Bike Shed Member Andrew Porter talks us through his Honda CB350 cafe racer build, ‘Yo Bonita’.
“While researching cafe racers, I came across a bike called ‘Bonita Applebum’,” recalls Andrew. “This bike was built by a guy in Oz called Juan Pepe Luque and based on Honda CB450 twin. His build really inspired me to attempt a project of my own and Pepe was very kind in answering some questions – even sending me some personal images of ‘Bonita Applebum’, or ‘The Unicorn’, as he calls her.”
Andrew then purchased a 1972 Honda CB350 Twin, imported from a sunny state in the USA.
“Because of this the bike was in really good nick, but I had big plans for her anyway, so it didn’t really matter too much.”
After getting the bike running and registered for the UK roads, Andrew bought an 18 x 10 ft wooden shed, especially for the build. Then followed a full strip-down.
The engine was cleaned-up and fitted with Dime City Cycles velocity stacks, imported from the States. The the carbs were re-jetted and the exhaust end cans shortened. The engine then being repainted in satin black.
The frame was shortened and a hoop welded on to accommodate the new BCR ‘Dolphin’ seat and tank, which was custom painted by C&N Customs in Oxfordshire. “Chris and Nick at C&N did an awesome job of helping me with the design and colour scheme, especially with the subtle details like the Union Jack, which Chris told me was a three-stage paint process, which just goes to show their attention to detail.”
The controls, gauges, grips, and chain were all replaced with new or after market parts. The bike underwent a full rewire, with new indicators, upgraded regulator/rectifier and a lightweight lithium-ion racing battery installed in a one-off, CNC-machined holder.
During assembly, the bike had new race set bearings and brass swing arm bushes fitted, along with new Tarozzi rear sets, and a custom-fabricated rear break linkage. Parts were sand-blasted and powder-coated, while polishing was kept to a minimum as Andrew wanted to keep the old style character as much as he could.
And how does it ride? Andrew was happy to inform us “As its been lightened so much from original, the performance is really good. It pulls strong in every gear, and I’m definitely in the Ton up club!”
Chassis – Modified – Round bar welded on for single seat and battery relocation. Powder coated in gloss black. New head set bearings. New brass swing arm bushes.
Engine – Internals standard. New spark plugs, points and condensers.
Exhaust – Down pipes standard. Kick ups. Universal cone end cans.
Carbs – Stripped and cleaned. New gasket & seal kit. New floats. Re-jetted. Aluminium velocity stacks.
Tank – BCR Dolphin – Fibreglass. Custom paint. New filler cap.
Seat – BCR Dolphin – Fibreglass & Leather. Custom paint.
Wheels – Standard
Tyres – Front Avon Road rider 90/90 18. Rear Avon Road rider 100/90 18
Brakes – Standard. New front pads. New rear shoes. New fluid reservoir.
Controls – Racing clamp on bars. Deus hand grips. New cables. Tarozzi rear sets with linking custom controls. Custom rear break linkage. New taco and speed. New gear selector arm.
Electrics – Full rewire/harness. 12V 4 cell Antigravity lithium iron racing battery. Custom CNC machined battery holder. Smaller indicators. Regulator rectifier installed for modern charging. New starter solenoid.
*Images before fitting of velocity stacks.