The Sea Beast Saga, Part 4: Better, Faster, Stronger

Reader Contribution by Shane Powers
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Timing the Charlie’s Place electronic ignition.

Since I started the project of reviving an extremely tired Honda CB350, many literary and pop culture references have been used to describe the process. Is this a Cronenberg creation? Negative. I’ve always preferred the Vincent Price film from the 1950s over Cronenberg’s Fly. Is it a Frankenstein? It could be. Much of the original material did resemble something long deceased that had recently been dug up from a hole in the ground. In spite of my best intentions, the results could also prove deadly, but my aspirations have always been more elegant than the stitched-together, inarticulate monster created by Dr. Frankenstein. I’ve always thought of the Sea Beast more akin to Steve Austin, the astronaut turned bionic secret agent from the 1970s. In fact, if you’re an Instagram user, you’ll find a lot of photos posted under the hashtag #sixmilliondollarmotorcycle. Feel free to follow me, @shanepwrs, as well.

A proper “before” photo of the forks wasn’t taken.

Be it Cronenberg, be it Frankenstein, or be it ultra-powerful bionic conglomeration, the Sea Beast has undoubtedly become better, faster and stronger over the course of the last three months. The work has been far from all on my own. While I’ve spent many long hours and late nights moving this project to where it is today, I have to give credit to my friends and sponsors, some of whom may not have known exactly what they were signing up for. I’ve not yet ridden the bike, but I have started it, and it really hums! The Charlie’s Place ignition was a breeze to install and time, and in conjunction with the Rick’s Motorsport Electrics Hot Shot Starter Motor, there wasn’t even a “cranking” process. As soon as power was supplied to the engine, it fired right up and idled beautifully.

Race Tech did a bang-up job breathing new life into the forks.

The shiny parts from Dime City Cycles, like the Old School Speed rearsets, MAC 2-into-2 exhaust and clubman bars deserve a nod for aesthetically transforming the bike from boat anchor to race contender. There aren’t enough words to describe how impressed I’ve been with this transformation, but the “What Did I Get Into” award has to be given in duplicate to Race Tech and Moto Services. Race Tech encouraged me to source a pair of the superior internal-spring forks from the later versions of the CB, but for a few different reasons, I wanted to work with the forks that came off the original bike. I had already procured new fork tubes, plus, they were the forks that came off the original bike! At a cost of $179.99, Race Tech made custom springs for my early CB forks and I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. Moto Services encouraged me to throw my carburetors back in the lake, or sell them for scrap and use the proceeds as a down payment on something that might be capable of delivering fuel to my engine. After much pleading on my part, Matt did a bang-up job of rebuilding the carburetors. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to keep this installment of the Sea Beast Saga short and sweet, bolstered by the before and after photos of the forks, restored by Race Tech, and the carburetors, painstakingly cleaned, rebuilt and re-jetted by Moto Services.

Refreshed forks, ready for installation.

I know this might read like my acceptance speech for a “Next to Impossible Project” completion award, but a lot of work remains! With a little over six weeks to see this thing through to completion, I’m keeping my nose to the grindstone and my eyes on the prize. I hope to see you at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas, for the AHRMA race, June 29-30!

The carburetor cores were about as bad as they could get.

Moto Services performed miracles on these carburetors.

Carbs after assembly.

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