With a shiny new licence plate attached I could not resist the opportunity to take her for a ride around the block, followed by a few more laps.
Initial impressions are positive – the clutch problem has mostly worked itself out, if still a bit bumpy while letting it out in first (adjustment required).
The bike has some pep, feels light and nimble and was quite pleasant to ride. It’s noisy as hell compared to the Bonneville, an while I am not a fan of loud pipes I’ll admit that there is a nice throaty rumble to these ones.
Am looking forward to a real ride, but this has been a treat after 2 years of wrenching.
When I started down this path the thought was that a project like this would give me a better understanding of how motorcycles work, give me some more confidence when wrenching on bikes I own and be a little fun into the bargain.
As such I’d justified the cost of this project as “tuition” rather than just a restoration/renewal.
It’s been a long road but attaching the plates to the bike feels like a shift from “project” to “motorcycle” for the bike, and a step down the road from “motorcycle rider” to “motorcycle owner” for me.
It’s been just over two years since the CB350 came home with me. It’s been an education, and as the weather has improved to the point where I can spend more than 15 minutes at a time in my garage I thought I’d try and start the bike.
It’s a bit smokey, it’s only firing on the one cylinder, but it’s a definite start.
Let’s see if we can’t get her on the road this year.
In Ontario your are allowed to plate “vintage” vehicles with licence plates made in the same year as your vehicle (yearly plates were manufactured in Ontario until 1973) under the “year of manufacture” program.
Obviously to do this you need to track down a plate made in the same year as your vehicle (reproductions are NOT acceptable), then make sure that the plate you’ve found isn’t already assigned to something (they provide a 1-800 number to call to verify that the plate is clean).
There are a few outfits that specifically cater to people hunting for these plates OntPlates.com and YOMPlates.ca both seem to have favourable reviews on forums dealing with vintage cars and bikes.
You then have to send the plate(s) along with the fee for vanity plates ($261) to the ministry for inspection and approval. If approved they’ll send them back to you with some papers you need to bring with you to the MTO on your next visit.
The rest of the process is the same as for normal plates – safety inspection, government fees and the like.
I have not yet decided if I can justify the $261 expense for the plates, but I have ordered a ’72 plate anyway (worst case it can hang on the wall above the project whiteboard).
It was just about a year ago that I took a leap and plunked down a few hundred dollars buying my (at the time) third motorcycle, a 1972 Honda CB350 K4. I had hoped that the acquisition of a “Project Bike” would deflect my interest in replacing my CBR250R with a larger bike.
That winter was ALOT more forgiving and I couldn’t help but to creep out to the garage fairly regularly even just to liberally spray everything with oil, or to turn the key and admire the glow from the instruments and headlight. As the weather improved I took more and more of her to pieces, surprising myself when those pieces went back together properly.
We now know the bike runs (a little rough granted), I’ve rebuilt the carbs, cleaned out the gas tank, replaced the front and rear brakes, tires and tubes, throttle, brake and clutch lines, gas lines and assorted relays, regulators, bulbs, dod-dads and thing-a-mahoosits. I’ve even changed the oil twice.
The remaining to-do items on the whiteboard are largely asthetic – replacement mirrors, carb covers have been obtained where the pitting and rust was too much to overcome. The only vageuly mechanical items are the timing and reinstallation of the chain.
The garage now, at least, smells like a garage should. As soon as the weather improves I hope to get back on the CB350 (although our renos still compete for my time). I’ll be sure to scribble a bit about the headaches involved in getting her safetied and plated.
Well, let’s be serious here. There are reno’s at the house calling for my attention and time to be spent with my daughter. So for the time being the bikes have each other for company in the garage and I’ll get back to the outstanding clutch adjustment and double checking the timing once things return to the normal work week routine.
In the meantime I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes and dragging the bikes out of the garage to enjoy the sunshine before putting them away and picking up the sledgehammer once more.
So the rebuilt carbs are on, I take some of the “genuine Honda fuel line” (at approximately $6 per inch) and hook everything up.
Can I resist the temptation to start the bike?
Of course not.
And boy did she fire right up (a little noisy with the exhaust off, but music to my ears none the less). Of course I have to do a “proper” oil change now (not where I just flush the old crap out and put new stuff in), and there is no shortage of other little details to be taken care of, but now at least she is a real motorcycle.
So for those of you just tuning in I bought myself a 40 year old motorcycle four months ago. Since then I’ve been tinkering and monkeying with it in the garage.
New tires, new cables, new rubber, new fasteners, a host of bits and bobs replaced – the list feels endless at this point, but now over $900 in parts on top of the cost of the bike.
Still waiting to be attached are the new mufflers and the rebuilt carbs (the float bowl gaskets only JUST arrived).
To be clear, this is NOT a restoration as such. This is an effort at renewal, with an education for me thrown into the bargain. I get to take an old bike, tinker with her endlessly and get her running and back on the road. I would prefer to keep the original asthetics, but we’ll have to wait and see.