The CB360 is the perfect running around machine as it is fun in town, and ok for a short highway jaunt. That was exactly the case as we zipped across town a few times for errands. It also draws attention at stops. Everyone had a 350/360 years ago!
1974 Honda CB360
There are a lot of posts to catch up on including the tank and panels, but today was the first run of a few miles to shake things down and get some gas in the tank. It has been so long that I absolutely forgot the joy of riding this bike. The engine and performance are an ideal combination for around town and around the farm roads. Today was just a short trip to see what needs attention and adjustment. It now has a full tank of premium, but more importantly it ran fine once warmed up and is ready for the next concentric circle.
With switchgear changed and lights changed, and a lot of time in between, the wiring had to be traced and reconnected. Today was a good day to start. Working my way forward from the rear is slow progress, and the bullet connectors are often difficult, but we are getting there...
If you ever watch those rebuild/restoration shows on TV and watch the auction shows as well, you can be mystified by the astronomical prices for the machines. I often find myself saying things like "But it is still a Honda CB750" or "How can they sell it for that much and still claim to have made nothing?". Well, there are moments in my own humble garage working on my own stuff with no commercial ambitions, that I understand why. Case in point, the tail light that is now on the CB360.
I did not want to stick with the horrendous appendage that is the factory tail light. that much was clear. I looked around on the web, and there were plenty of affordable aftermarket solutions including nice small LED options. Although effortless, none of them seemed quite right to me. I had used a trailer light on my former R75 Cafe Racer, and somehow that worked. but not here. I looked at a light that I brought back from Beaulieu, but that was not quite right either. Finally, at a local swap meet, I found it. $5 and I have no idea what the original application was, but this was it.
I took it apart and found tarnished contacts and crumbling wiring. Out came the soldering iron and with some heat shrink tubing the electrical part was serviceable again. The trim was aluminum, but the shell needed painting, so I spent a while sanding that down, hammering out a small dent, and then painting it. I scuffed the trim so that it is truly brushed aluminum, and dry fit everything. There was a gap between the lens/trim and the shell, so I used some clear tubing which fit the job perfectly. Then there was the bracket. I found a license plate bracket from another bike, and bent it to get the right angle. Then I drilled out the mounting holes as they were too narrow for the light. then I measured and drilled holes to mount it to the fender. With all of that complete, I now have a tail light. I did not do any lathe or CNC work or welding, but I still have hours of time in a simple tail light. At local shop rates for labor, I would have to charge $405 for this...
So I finally made the decision to go with a cafe style treatment for this bike. It was tempting to go with a stock treatment, but the plastics and some other areas would have taken time and money to get up to quality standards. The other point that made the decision easy, was that you can easily turn a café bike back into a stock machine by touching just a few areas. Those areas are the handlebars, the tank, and the seat. I decided to go to work on the tank first, as it was faded in any case. I stripped the time of paint and then use the scuffing pad to address remaining and hard-to-reach areas. Once down to mental, I sprayed it with a rattle can just prevent any oxidation. Surprisingly, it looks good just in its current state, and I am now undecided on both the color and the paint process.