The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Bruce’s lovely restored and customized Honda CB450.
Rider: Bruce Cummings, Forest Grove, Ore.
Occupation: Branch manager, Home Medical Services. Also runs Vintage Honda Service, a side business restoring and fixing Honda motorcycles.
Rides: 1973 Honda CB550, 1975 Honda TL250, 2005 Honda CRF250X, 2003 Harley-Davidson Night Train, 2006 Harley-Davidson Road King Custom
Bruce’s story: “I started riding at age 8 on a Honda Mini 50, and I’ve been a fan of the Honda brand ever since. Although I have owned a variety of motorcycles from Hodaka to Harley-Davidson, I have always had an affinity for Sixties and Seventies Honda street bikes. After refurbishing a 1965 CL160 and owning several CB500s and CB550s, I began looking for an early Seventies CB450 DOHC, a bike that was on my ‘bucket list’ to own and restore, as I was impressed by the racing technology in its dual overhead camshafts and torsion bar valve assembly.
“I found a complete Honda CB450 with only 5,000 miles showing on the odometer. The bike had been stored for about 20 years in a barn. The fuel tank had several dents and all of the paint was very faded. At some point a large amount of lacquer had been spilled on it from the handlebars downward and it crystallized into a unique substance that proved interesting to remove.
“Once the 450 was home I evaluated the engine to determine its health, and with a little proper tuning the engine ran surprisingly well. Its vital components checked out fine, and fortunately no major engine work needed to be done. After the initial overall inspection the 450 was stripped down to the frame in preparation for a complete restoration.
“Every component was inspected and either cleaned by hand for reinstallation or replaced with a NOS component; the end goal was to build a factory-looking café bike. There were compromises to originality by adding modern rear shocks, exhaust, tires and a drilled front disk brake rotor, as well as drag bars and a bar end mirror. I also changed the sprockets to reduce the rpm at freeway speeds. The beautiful paint work was completed by Precision Motorcycle Painting in South Bend, Ind. This was the only outsourced work. The 450 is a joy to ride and the small improvements with the modern equipment make the riding experience sportier than stock. Some next steps for this project are electronic ignition and Mikuni carburetors. Many thanks go out to Forest Grove Honda for access to all those NOS parts sitting on their shelf, and although I did almost all the work myself, this Honda CB450 bike project would not have been possible at all without the support of my lovely wife, Denice. Thank you!”