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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I showed my CB400T II to some family members over Christmas. I told them how I plan to take it apart bit by bit and clean and paint every thing back to like new condition. I was told by 3 riders that the bike is best left as is. Save the patina and keep it looking gnarly. Don't paint a thing keep it original. I was planning on a restore back to nearly stock with all the new paint and shiny stuff. If I "save the age and patina" will that be a rat bike or just another rough bike??? If I go the way they want I can be finished in a few days as opposed to my way, weeks and weeks of hard work.
What to do......
 

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It's your bike, do with it as it pleases you I'd say.
 

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It's not like the CB/CM400s are valuable collectors items. Restoring the bike to as new condition would likely increase its value, but not commensurately with the cost of doing it, surely not if you include the labor. Likewise with customizing it.

Make it functional and reliable to the extent you deem necessary, then work on it to the limit that your enjoyment in doing so will allow.
 

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Just throwing in my $0.02: Taking it apart to repaint and restore helps you identify shortcuts taken by the previous owner and correct them and other "ticking time bomb" type issues with the bike that would fail further down the road.
 
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It's only original once, original paint bikes are nearly always worth more money. You can always paint it later.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Regardless of the outcome cosmetically, I am doing any needed mechanical things first.
Front brakes, rear brakes, GM coil mod, replace seat, replace H Box and exhaust, install
working gauges, new tires, get all lights to work, carb clean(3 times) but it runs, and
whatever I find that needs fixxin' and also fork seals and steering head bearings.
So at some point in the near future the bike will be mechanically very good but will look like
crap, then the decision to paint or not. Thanks for your input. Okie
 

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If it's a rough bike and it was mine I'd paint it! Make it nice.
 

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If your going to remove all you say your going to why put it back together then remove it again to paint it? I would just go ahead and paint it while I had it apart.

Just my thoughts.

BIll
 

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If it's a rough bike and it was mine I'd paint it! Make it nice.
Let me revise this statement. If it's the bike in your avatar, and it's a good rider... I would paint the tank and any black bits that I took off, clean up the rest and do the required maintenance to make it a nice rider, and ride it! I wouldn't take the motor out of the frame unless it has serious bottom end issues. Like the salvage guy on ebay told me, even a really nice one is worth more in parts than as a whole. Sucks 'cause he was breaking a really nice survivor! But time used in a bare frame restoration is time that could be used riding.
Bill H is right though, if you have it apart, paint it.
 

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I’m rebuilding my 360 for the second time, and I’ve faced this decision over and over again (even midway through painting the frame :D ). To be honest, I wish I’d done it the first time; I had to split the cases to fish out bits of the PO’s can chain tensioner, so the engine was out already. But I slapped it back together and got it rideable, and had a blast on it for a season.

It started making some freaky noises, so I took it apart again this winter and found that (big surprise) I’d done a less than stellar job on cutting the last gasket, and fried the cam journals, so here I am again, taking it apart, and doing all the stripping and painting I’d been wishing I’d done in the first place, and finding all the other things I could have done better now that I’m wiser and ask questions before I break sh*t :) honestly, it’s a big ole paint in the ass, but the more I do it, the happier I am. I’m just making the original color scheme glow again, but it makes the bike more mine, and I’m learning about every single piece of it as I go, and I don’t think I’d have been able to appreciate it as a labor of love the first time around. It sounds like you’ve got plenty to ride on, I wouldn’t fret over taking one apart.

I think the moral of the story is that YMMV: if you’re doing it to add resale value, others have spoken to that. If you’re doing it to make your bike a personally created beauty and really show off just how damn cool an old motorcycle can look, I say 100% go for it! I love how clean mine is turning out, and it’s making me want to do a better and better job as I go. As long as you know why you’re getting into it, you won’t have a problem overcoming paint and polish frustrations, and you’ll have one of those incredible bikes that people post pictures of and ask “How can I make mine look like that?”
 

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All depends on you.
My 82 cm450 is just about stock and only had 4400 or so miles on it when I got it not long ago.
Not worth much, relatively speaking, but I am so far keeping it as it was given to me, only running well, cleaner and more shiny- and yet using it as a daily rider. Because I feel like it.
My 79 750 Limited edition- well, while potentially worth more I got it in less than stellar condition and far from complete.
Rebuilding the motor now and while things are apart- everything is becoming flat black, including the homemade aluminum side covers I fabbed up since stock ones for that single-year bike now cost more than I paid for the bike!
I want it running perfect, with a 4into4 exhaust, but looking "rat" is the goal, just because I want to.

Make the bike YOU want.
Folks like us will understand and support whatever you choose, and folks who aren't like us.... well, they don't really matter on questions like this do they?
They usually think we are crazy playing around with old bikes anyway, in my experience.
 

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It has been said, the best way to make a small amount of money in classic motorcycles is to start with a large amount. If the bike needs painting, then paint it. If the brakes need repair then fix them. The same holds true for anything else on it. Just go do it and you will learn something. It the end it will be yours and you can take pride in that. Don't listen to the crowd who ride new bikes. The only thing they learn is how to make payments. Next summer when you are out with your buds and you pull up at a motorcycle event, your bike will get the attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lots of opinions and advice on both sides of this issue. All view points respected and all
comments considered. Due to the weather and other conditions there will be no painting
for several months but the mechanical work will continue. One thing you can count on is
that I will not cut the frame on this bike. I may do some goofy thing but I will not chop the
bike into scrap.
 
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