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Tech Corner

Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.

1968 Honda CL450 Cylinder Problems

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, Motorcycle Classics, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Cylinder problems

Q: I recently purchased a 1968 Honda CL450 with just 782 miles on it. The cylinders are out of round, apparently. I had the lower end inspected and the shop told me it was nice and tight, and the pistons are fine, also. My question is, should I bore it, which will then require a new set of piston kits, or should I sleeve it, in which case I could then leave the top end alone except for new rings? Tim/via email

A: Either of those options would work, but I think boring the cylinders and fitting oversize pistons may be easier to do and probably less expensive than resleeving. Plus you get the added benefit of a little more oomph from more CCs. What makes you think the cylinders are out of round? Is it smoking excessively? You could try the test I suggest in the first letter to confirm the diagnosis. MC