Dallas Ziebell is a known builder at our blog (click) and he is back with another story. This time it is a Honda CB360 Cafe Racer. His story:
Here are pictures of my latest build, a 1975 Honda CB360. I picked up this bike last November on Craigslist. It had knobby tires, an hacked together and lumpy chopper-style seat, and a few other “upgrades.” The previous owner had used the bike to chase his son around on his dirtbike in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, so it was very dirty with mud caked everywhere. As ratty as it was, however, it came with a shiny MAC 2-into-1 exhaust system, low mileage, and a lot of potential.
With my previous two builds consisting mostly of cosmetic restoration and light modification, I wanted to raise the bar and push my skills to the next level. I tore the bike down to the frame and scrapped the air boxes, wiring harness, controls, seat, and a ton of other parts begging for upgrade. I removed any unnecessary brackets and tabs from the frame and chopped the rear hoop off. At this point it was time for me to finally try my hand at welding. I knew there were some mods that I really wanted to do that required welding, but I didn’t have a welder nor did I actually know how to weld. I figured that rather than pay somebody a couple of hundred dollars to do it for me, it was time to make an investment in my hobby and get my own welder. After picking up a decent MIG unit and spending a half day practicing, I capped the frame ends and welded a plate between the frame rails to mount the seat and electronics to. I then primed and painted the frame with a super durable epoxy paint.
Early on in the build I knew I wanted the bike to have a vintage bobber vibe, with an old school Indian or Harley style. I decided to keep the stock front fender, but clean it up by removing the fender stay and welding the holes shut and smoothing it out. I really liked how the fender hugged the tire, so I wanted to mimic the look for the rear wheel as well. I had a stock take-off CB360 front fender laying around, so I smoothed that one out as well and went about figuring out how to mount it so that it would hug the wheel and travel with the rear swing arm, a challenge that tested my still improving fabrication ability. I ended up scrapping that fender because it was just too snug and didn’t sit right, so I picked up a CB650 front fender and started over. After smoothing out that fender and seeing that it would fit much better, I fabricated mounting brackets for each side of the wheel. The exhaust side mounts to the lower shock bolt, and the sprocket side mounts to the top of the chain guard. The engine side of the fender mounts to the swing arm. The result is very clean and sturdy, with the fender appearing as if it is floating above the tire. With the frame chopped and capped, the bike seemed a little visually front heavy, so I picked up a Super Cub emblem on ebay and mounted it to the rear of the fender. This balanced the bike and added a cool classic touch. I then went about modifying a side-mount license plate bracket to sit low alongside the swing arm, and I fabricated another mount for bullet-style brake/tail light to attach to the license plate bracket.
Next I moved onto the wiring and electronics. I started from scratch and built my own wiring harness using OE connectors. I upgraded to a tiny Antigravity Lithium Ion battery and 6 circuit fuse panel, all mounted on the underside of the new frame plate. It was a very tight fit, but I was able to neatly squeeze in a new starter solenoid, rec/reg unit, and wiring. Without any metal shaping or fiber-glassing skill, I knew that I had to get creative for the electronics cover. After some research, I build a small vacuum forming box and ordered some black ABS sheet plastic. I created a form out of layered foam board, and after a lot of sanding and shaping I finally had my vacuum form mold. The first attempt at pulling a form didn’t go very well. I don’t think I had the oven too hot so the plastic heated unevenly and started to bubble and distort. I decided to coat the form in plaster-of-paris and try again, and the second time was a charm. The resulting cover tucks nearly under the frame and covers all the electronics neatly. A long bolt and wingnut keeps it tight to the frame plate.
For the paint scheme, classic was the theme. I decided on Ford Wimbledon White and tuxedo black. The white is actually more of a cream color. I then picked up a pair of reproduction emblems from a 70’s Honda S600 car, and some new tank trim. In between the white and black is a silver pinstripe. The result is exceptional, and the tank looks like a piece of jewelry. The fenders also got painted black, chain guard and brackets, and wheels. For handlebars I knew I wanted a beach bar style, but it was difficult to find exactly what I was looking for. Thinking out of the box, I found a pair of thick-walled bicycle handlebars that were just the style I was looking for. They were only $20, which made them a no-brainer.
For the front end I ordered some aluminum tubing that was about 2mm larger in diameter than the fork tubes. I cut it just long enough to fit snugly between the upper and lower triple trees, and then I painted them in gloss black. This enabled me to black out the front end for a sleek look. I then picked up a pair of Custom Dynamics wrap-around turn signals, and mounted then to the top of my fork tube covers. These turn signals are so cool. They are smoked and disappear when not lit, but are very bright when activated. I then fabricated a bracket to mount the new bullet-style headlight between the pinch bolts on the lower fork clamps.
The VonZeti seat is a standout feature of the bike. I cannot say enough about the quality and service from VonZeti. The first AND second seats that they sent me came damaged from shipping, and they were very accommodating to get me a third seat that was perfect. They even modified the seat pan so that it would fit the bike tighter, and kept me updated every step of the way.
This project spanned all seasons. I spent many nights in sub-zero weather in my unheated garage, grinding, sanding, and welding late into the night. And I spent just as many hot summer nights wiring, painting, and assembling. I couldn’t be happier with the result, and I can’t wait to start the next bike.
New Dunlop K70 tires and new inner tubes.
New cruiser/beach style handlebars
New black/chrome rear shocks
New fork gaiters
New dime City Cycles aluminum velocity stacks
New gas cap gasket
New reproduction vintage-style Honda S600 tank emblems. VERY CLASSY LOOK
Aftermarket rear passenger pegs
New satin black headlight with custom mounting bracket
OE vintage Honda C100 emblem mounted to rear fender
Speed Bleeder front brake valve
6 circuit fuse box
New tourismo style grips
Vacuum formed ABS electronics cover
New starter cable
New side mount license plate bracket with custom brackets
Stock front fender has been shaved
Rear fender is a modified Honda CB650 front fender – custom made mountingsupport brackets
New satin black mini speedo
Custom made aluminum upper fork tube covers
New Dime City Cycles clutch lever/perch, controls.
New aftermarket chrome front brake master cylinder
New Kohler regulator/rectifier unit upgrade
New chrome fuel tank trim
New mini bullet rear turn signals
New Custom Dynamics TruWrapz wrap-around LED front turn signals- VERY COOL
New Billet aluminum dual fuel filters
New fuel tank petcock and fuel line