Motorcycles and scooters started humming around Austin with the rising price of gasoline. I purchased a scooter, but dreamed of a motorcycle.
One day in 2011, I purchased a ’72 Honda CB350.
What drove me to this particular bike? The trust I have for Honda, the small size of the engine, its color, and its beauty.
What did I soon discover upon purchase? The bike, despite reassurances from my out-of-state seller, was too tall for me. I am 5’2″ and could just touch my tip toes on one side, with the other foot dangling. No flat foot on either side. Mind you, this is my first bike.
Don’t forget, the bike is forty years old. She, I promptly named her Thea, coughed, sputtered, groaned, and bitched. I “dropped” her at least five times. She was more of a bull that flung me off like a rag doll.
We put $500 bucks of work into her. The usual carb. rebuild, lube, change of cables…new handle bars (lowered to 1″ bars), adjusted clutch…etc.
We got a new, lower seat handcrafted by Jim’s Top Shop:
Things we learned over the Texas winter:
1. Don’t leave gas in your tank without stabilizer if you won’t be riding.
2. Sometimes old bikes just need more work.
We put some stable in her after getting a flat tire fixed. I was still not riding her because she was still finicky. She would not stay in first or second gear without sputtering, sporadically accelerating, or wildly revving.
The stable knocked some “things” loose. One morning, we turned her on and she was spewing gasoline. Brian somehow persuaded her to Limey Bikes. It was not easy either, the last part of the trip involved pushing her uphill.
BUT Chris at Limey fixed her up well. A new ignition system, ultrasound cleaned carbs, rebuilt carbs (again!), re-lubing clutch, new chain…etc.
She ran better. With Chris’s suggestion, we put new baffle foam in the mufflers and she absolutely purred.
Until today. I took her out to the parking lot to practice stops and starts…She started to smoke and I think, “Oh, this is because she hasn’t been ridden.” Then she started to drip gas/oil? Then she stopped running………
I’ll let you know how it goes. ‘Til next time—