AAZCD HalfDork
12/14/19 9:17 p.m.

I've given up on riding motorcycles a few times in my life. Minor accidents, miserable weather, and visiting gruesome accident scenes influenced me to gravitate towards roadsters rather than two wheeled conveyances. In high school I got my license on a 1974 Honda XL175 that I got from my older brother. It was a great bike until I started going places on the highway. Cruising in 5th gear, it would start to bog when I went up a long hill. I loved it for a couple years, then moved on to 400cc and larger street bikes as my world grew.

My most recent bike was a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 that I took in trade for a car. It was a beautiful bike, well kept and customized by the previous owner. She was pretty, but it just wasn't my style. A heavy, chromey machine that needed to be garaged and pampered to keep it pristine. We never really bonded and I eventually stopped trying to like it.

When I was recently offered a motorcycle in trade for my '91 VW Golf project car, I didn't think I'd be interested. When I heard it was a Honda XL350 and the picture showed an austere, streetable bike with accumulation of weathered, crusty paint; I thought, "Yes. Yes, this one works for me."

I plan to use this bike to get around town and to explore trails and back roads across NE Oklahoma and NW Arkansas. My first goal will be to get it street legal and running smooth. After that, I'll figure out what to do for ridability and cosmetics. I want to keep a rat rod feel to it with reasonable function and reliability.

Here it is when I first picked it up. New tires, brakes, and chain. 'Simplified' electrical system. A box of parts including instrument cluster, stripped out wiring, and headlight. It runs, but it's a little rough and fouls the plug.

AAZCD HalfDork
12/14/19 9:59 p.m.

1975 was a long time ago. I figured that this bike might run better with a newer carburetor. Before I did much research or even had a good look at the carb that's on the bike, I saw a brand new carburetor on Amazon for about $35  and it had good reviews. It's for a 300 to 450 cc Honda 4-wheeler from the early 2000s. Why not give it a try?

When it arrived, I did a partial install. It mounted up to the intake boot, but the throttle cable will need some adaptation to work. To my surprise, the engine started right up and ran well with it half-way installed. I decided to clean the old carb up a little more while I had it off, then put it back to the original configuration. The air filter boot  has hardened and doesn't really fit well, so I decided try out a filter that I had left from a Jet Ski that I sold years ago. It's rigged with ugly zip ties at the moment, but works well. Until I come up with something better, I plan to stay with that filter, but make a bracket to mount it and shorten the tube up.

Here's how it sits now. eBay has lots of old Honda parts available and I have a few inbound to make it a little more streety. A tail light, some turns, cables, and new speedometer - just in case the old one is bad. I plan to run new wires and will probably put a battery back in it somewhere. I may also go with a separate battery powered light as a back-up instead. There isn't a state inspection to pass, but there are laws and safety requirements.

AAZCD HalfDork
12/21/19 10:02 p.m.

I have the speedometer and tach mounted and connected now along with the headlight. I just received a brake light switch today and the tail light will be delivered sometime next week. When that arrives, I'll put enough of the harness back in to run the lighting.

I loaded it up on a trailer again today and took it to get it registered and have the title transferred. I'm not in any rush to get it on the road, but want to keep making a little more progress every week. It's an easy project to do little bits at a time and I can actually bring it in the house to work on instead of out in the cold garage.

Cooter UltraDork
12/22/19 7:27 a.m.

I had an MT125 as my first motorcycle when I was 13, and I love the lines of the '70s Honda dirt bikes.  I will be following this thread partially because of that nostalgia.

If you still want the thread moved, you can ask in the Canoeing Mod Thread in off topic for faster service.  

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/22/19 7:33 a.m.

Moved with my super mod powers! Also a massive love for Honda air cooled singles of all ages. Be sure to include some of the riding areas you get yourself out to. Kid#3 has decided that the newest XR100 in the fleet is her new trail bike so we may be going on some adventures soon. 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/17/20 5:34 p.m.


I was excited about the bike when I got it. I registered it for street use, but still needed to set up lighting. I found parts online and started figuring out where I was going to go with the build. I bought a good set of 'period correct' lights on eBay and they never came. Never. It was the first time in over a decade that I have had to go through the whole eBay refund process and it worked, but it stopped all momentum on the project.

Recently with the Spring arriving, I pulled the tarp off of it and started tinkering again. I got the carb from Amazon set-up on it with a Jet ski air filter and some intake tubing cut from a '90s Honda Civic. It ran better, but still needed some tuning. I started wiring in a new brake light switch and started sorting out the head and tail light plans.  Riding it around my yard to test it out I concluded that it was too loud and geared too high for my liking. That was going to be another big 'can of worms' to deal with if I kept going - on a project like this, when you look closely at one thing, you find five or more things that will also need to be done.

I realized that this is not the right bike for me. It's a cool project and will make a nice retro-apocalypse style bike, but it will not be one that I want to drive 100+ miles into the wilds of the Ozarks, where the banjos play and cell phones don't work. I needed to sell it and make it happen quickly before I changed my mind. Listed for $300 on the FB Market. The kind of deal that I would jump on. Five responses within 15 minutes. Gone within a couple hours after the buyer took it for a quick ride around the Walmart parking lot ...where it stalled and had trouble restarting. I still might get a decent dual sport bike this year, but this isn't the time. It's time to get projects done or move them out. Time to get floor space in the garage again start poking at the Challenge car.

Our Preferred Partners