The usual trolling on the Boston-area Craigslist had turned up an intriguing find: a 1973 Honda CB350F in Providence, with title, running last year, but not running now. It looked good, no rust to speak of, and had only 13k miles. Price was a little high -- $1200 -- but this is the Northeast and these bikes just don't go for a buck-a-cc anymore. I fired up the Torquoise Tortoise and headed south. Lo-and-behold, the thing looked better in person (orange tips and redline in the gauges, black switches on bars) meaning it had been stored indoors. The exhaust is shitty, but everything else looked great. Still, the spark plugs were stuck, and I could only get one out, and the compression measured a mere 95psi. Still, after some haggling, I knocked $500 off the asking price and drove away with it.
I left for Philly the following weekend, but when I got back it was time to dig in. I figured I could sell the bike for parts and get my money back if need be (and it came with a luggage rack, fairing, saddle bags, and highway bars that could sell too). Time to check over the usual to see where we were. Dropping the float bowls showed that two of them had a goopy sealant on them that had clogged up the main jets. Well, that'll make your bike run shitty. Took off the points cover, and lo and behold, whoever used the goop to seal the carbs was a big fan, because he or she used it to seal the points cover. That and possibly overuse of cam gear oil led to points that were black with crud. That too will make your bike run like shit -- or not at all.
The rest of the interior of the carbs looked pretty good, so I just ordered o-rings for the bowls, and a new gasket for the points cover, about $10 total + shipping. The plugs were shitty, so spent $15 on new ones. I had an old set of points and condensers from the last time I tuned up my other 350F, so I switched them out, charged up the battery, took off the carbs, cleaned 'em, and set float height, and the thing started first kick (starter motor is bad). So this is how it sits. Got some decisions to make. Dig the 4-4 exhaust, but stock or replicas will run about a grand. Might look for some exhaust tips at the same diameter, and bend a little pipe for the joint (the 4-4 mounts are still on it). Or -- use a 400F system with pegs (I have a few sets of 400f pegs for just such an occasion). Got a grab rail in nice shape for $30 -- I actually like them on these bikes, and they hold the turn signals nicely. Front turn signals were moved up because of the fairing, so I'll move them back. Tank has a little spilled crud on it, so that might need cleaning up. Stock bars have the controls wired through them -- but might switch to clip-ons, clubmans or drag bars -- depending on what Meg wants. Yep, it's gonna be her bike if she wants it.(PS look closely -- Mr. Nubbins sighting!)
The day I got the bike fired up was a nice one, so I pulled out these bikes and worked on every single one, and took a photo with the Torquoise Tortoise. Apparently it's popular on Instagram. How to monetize? Isn't that what the kids say these days?
Regardless, welcome to the stable, nice to have something new to work on. Now to finish redoing the fender and seat on that CB160...