Can't buy one, so I built one!

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by CharlieT, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    When I was a kid and really got into bikes, it was back in the days before ESPN or Speed, or hell, even before cable/satellite TV. Back in the days when pro motorcycle racing in the US meant flattrack and weekend warriors ran scrambles. When the only coverage of racing was in the monthly cycle mags of the day. I was always fascinated with the GP bikes of the day and would stare at the pics of the likes of Redman and Hailwood on their Honda's at the IoM. I had two posters in my room of bikers. Being from Michigan, one of course was Bart Markel, ol' #4, full-lock up in the soft loam, throwing a 60ft rooster tail. The other was Mike the Bike leaning the Honda six into a turn at the IoM.

    Not too long ago, one of these bikes, Jim Redman's RC164, I believe, came up for auction. It sold for something like 330,000 British pounds!! A bit out of my price range by at least 329,000 pounds! But seeing the pics of that bike all over the internet got me drifting back in time to the days of 45yrs or more ago that I stared at the pics of those bikes. I had never seen a real one in person nor am I likely too and I am surely not likely to be able to afford one if another one ever came up for sale.

    So, I made a simple decision. I'd build my own.....or at least a replica that would resemble one of those GP bikes of my youth. SO I set off looking for candidates to use as a donor bike. Of course, it had to be a Honda. And it had to be an inline 4cyl. In no time at all I came across the perfect candidate that was both the right price and location on eBay. 25miles from home was a 1976 CB400f. Kind of rough, not running at present. I was the the only bidder. And for the outrageous purchase price of $200, the seller even agreed to deliver it!

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    Looks much better in the photos than it did in real life. And if their are any purists reading this, like a few I have come across who felt it was a sin to not restore it to its original glory, had I not bought it for $200, it was on its way to the metal recyclers.

    Initial good news....it did kick over and it had good compression and spark! phew :clap
    #1
  2. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    For the young whippersnappers on here who don't know about the Honda GP bikes of the '60s, here are my inspirations:
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    Oh, and BTW, I have posted pics of the finished bike here and on other forums, but I never have posted the build process in anyone thread before. SO don't go searching if you don't want to se the ending already!!:deal
    #2
  3. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    First step was of course, dis-assembly, had to see just what my $200 had gotten me. What was usable and what went to the swap meet pile or straight into the scrap metal pile.

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    Frame solid and straight and a motor that's not frozen up. Good starting points for any build.
    #3
  4. DirtHopper

    DirtHopper Been here awhile

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    I'm going to like this, I can tell :evil

    :lurk
    #4
  5. powderpig

    powderpig Adventurer

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    Gimmee more, gimmee more!!

    :lurk
    #5
  6. garrett the nerd

    garrett the nerd Sprocket Protector

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    Well I've gazed upon the finished product in person so this will be a great read. Hard to believe it started out as a $200 junker.
    #6
  7. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Figured I'd start the build from ground level....for one it was an area that needed obvious attention. The old steel rims had seen much better days. Besides that there was the minor issue of the CB400f having a front disc brake while the RC's of the mid-60's had a twin leading shoe drum brake. Looking around on e-bay amongst all the modern alloy, high-priced and often colored rims, I came across a set of rims that were high-shouldered alloy in the exact size I needed. Someone must have been looking out for me. A little elbow grease cleaned up the rear drum. Spent an evening lacing it up after probably a couple of decades from last having done that.

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    The front was a different story. I had wanted to use the front brake set up from an old CB450, but ran into a slight problem. My new rim was 36-spoke and the 450 hub was 40-spoke. So off to the online junk yard of eBay. Ended up with a CB350 front brake. All there, working properly in decent shape..all for $25.

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    #7
  8. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Next up was an evening in the man cave polishing the old tubes. Looking at pics of the RC's showed most had black lowers. So it was clean sand and a few rattle can coats of gloss black.

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    #8
  9. Owyhee

    Owyhee Ran when parked

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    Hi Charlie! :wave

    Love your builds.

    -Owyhee
    #9
  10. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    I'm in..have a complete 350four in the barn. (It was free, but I had to pick it up).
    #10
  11. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Since I was in the painting mode....decided to paint the engine a hi-temp satin black. Spent an hour or two or three doing the 200-400-600-800------polishing thing on one side cover. Then decide screw that, this thing is going to be hidden behind a fairing, so out with the rattle cans!!

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    note the carbs are missing.
    #11
  12. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Why you old sob!!!!! :waveback at ya!! Glad to see your like me...still above ground:deal No more trips to the sandbox?

    Benn thinking about you off and on since this summer, even took a look 0n that "other" site. The old lady has been doing a lot of work in Boise. Will have to send you a PM with further news and updates. You vintage MX'ing that Greeve's yet??
    #12
  13. Owyhee

    Owyhee Ran when parked

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    I haven't done jack with the bikes since summer of last year. Been away since then and prepping to buy a business later this month, pregnant wife, etc. You know, life gets in the way of fun...

    The good news is that the business I'm probably going to buy has a 3,000 sq/ft warehouse with heat, 220v power, ventilation, etc.

    Let me know when your wife gets into town, dinner is on me!

    -Owyhee
    #13
  14. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Well, there they are on the basement work bench. Some of the worst shape carbs I have ever rebuilt. No wonder it wouldn't run. Of course, unlike most dirt bikes, this things has to have 4 of them little suckers. Not one jet was salvageable. Rebuild kit wasn't too bad, around $25. Oh wait...I need four of them. :doh

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    #14
  15. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Well, they made the mistake at the VA last year of telling me I had the age and years of service to retire whenever I wanted. Figured I'd wait 'til I hit 60 y/o. Did that last November.

    In prep for retirement sometime this year when it gets warmer, I also bought a building. Around 3200sqft total. Setting it up as a bike shop....restoring, rebuilding, repairing or customizing vintage/classic bikes. AM also going to have it set up like a Base hobby shop if you know what I mean.....you can store your bike rent a lift and tools and work on it in our shop, etc.

    Boise...dinner? Do they deliver?? Don't know if you remember, but my wife works in the corporate IT department. She may be working in Boise, but her butt is in a chair at the dining room table here. I tired to tell her she needs to make a filed visit. :evil
    #15
  16. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    g step was getting out the old credit card and start shopping for more bits and pieces. Can't just go to one of the big online accessories sites and just start ordering away nor can you get on eBay or stop by the local Honda dealer. Some of the "suppliers I already new about from previous dealings.

    FOr pipes, I went to Jemco out of Houston Tx. He had built a couple of custom pipes for us for our 4/ superkarts. We used an online pic of an RC to guesstimate the pipe diameter/length, using the 18in rim as the reference measurement. With that and the displacement & rpm range, they made me up four reverse cone megaphones.

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    No silencers or baffles, of course. :evil

    and of course, I had to stick them on as soon as I got them to see how they would eventually look

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    #16
  17. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    The next item to track down turned out to be the most expensive single item for the build. The fairing. There are places that build similar appearing fairings, such as AirTech, but I wanted as close to the real thing as I could get. I had gotten pretty got at compiling an file of RC related websites. On one I found exactly what I was looking for. Team Hansen out of Chicago had access to someone with a mold made from an original fairing off of one of Mike Hailwood's bike. It took a bit of time and I had to drive to ChiTown to get it, but it was well worth it. Don't get no better than a piece made from basically a factory mold!

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    Now all I had to do was make mounts for it, fabricate the metal pieces, paint it, etc.
    #17
  18. NortwestRider

    NortwestRider TRIPOD ADVENTURER !!

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    Soooo cooool!!.
    #18
  19. pennswoodsed

    pennswoodsed lizards,bugs and me

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    I know too few appropriate words of appreciation for this thread .
    Best,Ed
    #19
  20. CharlieT

    CharlieT old school

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    Hey NWrider....thought you might get a kick out of another hack project:

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    #20