Pete and Laz

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

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......?)


  1. Now I remember why I hate writing 'to do' lists mate, they just end up totally daunting me, great read buddy, seems like you've thunked it all through . . . bloody old Hondas, if I recall accurately, to get at the valve gear proper on the CB750 and the following K models required removing the entire motor . . . for genius designers they sure had their moments of absolute stupidity.

    1. This was true for the 750's, luckily the motors if cared for were so car-like that getting the head off the motor, didn't happen untill very high mileages had been accrued.Of course if you wanted to port and polish the head and install a high performance cam.... I like the 500/550 for the fact that the top-ends will come off without whole engine removal. 350's and 450's pretty much like the 750...but smaller and a little easier to deal with when it comes time...which leads me into one of my newer posts...after the Youtube intermission...

  2. The first bike I rode on the road (legally) was a little Honda 350. As I recall, the shift pattern was as follows:

    First gear, it's alright
    Second gear, I lean right
    Third gear, hang on tight

    Faster, it's alright........