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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the site, and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Scott, I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have recently gotten back into riding after a LONG time away. My early experiences were mostly with dirt bikes, and some dual purpose, but all fairly small displacement.

I am thinking about getting a 1971 CB 450 for my first bike, and was hoping I could ask a few questions...

This is from a local craigslist find, and the price is fairly low. So I know I would be getting into some wrenching, and that is fine. It is listed as "very clean 8k miles sitting for a wile . runs good must sell" I would like to do as much research as possible before I go look at it, especially since the post lists no details.

Is there an easy way to tell the difference of the models? When I look on online, I see mention of K 1-5 or so. How can I tell which is which? What are the differences?

Are there any obvious things that I should look for that would indicate that this is not the bike for me? I know the basics (dropped, rust, worn tires, bad wiring, etc) but would love any advice.

Are parts available for this bike. i have found some sites that specialize in older Hondas, but one post on this site mentioned that a certain O-Ring was no longer available. Is this bike easy to find parts for?

My main use for this bike would be getting around NYC, and taking my girlfriend for a few short rides outside the city. I would also love to be able to use it 2-up for a slightly longer, weekend trip (maybe taking it mellow for a few hundred miles - I am definitely NOT a speed demon), . Is this model decent for these uses?

Thanks in advance, I'm really glad I found this site.
 

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Nortstudio said:
I am new to the site, and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Scott, I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have recently gotten back into riding after a LONG time away. My early experiences were mostly with dirt bikes, and some dual purpose, but all fairly small displacement.

I am thinking about getting a 1971 CB 450 for my first bike, and was hoping I could ask a few questions...

This is from a local craigslist find, and the price is fairly low. So I know I would be getting into some wrenching, and that is fine. It is listed as "very clean 8k miles sitting for a wile . runs good must sell" I would like to do as much research as possible before I go look at it, especially since the post lists no details.

Is there an easy way to tell the difference of the models? When I look on online, I see mention of K 1-5 or so. How can I tell which is which? What are the differences?
I think the K0 was the first year and K1 was the next etc. '71 would be a K3 if that is correct.

*******Differences are in the manual here: Download it asap.

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=4139



Are there any obvious things that I should look for that would indicate that this is not the bike for me? I know the basics (dropped, rust, worn tires, bad wiring, etc) but would love any advice.

Decent info here:
http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html



Are parts available for this bike. i have found some sites that specialize in older Hondas, but one post on this site mentioned that a certain O-Ring was no longer available. Is this bike easy to find parts for? Not sure-I do not have a 450. There are always parts bikes around.

My main use for this bike would be getting around NYC, and taking my girlfriend for a few short rides outside the city. I would also love to be able to use it 2-up for a slightly longer, weekend trip (maybe taking it mellow for a few hundred miles - I am definitely NOT a speed demon), . Is this model decent for these uses?

Thanks in advance, I'm really glad I found this site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much folks! I am going to be devouring the manual, as well as the other info you directed me to.

Really appreciate the help.
 

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This is a good site for model differentiation - http://www.motorera.com/honda/index.htm

You take your chances with a Clymer manual - the Honda manual is not available anywhere on line for free that I'm aware of.....
 

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tbpmusic said:
This is a good site for model differentiation - http://www.motorera.com/honda/index.htm

You take your chances with a Clymer manual - the Honda manual is not available anywhere on line for free that I'm aware of.....
Bill, I found your six steps information invaluable. I have it printed out at home. If you have it online, I am sure this user would certainly appreciate it.

I know that the Clymer's get knocked quite a bit here. I certainly use the factory manual as the first resource but I use the Clymer for some detailed descriptions and I find that they have much clearer pictures. That is probably because my factory book may have been copied scanned and converted several times over.
 

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drones76 said:
tbpmusic said:
I know that the Clymer's get knocked quite a bit here. I certainly use the factory manual as the first resource but I use the Clymer for some detailed descriptions and I find that they have much clearer pictures. That is probably because my factory book may have been copied scanned and converted several times over.
The Honda CB500T manual is very valuable to 450 owners - it used to be around as a PDF on-line.
Almost the same bike, and many procedures and most of the photos are lots better.

I don't think the six-step thing is around any more, sorry.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was able to download the manual listed in the post above. It's for the series of CB450's. Are you speaking about a different manual?
 

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Here is a site with lots of very interesting articles, links, etc.



AND

service manual pdf's for lots of bikes, including the honda service manual for the cb450. its over 125mb and took me many tries to actually get the whole thing. But it is there as well as many others, enjoy.

http://www.rivetrestorations.com/index_ ... ge2106.htm

also, the '71 is a K4 not a k3, but the title may have a different year than the actual production year, as the title was issued in the year sold back then. My '71 wasn't sold for the first time till '73, so the title is '73 but the bike is '71. and you can get parts fairly easily, www.bikebandit.com has some stuff, otherwise ebay. And often cheaper and easier to buy a whole transmission for example, than to just try and get the one bit out of there that you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great resource! I happened to notice that there are 2 manuals that seem to apply from the third party company, one for CB400 & 450, and then one for CB450 and 500. I downloaded both to see if I can tell which one would be correct.

This forum is a goldmine of help. Thanks all!
 

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Nortstudio said:
Great resource! I happened to notice that there are 2 manuals that seem to apply from the third party company, one for CB400 & 450, and then one for CB450 and 500. I downloaded both to see if I can tell which one would be correct.

This forum is a goldmine of help. Thanks all!
Now go buy the bike and dig in.
 

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Nortstudio said:
I am new to the site, and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Scott, I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have recently gotten back into riding after a LONG time away. My early experiences were mostly with dirt bikes, and some dual purpose, but all fairly small displacement.

I am thinking about getting a 1971 CB 450 for my first bike, and was hoping I could ask a few questions...

This is from a local craigslist find, and the price is fairly low. So I know I would be getting into some wrenching, and that is fine. It is listed as "very clean 8k miles sitting for a wile . runs good must sell" I would like to do as much research as possible before I go look at it, especially since the post lists no details.

Is there an easy way to tell the difference of the models? When I look on online, I see mention of K 1-5 or so. How can I tell which is which? What are the differences?

Are there any obvious things that I should look for that would indicate that this is not the bike for me? I know the basics (dropped, rust, worn tires, bad wiring, etc) but would love any advice.

Are parts available for this bike. i have found some sites that specialize in older Hondas, but one post on this site mentioned that a certain O-Ring was no longer available. Is this bike easy to find parts for?

My main use for this bike would be getting around NYC, and taking my girlfriend for a few short rides outside the city. I would also love to be able to use it 2-up for a slightly longer, weekend trip (maybe taking it mellow for a few hundred miles - I am definitely NOT a speed demon), . Is this model decent for these uses?

Thanks in advance, I'm really glad I found this site.

Hi, welcome,
This is a great place to get all kinds of information. You are asking the right questions. I want to qualify my answers by saying I have a '72 CB450 K5. I have not started the restoration yet as I am working on my '81 Goldwing. I have owned Hondas continuously since 1969.

A 1971 CB450 would be the K4 model. The big change was between the K0 & K1. The K0 is also known as the Black Bomber. This model is a sought after collector item. Because of this parts are available, but can be difficult to find. This bike has 1960s Honda styling. The styling was updated with the K1, but it retains the drum front brake. I believe this was the year it went from a 4 to 5 speed transmission.

The K2-7 are very much the same bikes. The big change over the previous models is the adoption of the disc brakes and forks from the CB750. The differences are in what parts get chromed or painted and differences in bading. Although I have not started the restoration, I have been acquiring needed parts and it has not been a problem.

The appeal of this bike is that it is a twin cylinder. This appeal is also its limitation. They are great for riding around and will go any distance you ask of it. The downside is how long can you stand it. It is 1960 technology and such they vibrate. I would not hesitate to go two up for a couple hundred miles.

Go for it!
 

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Here is that "six steps to evaluating old bikes" that Bill (tbpmusic) posted awhile ago. Evaluating old bikes in 6 easy steps




“My Honda Twin won’t.........”


OK, you’re a Newb, you just found an old Honda twin, and you’re pretty sure you want to do this vintage bike thing.
Whether you’re evaluating a prospective purchase, or you’ve already got the bike home, here are six easy steps to get the info you need to make rational decisions about this project.
Don’t go off half-baked and just start tearing into or adjusting things - and don’t start firing half-baked questions at the folks on your favorite newsgroup (hopefully HondaTwins.net).
You’ll waste their time as well as your own, and you’ll waste money - this stuff gets expensive, as you’ll soon find out.

First, disregard anything the Previous Owner might have told you. Probably all lies in the first place.
It would be great if the bike leapt to life and ran great first time you try, but it rarely happens that way in real life......

Get the Honda Manual - free at HondaTwins.net


1) Change the Oil - Just do it, don’t even start the bike until you do it.
Examine the old oil carefully, look for color, metal shavings, bits of rubber, etc.
Smell it - does it smell of fuel??

Pull out the spark plugs and go here - this will indicate how the bike ran the last time it did run....



2) Battery - the root cause of so many apparently unrelated problems.
The ignitions on these old Hondas runs totally off the battery.
They simply won’t start and run ok with a compromised battery.
Worse yet, these batteries are about half the size they need to be, so it doesn’t take much to hurt them. I’ve always held that I’d be glad to pack another 10 pounds on my bikes, as long as it was a bigger battery.
If your battery has been run completely dead more than 4-5 times, then it’s been hurt.
Brand new batteries can be bad right out of the box, so be aware of that - happened to me just last summer.
If it’s old, replace it.
If it looks weird, replace it.
If there’s any question at all, replace it.
And buy a Battery Tender.



3) Compression - probably the #1 cause of problems with Barn finds and unrestored bikes (once you get a new battery).......
These old bikes had pretty high compression, and most don’t retain it after years of inactivity - even low mileage bikes.
Beg, borrow, or steal the use of a compression gauge - only takes a minute to do.
Better still, do a leak-down test, it will tell you exactly what's going on.
If you don't have either tool, try a local auto repair place, or a parts store. Many times you can talk them into doing it for you for free or cheap (six packs work well.....). It just takes a minute to do.
Warm engine, throttle wide open, no choke. Take readings at both spark plug holes a couple of times.
If it won’t run, take the readings with a cold engine - generally only about 5 pounds or so less than a hot engine.
If the compression values are acceptable, resist any temptation to mess with the engine.



If the numbers are unsatisfactory, stop now, you have some serious problems. You are looking at a top end job, could cost you anywhere from $150-$300 or more, depending on what you find.
It is pointless to try and get the bike to run well, it’s not gonna happen, a waste of time and money.............
These are incredibly tough old engines - they will try and run for you no matter how bad they are, but don’t be fooled.
Examples of MINIMUM compression values before top end rebuild is indicated (straight from Honda Manuals) -
CB350- 150 psi
CB450- 164 psi
CB360- 149 psi



Fuel - A word on fuel.
Honda is clear in the 350 manual - the bike was designed around 95 octane fuel. Back in The Day, that was “regular” gas. It is reasonable to expect that 450/350/360/175/200 (as well as the SOHC 4's) were all designed around this octane level.
It’s hard to find gas like that today. I keep a couple of 5-gallon cans in my garage that have been treated with octane booster (on The Road, I do the best I can, like everyone).
Lots of folks will argue about this octane stuff, that’s fine. It’s your bike, after all, run whatever gas you please.
But I notice an easily perceptible increase in performance on my bikes when I run high-octane, they like it. So that’s the last word for me.
My tractor and snow blower like high octane, too !!!



4) Timing - Next in order of potential for trouble is the ignition timing.
First make sure all your components, points/coils/condensors/wires/caps are all ok.
Remember, this stuff is around 35-40 years old now, that’s not good for electrical stuff, it wasn’t designed with a 50 year service life.
Also be aware that condensors have a limited shelf life even if they’ve never been used.
Parts are widely available for most stuff, and aftermarket coils are available for cheap.



Armed with their Clymer’s manual, a lot of folks read “gap the points”, and happily proceed to gap both points, not realizing they probably just screwed up their timing even worse than it was.
Go to the articles at HondaTwins.net to get an idea of the correct timing procedure for these bikes. The procedure is very specific to the Honda Twins, and must be followed to the letter.




5) Carbs - The carbs and fuel system.
Check the condition inside your tank - if there’s rust, you need to do something about it.
Check the petcock - any leaks or sediment in there, does it work ok and deliver fuel to the carbs ok?? If the tank rusty, the petcock most likely needs help.
Finally, are the carbs clean?? Do they have fuel in the float bowls?
Is there any leaking?? If so, you need to fix that right away, it will destroy the new oil you just put in..........
Now find the article at HondaTwins.net about setting up 450 carbs - the info applies to all the CV carb Twins of the era.









6) Running Gear - This is safety-first stuff.
Tires - if they’re more than 4-5 years old, replace them. Don’t mess around, just replace them.

Brakes - make sure everything works quietly and smoothly.

Drive chain - make sure it’s in good shape. Grab the chain at the 3-o'clock position of the rear sprocket, pull it straight back. If it separates from the sprocket more than just a little, it’s suspect.
If you have the chain off, hold it by one end and try to extend it horizontally “against the grain”. If it sags like a rope, it’s bad.

Swingarm - with the bike on the center stand, grab the rear wheel at the 12-o’clock position and push hard side to side (rider left to rider right). If there is any play at all, the swingarm bushings are bad, and the bike is not safe to ride, depending on the severity.
It needs to be very tight.

Forks/shocks - not much can be said about Honda’s rear shocks of this era - they either work (sort of) or not. Usually it’s a matter of how much rust you can put up with, if they do work.
It would be prudent to drain and replace the fork oil. It’s an easy procedure, and will let you know if there are any leaks (in a short while). Many times on barn finds, there’s no oil at all in the forks. You can use regular fork oil, or you can use ATF, whatever strikes your fancy.


Finally - You’ve now made a pretty good effort to do this thing. If you’re still having problems, or just want to share your joy at success, now is the time to post your questions to the experts at HondaTwins.net.
You’ll have accumulated much of the info they need to diagnose your situation, and performed many of the steps they would suggest in the first place.
There’s a dandy Search function at the site - use it, your problem has most likely been specifically addressed before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks so much. I finally just heard back from the seller.

The update is that it has about 9,000 miles, the inspection is good for another year, the chrome is "clean," and he's asking $950.

I really appreciate all the links and info, you have all been very helpful.

This last post ("6 steps" to be aware of) is a gem to have before I look at this bike, and I will be studying the link (clarity) that lays out many points to look for as well.

As I said, I realize that I can not expect miracles from a bike this old, and that there will be a need to get into it at some point (hopefully after a honeymoon period, as long as it passes the 6 steps test). But knowing that this forum is here, makes me feel a lot better about jumping into this adventure.

I promise, the search function will be used before posting, but you can probably expect to hear from me again.

Scott
 

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Hi Scott. Just thought I'd add my perspective here. Without seeing the bike it is, of course, hard to comment on what it is worth. However, unless the machine is in GREAT shape (cosmetically and mechanically) $950.00 does sound a bit high to me. While us folks around this site love our CB450s, in general they are not higly valued as collector items or anything. If after you look over and check out the bike you still think you want it, you may want to offer him something substantially lower than $950.00. Unless if couse saving a couple hundred is not that important to you. In that case, give him the $950.00 and let's everyone be happy!

Parts wise, I would not characterize the situation as "Parts are no problem". My experience has been that good quality new replacement parts are NOT readily available. Honda no longer makes much stuff for these so you are often looking at aftermarket repros. And in many cases the repro parts are of inferior quality. Take just one example - Ignition points. Now this is something I would consider a wear item. But from what I have gathered, finding good quality ignition point sets is not easy. On the other hand, to be fair I should note that the points that were on my bike when I got it are still in there some 7,000 miles later with no problem...

I should also note that I am a bit old fashioned and I am not comfortable with buying new parts on E-Bay. I though E-Bay was where folks bought and sold used stuff and when you wanted to buy new parts you shopped at the dealer or from an established supplier - one that you could call up and discuss things with or even actually go to the store and see the parts and talk face to face. Maybe the faceless "stores" on E Bay are selling great stuff and I am wringing my hands for nothing...

Anyway, just another point of view. For what its worth, I really enjoy my ratty looking but very reliable CB450 K7. I also enjoy knowing that I have an equally ratty looking K6 siiting there when I need a part...

Mike V.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Mike,

I appreciate your take on this. To be honest, the seller has been very 'short' through email, and I am supposed to speak to him on the phone in a bit. I would not say the one photo I saw looked "mint" condition (it was not clear enough to blow up on the computer screen very well), but it is said to 'run well.' Of course, the can of worms underneath the "runs well" label could be massive, and the fact that he has not been forthcoming with tales of..."I changed the oil after...," or "starts first or second kick..." makes me wonder whether he is that invested in this machine, and whether he has kept it up the way I would hope.

That being said, maybe he's just not a talker, and all these things have been done.

When you say substantially less of an offer, what would you be thinking for something like this, understood that for you it's sight unseen?

The only reference I have had is Kelly, and although that states for a perfect bike, it's a little less than $1000/

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The more I am looking at the one photo that I have of the bike, and comparing it to the moterera.com site, it looks like this bike is possibly a 1973. Would this present any issues or change anyones opinion - about price or anything else?

Is there some reason/advantage to register this bike as an earlier year? Maybe some States status as classic, which grandfather's it in for some purpose.

Thanks
 

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In New York any bike 1972 or older does not have a title, but a transferable registration. Just a little easier to register if you don't have any paperwork on it. That's the only difference I can see.
 
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