Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Show Time...

Here's one for 'WLP'....the Scrambler version of his 125SS

A couple days ago I got a call from my friend Alfonso saying it was time for the yearly CJMC (Classic Japanese Motorcycle Club) show and swap meet. It's a two day weekend swap with the show on Sunday. (not to be confused with the VJMC or Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club...which I always do...). This show is up in the hills above the Sacramento valley in the 'Gold Rush' town of Auburn California. It has been here for a number of years at the Auburn fairgrounds. It used to be at Squaw Valley for many years and then at Northshore Tahoe for awhile. I always preferred those locations because it got you out of the heat. Today in Auburn it was muggy hot, as hot as the valley, we've been enjoying a little heat wave in Californny.

A couple of nicely restored Honda CL 350's for Norman and Iain over in Scotland.

A nice old unrestored Case tractor for Hermit

Also for Hermit, the great grandfather of his V-Strom, a 1955 Colleda (later to become Suzuki) 

I know Olivia Banana wants the little sidecar racer, she could carry her skateboard on the platform..hehehe

Here's one for KustomJeff and his chopper riding crew, a really long Kawa chopper.

These pics were taken with my cel phone and I believe are a higher resolution than my aging Kodak digi-cam. I took 72 pics today, and will be taking more tomorrow. There will probably be a few more vendors and of course the rest of the show bikes. So I'll post one more pic of my score of the day at the Japanese swap meet. I picked up some fork seals, exhaust sealing rings, and spark plug caps...oh yeah and a cylinder head for a 350 Honda, more on that stuff later.

'The score', a tank for my pre unit BSA 650 Scrambler.

It's a slightly later model than my bike, with the 'pear' shaped badges vs. the earlier round badges. I'll run this tank until I can afford to restore the original tank. The original needs re-chroming, and replacement badges. Got this tank for about half of what that job will cost me. Paid 200 dollars for it, which was a pretty good deal for it's condition.It's funny, I've got some of my better British stuff at Japanese swaps, and some good Japanese stuff at British swaps. I found a rare early CB 750 triple tree that was on a Triumph frame of all things. Funny how that works sometimes...

More Classic Japanese coming up next time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Three Amigos....

...or, rust never sleeps.

The Three Amigos

So let's see.... before the musical intermission we left off at trying out various tanks and such. And we started a 'to-do' list....which just keeps growing. First thing was to tear it all down. This is where my three friends above came into play. You may have noticed that this bike has got some rust. It was ridden in all weathers and a lot of times didn't benefit from even a tarp thrown over it as it's been outdoors most of it's least with me as the owner. I bought it from a guy who said it was his wife's bike which she hardly ever rode. It had spent it's early life parked in a nice garage. 'Old Orange' as this bike was to become known as, has not had an easy life with me. For a good portion of it's time, it was my back-up/loaner dirt bike, and as such it was treated very roughly. This will explain some damage I discovered late today.

So yesterday at about 6 in the evening the demo began...errr the dismantling began....slides please...

6:00 in the evening saturday, got a few hours of light left in the day...

Off with the pipes, where I discover this...didn't leak so I never really noticed it was missing. Have to dig a stud up...or heaven forbid get down to the shop and buy one (I'm frugal I tell you...)

The 'universal' motorcycle stand.  Sadly 15 feet away in the carport buried under stuff is a beautiful  Pnuematic motorcycle bench/lift...sigh, that's another 'to-do' list... And come to think of it, about a mile and a half away is an equally beautiful manual stand...that's been parked under my buddie's BMW R-90 for....well awhile...

Carbs off

Eeek! Wiring. (note to self...find or fabricate new ground lead to replace corroded out lead)

Shorty 'Dirtbike chain gaurd...(Note to self modify or fabricate a suitable street unit)

Exhibit A....The 'Titty Grip'
That's what we called them in high school, old farts still call them that. 

The mighty 26 BHP mill is out, thank goodness it only weighs half of what a 750 four weighs...

Note to Norman<--------don't know if your CL has these. A funny flat sided washer to prevent over tightening of triple tree bolts. Iain can probably tell you if your CL's run these.

A shot of said funny washer...

Looking like a with the forks...

By 8:00 it was down to this point, and the sun was starting to set. 2 hours, not bad considering I was taking pics and looking for a mechanic with air tools it was probably a 45 minute job...but who's in a rush theses days...not me. 

and everything fit in this little box...not really...

So Sunday comes and my plans were to derust and prepare the frame for paint. With the help of the three Amigos I was able to remove the swingarm which had gotten a bit rusty. Surprisingly the bushings and spindle look like all they will need is a clean up and fresh grease. I was expecting them to be in bad shape. Took the forks apart to the point where they can be taken further apart for inspection and seal replacement.

Captain, we have a crack in the mainframe...

In the cold harsh light of day, what at first glance looked like a scratch in the paint, on closer examination turned out to be a pretty sizable crack. Welding repair needed here, and I'll probably reinforce this area a bit. On my other SL 350, (Old Blue) my friends and I managed to break the lower mounts of the frame and engine cases with the harsh treatment both these bikes received. This bike has been involved in a car vs. 3/4 ton van collision as well, so I'm not surprised to find this...

Ealier this week I came up with a solution for running those K and N air filters.

Some scrap ABS plastic...

And 6 dollars worth of home center plumbing parts yielded...

A neat mounting system for the filters, which looks like it would fit under stick side covers.

Next time we feature frame repairs, and 'rattle can' custom painting, which will have to be after this current rainy spell we are having here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chicks...and Dudes on Hondas

Little Honda by The Hondells

Little Honda by The Beach Boys
(written by a couple of the Beach Boys)

A comment left by Hermit sparked this little trip down memory lane. I was just about to become a teenager when this came out. My brother and sister and I used to watch Shindig, Hullaballoo, and of course the Ed Sullivan show. What the heck, we didn't have a computer...

Monday, June 17, 2013

The SL 350 'To-do' list...

As reference for where I left off...

(More trivia for Honda 350 fans...)

The SL 350 'To-do' list, keeps growing of course. Forks need a re-build with new seals. There is a little rust pitting on the tubes, but not going to worry too much about it, going to smooth them down a bit.This front end is actually one from a CB 350G disc brake model. I believe the 350 and 400 fours have a similar front end. Need to find the mounts for the handlebars, that I removed when I put the Dunstall 'clip-ons' on. Might drill the disc rotor, since I'll be pulling the wheel apart to check out the bearings.Might even turn up a stainless steel piston for the front caliper, if I can scare up some stainless stock. I'll probably pull the motor. That way I can do a proper frame painting, haven't decided on silver or black. The rear wheel gets a bearing check out and new brake shoes. Will probably change the wheel and engine sprockets for items from a CB 350.I had thought about running a complete wheel assembly from a CB/CL model. It has a bigger drum and brakeshoes. The problem is that it is actuated by a rod set up, and the later SL's have a brake cable actuation....not sure I want to do a complete modification of the brake pedal set-up. So, I'll have to get a wider and longer chain then, as the later SL runs a narrower chain. This will give it a road final gear ratio vs. the trail gearing it has now. Need to fabricate a rear tank mount/front seat mount. The tank will need cleaning out and a paint job. Carburetors get a good cleaning, and air filter mounts will need fabricating. Will have a look at swing arm bushings, might put in some bronze bushes.
Not going to make any radical changes, so that the bike could always go back to what it was. Since I have two other SL 350's that is unlikely and the parts taken off will probably go to these bikes in the future...

One thing I like about the 750 tank, is... that like the '71-'73 SL 350 tank, it doesn't require a balance tube between the two sides of the tank. This makes it so much easier to R and R the fuel tank. A lot of Honda's have the balance tube which makes it harder for servicing the motor, as when adjusting valves and such. Another thing I like is the absence of an electric starter, which saves a lot of weight, and allows the use of a much smaller battery, again saving weight.

I have a '50's BSA 650 twin Scrambler, that I ran an alloy tank from a 441 Victor and a Hooker header made for a later 750 Triumph twin. (interestingly the pipes were held into the head with adapters made from pieces of old Honda CB 350 header pipes...a trick I learned from John Wayne, the well known expert of all things desert racing....*). It used to amuse me how many people would tell me their father/brother/uncle/mom had a bike 'just like it', back in the day...  It will be interesting to see how many people will say they had one just like this new mongrel creation of mine.

I remember reading about a Japanese man who rode a Honda 350 around the world in the 70's. I think it was in 'Cycle' magazine. I have done a search for him, and did come up with a mention of him by someone in the UK that crossed paths with him. Yep. 350's...good enough to ride round the world. Good enough to win that early Baja desert race.

  Japanese man rides Honda 350 around the world <---------------------------click here    You'll have to scroll down through several items to find the piece.

 Here you go Norman and Iain, the modified CL 350 Honda that won at the Baja 1000

Back to getting my hands dirty and tearing into that SL. Stay tuned for further developements.

*(can't believe everything you read on the internet....or can you......?)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The 'Get running' job. It's running, now what?

A little organizing, finding all kinds of cool stuff.

When I was working at the shop as a mechanic, we used to take in a lot of bikes as 'get running' jobs. That meant we would spend one hour or less and use as few parts as possible to see if the bike would indeed run. If it did, we would then ascertain if the bike was worth putting anymore work into and write up a list of needs to make it truly road or dirt worthy, as the case might be. Sometimes all that would be brought in was the bare minimum of a bike. A BSA V-twin flathead came in once, that was little more than a frame with a motor bolted in to it. After we set it up with a temporary gas tank and an oil tank and played with the magneto, we got it to run. Tim the foreman, got this idea about seeing if it would run on one cylinder. So he pulled the head off the rear cylinder, since it was a flathead this was pretty easy. It started, and a bunch of us stood there with silly grins on our mugs watching the rear piston going up and down in the bore...and the valves popping open and closed.

So, getting back to the SL 350, it runs, now what? Well I've been making a 'to-do' list and acquiring and finding parts around the place. Have I ever mentioned how cheap I am? Well frugal, I like to say. I have a lot of parts ratholed away, just finding it or remembering where it's stashed can be a bit of a bother. So I made a list of 'to-do'. It runs, so now I tear it down for painting. Decided it's been a rat bike for long enough. Now I'm not doing a restoration here. In fact it won't resemble an SL 350 any more. Decided against a 'cafe racer' look. Going a bit more mundane and practical. Basically using parts I have laying around and spending as little money as possible, I'm going to build a basic street bike for commute purposes. Also with the idea of using it for medium long trips into the hills or to the coast for weekend camping. Originally I was going to use a bigger tank from a CB 500 twin I have somewhere. Last weekend,in my stash, I found an old 750 four tank and a seat off of a CB 550 and threw those on to see how they would work.

Back in the 70's I had a CB 350 that at various times and configurations, I ran a CB 450 tank and a CB 750 tank. As I recall, they both needed clearancing in the tunnel area with a ball-pein hammer, and probably had clearance issues with the petcocks. As I think about it the CB 500 twin tank probably would have some issues with the petcock location, As it turns out the CB 750 tank fits without hitting the tunnel on the SL frame, and it looks like the petcock location would work well, once I come up with a mount for the rear of the tank. The CB 550 seat has been 'scooped out' by a previous owner and is actually comfortable. I'll probably section the rear of the seat about 4 or 5 inches so it doesn't hang out so far. I'm planning on doing something similar with a CB 750 F model seat that I plan on running on my CB 550 which will have more of a 'Cafe' look....but that story is for another post. Kinda funny how I'm recreating to a certain extant bikes I had 30 years (or more) ago. 

If I was 30 years old, I'd probably be building a 'Brat-Bike'. Taking a hammer to the tank and smashing in 'knee notches'...and fabricating a 'slab' seat that had about an inch of foam and looked like a Schwinn Stingray seat.....wrapping the exhaust in a blanket of fibreglass and rigging up a skull Jockey shift...  Since I'm twice that old I'll probably go a different route, and did I mention I was Che..errr frugal. Yeah my plan is to try and stick to a plan and use mainly what I got.

I did go by a shop and picked up some Emgo 'Super Bike Bend' bars. After chatting up the guy behind the counter and finding out his mother had once bought a BMW R 60 from the shop I used to work at, he cut me a deal on the bars. Made in China I'm sure, but they have a nice bend I've run before and appear to have a quality powder coating on them. The K and N's are from my stash and will replace the  rotten air cleaners. I need to come up with a replacement for the knackered carb to cleaner tubes. 

Some of the junk that was in the Petcock bowl, so I'll definitely be cleaning the carbs out.

So tomorrow we tear it down, and hunt for more goodies...have an idea about coming up with a hi-level 2 into one exhaust system exiting through a Supertrapp muffler to be forest compliant...we will see...

My tomatoes are starting to produce...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The SL 350 gets a 'get running' and evaluation...


Still playing around with the videos and the phone. This was another little test vid done as the sunlight was fading...after I got a fresh battery and fresh fuel into the SL. This will be a short little post to see how this works...or not. I finally figured out how to link my phone to the laptop for the downloading of pics and vids...which sure beats e-mailing to yourself. So, I should be able to take longer videos, and post them....well....we shall see eh?  Let's post this and see what we got, should be amusing...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back to Honda 350's...

Been seeing a lot of 350's on the internet these days...seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Actually I like seeing them being returned to service, just shows you what you can get by with. Got my trusty,rusty old '71 SL 350 running yesterday. The battery is finally shot, and even though the gas has turned into mostly actually started on a battery charger...and promptly fouled both plugs. So I drained the greenish stuff that was in the float bowls and changed to some old plugs I had laying around and it fired again, this time I kept it running a while to see what it sounded like. Actually the whole reason for posting this is to see if a short video I made with the new 'awesome phone' as GBC calls them, would be able to be sent via phone and then used on the blog. So far it seems only very short ones can be sent via e-mail on the phone. A lot to learn about getting a longer one through...


The video quality on these new phones is pretty good. I was holding the throttle with my right hand and trying to film with my left, so the quality of the camera work is a fail...the microphones are very sensitive and pick up every sound it seems. This motor actually is still pretty tight and is not as rattley as it sounds here. At this point it was starting to foul out the plugs...

Been debating about what to do with this particular bike, but after hearing it run again I've decided to keep it and get it back on the road. Have a new battery coming in the morning, picked up some new plugs, and going to see about getting some points and condensers for it, if I don't have some spares stashed somewhere. After some tuning up and such, a look at wheel bearings and brakes....and then some beautification and 'customizing'. We'll see, stay tuned.