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Hi all, long time member here but I haven't been active lately after I sold my last Honda twin several years ago. Lately I've been thinking I want to buy another one, specifically a CL350. I would like to do some long distance touring on a small displacement bike over the next few years and my plans involve riding some of the eastern trans american trail which is mostly just dirt/fire roads and generally mild off-roading. So long story short: I plan to ride it a lot.

In my search I have seen a whole bunch of decently priced CB350's but I can never seem to find a good deal on a CL350, or when they do come up for sale they're totally destroyed/cafe'd out/taken apart. So I starting thinking about buying a CB350 and converting it over to CL350 spec. As far as I know, I could just buy a 19" front rim and lace it to the CB's hub, find the fender to match, and then install a CL exhaust. Is there anything else different between the two? I have heard sprockets are different sizes, but that's not a huge deal. Is the left side cover different to accommodate the exhaust? Anything else i'm missing?

On a different note, exactly how capable is the CL off-road? I do plan to do a few suspension mods to make it ride better on rough surfaces and I definitely don't expect it to be a motocross bike, just curious if anyone rides one on dirt regularly?
 

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1971 SL350 K1
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Your going to spend as much changing things as you would have if you paid too much for the bike that you want. CLs are a road bike with high exhaust pipes. SLs are a little better but not much. They are all great bikes but have their limitations. Great project bikes. I call mine a jigsaw puzzle because I put it together then take it all apart again. Then it starts all over again with 5000 pieces. I ride it regularly when it's nice weather and prefer it to a larger bike for a nice relaxing ride in the evening or on the weekend but for travel or off road I'll take a modern bike and leave the antique Honda in the garage .
 

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Your going to spend as much changing things as you would have if you paid too much for the bike that you want. CLs are a road bike with high exhaust pipes. SLs are a little better but not much. They are all great bikes but have their limitations. Great project bikes. I call mine a jigsaw puzzle because I put it together then take it all apart again. Then it starts all over again with 5000 pieces. I ride it regularly when it's nice weather and prefer it to a larger bike for a nice relaxing ride in the evening or on the weekend but for travel or off road I'll take a modern bike and leave the antique Honda in the garage .
This is probably a fair point but let me rationalize my thoughts: Any bike that I buy i'll likely go through everything and check/fix whatever it needs. I know that most CL's have issues with rust destroying the pipes. So since I plan to ride it a lot I was thinking I could get my local fabrication shop to make me a copy of the factory pipes out of stainless steel, not cheap but I wouldn't have to worry about replacing them if/when the rust holes show up. If i'm going to go through the trouble of that then it wouldn't be too much more to just swap a front wheel and fender if that's all it takes. Is there a model guide to the CB/CL 350 somewhere? I would like to know which years got which tanks, etc. The CL had a smaller tank, right?

I've had a CB350 before so I know generally what to expect, I would like an SL350 but I don't think i've ever seen one for sale near me. The CL350 can't be much worse than the Yamaha SCR950 "Scrambler" in terms of off-road performance. It's got fairly decent ground clearance and sufficient suspension travel in the front, though the rear is pretty bad. I'd bet with a good set of shock and racetech cartridge emulators in the forks the CL could be dialed in to be fairly comfortable on dirt
 

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Dr7hunder12.
I can agree with your logic. I myself do like these bikes better than the new bikes. I don't mind working on them and seems I always spend more money and time on mine than it's worth. The CLs really aren't bad bikes for mild off road riding. If you are a heavier person or carrying a heavy backpack then go with a stiffer set of shocks. As you are thinking. Mine had a nice luggage rack and needed the stiffer ones. As far as the front as long as they are working correctly and not leaking they should be ok. They are nearly the same as the SL. As long as you're not very concerned about original as you indicate with the exhaust thinking, ( which I like ) I don't think it would be very much trouble to find a high mount dirt bike fender for the CL. Gas tank as far as I can remember should interchange with the CB but it's been a very long time since I've done anything with a CB. Even if it won't fit you still get a good cruising range with the CL tank.
 

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CL has a smaller gas tank and longer seat, braced handlebars, high exhaust (and associated brackets to support it), 19” front wheel and smaller front fender, rubber fork gaiters, footpegs are more tucked in (no low pipes to go around), center stand is more tucked in and has an integral stop (CB has a stop on the left muffler), kickstart lever is straight instead of bowed (or hinged) to clear the low CB pipes, rear sprocket has 38 teeth, vs 36 on the CB. On the late CL, the left side air cleaner cover is indented to clear the pipes, but on the earlier models, the left side cover is the same as a CB because they are flatter and clear the pipes ok. Other than those differences, the CB and CL are pretty much the same for any given year model.
 

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Had a CL and am putting together another one. They are not a dirt bike or anywhere close to it no matter what you do to it in my opinion. Heavy and ungainly. I'm a sucker for high pipes and the high bars plus don't mind doing some hard pack roads in the mountains.
The pipes themselves aren't an issue but the mufflers are. There is an issue with the pipes needing to be removed to access the carbs and air cleaner on the left side.
I switched the 19" front to an 18" rear rim laced to the front hub with an OE sized front tire.
I am not aware of any emulators available for the front forks. You can get different springs for the K4 and K5 forks but not for the earlier forks with the exposed springs.
If you switch to the CL tank you need to get the matching CL seat.
There is a difference in the footpegs but that shouldn't be an issue. You would need to modify the center stand as it won't have the stopper on the CB pipes to keep it from flopping around. (Echoing 83xlx)
So my quick math .... reasonable bike $2500, engine overhaul 1000, pipes and modifications 500, tires, rim 350.
Buy a KLR 650.
 

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Hi all, long time member here but I haven't been active lately after I sold my last Honda twin several years ago. Lately I've been thinking I want to buy another one, specifically a CL350. I would like to do some long distance touring on a small displacement bike over the next few years and my plans involve riding some of the eastern trans american trail which is mostly just dirt/fire roads and generally mild off-roading. So long story short: I plan to ride it a lot.

In my search I have seen a whole bunch of decently priced CB350's but I can never seem to find a good deal on a CL350, or when they do come up for sale they're totally destroyed/cafe'd out/taken apart. So I starting thinking about buying a CB350 and converting it over to CL350 spec. As far as I know, I could just buy a 19" front rim and lace it to the CB's hub, find the fender to match, and then install a CL exhaust. Is there anything else different between the two? I have heard sprockets are different sizes, but that's not a huge deal. Is the left side cover different to accommodate the exhaust? Anything else i'm missing?

On a different note, exactly how capable is the CL off-road? I do plan to do a few suspension mods to make it ride better on rough surfaces and I definitely don't expect it to be a motocross bike, just curious if anyone rides one on dirt regularly?
DR What about XL350 dual sport? I have one built as a tracker resto mod. Just need to put engine together. Everything new. Will be for sale when done It is a 1978 XL350 was riding but smoked so boring cylinder .5 over
IMG-0284.jpg
 

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If you are successful with the exhaust shop making a SS pipe/muffler combo for the CL’s, you ought to have him make a jig to be able to make 10-25 sets as I bet you could sell em all. pls keep us posted if you go this route. Thx.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
DR What about XL350 dual sport? I have one built as a tracker resto mod. Just need to put engine together. Everything new. Will be for sale when done It is a 1978 XL350 was riding but smoked so boring cylinder .5 over
Nice looking bike, though way too nice for what i'm looking to do with it. I've considered an XL350 but the first gen XL doesn't perform a whole lot better than the CL off-road. The only real advantage it has is the 21" wheel and more rear suspension travel. But with only 70% of the power.
 

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Hi all, long time member here but I haven't been active lately after I sold my last Honda twin several years ago. Lately I've been thinking I want to buy another one, specifically a CL350. I would like to do some long distance touring on a small displacement bike over the next few years and my plans involve riding some of the eastern trans american trail which is mostly just dirt/fire roads and generally mild off-roading. So long story short: I plan to ride it a lot.

In my search I have seen a whole bunch of decently priced CB350's but I can never seem to find a good deal on a CL350, or when they do come up for sale they're totally destroyed/cafe'd out/taken apart. So I starting thinking about buying a CB350 and converting it over to CL350 spec. As far as I know, I could just buy a 19" front rim and lace it to the CB's hub, find the fender to match, and then install a CL exhaust. Is there anything else different between the two? I have heard sprockets are different sizes, but that's not a huge deal. Is the left side cover different to accommodate the exhaust? Anything else i'm missing?

On a different note, exactly how capable is the CL off-road? I do plan to do a few suspension mods to make it ride better on rough surfaces and I definitely don't expect it to be a motocross bike, just curious if anyone rides one on dirt regularly?
I am a Cl350K5 owner and I bought one brand new in 1973 when I graduated high school. The Cl350 motorcycle is a boat anchor. I say this lovingly. Even if you are a very strong man you will have trouble off road. The scrambler pipes which makes the bike what it is does not make it a dirt bike or any off road use. It is just too plain heavy to off road. The stainless steel pipes that a member with good intention sent a link is an abomination. It is an abortion of the exhaust system. Those beautiful stock pipes is what makes this machine a Cl and unless you are making a café racer you are just performing an abortion on this beautiful piece of history. I am a shorter than average person and keeping this bike upright on the street is nothing like doing it off-road. There are many bikes available for your purpose but in my opinion this is not the one. You can modify it all day long but in the end it is just not made for off road. I am sure many people may disagree but this is the best motorcycle of all time. Thank you for listening. Good luck
 

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Again , Buy a KLR 650. We all have our opinions. I wish I still had my CL. It was ok for camping and under maintained back roads but not rock or steep hills.
 

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I bought a new CL350, in 1968, rode the heck out of it in the woods, even rode it in scrambles races for one season. Guess I was just too stupid to know you couldn't do that. Dirt bikes really evolved a lot, starting in the late sixties, before that there wasn't that much difference between a road bike and a scrambler. Different tires and exhaust, a skid plate and you go play in the woods.
 

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I'm not saying you can't do it. I did it too. Broke a few things in the adventures. I'm just thinking for the money spent to get the bike up to the task it would be better to get a more modern bike and keep the CL for more leisurely riding. Not telling anyone how to ride or what to do just my thoughts on the conversation. I do like these older bikes but it's hard to deny the advancements in the newer bikes. They run and ride great and they are very dependable.
 
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