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Category Archives: Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project

1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project – Episode 7: Getting There…

First, let me say that I am almost there… Then, let me add that it is one thing after another! The bike is almost ready to hit the road. Until yesterday I had power to all systems and it was turning over and idling nicely. I had gas overflow running out of one of my carbs so I started the day by adjusting the float to limit the gas inflow. It all went downhill from there. Prior to messing with the float the bike would idle nicely and would rev, but not beyond about 2800 rpm. I thought this was a timing issue but wanted to stop the gas overflow prior to adjusting the timing. Once I adjusted the float I stopped the overflow, but then the bike was not getting enough gas to rev at all. Instead it would die every time I gave it gas. I checked the float bowl on the suspect carb and it was not getting gas at all so i readjusted the float and tried again. Same situation. I put it down and tackled the turn signal wiring to clear my head. I had power to all turn signals but they would not blink. They are on steady. I switched wiring around and around with no success. The headlight works perfectly bur no signal blink. The other problem is that the tail light is on but the brake light will not register. If I turn the key to position 2 then the brake light is on all the time. Something in the wiring is not right. Frustrated I turned back to the carb problem, I was just beginning to mess with the air gas mixture when all power to the bike was lost! The battery has juice but I get nothing anywhere. I checked the starter solenoid with my continuity tester and it is completely dead. I now have to swap out the solenoid from the parts bike to see if this is the culprit. Meanwhile here is what the bike looks like before I start beating on it with a hammer…

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1971 Honda CB350 Cafe racer Project – Episode 6: The Parts Bike

I recently picked up a 1972 Honda CL350 off Craigslist to use as a parts bike for my cafe racer rebuild. I had been ordering replacement parts piecemeal off of the interweb and I was averaging $50 a part. For $150 in a snowstorm I was able to pick up the CL350 and everything is there and in decent shape. It is almost a shame to dismantle the old girl but I really need the parts. Here she is yesterday in all her dusty glory before the part-robbing begins.

Honda CB350 Cafe Racer project

1972 Honda CL350 Front

Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project

1972 Honda CL350 Right Side

Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project

1972 Honda CL350 Left Side

Honda CB350 Cafe racer Project

the 1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project sitting in front of the 1972 Honda CL350


1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project – Update

I haven’t forgotten about the poor old rolling chassy, once known as my Honda CB350…

I actually just picked up a 1972 Honda CL350 in good condition so that I can use it for parts. The problem is that I am now torn with the possibility of restoring the new bike… Stay tuned for photos of the “parts bike” and progress on the CB Cafe Racer project.

1971 Honda CB350 Right Side


1971 Honda Cb350 Cafe Racer – Episode 5: Rolling Chassy

Made some serious visual progress today. Repacked the front brakes, polished up the front and back rims, and reassembled a rolling chassy. So far the only major changes I have made are ditching the stock fork covers for replacement rubber fork boots, and changing out the handlebars for cafe bars. Now the small details begin,including the dreaded electrical.

1971 Honda CB350

1971 Honda CB350

1971 Honda CB350

1971 Honda CB350


1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer – Inspiration

I came across this 1971 Honda CB500 Cafe Racer today while looking for inspiration on the web. I am not sure who built this bike but it is sweet. Great example for my CB350 build.

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Just got word from the guys over at Steel Bent Customs that this was their build. They have tons of great builds over on their site so check ’em out at Steelbentcustoms.com


1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project – Episode 4

Last night I wrestled the engine into the freshly powdercoated frame, after cleaning and polishing the engine for several nights. The aluminum isn’t perfect yet, but I am tired of trying to make it perfect, especially after seeing the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo version with all its imperfections. Here is where it stands at the moment:

1971 Honda CB350

1971 Honda CB350

And here are some parts and the carbs all cleaned up and ready to be installed. Soon I will have a rolling chassy.

1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project


Honda CB350 Cafe Racer project Inspiration – Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Sometimes the universe is a strange web of coincidences. After watching Fincher’s reworking of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I left the theater asking myself, “What was that stripped-down bike she was riding?”  I forgot to look it up afterwards as I got caught up in conversation and then life. At the time I saw the movie I was all jazzed up about finding an old BSA or Norton to turn into my Cafe Racer Project. Over the course of a few weeks and many conversations with people that know a whole lot more about bikes than I do, I was convinced that while BSA and Norton made great looking bikes, unless you know how to routinely work on them you will find them to be nothing but problems, and the push was made for me to start with a Japanese bike, like Honda. I ended up with my 1971 Honda CB350 and got to work stripping it for the rebuild, which you can see in earlier posts in this blog. While searching for inspiration for the final build I kept searching for 1971 CB350’s. I found some great examples, which I have also been posting. Yesterday I searched on the simple phrase CB350 Cafe Racer and “Boom!”, out jumped the bikes built for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which it turns out are 3 late 1960’s Honda CL350 Scramblers built by a shop in LA called Glory Motor Works.

You can read about the builds and the project on BikeExif, at Return Of The Cafe Racers, or on Coop666’s Flickr Page.

There are so many similar elements on this build to what I had in mind that I can’t get over the coincidence.

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Time to get back to my build…


1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project – Episode 3

A few photos of the bike pieces before taking the frame off to the powdercoaters…

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1971 Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project – Strip-Down Complete

Whew, what a weekend… The bike is now down to the frame. It is time to start breaking down the engine. The frame was dropped off at the Armadillo Powdercoating today for a nice flat-black powdercoat. Pictures to follow…


CB350 Cafe Racer Inspiration

I found another nice bike to inspire the Cafe Racer Project. I would love to polish out the tank to raw metal…

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This one was discovered over at jvoisrad with no additional details. It looks to be a Honda CB350 to me.

Here it is a little earlier in the process: