The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Rider: Jon Neuburger, Holliston, Massachusetts
Occupation: Editor for television documentaries
Rides: 1965 Honda S65, 1966 Honda S90, 1961 Honda CB72
Jon’s story: “Six years ago, as my kids became teens and I had more free time, I decided to try my hand at restoring a motorcycle. I always loved bikes, but I had a serious accident at age 17 on a friend’s minibike, so I had put riding on the back burner after that. Scanning Craigslist, I spotted an ad for two 1965 Honda S65s for $400, with a sketchy photo included.
“I borrowed a friend’s pickup and drove to the address. The bikes were in the basement of an apartment building. The seller was anxious to get rid of them — his landlord was on his case. So after 10 minutes of me looking them over, the desperate seller said, ‘Would you take ’em for $260?’ How could I refuse? It took me about a year to break them down and restore one of them. I made good use of a wire wheel brush on a grinder. Most of the rusted chrome cleaned up pretty well. I salvaged the parts to make one complete bike and found some missing parts at Ohio Cycle and on eBay. I added new tires, a new seat and I replaced some of the chrome trim. I sealed the tank with the Caswell Epoxy kit. What great stuff! I pulled the head off the engine and cleaned off the piston head and cylinder top. I painted the bike with rattle-cans and went through hell getting it titled (never buy a bike without a title in Massachusetts). It started pretty easily, but it did need a new condenser to run well.
“I rode it on back roads occasionally, but I have since been acquiring bigger Hondas and renovating them. Next was a 1966 S90, and last year I found a 1961 CB72 that was very rusty, but did start up when I inspected it. That is my current ride. I’ve run out of garage space. Now I understand how you end up owning 10 bikes! And now I’m looking for something even bigger.” MC
Photos courtesy Jon Neuburger: Jon Neuburger's two battered Honda S65s (top) and the restored Honda S65 (bottom)