With the warm weather here, it’s been a little harder to focus on the custom Honda CB 350, instead of going out and riding the KLR, but I’ve managed to make some good progress recently.
First – the exhaust. I’d tacked it up and mounted it, but never done the finish welding. Last weekend Ezra (ED NOTE: Sam’s Landlord who owns the amazing shop in the basement, and makes some incredible custom bicycles) was wanting to get some more welding experience, so he dove right in. Half a spool of stainless wire and the better part of a tank of argon later, it’s good to go. I’m quite pleased with it – the two headers bolt onto the engine at the top end, and slip into the collector pipe underneath the motor. The slip fit is nice and tight; at the other end of the collector, the muffler slips over the pipe and is clamped around it with a slick stainless exhaust clamp I got from Cone Engineering. We welded a little 8mm threaded bung to the muffler, so it bolts right to where the passenger footpeg used to be. I’m a little worried about how rigidly it’s mounted to the bike, so I might fit a piece of rubber at that mounting point, but Ez’s welds look and feel pretty bomb-proof to me. So, that’s another thing out of the way!
Next up was to create a left handlebar control switch for horn and blinker. I didn’t want to keep the stock one, and all the aftermarket ones I found were huge and goofy, except for one made by Posh Factory in Japan. Unfortunately it costs a pretty penny just to ship it over here, let alone buy it. Solution? Make my own. I found some really small electrical switches from Allied Electronics, and I’d been needing a good project to familiarize myself with the milling machine, so decided this was it. Started out with a cube of 6061, ended up with a pretty cute little clamp that holds the two switches. It’s a little hard to tell the scale in the photo, but the whole height of the clamp is less than 7/8″ – these switches are tiny! I didn’t have a 7/8″ end mill to cut the perfect scallop on the back of the clamp, but the UPS guys should be bringing me one this afternoon. I also want to make another single switch clamp for the right side for a kill switch.
And finally, I made up my mind about locating the battery under the seat and fabbed up a tray for it. Nothing too crazy – just a piece of sheet metal cut to fit under the seat. The battery will be ‘trapped’ between the reg/rec and a little aluminum bar that I bolted down to the tray. All that’s left is to weld it to the frame.
I forgot to take a photo, but I found a really nice, simple aluminum tail light and license plate bracket, which bolted right to the original holes on my rear fender, which I guess I’ll be keeping on now. Funny how this project started with such an ambitious, exaggerated, extreme rebuild, and as I’ve progressed, I’ve realized how well some parts of the bike were engineered to begin with, and how I don’t really want to lose all of them after all. I guess less is more, after all. Anyway, I hope to get the front brake sorted out and the whole bike wired up this weekend. I’ve been thinking that I might just finish it up and ride it around for the summer, then decide in the winter if I want to do any crazy powdercoating, painting, etc. I feel like I’ve spent enough money on this guy, and I’m really itching to get it on the road and tune up those fancy new Mikuni carburetors! Stay tuned…