HONDA CB350 1972 BY JAMES DWIGHT

I’ve been riding and racing bikes on and off for many years and early 2009 I decided to take a look at the Classic Racing scene - attending the Island Classic.   I was very impressed with the machinery I saw and decided that I’d like to add something ‘classic’ to my little stable of race bikes.  Trouble was that most of the classics on the market were about the price of the first house I bought!

 

Something relatively simple to start with I thought and the Honda CB350 twins and the like that I had seen at the Island Classic stuck in my mind.   I started looking around for a suitable donor bike and April 2009, I was chatting to a neighbour who asked me if I had any bike projects underway.   I mentioned that I was looking for a Honda CB350 twin but had not been able to find anything suitable.   His eyes lit up as he said “What about the one I’ve got in the shed?”    Within minutes we were in his shed (three doors away) looking at a 1972 CB350 that he had bought some years previously with the intention of restoring it.   The bike had had a very basic restoration job at some stage and looked not too bad till you got close!    We did a quick deal and I had the donor bike – I really only wanted the basic engine and frame.

 

The bike was completely stripped and I began thinking about what the finished product could look like.    I had seen plenty of CB350 race bikes that had been built to look like Hailwood replicas but I wanted something a bit different   A race bike that looked like the bikes I saw as a kid when my Dad took me to race meetings in the early 1950’s was what I wanted.  But it still had to be capable of fitting within the rules for classic race bikes in Australia.    Well, the finished product does all that for me.   We’ve taken the bike to Phillip Island, Eastern Creek, Morgan Park and my local track (300ks away) at Townsville.  The bike runs very well and with the recent addition of some Ikon shocks it doesn’t handle too bad!

 

I used the basic frame with some additional bracing and the engine has been breathed on a little with a set of high compression pistons, upgraded valves, race camshaft, Mikuni 32mm carbs and a PVL crank driven magneto ignition.   The original clutch has been beefed up and the front end of the bike is now a mix of CB500 and CB750 parts – the most notable being the conversion to a single disc brake in place of the old drum.   Seat and fibreglass tank were imported from the USA as was the custom exhaust.   The bike is very sweet to ride, nimble and so light it seems to just go were you look – sounds quite horny too.  

 

Most people who see it the first time ask whether it’s either a Matchless of a Norton!   My mates reckon it should be called a Monda or perhaps a Horton.   

 

Regards,  James Dwight