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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Little late on this but starting my build log. I've been riding my whole life and did light wrenching but never anything deep so I wanted to do this for two reasons - I LOVE the 70's and (most) 80s bikes they are absolutely the pinnacle of sexy design and also because I wanted to learn the ins and out of bikes and prove to myself I could do this. I chose the CL because I wanted a twin with less parts that I could f*$! up so I wouldn't get bogged down and fail in the project. I was originally looking for a CB350 but this popped up on Craigslist so I jumped on it. Turns out I was lucky - I didn't know about the HP increases with these machines and also was now turned on to scramblers as opposed to cafe. Older guy had this in his garage in rural GA - no title but it was registered previously (I got a bonded title for $100 so all good there). Started right up and rode - shifted nicely but had a hard time not cutting out on idle. Once I got her on the lift I saw that the bike was in much better shape than I thought. My original plan was to strip it down, lose the fenders, repaint a different color, lose the side plates and run pods, slimmer high exhaust, brat style seat with shortened and looped seat frame and swapping out the front end for new modern one with disk brakes. But now that I've spent time tearing her down I have come to the realization that this isn't what you do with these bikes in this condition - it deserved to be restored with a mild mods to make it safer/run better. Vintage bikes that are already thrashed need to be customized. Not this one. So I'm keeping nearly everything - drum brakes, paint, front end etc etc. Only things I'm modding are: electric and ignition upgraded to new digital system, new seat that's dark brown but same style, new Mikuni carbs and going down to 18" front wheel. Only two things broken I found during the tear down where the left front fork lower had broken where the fender screwed in the the right fork ear had a good dent in it. Both parts found on eBay for replacement.
Right now I"m down to the frame - today I should have it ready to go to power coaters.
I'm lucky in that I joined Brother Moto which is close to where I live in ATL where I have a permanent bay to work on my bike and some help from the group when someone's around and I have a question. I'm also working with Atlanta Motorcycle Works in Woodstock with some things like cleaning/lining the inside of my tank (rust!!) and also powder coating.
Here's some pics of the build: IMG_2059.jpg IMG_2074.jpg IMG_2227.jpg IMG_2221.jpg IMG_2216.jpg IMG_2192.jpg IMG_2188.jpg IMG_2148.jpg IMG_2082.jpg IMG_2081.jpg IMG_2077.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some questions for the forum to help speed along my build:

Whats the best way to clean/derust and polish the wheels, fenders and handlebar (they are all chrome right?). Then wax?
Same for the engine. I was told Simple Green first then Purple Power with a stiff plastic bristle brush. Maybe some blasts with carb cleaner where needed. I believe these engines are painted from the factory with silver paint right
How to handle getting an 18" front wheel - I was going to get a new one from Buchanan's but then I would have a new looking front and doubtful my rear would clean up enough to match. Get a used one from another bike and try and clean it up to match the rear? What bike wheels should I look for that have drum brake? All I need to use is a rim to my existing hub right - I'll need new spokes as well?

Thanks all-

DW
 

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I use oxalic acid (wood bleach) on my chrome parts, works great. After they are derusted, I would hit them with a chrome polish.
 

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Cool bike, I'm glad you're keeping it stock. That blue color stands out nice. 18" wheel would mess with your speedo drive gearing. That's a tough one. 40 spoke.... I'd leave it for now and see how you like it. 18" isn't really a performance upgrade.
 

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Nice, original and complete bike. There is nothing to be gained by switching out the wheel and the carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yup I agree with you all I’m going to keep the 19” front. Thanks for the advice.
As for the carbs I heard good things about the VM32s so I think it’s worth a shot no?
 

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Unless you're doing high-performance mods to the engine that might require re-jetting beyond the available sizes for the stock carbs, you'll likely be putting a lot more work into getting Mikunis dialed in for your overall drivability needs than it would be worth. Think of how you like the fact that your bike starts easily when cold (with a single choke lever, BTW), then soon after it warms up a bit it idles nicely, starts off in first gear without flat spots off idle and (especially with OEM CV Keihins) accelerates cleanly through the rev range without blubbering as you roll off hard acceleration, or is flat or bogs when you roll the throttle back on at mid range... there's a serious testing curve when you change carbs, unless who you're buying them from has already done a lot of testing with a stock version of the bike they're intended for already - and if so, you'll be paying a lot more for them than just buying a pair of 32s over the counter. When clean and properly maintained, your OEM carbs are great - and yours, unlike the SOHC 350 owners' carbs here, are CV versions that never need replacement diaphragms as well. Too many positives to bother changing, IMO.

Oh yeah, and if you need more reasons to not bother, there's always the need to change the throttle cable too. If your year came with gray cables from the factory (and your intent is to keep it period correct), you'll end up getting someone to custom-make your cable at a significantly higher price. I've been there and done that, and my re-jetting isn't finished yet as well... keep it stock and enjoy riding it
 

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^^^^^agreed with all above, one thing you may consider is a later model fork with the long damper rod inside. Those are a better ride.
 

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^^^^^and I agree with above - the old forks with the external springs are definitely not the greatest, but I love the original blue tank
 

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I agree with Tom on the forks. 1972 was a year when Honda made an advance in Fork Design. The CB450 K5 and CB500 Four got the new forks. Your CL has forks from the 60s. The sliders are different between the disk and drum brake models. The 73 &74 CL had the upgraded forks with the drum. The CB750 didn't get the new forks till 73. The new forks do ride better, but if yours are in good shape stick with them.
 

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Bike looks awesome. I have a 1970 CL175 and it looks like the little red sister to yours. Same k4 tank pattern. Mine is a SOHC tho. Glad you decided not to butcher it. My friend bought a nice complete 550f and decided to build a scrambler and never got around to finishing, it's too bad.

My CL doesn't currently run but I've been spending the last month or some trying to get all of the systems ready while i wait for parts and work on my starter clutch. Last night I had the motor turning over. As far as mods, I originally wanted to keep it all stock but unfortunately 3/4 of the body were bent or broken and needed replacement. As a result I've decided to mod only the things I can't replace for a reasonable price. For example, I bought a fork ear to replace my broken one, but the two that I have now are still not perfect and as a result the blinkers wont go on straight. So going with small aftermarket blinkers now. Rear fender is bent and broken , as well as brake light mount. So I will be going with a chopped rear fender and slimmed down light.

Only wish my paint was as nice as yours. Mine is VERY faded (almost white on all upward facing areas and red on the sides). I do enjoy the patina tho. If you get around to cleaning up the exhaust soon I would like to see how you do it. The underside of my pipes are pretty caked in thin rust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One slight mod I'd like to do is get the angled instruments from the '74 model on my '70. Looking at the parts diagrams from each what parts would I need - the brackets holding the gauges ("plate, meter set") look completely different. Any insights?

Thnx- IMG_2373.jpg
 

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One slight mod I'd like to do is get the angled instruments from the '74 model on my '70. Looking at the parts diagrams from each what parts would I need - the brackets holding the gauges ("plate, meter set") look completely different. Any insights?

Thnx-
You'll have to find a '74 top triple clamp, as well as the '74 instruments and bracket.
 
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