For most of us including me. My first bike experience was and still is a learning experience. If I was to start over again I would do many things differently. But I am happy that I went through it because I learned so much. I know that next time I will spend much more time figuring out exactly what I am going for and having all the parts come together nicely. Now for other people like Miguel Castro this was not an issue at all. Miguel works as a Design Director at Rossetta in San Luis Obispo. So went the time came for Miguel to figure out what bike he wanted to build he had a few things in mind. He wanted a bike that would be mechanically simple but still fun to ride. Also something with vintage styling. That was when he stumble upon a this 1969 Honda cl350.
When Honda first release this motorcycle they did not put much effort into changing it from the similar Honda CB350. The goal was to make a more off road bike. But honestly this bike does much better as a cafe racer then an off road bike. The great thing about these bikes is that they will run and run no matter what they are put through. This particular bike that Miguel has is a great example of that. When Miguel first picked up this bike from the original owner they were able to start up the bike and have it idle with no problems. After brining the bike home and owning it for a little while Miguel had the urge to take it fully apart and rebuild it into a sweet Honda cafe racer.
Rather then slowly adding parts here and there Miguel got right into it and started by taking the whole bike apart. Knowing exactly what he wants to do with the bike he started with detabing and adding a fender in the rear. The way he designed the fender left him some room to create a compartment where he can hide the electricals and the battery. Miguel was able to create a compartment that flows extremely well with the frame. After he got the frame all done and the extra bike stand removed the frame was ready for powedercoating. Miguel went with a dark brown with a slight metallic finish.
Getting the frame back from the shop Miguel was happy with the results so he installed the front forks and had himself a rolling shell. Next on the list was replacing the top yoke with a billet aluminum item from Cognito moto. With the Honda CB350 and the Honda Cl350 there are many interchangeable parts. So swapping over the disk breaks from the cb350 was a simple job. In the rear the stock shocks were replaced by a pair of progressive rate springs that were easily adjustable to suit the rider.
Paint was next on the To Do List. Miguel took all the parts and spent some serious time making sure they were prepped to their best. The paint on this bike is actually very simple. It’s just sprayed with a simple stage finish white without a clear coat. Now the leather on this bike has some sentimental value to Miguel. It was used from a leather jacket he bought went he first went to Argentina. That’s where his family is from. Now another impressive thing about the bike is that Miguel made knee dents in the tank and they turned out flawless.
Now as a first time builder you might be a little hesitant to rebuild the motor. Personally I was put in a situation that I had to do mine. But if my motor ran fine I don’t know if I would rebuild it for my first build but Miguel went the extra mile. Not only did he rebuild the motor but he also brought a little more power out of the motor. He bore out the block to 325cc and gave the bike some sweet Mikuni VM30’s. To finish up the carburetors a pair of milled out velocity stacks were added. Now for the exhaust we have some side mounted heat wrapped exhaust that complement the lines of the frame.
Since we want this bike to be as maintenance free as possible a Pamco ignition was installed. Not only do you never have to adjust the points again but you also don’t lose out on any of the potential power. Just as planed the battery and the starter solenoid was hidden under the seat in the custom fender.
The wheals also received some love from Miguel. He removed them and spent lots of time polishing and removing years of grime of the hubs. He then painted the inner face black and relaced the wheals back on. To give the bike that cafe racer feel a pair of clip on handle bars were added along with some new rearsets.
Over all I think this is another perfectly executed bike. Big props to Miguel for building such a sweet bike and having it be his first build.