I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time. I’m going to get on my soapbox here. There are those that have an old motorcycle and figure it’s worth a bunch of money just because it’s old. Old doesn’t mean it is classic or valuable. It’s just old. I spend time on ebay, craigslist, cycle trader, visiting motorcycle boneyards and all my connections in the vintage motorcycle world looking for bikes that have something that makes them special. Is it a one year only model, did it change motorcycling, is it something that everyone who has motorcycling running through their veins dreams of owning? These are the things that make a motorcycle valuable.
Todays example is a non running, parts missing Honda CB350. The ebay seller is asking twice what the bike sold for new. And it doesn’t run!!! Now, I love the CB350, I have five of them, are any of them worth $1600..hell no. and they all run! This guy is asking that for a bike that doesn’t run and missing parts?! Think about this…the CB350 was probably the biggest selling motorcycle of all-time. why…because it does everything very well. So, you can find one in the same condition as this one I found for around $1-200 dollars. Just look, they’re everywhere.
The sad part here is that there are people out there foolish enough to pay that kind of money for a bike that is not running and missing parts. A moderately skilled shade tree mechanic with a good motorcycle salvage yard close by could probably have this bike in good running condition for around $2-300. Is a running CB350 worth $2000? you decide. Oh and by the way, 1972’s didn’t come with a front disc brake and it’s not a Scrambler as described. People like this really piss me off!
Rant over. If you have any interest in a $2000 non running Honda CB350 click on the link below.
<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1972+Honda+CB350&icep_item=272227302158&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>
1972 Honda CB350</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1972+Honda+CB350&item=272227302158&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico when I first saw the original Gold Wing. A friend owned the local Honda dealership and the Honda sales rep was there to show off the newest latest greatest from Honda. Being that I worked for a newspaper at the time it was my duty to report the occasion. Well, to be honest I was really excited to just see the new bike and I wasn’t disappointed.
At the time I was riding the ‘Evil, Wicked, Mean and Nasty‘ Kawasaki H2. Light, fast and handled about as good as a $5.00 stroller from Kmart…but thats another story for another time. The Honda sales rep pulled the cover off the bike and there was this really big bike, I mean Big. He was telling us that this was the next ‘Superbike’! ? The sales rep went through all the hoopla of power, rideability and so on and so on…then he showed us just how smooth the motor was. Taking a quarter out of his pocket he balanced it on the cylinder while the motor was running and the quarter didn’t move. I’m sure there was some sort of glue on there but who cares..it was a good show.
I did get a chance to ride the bike that day and all I could think was this thing is a BOAT!…But it was super smooth, comfortable and actually handled pretty darn good.
When the motorcycling world got ahold of this bike motorcycle touring changed forever. The Wing was no longer a competitor to the Mighty Z1 from Kawasaki it was going straight after the Harley Electra Glide. The Gold Wing became a Gold Mine for the touring aftermarket and Craig Vetter being the leader. The Windjammer fairing changed the Gold Wing and touring.
Years and years later I bought my father a used Gold Wing. I picked it up took it home and went about getting it ready to hand it over to him. After the work was done I took it for a good ride. Before I rode it I still considered it a boat, but it was what my dad wanted.
With a good tune up, some minor suspension work and new tires I was really impressed with the Wing. It’s smoother than a baby’s butt, will get you from here to Nova Scotia with about a worry and will handle a tight twisty road without breaking a sweat. I loved it.
I found a super clean first generation Gold Wing on ebay this morning. This bike is in ‘fly and buy and ride it home’ condition. Only 17,887 miles on the clock (it’s barely broken in!) all maintenance done. Jeez…it’s perfect. The first generation Wings are a perfect platform for customizing. Cafe Racer, sidecar rig, full touring mode or…just leave it as it is. It’s a great motorcycle. I just wish I knew how to balance a quarter on the engine while its running.
Click on the link below for more info and pictures
<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1975+Honda+Gold+Wing&icep_item=301930012498&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>
1975 Honda Gold Wing</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1975+Honda+Gold+Wing&item=301930012498&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
I spent a lot of miles on a CB750F…a lot. Quite a bit north of 100K. From Mexico to Canada and all around the Western US. It never failed me. I failed it a couple of times but it was a good soldier. When I bought mine (my daughter was just 3 weeks or was it 3 days old?) I also ordered the ‘European Sport Kit’ Lower handlebars,reset pegs and I think something else?. I loved the bike. Over time I upgraded the suspension, put a Kerker exhaust on (the standard of the time) but honestly, it didn’t need anything else. Honda did a great job with the CB-F series, 750,900,1100. It didn’t do anything great, it just did everything very,very well. The series was a bike that you could think about your riding and not the bike. Tank bag, saddlebags and around the world you go. Well, maybe.
I found a very interesting CB750F model on ebay today. The seller has done some very interesting changes to the bike. Kawasaki suspension. A bit more modern and probably adds a lot to the stability/handling. This bike does need a little love but not enough to make it undesirable. Price seems fair…so far. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.
My experience with this series of Honda’s was absolutely wonderful. It really is one of the bikes I regret not having today.
Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I love Cafe Racers. Simple. A purpose built/modified machine that can get from here to there quite fast in high style. A cafe racer is a function before fashion machine but…the fashion is definitely there too.
A good friend of mine has recently discovered Cafe Racers. He started his life on a Harley Davidson Sportster, all blacked out, then moved on to a Street Bob (a big twin Harley), again all blacked out and loves it. He is a part time member of the “Harley Culture” but he is expanding his views. My subtle hints and sending pictures of cool bikes seem to be working!
I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico when the original Gold Wing was introduced. The GL1000 was at first thought of as a big bore Sportbike, but as we all know, it became the Supreme Leader in touring bikes. Why the change in thought? The original was a touring bike to go up against the Harley Davidson Electra Glide, but the molds for all the touring accessories were accidentally destroyed so the bike was brought out naked and American Honda tried to market it as a Sportbike. Well, the aftermarket (in particular Craig Vetter) had a field day with accessories. In no time at all you could make a Gold Wing as comfortable as a Winnebago. It is the motorcycle that changed touring motorcycles forever.
I rode it back in 1975 and thought it was rather Ho-Hum (I was riding a Kawasaki H2 750 at the time). Fast forward a few decades when I bought my father his Gold Wing, I came to realize just how good this motorcycle is. I started looking at Gold Wings as more than just an ‘old man motorcycle’ but as a platform for some serious fun. Granted, you can’t convert a modern Gold Wing to anything other than what it is but get an old GL1000 or 1100 and the fun begins.
I found a very nicely done Cafe Racer ‘Wing’ on ebay this morning and it looks very appealing. A little too blingy for my taste but very well done. Pretty low miles for a bike it’s age…my wife says the same thing about me. NOT. Some really nice upgrades and like I said, a little on the ‘Blingy” side for me but nicely done.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info. This is a very cool bike.
I really dig Gold Wings with Sidecars. My favorite by far is a ’75 GL1000 with a Vetter Terraplane that I saw at the Griffith Park rally a few years back. Picture a Cafe Racer sidecar rig…it was perfect!
So today I found a more sedate (classic) rig on ebay. A nice ’75 Wing with a Watsonian Sidecar. Now, it is really pretty cool. It’s got a couple of different covers, to handle different weather conditions ands a very comfy seat. The bike has been given some good love but needs a bit more, not much but a little.
If you have never driven a sidecar rig (and the proper term is driving, not riding), what a blast! Your whole view of the motorcycling world changes instantly. Flying the car first time, makes you pull over and check your underwear. The first time you fly the car with some one in the car…well, you’re both checking your undies and your passenger is calling a cab. By the way, ‘flying the car’ means the sidecar is off the ground as you go around a right hand turn. Great fun seeing the look on your passengers face when all of a sudden they feel like they are on a carnival ride!
It’s funny, but when you are driving a Sidecar rig, everybody looks at you differently. You’re not a biker anymore and your cool factor just went up 100%
This is a nice rig, a little pricey but cool factor doesn’t always come cheap. Click on the pics below for more pictures and info
In 1983 I was working in a Suzuki / Kawasaki dealership in Southern California and business was great. This was due largely in part to two particular bikes, the Kawasaki Ninja 900 and the Suzuki GS750. We had at least three models of the GS750, the T (a standard model), the ‘E’ with a Bikini fairing and and the ‘ES’ with with a frame mounted half fairing. The ‘E’ model was the best seller of the three. Why? Because it was the best of both worlds. Sporty styling and very comfortable.
The 1983 GS750 was a one year only model and had some very significant changes from the previous years. For one, the bike was around 28 pounds lighter!! The front wheel went from 19″to 16″ which was the current trend to quicken steering response (shortly thereafter everybody went up to 17″ which is still the standard today). The front fork got a size increase and anti-dive. Anti-dive was popular for a very short period of time and we actually did a lot of disconnecting it, but the increase in fork size was very good indeed…though it seems tiny by what is being built today. Granted, that was when a 750 had a whopping 75 HP and a Flexi-Flyer chassis.
I was lucky enough to have a GS750E to ride for three months and I have to tell you that it was one of the most fun motorcycles I have ever ridden. The motor was not as peaky as the Ninja, didn’t vibrate much as the GS1100 (which I also really loved) and the chassis was far more stabile and responsive than my CB750F. The GS would handle daily commuting duties, spirited canyon riding and was quite comfortable on a five day tour criss-crossing the Sierra passes. The GS750E was, in my book, a just about perfect motorcycle. It was a super easy to ride motorcycle and it was great looking too!
The GS750 was the base platform for an incredible racer. More than one National and World Champion got there with a GS750. When Superbikes were 750’s it was between Honda’s Interceptor and The GS750 and when Superbikes went to 1000cc it was all Suzuki.
I found a really nice one on ebay this morning that has less than 10K miles, is all stock and super clean. This is truly a, pack your riding gear, a set of saddlebags, a stack of maps…fly to wherever the bike is and ride it home. Well, unless the bike is snowbound like in Minnesota?!
Click on the pics below for more pictures and more info. This is a really cool bike.
Way too much fun. Here’s the deal with the ‘Monkey Bike’. It’s just a blast to ride. You can load it into the back of a station wagon and take it on a family camping trip, you can hang it off the bumper of your camper or motorhome and head to wherever, you can teach your kid or your wife to ride on this bike and it won’t scare the crap out of them. When you’re at the RV park you can ride to the little store they have there and get some ice or firewood, and you’ll go through a tank of gas about once a year (remember to put Stabil in the tank). There are all kinds of hop up parts for this little bike…you can make it loud, you can actually make go around a go-kart track pretty fast, you can make a little pack mule out of it, but mostly, you’re going just have fun on it. This is truly a ‘high giggle factor’ little motorbike.
I found this one on ebay this morning and it is exactly what it should be…ridden, shows it’s age and has been taken care of. Like I said at the beginning, way too much fun. This is two wheel fun at it’s peak.
Click on the pictures below for more info.
I can’t help myself. There must be some sort of genetic defect in my DNA that makes me love Honda 350’s. But, I can take solace in knowing that I am not the only one. The Honda 350 is the best selling motorcycle of all time. I think? I hope? I really don’t want to be the only one with this incurable disease.
I have 4 1/2 Honda 350’s in my barn. Two run, one doesn’t (its the parts mule), and the other one and a half is in a bunch of boxes and parts hanging from the ceiling to be put back together sometime soon?
On ebay this morning I found a small group of 350’s that all need some love but could turn into a couple, a couple, of very cool bikes.
First, the bike above is not in the collection, it’s just what you could maybe build out of what’s there…
There is a CL77 (305 Scrambler) in the batch which is really quite nice. Most of these bikes are destined to become parts bikes however, but that’s OK, those of us into this sort of thing need a good stock of parts bikes…and an understanding wife or a very separate (as in another town) industrial / storage space.
The Honda 350 is one of those things in life that does ‘everything good and nothing great’. It gets you around town, it can handle freeway speeds (kind of…??) its headlight is as good as a Boy Scout flashlight in a dust storm, The alternator is as weak as can be so you need to always ride the bike at at least 3,000 RPM just to keep the battery up to snuff (if you’re really serious about these bikes you upgrade the alternator). When it’s hard to start chances are it is the battery, buy a ‘Battery Tender’ and keep it hooked up.
Despite its little flaws, the Honda 350 is still the perfect motorcycle. It is the Labrador Retriever of the motorcycle world, always there when you need it, willing to do whatever you ask of it.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. There are a couple of real gems in this bunch.
Ricky…”Lucy….I’m home!! Look what I got you!!”
Lucy…”Is it a new dishwasher? A new clothes washer?”
Ricky…”It’s Honda VT500 Ascot!…you’re going to love
Lucy…”Does it do dishes and clothes?”
Ricky…”No, it’s a motorcycle”
Lucy…”Is it a Dual Sport? Because thats what I really want”
Ricky…”Well, no…but it’s a really great motorcycle…”
You know, I feel sorry for poor Ricky, here he is getting his lovely wife something great and, well…so much for good intentions. The truth here is pretty universal, we (men) buy our wives, kids, or significant others, motorcycles we really want to have not necessarily what they want, even if they tell us ‘exactly’ what they want…it’s in our genetic code, we can’t help it!
Ok, I’m taking Ricky’s side here. The Honda VT500 Ascot is a really cool motorcycle, Lucy is missing out big time by telling Ricky to sell the bike and get her a ‘dual sport’. The Ascot would be a lot of fun for her to ride…why?? Easy, it’s got a great motor…not too fast but fast enough to be a lot of fun. Next, it’s really quite comfortable (and for a woman, the low seat height is a big advantage). The VT500 has a decent suspension(which can be modified to be really good), the shaft drive is very low maintenance, and it’s a good looking bike (if it wasn’t for that god awful square headlight, which thankfully can be replaced…). And lastly, it can be made into a very cool cafe racer which will get her away from any thought of a dual sport bike.
The truth is, the VT500 is one the most under appreciated motorcycles built. I have written before about bikes that didn’t receive the love they deserved and the V-Twin Ascot is high on that list. I had an opportunity once to spend a couple of days on one and I had an absolute blast. I didn’t want to give it back to my friend.
I had been racing a Honda FT500 Single for a few years and loved it. When I got on the ‘VT’500 I felt right at home, well, not quite, but the styling made me feel at home? The V-Twin Ascot was a really nice bike to ride, like I said before, it wasn’t all that fast and it could use a bit of a suspension upgrade but really, this is a bike that will do pretty much anything you want it to do. Make it a cafe racer, street tracker (its original design), make it a sport tourer…which I believe is its true destiny, or let it be your daily ride just as it is.
I found a very nice VT500 on ebay today. The story at the top is basically true…this guy bought a clean VT500 for his wife but she wanted a Dual Sport, ok..there is no accounting for taste (just kidding) so now he is selling it. This Ascot has only 10K miles on the odo which is not all that much, it is a runner and cosmetically pretty nice. It is stock, which I always like. The seller did a carb clean, new battery, oil and filter, air filter, etc, but I would go ahead and change out the rest of the fluids, brake pads and some new tires…then, as I start gathering all the parts to make it into a great cafe racer, I’d ride it everyday.
Click on the pictures below for more info and more pictures. Here’s a note however…this is the second time this bike has been posted at the same price. It didn’t sell before and my feeling, being involved in vintage bikes for quite a while, is that this bike is a bit overpriced. It is a nice bike, maybe around $1700-$1800 is a good selling price. Contact the guy. The VT500 is a very cool bike.
1967…The Summer of Love. Haight Ashbury, Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, my second year racing in the deserts of Southern California, and one year away from being able to ride a street bike ‘legally’. What a time in life. My step dad also decided that it was time to get my mom riding a motorcycle. He had already set me down the path of moral and social degradation, did he really have to sacrifice my mother as well??? Apparently so.
Now, Michael (step-dad) was a devout follower of Edward Turner and his Triumph Twin but every now and then he would drift into the occult…he was racing a Bultaco as well as his Triumph, but when he came home with a little Yamaha 250 street bike I thought he had really gone over the edge. Until I rode it. The ‘giggle factor’ of that little motorcycle was unbelievable. Family and friends loved that little bike…everyone except mom. Oh well, her loss, our fun.
When mom decided she didn’t want to ride the 250 it was sold to a friend who then traded it (along with some cash) for a Kawasaki 350 Avenger to another friend. If the 250 was fun, the 350 had to be a LOT MORE fun and it was. The bike was very typical of Japanese bikes of the time which means it handled like crap… Wobbly doesn’t even begin to describe the general handling of the A7 but what a motor. That 350 would easily outrun bikes twice its size, well unless you were racing on a twisty road but back in those times more of us were thinking of simple speed more than corner prowess.
The A7 Avenger was a very good motorcycle for the time. The motor was strong (somewhere around 40HP and a top speed of around 100mph) and reliable, fit and finish was…well, better than acceptable and handling could be made better with a few modifications. The A7 sold well but not as good as it should have. Sadly it had to compete with Yamaha and Suzuki, Honda was entirely focused on four strokes. The Yamaha was fast and handled good, the Suzuki was faster, but didn’t handle well at all. So the Kawasaki fell right in the middle.
The Kawasaki A7 350 was an outgrowth of the very popular A1 250 but got some good improvements along the way. Basically what Kawasaki did was slide a bigger better motor in an existing chassis (that was based on a Kawasaki Grand Prix bike) and call it good. Ok, wait a minute here. I know that I said the bike was wobbly handling and then I say it’s based on a grand prix chassis, which by all counts should handle pretty damn well, they did by mid 1960’s Japanese manufacturer standards. And, they were far away from production bikes.
The motor though got a good number of upgrades, a major one being the ‘Inject-O-Lube system. Not only did the oil pump squirt life saving oil into the petrol mix, it also sent it directly to the main bearings, hence, longer engine life.
For performance Kawasaki decided to go with the Rotary Disk Valve intake system versus the Piston Port design used by other manufacturers. Why? well it is a more efficient design as it doesn’t waste any fuel (it’s all burned which means more power!), the rotary valve gives more torque from lower RPM’s and has better throttle response throughout the RPM range. However, the Rotary Valve system is more complicated and expensive to build and therefore Kawasaki decided to scrap it (after testing it on the 3 cylinder H1 500cc Triple). The interesting thing about the Rotary Valve design is that the carburetors are not behind the cylinders where you normally find them but inside the engine cases inline with the crankshaft. Now, you would think that would make the engine way too wide for a high performance twin cylinder motorcycle…you would be right except for the fact the Kawasaki engineers moved other parts around to make the bike acceptably narrow. It is really a fascinating system.
So, with all that being said and now that you know everything Kawasaki A7 Avengers…I found a really nice one on ebay today that should fit well into anybody’s mid to late 60’s Japanese two-stroke collection.
This A7 is not showroom perfect…thank God. I much prefer bikes that wear their age with grace and dignity. The engine has been overhauled with new bearings and seals, some parts have been replated or repainted. The exhaust is not stock but for a bike with chambers, it’s not obnoxious. The bike looks and sounds really nice check out the You Tube video on the sellers page.
Click on the pic’s below for more pictures and more information. This is a nice fun bike that with a bit of suspension work and nothing else should be an absolute blast to ride.