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Old 12th February 2013, 21:30   #1
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Question Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Hi guys. I am a bike enthusiast, but unlike most bike enthusiasts, I don't like the fire breathing sports bikes and super bikes that will easily do a wheelie with just a prod on the throttle in any gear! I am too scared of that stuff; maybe I've become prematurely old! I like bikes that have an old world charm. Metal and carburetors and chrome, rather than the modern alternative of plastic, electronics and well...plastic.

Actually I fell in love today. I saw a little maroon bike with a round headlamps, round chrome mirrors, a beautiful simplistic maroon rectangular tank, flat single seat, two big chrome exhaust pipes coming out of each side of the engine and '350' written on the sides. I was drooling.

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I instantly knew I was staring at a classic. It had a parallel twin, 4-stroke 'Honda' engine. Simple upright seating position and a light simple body. Simple engineering, simple looks and an understated unassuming personality. I rushed home and looked up the net. Wiki says - 'Honda's best selling model. More than 250,000 sold in five years. It was sold from 1968 to 1973'. The golden era almost, isn't it? For European sports cars, American muscle cars and bikes? That era produced I believe the most beautiful automobiles in history.

So naturally, I want one. But its not that easy, is it? I live in Pune, I'm no Ambani and know just the basics about the intricate biking scene and its secrets. I know a fair bit about Royal Enfield because I own one but don't know about other rare breed of bikes.

The questions -

1) Where to buy one??

Of course searching the net and forums etc i may find one. But are there any special areas in Pune or other close by cities where I have a higher chance to find one?

2) How to identify a good one??

This is the tough one. Well yes I know the usual drill, but I don't know jack of how to recognize a good example of a CB350. What all to do and check to recognize faults and problems or recognize a good one.

3) What are the inherent problems / issues / problematic parts??

Are there any typical problems with this bike. Does any particular part / component have a reputation for being tempramental. After all its a 40 year old bike!

4) Who will tend to it??

If by any chance I do get to buy one where will I find parts? Whom do I take it to for service and maintenance? Where do I get it repaired?

5) How much will it cost??

Well, coming to the scary part. How obscene will be the price tag? Will I need to shell out lakhs and lakhs or will it be somehow affordable?

I am in love and I am in a mess. I don't know what to do and where to start. Looking for guys with knowledge to cure this ailment. To go and get her? Or just forget about her as she is too good for me!

Looking forward to your replies guys.

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Last edited by thumpingheart : 12th February 2013 at 21:33.
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Old 12th February 2013, 22:24   #2
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

You think this wont do a wheelie

Great choice on the Bike, I would probably expand this to keep a CB 400 in mind too which might be easier to find.

One of my all time favorites, so I really wish that you find a good one.

Coming back to your queries, finding it wont be easy, finding a good one even more so. The same caveats apply as they are with any import. Please make sure to get checked with a competent mechanic for all the issues. Do check for parts availability from the person you buy it from.

Not sure of current prices but they ranged between 1.25L to 3L some 6-7 years ago based on condition.

All the best for your search
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Old 13th February 2013, 07:18   #3
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

hello
answers for your questions
1. where to find: very difficult to find one. only reputed garages ( old ones) will give you hint on who has such bikes. finding one in junk condition is also difficult as old bikes are already in collectors place.
2. how much: no bench mark. cb 125 to cb 250 in junk condition will be around 50-80 k. cb 400 n to cb 550- 4 should be around 1-1.5 lakh. cb 750-4 , cbx 1047 in line 6, must be around 2 lakh plus. all these in excellent conditions must be around 1 lakh plus to the above rates. agian rates are very subjective.
3. spares , repairs: very difficult to get spares.even more difficult to get a mechanic to fix it up. when they run they run like a dream, when down, you will fell like kicking yourself. you must build up a passion and taste for these bikes. 50% DIY and should go for a mechanic only for major works. you need to have a equipped workplace, covered parking lot and lot of time on hand to mend them.
4. papers, FC, insurance: old bikes may not have papers. in such case it will be nearly impossible to restore and run them on road.
lastly, happy biking!
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Old 13th February 2013, 07:38   #4
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
3) What are the inherent problems / issues / problematic parts??

4) Who will tend to it??
In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart - Swami Vivekananda

So how do you follow your heart?
- Buy parts catalog of CB350
- Buy workshop manual of CB350
- Pay to a mechanic or get some hands on experience with a twin cylinder machine through some course or whatever steps it takes
- Except for specialty tools, buy some basic toolkit for CB350

After this, you can see that there will be 2 outcome...
1. You would've lost interest with the bike knowing what this machine is capable about
OR
2. Your love for CB350 would've gone leaps & bounds in which case...
a. You'll know where to buy
b. How to identify a good one
c. You'll be least bothered about inherent problems/issues/problematic parts
d. You can fix the bike all by yourself

If you simply browse through internet without gaining knowledge, trust me, the mechanics are waiting to milk your cash & make you feel regret to have bought the bike.

If you choose to go with brain...WAIT; there're several new motorcycles that will be launched in the forth coming years (or you can still go with what's available today) & most importantly MOVE WITH THE CHANGING TIMES

Whatever you choose...Good luck

Last edited by aargee : 13th February 2013 at 07:40.
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Old 13th February 2013, 11:07   #5
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Lovely looking bike.
Something about the "plain jane" street looks of these kind of bikes.
(Kawasaki W650!!!)
Hope to glean some info from this thread ...


Where did you see this bike?
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Old 13th February 2013, 14:11   #6
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Thank you everybody for your responses. As expected I think it is going to be quite a job finding one. Plus I will have to train myself as a CB specialist and do most of the work myself. I definitely have a passion for it so I will really enjoy the process. Having a RE at home, I am used to a bit of basic DIY. So I just have to find a good teacher I think!

I have seen a couple of garages where I had earlier spotted a few old RD's and Jawa's and possible a CB too. I'l visit those places again and see what I can find. Its going to be a long process but I hope for the best and may be one day I may own a CB! I an open to a different variant as well as long as its a twin. Somehow I don't like 4-cyl's on a bike.

Alfa1 - I saw it at the Deccan Gymkhana Club.
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Old 14th February 2013, 10:03   #7
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

I had one for 2 week in Bombay but that was inline 4 350 cc Honda, my two cents pick CB750 that has real classic value, I was very much disappointed by the way it use to make noise due to so many parts moving inside inline 4 engine and power was not up to the mark as quoted by Honda i.e. 37-38 something. These bikes hardly moves and I went back to RD. Bombay has the most number of these beauties.
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Old 14th February 2013, 13:59   #8
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

I think you have a better chance of finding a CB400/4 as they were/are still made in japan, Aus (I think) so spares should not be a problem. These twins surely are quite rare in our country.
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Old 14th February 2013, 22:46   #9
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Mate i have been at this for the last five years now. I have been restoring a couple of fours and twins. This is a very addictive exhilerating and money flushing and frustrating exercise.......... before you even get going call me. I will give you an honest lowdown on the whole scene......

Ro

Last edited by manson : 18th February 2013 at 15:11.
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Old 16th February 2013, 22:02   #10
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

Well, you have really nice taste, is what I say! I see you are in Pune so can recommend a person who can help you with finding, restoring and maintaining such bikes ; colloquially known as Sherry, who runs his workshop in Camp, on east street. The guy is knowledgeable, but don't take my word for it. Go meet him yourself, check the workshop, see the work happening. He's a parsi gentleman and has been running this place for like, 30, 40 years. Just go to east street, take the first left and ask some local... it's a lil hard to locate.
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Old 18th February 2013, 13:10   #11
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

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Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
Well, you have really nice taste, is what I say! I see you are in Pune so can recommend a person who can help you with finding, restoring and maintaining such bikes ; colloquially known as Sherry, who runs his workshop in Camp, on east street. The guy is knowledgeable, but don't take my word for it. Go meet him yourself, check the workshop, see the work happening. He's a parsi gentleman and has been running this place for like, 30, 40 years. Just go to east street, take the first left and ask some local... it's a lil hard to locate.
Thanks Spirit. Will check it out.

Have not done much recently towards finding a bike or more info about one. Will update as soon as some progress happens.

Cheers.
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Old 18th February 2013, 15:15   #12
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

I would stick the general opinion here and advise you to enhance your search to the newer CB 400 of the mid 90s as those are easier to find and a lot easier to maintain in the long run considering how easily available the parts are.

If you are still hell bent on owning one of these parallel twins which you will really have to work around, I could check with a friend if he wants to sell his CB 125 if it does cut the mustard for you.
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Old 18th February 2013, 15:37   #13
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

It's like getting the MUNCHIES....once you crave for something particular to eat nothing else would satisfy you until you get your desired food.

Although, like Manson & everyone else suggests, try changing your craving to a newer CB400, maybe even a VTEC.

Incase you do find a CB350, this will help with getting spares http://www.davidsilverspares.co.uk/

Goodluck bro!
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Old 26th February 2013, 20:50   #14
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Default re: Want to own a Honda motorcycle from the 70s

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Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
H

Actually I fell in love today. I saw a little maroon bike with a round headlamps, round chrome mirrors, a beautiful simplistic maroon rectangular tank, flat single seat, two big chrome exhaust pipes coming out of each side of the engine and '350' written on the sides. I was drooling.
There is a a 82 model Yamaha XJ650 available in bangalore!Superb condition.imported in 1990!in line 4 cylinder shaft driven.My friend is selling it.Drop me a PM if you are interested

Last edited by manson : 27th February 2013 at 13:34.
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Old 27th February 2013, 18:50   #15
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There is a a 82 model Yamaha XJ650 available in bangalore!Superb condition.imported in 1990!in line 4 cylinder shaft driven.My friend is selling it.Drop me a PM if you are interested
Wow. That's one drool worthy bike!

Actually I can't PM you unless you get promoted to "BHPian" status after 25 posts. So its not very far away though, but till then we can converse here

It must be a bit expensive isn't it? What figure does your friend have in mind?
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