Project 1970 Honda CB350 — Part V

Our wheels are back and tires are mounted. Engine cleaning is no fun, but our 1970 Honda CB350 is starting to come back together.

| May/June 2016

  • Now that we have a rolling chassis it feels like we’re really getting somewhere.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Replacing the clutch plates and springs was easy.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Our engine is finally coming clean after leaning into it with a little more elbow grease and cleaner.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • The wheels are beautiful after a good polishing and relacing with stainless steel spokes from Buchanan’s. We love the Avon tires.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • The wheels are beautiful after a good polishing and relacing with stainless steel spokes from Buchanan’s. We love the Avon tires.
    Photo by Richard Backus

The is the fifth in a series on our 1970 Honda CB350 build project. Read Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV for earlier stages of the project, and Part VI, Part VII and Part VIII for the later installments. You can also watch video of our Honda running for the first time.

We still have plenty of work ahead of us on our 1970 Honda CB350, but the project’s turning a corner, quickly shifting from the disassembly and discovery phase to refurbishment, reassembly and the promise of a finished bike.

The big excitement of late was getting our wheels back from Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim. As mentioned a few reports back, we originally planned on new replica rims, but when Robert Buchanan suggested keeping the original D.I.D. rims if we could, we took his advice, going with just a relace with new Buchanan’s stainless steel spokes and nipples. The completed wheels look excellent, so we spooned on the new Avon Roadrider tires, then hung the front and rear suspensions in place so we could mount the wheels and have something approximating a rolling chassis. Suddenly, it’s starting to look like a motorcycle again.

We finally made progress on cleaning the engine, the magic formula being simply more elbow grease and a whole lot of green Scotchbrite pads combined with regular doses of Oil Eater degreaser, a non-toxic cleaner that, we discovered, works really well. With light at the end of the tunnel, we switched tracks and fit the new clutch plates and springs we got from Barnett Clutches & Cables. Given our bike’s supposedly low mileage, with 8,124 miles showing on the odometer, we weren’t surprised to find the original plates still had plenty of meat on them. What was a surprise was the compression sag in the original clutch springs; they were at least a 0.25-inch shorter than the replacement springs. They might have worked, but chances are good we would have ended up with a dragging clutch if we’d left them in place.

Before the tires went on we installed new All Balls wheel bearing kits from Dennis Kirk, front and rear. The kits come complete with seals, including a few we didn’t use as the kits fit multiple Honda applications. Replacing the bearings is an easy process, made easier by gently heating the hubs with a heat gun before driving the old bearings out and tapping the new ones in. The new rear sprocket from Dime City Cycles is in place. There’s still work to do before we can put the engine back in the frame, but suddenly, it’s not that far off.

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