Sometimes, it's the simple honest bikes that catch our eye. Built by people who just wanna ride while expressing as much individuality as they can either afford, or can take a spanner to themselves, and this CB350 owned by Steve in Ontario is exactly such a bike. Steve was a bit blown away when we said we'd like to feature his bike on The Bike Shed, but it's exactly that 'nothing special' attitude that made us want to showcase his hard work - and of course the bike isn't finished yet (are they ever?). "From the day I was born I was always surrounded by “projects”. My dad (now approaching 70) is a man with V8 breath and has been restoring and/or customizing cars forever and my uncles have always been into bikes. They built a million: from English to American made to Japanese; it didn’t matter. Just bikes. I knew from a young age that someday I’d get into a project myself and it didn’t really come to be until not that long ago.

I kept putting it off and putting it off. I was busy with other things like being a dad and racing my bikes (mountain bikes). One recent night it occurred to me that I was coming up on 40 and I still hadn’t acted. The bug was still there, it had never waned, but now, as I approached 40, it was with a greater sense of urgency. I talked to my wife and, as usual, she gave me the green light (she’s good to me). :-) I selected the bike for a few reasons. I knew I wanted the bike to be smaller because I intended on using it in town, to commute, run to a buddy’s place for a visit or just a quick rip around town for fun and to get away for a bit. Flights down the highways would be few and far between on this one and, because this was to be my first (all mine) project, I wanted something with great parts availability. The bike would also need to be reliable as I had full intentions of riding it often. I had a couple of ideas on what to get but when I found this ‘71 CB350 twin, I knew I found the right bike. Sure, it’s only another CB350. It’s nothing rare, or, exotic by any stretch, but, for what I needed at this point, it was absolutely perfect. I brought it home and started right into the project. My idea, from even before I started this entire effort, was that this was going to be a “working and running project”. I wanted to ride the bike while it was being worked on. I didn’t want to have the project go on for 2 years before I even had it running let alone blasting down the road. I wanted to ride right away. As much as possible. I started by fixing the simple, non-cosmetic stuff that “had” to be fixed for the sake of safety. For example, fraying cables, brake work and the rear swingarm pivots were so far gone that it was more than a little unnerving to feel that rear end swing side to side when you either got on the gas or brakes. It was a good warm up and allowed me to study the bike in a little more detail while I envisioned and planned out the final product. The bike was in good shape overall but there were a few things I had to deal with before really starting in.

Once I did all the “must do’s”, the mods were worked in stages. I’d come up with my plan, set a time and my gear aside, work it, get it done, ride it for a while, then plan the next part to focus on. I repeated this pretty well the whole way through. The bike is a collection of smaller mods that collectively add up to make a large difference. I did all the work and mods myself: aside from the wheels being balanced and a couple of parts being powder coated. I mashed this bike out in one of the spaces in my dad’s garage. Hey, why not? He’s got all the room and the tools! Hahaha He was pretty excited to have me home working on it in there anyway. So, in the end, after cutting, grinding, painting, buffing, polishing, rebuilding, some wiring, replacing, machining etc. you get the CB350 you see here. I steered clear of changing stuff just for the sake of changing them which I think, sometimes, people get caught up in. For example, my original plan was to get rid of the air boxes. I spent a heap of time looking for new(er) unbroken side covers (as the originals were totaled), repainting them in black and re-doing the emblems. It was to be a temporary fix until I got around to moving all the electrical to clear that whole area of the bike up. However, once I finished the side cover work and put the black covers on, I stepped back and was blown away. I couldn’t see myself taking them off any longer! I absolutely love how they looked! Had I jumped right in and worked that part of the bike in earnest, I’d have missed that! I ended up selling the cone filters I had purchased as they were no longer needed. Because the bike is a daily runner and I’m a dad who wants to mitigate the risks of blind old ladies, I also left functioning lights/markers all around and kept the stock seat as well. It’s to keep my butt from getting achy on my longer outings.

It’s my first build that I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak (read - mini gauges), but, for the most part, it is what it is. I ride it pretty well every day......and I ride the hell out of it too. It will have milage added again today despite the freezing temperatures outside. Already thinking of my next project. It may happen sooner rather than later. We’ll see. Steve A. Ontario, Canada."
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