Brandon's '75 CB350 "Doris"
By Anthony van Someren - 26 Jun 13
Brandon is a computer graphics supervisor for feature films. - although we prefer they way he described it in his own words: "I spend most of my time behind a computer assembling things that never manifest themselves in the real world." All my Hollywood illusions, shattered! Luckily for us he has other passions, and this CB350 is the manifestation of his newly discovered creative obsession. A journey that started a lot like this... When I'm not at work I'm usually in my workshop trying to scratch the itch of needing to build real things. I started working on motorcycles about two years ago. I had never ridden before, but I went to meet my girlfriend's family for a weekend in the California desert. In the desert I met a group of dirt bike riding engineers and lawyers who put me on two wheels about five minutes after I'd set foot in the sand. I had a great time and decided then that motorcycles would have a place in my life. I had never ridden before or owned a bike, so I didn't really know anything about them. So I decided to build one to make up that knowledge gap and have a strong goal-oriented project. I get a lot of inspiration from motorcycles blogs online and keep a running collection of my favorite bikes. I knew going into this project that I wanted something in between a cafe racer and a brat style bike but I was willing to let it evolve as the project went and not start with a drawing or strong concept image. I really just wanted it to have the minimalist elements of a cafe racer, but be strong enough and flexible enough to hit a trail or two if the opportunity presented itself. I did all the work on this bike myself in my workshop. It's a frame-off restoration. I had no idea how much cleaning and painting would be involved in restoring a vintage bike when I started. I felt like I spent half my time sandblasting, scrubbing, painting, or polishing. (...Welcome to the glamorous world of the custom builder, Brandon) The part of the bike that took the longest to build was the swingarm for the monoshock suspension, mainly because I needed to get it right. I kept telling myself "I'm the one who's going to be sitting inches over that back tire, riding fast, so this need to be safe". I let the bike evolve as I built it and plenty didn't go right. I had several failed attempts at adding fenders that never made it on the bike. Valve springs got put on upside down initially, until I learned there was a right way. I never knew until the front tire was mounted, and had air in it, that it would actually fit between the front forks. Adding the voltmeter to the dash is a product of me killing a 4-cell battery early on. Now I can keep an eye on my voltage level with the new one. I intend to ride the bike to work (about 15miles) each day. I'm planning on my longest ride yet this weekend as I'd like to ride out to Born Free 5 on the June 29th. I do think I'm going to re-visit the seat design. It's very thin and could use thicker padding. I'd like to make it 2-3 times as thick and extend it forward a bit and channel-out the bottom of the seat so it can cover up the top of the shock. I love how it looks now, but making it more comfortable to ride will ultimately make it a better bike. I also need a new top triple clamp (slightly cracked) which I'm having trouble finding a replacement for. Overall I'm extremely happy with how the project turned out. For a while I never saw an end to it, then everything came together. I think with a few small tweaks (like the seat) I could have a fun little commuter that can jump on a fire trail to take a short cut home. I don't think I
can stop building bikes. My next project I'd like to do something with the Honda NX650 Dominator, or XL600 platform. I think 4-stroke singles are neat.
Well Brandon, it's great to see that your computer skills are reflected in your skills in real-world building - although the outcome does look a bit like a 3D CGI virtual prop from a steampunk sci-fi movie. Luckily that's a look people round here like. A lot. ...We'd love to see whatever you do next.
Follow the whole build on Do The Ton.