The Sea Beast Saga, Part 2: I Need Help

| 3/7/2019 1:54:00 PM

Shane Powers and his Honda CB350
The CB350 at Barber, being pushed out of the swap meet, aka back when I still had the arrogance of the uninitiated. All photos courtesy Shane Powers.

In the first installment of the tale of Sea Beast, a name that actually refers to three motorcycles melding into one, I listed my assets. Among those assets were “intermediate mechanical aptitude” and “the arrogance of the uninitiated,” both of which have come into play in the time elapsed since that post was written. My intermediate mechanical aptitude enabled me to install the new steering bearings that were but a tiny part of a very large box I received from Dime City Cycles. My intermediate mechanical aptitude enabled me to lube and install the newly painted rear swingarm, after inspecting the bushings, of course. My intermediate mechanical aptitude proved itself to be a true asset.

The value of the arrogance of the uninitiated has recently been called into question. This arrogance was originally listed as an asset because I think a certain degree of hubris is required to tackle a project as ambitious as reviving a pile of rusty bits and bolts into a race-worthy machine in under six months. It didn’t take long, however, for that arrogance to land me in my first truly sticky situation of the build.

Honda CB350 swingarm
Actual progress: The swingarm installed, with freshly lubed bushings.

YouTube is an incredible resource to an uninitiated race mechanic of intermediate aptitude. Especially for a bike as common as the CB350, there is a wealth of instruction for performing mechanical tasks from simple routine maintenance procedures all the way down to crankcase reassembly. There are even a few videos about wheel building. These got me into trouble.

The process of tearing down the wheels was relatively straightforward; remove the tire, rim strip, and spoke nipples, then slide all the spokes out of their homes in the hub. After a trip across the wire wheel, the spokes and nipples were ready to be laced back into the freshly polished hub and hoop. Lacing a wheel is a task very akin to a puzzle, and as far as I’m aware, there’s only one “right” way to do it. I won’t claim to have laced the first wheel properly on my first attempt, but with thought, patience and attention, I eventually found myself standing over a pair of rims that looked suspiciously like a fancier version of the rims I had deconstructed.

4/4/2019 11:28:29 AM

Great series! If it will make you feel any better, the High Priest of All Things Racing Motorcycles; Dick Mann ( who could do literally everything involved with race bikes), also wasn't fond of lacing his own wheels. Too time consuming. Aside from that, way back when the Honda 350 line was new, almost all of them would already be rusty in hidden locations when they arrived at the dealerships. I do hope that you'll be doing some porting cleanup on your bike. The stock ports on every bike we ever checked looked like the walls should have ancient cave paintings on them. "Sand casting"?, ... it looked more like gravel casting. ... (Yeah, I know that the production engines weren't sand-cast, but i had to save the punch line)

Old Mule
4/4/2019 10:05:59 AM

With the thousands of dollars worth of free parts, labor, and leathers you've gotten, this Honda will be a winner first time out! Did you do any welding to strengthen the frame pressings? Any mods to swing arm? Did you use plastic or bronze swingarm bushings? I see that you chose steel rims. I'll enjoy following the construction of this good Honda.

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