I’m going to make a confession here. I don’t really like the Honda CB750. I know it’s an icon. I know it changed motorcycling forever. I know it’s the birth of the superbike. And I know it’s a favorite platform for Japanese Cafe Racers. Still, I’m not a big fan. There’s nothing wrong with the CB750. Hell, I own one. I don’t like it though. It’s the engine mostly. I’m just not an inline four guy. Smooth as butter, even pleasantly loud and howly like an old italian race car, but I’m just not into it. I hate the lack of low end-torque and how fussy it is when I’m trying to get such a big, top heavy bike going off the line.
Believe it or not, we don’t get to do frame-up motorcycle projects as often as we’d like. Our bread and butter is your standard tune up and maintenance fare. Batteries, carburetor rebuilds, chains/sprockets, tires, fork seals, brakes or all of the above — that’s our day in and our day out. Even when we pull a motor for a rebuild, the rest of the bike remains. So it’s a special treat to take a bike all the way down to the frame and bring it back up as something shiny and infamous.
Times are tough. People are doing whatever they can to try to save money. We get that. It can be tempting to cut the occasional corner to save a little cash. However, when it comes to keeping your motorcycle in working order, cutting corners will usually cost you more in the long run. This doesn’t just apply to vintage bikes though.
It’s been a busy season so far, and things aren’t slowing down. There’s not a day goes by lately that a customer doesn’t bring us a bike for service. When you’re a repair shop, that’s the best kind of busy. Usually it’s nothing fancy, just a tune-up or a tire change, but in a way these are the best jobs we can do. They keep honest bikes out on the road. Some days the back room looks a bit like winter storage. Wall-to-wall motorcycles ready for tender loving care are far as the eye can see back there. And each day, finished bikes go out the door and back on the road. In the middle of riding season, that’s the cycle of things.
In part two, Jeff had gotten the CB250 fired up again after an extensive engine rebuild and reassembly. There were a few odds and ends still left to tie up, though. The original grip still had to get wrestled off the old handlebars. During reassembly, I’d spent 20 minutes and cubic yards of compressed air trying to get the stubborn little bugger off of there without success. It took Jeff about as long again, but finally the vintage hand grips matched again.