good first project to put together, but I was also thinking that if I can bring down the price, it might be worth it for the licensed frame and parts, so that if I can pick up another cb/cl/sl 350 with or without title, I'd have the parts to make it work and sell or keep the rest for down the road. Good idea?


I am looking into honda cb/cl/sl350s and yamaha sr/xt 500s. In the face of growing necessity, I'm still holding on to a little vanity. Also, I figure these old bikes are easier to do self-maintenance on roadside, due to kick start, carbs, and engine size. Does that sound reasonable, or still stay away? I'm checking craigslist every couple hours when I'm home, in 6 neighboring states. I think I could get a hold of a bike without title without much difficulties, and I could get that in good shape, get the basics down, then do a frame swap.

Thanks a ton for the tips and the offers to help. I may take you up on that when I actually get something in my hands

Allanrps screwed with this post 04-03-2014 at 06:21 PM Reason: miss-spelled username
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:20 PM   #4
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Oh, I'm in the south hills by the way.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:03 PM   #5
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Lost it

The bike sold. Damn these things go too fast. You can't wait till after dinner if you want to get a hold of anything. I was going to go for it because I remembered that there was a listing for a good running but un-titled cb350 just 20 minutes away from the cl, and between the two bikes in good condition and a titled frame I figured I couldn't go too wrong. Also, my mom is working around the clock, and my sister was off work yesterday, and scheduling a meeting time is a serious problem. Well, back on the chase.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:37 PM   #6
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Good luck. And find a good friend to tour with, on his/her own machine. Makes life a whole lot more fun....... and infinitely more safe.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:14 AM   #7
sailah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allanrps View Post
Thanks for the advice sailah, that's really helpful. I'll definitely look in to salvage yard auctions.

About the bike in the box, its coming from a bike shop, and I'm assured that all the parts are there and the motor is complete and in good condition. The guy said he got it from someone who tore it down to paint, but never got around to putting it back together. I definitely understand how this wouldn't be a good first project to put together, but I was also thinking that if I can bring down the price, it might be worth it for the licensed frame and parts, so that if I can pick up another cb/cl/sl 350 with or without title, I'd have the parts to make it work and sell or keep the rest for down the road. Good idea?


I am looking into honda cb/cl/sl350s and yamaha sr/xt 500s. In the face of growing necessity, I'm still holding on to a little vanity. Also, I figure these old bikes are easier to do self-maintenance on roadside, due to kick start, carbs, and engine size. Does that sound reasonable, or still stay away? I'm checking craigslist every couple hours when I'm home, in 6 neighboring states. I think I could get a hold of a bike without title without much difficulties, and I could get that in good shape, get the basics down, then do a frame swap.

Thanks a ton for the tips and the offers to help. I may take you up on that when I actually get something in my hands
Unless I hear it run for myself, all assurances that start out with "it ran last year when I put it up", just needs a battery, valves need adjusting, carb needs cleaned etc are worth zip. If I can't get it started, I treat it like a parts bike and price accordingly. Missing parts are very easy to overlook especially when the bike is in a box and you aren't really familiar with the bike in general.

You'll be much further ahead to spend more money buying a running bike than to hope all parts are in a box. Leave the parts bikes to those who know exactly what they are looking at. Sure you can get lucky, or overcome odds with sheer stubbornness, however from your admitted lack of mechanical aptitude and inexperience with bikes, I'd much rather you buy a runner.

Don't forget to budget for some appropriate gear as well. I have some extra stuff if you happen to be in the large, XL size you can have.

Anyways, first bikes are exciting. I remember bolting to the top of the street in my church clothes to meet the guy dropping off my 1975 Suzuki gt750 because my parents didn't know. I had no idea how to ride or that bikes needed maintenance. I literally rode that thing until the chain fell off.

Don't be impulsive, I know it's hard to resist the first thing that comes along. There are tons of good bikes for beginners you just need to be in the right place at the right time.

I'll send out some feelers I might have a couple people to ask.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:27 AM   #8
sailah
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http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/4391798485.html

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/4400447416.html

I can help you with learning how to change tires, brakes, chain carbs etc if you find something that needs work.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:03 AM   #9
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Just remember, even if you were to be given a bike in a box you will have more money in it than it's worth, plain and simple.

You should be able to find a complete runner for that kind of $$$.

Honestly, the best value that will often keep you from getting 'upside down' on an old bike is buying the nicest most complete example you can find. You might pay more that $400 but you will save big $$$ in the end.

Motor parts, chrome, paint, etc. really cost. Tires, chains, sprockets, seat covers, maybe a gasket or seal to fix a leak, carby rebuild, all no big deal.

I never buy a bike that I know I'll end up with more in than it's worth. Shop wisely grasshopper.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:42 AM   #10
coloradogoose
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Definately take Sailah up on his offer to help. You will learn more, faster with guidance. You are also more likely to end up with a good solid bike that will do what you want. It's easy to romantisize a specific bike and search for that one, however the romance is lost when you're in the middle of a third world country with a broken down bike and a shoestring budget.
Your eagerness is awesome, and if you pair that with some solid knowledge you'll end up with a really good bike for a good price.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:40 AM   #11
Allanrps OP
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Thanks a ton for all the encouragement and support.

Duck_Pilot, good friends are hard to come by for a kid who left school in rich suburbia, let alone a friend who would go on an international bike trip. I wish though!

Sailah, gotcha, I'll leave the parts bikes alone. I guess I should have known that, but not having any experience with this stuff, I thought I could work through any difficulties. Doesn't make much sense, but there's that for what its worth. After a some close calls on a couple hondas and a yamaha sr, I'm getting a little restless too. Thanks for the links. I had been checking out the xs previously, but I feel like I still have a little bit of room to find one of the bikes that I'd prefer. That, adolescent ideological convictions, and the sheer drudgery of putting 100 queries into statewide list every two hours caused me to focus on the cb350 and sr500 variations. Am I kidding myself? Should I go for it? I avoided the larger CBs because of weight and the maintenance required for four cylinders. Am I right that they aren't ideal, or is it not a large enough matter to put me off?

lrutt, noted, I'll definately keep that in mind. Thanks for the advice

coloradogoose, yeah, you're right, I am still trying to shake the romance of it all. Thanks for keeping me grounded

Allanrps screwed with this post 04-04-2014 at 01:39 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:55 PM   #12
sailah
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Don't get hung up on some dream bike, great if it happens but I wouldn't let it define your search. You have the rest of your life to chase dream bikes, when you aren't chasing them, just like women they fall in your lap.

I'd be getting something, anything that runs and generally works for what you want to do. Four cylinder bikes aren't that much more work and are usually more powerful and smoother. Something to consider for long distance road trips across big states. Really the only difference is synching the carbs for four instead of two. No biggie. They will be heavier.

You are coming into the hot season here and probably don't have a ton of negotiating power on cool bikes. Snooze and you lose.

I've had all the cbs, 350-4, 450, 550-4 and 750. I have a 750 now I bought as a dirt tracker project but it's in pieces right now. The cbs are great bikes.honestly any bike is a good bike when you don't have one. When you start accumulating bikes enough you have to stop and count when someone asks you how many bikes you have, that's when you can start to get picky.

For an unknown bike I would plan on replacing bearings, swap out the fork oil, new brakes, new chain and sprockets and probably tires just to be safe. Clean carbs, check the ignition, plugs, maybe battery, sync carbs. Maybe you don't need to do all that but that's probably $3-500 in parts so keep that in mind when you are looking at two bikes and one has lots of the above done and is $100 more than the other. Jumping over dollars to pick up dimes.

Your enthusiasm is great, I recognize a lot of it from when I was your age. Your willingness to learn and intelligence will go a long way in helping in the process. People here are very generous with their time and experience especially for new younger riders that have that spark so don't hesitate to ask questions and learn. That's what makes it such a great forum.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:32 PM   #13
Allanrps OP
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Originally Posted by sailah View Post
any bike is a good bike when you don't have one.
Haha I figured that was the case, but it wasn't an approach I was too excited to adopt. I totally understand though and I'll start looking much more generally. Do I have the time to give it a month or so trying to find an ideal bike, and then go for what I can get, or should I be jumping already? I've been following craigslist listings for about a month and I feel like I may be able to get one of my choice bikes, but I'm not too familiar with the market. Ideally this will be the only motorcycle I have for at least decade or two, so I kind of want to like it. You're definitely right that I don't have much negotiating power. Transportation and scheduling are both difficult with my mom's schedule, but if it's less than 150 miles away my sister could help.

Thanks for the tips on cleaning a bike up and the cost associated, I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Reading through the forums I was really impressed at how many enthusiastic, generous people like you there are on the forums. Thanks again, you guys have already been a big help.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:37 PM   #14
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I would suggest a ex500 kawasaki or a gs500 suzuki. The can be found pretty cheap because there is no collector value, they have enough power that you won't get bored in a month or so like you would a 125 or a 250. they are still small enough to manage for a newbie and they are cheap to run and maintain. also simple to work on. A perfect starter bike imo
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:49 PM   #15
coloradogoose
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Ideally this will be the only motorcycle I have for at least decade or two, so I kind of want to like it.
That's what I told my wife when I bought my first bike. Believe me, if you enjoy tearing into things and rebuilding them, this will NOT be your only bike for very long. Once people know you are into motorcycles, bikes just sorta show up. I've had several old bikes offered to me because people didn't want to see them rot. I've had even more offered for dirt cheap. From your posts you sound like someone who really expects to be into bikes. If that's how you end up, don't pigeon hole yourself into one bike unless you really need to. Maybe you'll have the tolerance to resist all the offers, but when someone offers you a free motorcycle it's really difficult to say no.

I'll be following this thread with interest to see what you end up with. Whatever you end up getting, if you tear it down and rebuild it make sure to start a thread about it. One of the best things about riding motorcycles is getting to enjoy seeing and helping others get into it.
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