Steve New Reader
3/16/21 9:53 p.m.

A long, long time ago (2004ish?), I pulled a basketcase CL350 out of a friends shed. I was riding a 90's FZR1000 at the time, and with wisdom beyond my years at the time, decided a sledgehammer liter bike with flatslides and no speedometer was no place for my juvenile brain and 150 pound mass. So, through stubbornness and forum help, I rebuilt the Honda into a slick little ride that ran really damn well and really fit that "cafe racer" craze of that time period. 

It's been through quite a few variations since then, new powerplant, frame, lots of other bits, but like Dad's old hammer, it's still the same bike. I have absolutely no intention of ever selling it, as it has given me more skills and knowledge than I could ever put a value on. Also, it's small, and is much less daunting to keep around than another four wheeled vehicle. 

Around 2012, I moved to Seattle, and initially, the bike didn't come with me. It sat in storage for about 5-6 years before I retrieved it. Since retrieving it, I've shuffled it into my new garage, got married, had a kid, but haven't started it since. 

Having recently sold a different vehicle, it's time to do something with this, but I'm at a little bit of a fork in the road as to where it should go. 

I see two very different paths:

  1. Really strip it down and turn it into a vintage track bike
  2. Rebuild it into a forest road/gentle trail fun bike

Option one is the easiest, as being young and dumb helps you remove turn signals, mirrors, electric starters, and sidestands with abandon. But, I haven't found much out this way for casual motorcycle track days. I don't plan on being competitive, but it would be fun to get it on the track to stretch it's legs, and it seems a hell of a lot safer than riding it on the highway. If anyone is out this way (Seattleish), and has any idea where I could run it after completion, that would be helpful!

Option two seems like it makes the most sense if option one isn't an...option. The CB/CL's are the poster child of UJM's, and with some semi knobbies and high mount pipes, I could see myself romping around the mountain roads all day long. There is a balance here of not actually having the time and then also the risk of street riding which pushes me more towards option one, but all things being equal, if I can't do option one, this seems like a great time. 

A bit of a crossroads, and if I've learned anything on this forum, there are folks who have seen or done just about everything motorsporting related, so I'd welcome any and all input. 

Appleseed MegaDork
3/16/21 10:51 p.m.

AMA vintage racing. The 350 has been scienced out to the Nth degree. Do eet.

03Panther SuperDork
3/17/21 12:05 a.m.

In reply to Steve :

I started riding kinda late compared to most of my friends; only a few years befor you were born! As an confirmed "Old Guy" (read grumpy curmudgeon) I did really under stand a lot of the words you used surprise

If i do understand the gist of it, I believe Appleseed nailed it 100%

BTW, my first bike was a well used '74 CB450. Had a lot of fun learning on it. No turn signals (why keep useless weight?) minimalist pipes, kick only cause i was too cheap to buy a new battery,   fun days.

FMB42 Reader
3/17/21 5:57 a.m.

AMA vintage racing would certainly be a blast. Going the CL route would be great as well. My dad had CL175 back in the mid '70s that I rode on/off road. That thing was a lot of fun to slide around in the dirt. But AMA vintage racing would be my 1st choice.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/17/21 8:30 a.m.

I'd go for option 2.  They're good bikes for just tooling around, and if it were a track bike you'd only be able to use it a few weekends a year.

Appleseed MegaDork
3/17/21 8:35 a.m.

Stuart has a point. You do have other bikes to ride if you go full race on the 350? Because I'd go mad if I was only able to ride a few times a year.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/17/21 9:29 a.m.

The thing that sticks out to me is "got married and had a kid" which is always a confounding factor with motorcycles. 

On the one hand, I have 13 motorcycles and none of them are road legal bikes because track riding/racing and riding dirt bikes in the woods is 10,000 times more fun than riding on the road. On the other hand, when I had little kids I gave up autocross and rallycross because they required whole days/weekends away from my exceptionally tired wife and high energy kids for an activity that was purely about me. I switched to activities that I could do for 30 minutes to 2 hours, and I did have a street motorcycle during that time. 

If you have close access to dirt roads and those sorts or fun times, I'd be shopping knobbies right now. Take it out for a blast, reset your brain, park it until next time. But...... if you need a dream, something to hang on to at night while you're falling asleep, a race bike and the planning that goes into attending even just a couple days on track a year can provide that in a way that no street bike can. 

What are you looking for? 

Steve New Reader
3/17/21 10:26 p.m.

Great points so far everyone. 

I've been out of the saddle for a while now, been spending my time tweaking full suspension mountain bikes these days. So this would be the only bike, and really just for the occasional braaap. 

Seth, you have a great point, I don't realistically see myself participating in any weekend long vintage races any time soon. Nor does the AMA host any that really fit the bill in Washington state. We do have a nice smattering of dirt roads in the area that are relatively accessible for the quick jaunt. Seems like the forest road tracker would make a whole heck of a lot more sense right now. 

You asked what I was looking for. In it's simplest sense, a bike to ride when I can, and one that isn't a burden to plan around. I'm a fan of motorcycling, but I don't think I have the time or brain space to fit vintage track days into the schedule. 


mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/18/21 6:17 a.m.

Make it work and ride it around and see how it moves you. My only suggestion is to run non-ethanol fuel if you can, and set up drain lines off the carbs so you can crack two screws and drain the bowls after riding if you know it's going to sit. What the bike is is a lot less important than what the bike does. 

Nader New Reader
3/18/21 10:15 a.m.

If you decide to build it into a vintage racebike, WMRRA is the local race club that has a vintage class for it.   I do occasional offroading in the Reiter Foothills (near Gold Bar), and the tight singletrack would be unrideable on a heavy vintage scrambler.

spandak HalfDork
3/18/21 10:53 a.m.

I think it would be best served as a toy thats ready when you want it. The spontaneity of motorcycling and the escape of it has always been part of the appeal for me so a track only bike makes little sense. Track days are planned months out and are expensive. After work rides are easy and carry little expectation. Its hard to not enjoy a ride like that. Not sure if that resonates with you or not.

My wife has a CB360 and its a total riot. Revs and revs... I might like it more than my Guzzi. Maybe.

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