posted on March 21, 2012 at 2059

It’s alive!

Thirty years of sitting untouched in a barn, one month of cleaning and refurbishment…and it starts up on the first kick. How’s that for Honda reliability?

I finally got the new stainless steel bolts I needed today, so I was able to put the engine cases back on and fill the bike up with fresh oil. Then I figured hey — the carbs are clean, and I fixed all the electricals, so in theory there’s nothing stopping me from getting this running, if it’s going to. I reinstalled the carbs and air filters, made a kludgy temporary gas tank out of a Gatorade bottle and some hot-glued vinyl tubing, filled it up with gas and started kicking away. Less than two minutes of coughing and burbling and the engine caught and away she goes!

Nice new gasket — no asbestos in this one

It needs to be tuned still — the cylinders aren’t synchronized properly and the idle is a little too high, and it smells like it’s running a bit rich. Those are quite minor issues though, and frankly I’m shocked that I managed to get the carburetors dialed in as closely as I did on the first try. Guess the shop manual specifications were right.

The “gas tank” turned out to be more effective than I thought. The Gatorade bottle had one of those pop-top things that you can drink out of, and popping it open makes a perfect vent to keep the fuel under normal pressure. When you need to drain the carbs, you can just close the cap and flip the bottle down towards the ground, and all the gas collects inside so you can pour it back into the jerry can. ¬†Useful!

So now I have a motorcycle with a running engine (and for that matter, working fuel, air and electrical systems), which is a huge step towards getting this on the road and immensely gratifying on a personal level. Next up: the wheels!

One comment

  1. matt says:

    Hey, Fun project! I am almost finished with my sl350 ’71. I want to do a Cl like that next maybe. Man I was just going to compliment you on the cool tank/tins. I frackin’ love the bat wing… used to hate it now I love it. Anyway I saw you just melt it off on youtube :(. Anyway cool bikes. I see you are a designer as well. mee too! Soichiro Honda was an artist/designer too. I think 71 was a very good year for his art. Looks like you are maybe going custom? Looking forward to see what you do with this. Hope you keep us posted.

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