By James McCombe - 25 Sep 14
It's always nice to get a get a second chance; another opportunity doesn't always come along and nobody likes regrets. The world is an unpredictable place, sometimes everything works out, yet seemingly life often decides to just hoof a RedWing towards your nether regions. So when the occasion arises to quell a previous misgiving, you best grab it with both hands. For Solow, a Sound Engineer from Copenhagen the second chance to build this little Honda CB350 was much appreciated. Thanks Life! Having spent much of his spare time playing with American cars and old VWs, Solow never quite got round to tinkering with the old Honda sitting in his garage eventually selling it to a friend. 5 years later, when sorting files he realised he somehow still had the papers for the bike. Said friend, now married with a young family, agreed that he too would not finish the project and sold it back to Solow. The poor bike must have had a personality complex by now, but this time Solow was determined to take her home and treat her right. The classic Honda CB350 responds really well visually to a good stripping off superfluous items, turning the little workaday bikes into something a bit more fun. As the bike was partially stripped and various bits assembled incorrectly, it needed taking right down. Solow put functionality first, ensuring the bike worked as Soichiro intended and that form would follow. A light Brat makeover was the style decided upon, keeping it simple. Denmark, as we know, is not exactly the cheapest or easiest place to modify a bike thanks to various laws and taxes. However, thanks to certain irregularities, Solow found he was legally sound with not having to run indicators or even a Speedo. Whilst I'm sure it will make for some interesting conversations with the Danish Æggeskal, ditching the bulky plastic original parts cleans the front up no end. The wheels were good and true, and as bare metal was favoured over powdercoat, they were simply blasted and balanced. A set of Firestone's finest BumClenchers give the wheels some classic Brat attitude. Diving into an area he felt more comfortable in, the entire bike was rewired from scratch. Not a single original wire, spade or bulb was retained, Solow ensuring the electrickery wouldn't be a cause of a highway stoppage. He's added some neat touches to the bike in this area, the high beam and neutral warning lights have been recessed into the handlebar between the clamps. The rest of the loom was hidden as much as possible and it's actually pretty darn difficult to spot a wire anywhere on the bike. Solow even decided to put his nimble fingers to use having a crack at the seat. Upholstery puts the fear of god into many of us, but this was no deterrent to him. Keeping the existing seat tray and shortening it for a comfortable solo size meant the original hinging mechanism could be retained. With the 8Ah Li-Po battery and majority of the electrics between the frame rails under the seat, access is easy. Chestnut brown vinyl and orange stitching to pick up the paintwork looks grand, with enough foam in the tuck and roll to keep things comfy. The engine had been treated to a rebuild before Solow had the bike, so a quick check up of the vitals was all that was needed. It was then blasted, giving the matte finish so desired. Carbs were stripped, cleaned and checked, all seeming dandy, so pods were installed to vacate the rear triangle of gubbins. Deciding to forgo the oft-used pipe wrap as the original downpipes were in nice condition, we're reminded how nice the sweep of the original exhaust is. She fired up with little fuss and Solow has been riding her ever since. Solow's made his first tentative steps into the world of bikes, modifying them and riding them, and the hunger has set in. Already collecting parts for the next build, he has plans for another CB350. Taking his time, a more classic Cafe Racer look with a lot more detailed fabrication and custom parts is the name of the game. Can't wait to see it Solow!