Cafe Racer Header

Honda's CB350 was a big seller. It was fun to ride, easy to maintain and soon there were a lot of aftermarket parts to help improve it's performance. It also became popular for club racing, which brought further use. In 1974 Honda built the CB360, which had a few upgrades such as a six-speed transmission, but the production ended just three years later. Due to it's slightly larger engine size it couldn't compete in 350cc class racing, which meant it had to run against larger and faster bikes, and wasn't competitive, so few aftermarket performance parts were built. You can make a CB360 look fast but to make it run fast is expensive and difficult.

How This Project Got Started

In June of 2010 I was skimming thru Craig's List for cafe bikes and spotted this 1975 CB360. The kid wanted $700. I talked him down to $500. It barely ran, thanks to him fiddling with the carbs. It had brand-new tires, rims and bars. The mileage was just under 10k. It lacked a title but I decided to take a chance on a cheap toy and dragged it home. As the kid had promised, it wasn't stolen but getting a new title in Colorado is a nightmare.

 

The solution turned out to be a non-running donor with a clean title. It looks good in this photo but the engine was seized, the air boxes held wasp nests, the chain was so rusty I had to chop it in half just to get the beast to roll, and so on. As it turned out, I was able to use some parts for the new bike and sell what was left for a small profit. Not bad for a $200 investment.

 

It didn't take long to pull both bikes apart and soon the project was well under way. I combed the web for ideas and parts and found some that appealed to me, as well as a lot that I couldn't afford. I had to make a choice between style and performance, or somewhere in-between. I wanted to keep the overall price low, so engine upgrades would have to wait a while.

Then I found this photo of a CB350 and decided it was what I wanted. I printed the pic in color and pinned it up in my garage to serve as inspiration. Whenever I became discouraged or hit setbacks, I'd look at this beauty and keep going. If you look at my bike, you'll see I came very, very close.

 

And that's what set this into motion. A few parts here, a few modifications there, and pretty soon I replaced every cable, every bearing, stripped off every non-crucial piece, bought aftermarket items and fabbed a lot of things. Bit by bit my initial budget was blown and my "couple of weekends" project turned into a two year process.

Some great people helped along the way, first of whom is my lovely and talented wife Kristi, who came out to the garage over and over while doing her best to keep from rolling her eyes in the process. My always cheerful neighbor Eddie pulled the engine out of the frame several times and kept my moral up. My friend Steve offered advice and helped with some of the electrical issues. My buddy Tomas not only came up with great ideas, he even made this great graphic for the gas tank, and since my name is Ace King the playing cards seemed appropriate.

fuel tank graphic