The migration of an ugly duck into a beautiful swan!
It was really an ugly thing that I picked up in Spring 2004. It was
a CB750 K1 alright but you could not tell:
I picked it up at night in order not to be seen by the neighbours (only joking!) and hid it in
my garage first. So the bike had Jardine turn-outs, a Vetter Windjammer II
fairing but apart from that it seemed all stock. In order to sell the fairing
and the exhaust I quickly got it out the garage on a Sunday at 11.00 (when
everybody else was at church) and did the necessary pictures.
really not nice.
So first of all I removed the garbage, meaning the fairing and the seat which I replaced with the stock seat that came with the bike.
Better, much better!
Plan was, to just put it back to stock and then drive it for some time, see
if I like it. I have a couple of beemers (two cylinder, horizontally opposed),
so an inline-4 was something quite different and I was not sure whether I'd
like it. Before that, however I was trying to get it running. It was but only
on 2 cylinders. So I bought 4 Keyster carb kits at Sirius consolidated Inc,
ripped the 4 carbs out, bought lacquer thinner, soaked them (without any rubber
pieces), used the set to rebuild the carbs, all adjustments on default and ...
it ran beautifully on 4 cylinders, even pretty much synch'ed as I used the eye
to adjust the sliders. Nice job.
It was not pulling though above 4500rpm but with stock 120 main jets and open
turn-outs I did not expect it to run properly as the back pressure of those is
surely different to a stock HM300 or HM341. So before I started tearing that
baby apart I knew it was working.
I started with a major service including replacement of verious worn parts:
a 4-into-4 exhaust ... obviously. I opted for the HM341 exhaust
system which is correct for K2-K6 models (but fits all K0-K6)
knowing however it is not the stock (HM300 is) ... but it is affordable
a CB550 low bar with all
cables and switches to firstly replace the US bars and secondly to
cannibalize throttle cables and one switch to repair mine, bought that one
when I was about to start
disassembly I figured the steering bearing had a good notch, so I got
single row tapered roller bearings to replace the stock ball
a couple of bits and pieces
like rubber, indicator glass, headlight bucket and stuff
a H4 headlight to replace the
stock sealed beam
I had the seat done by a
local upholstery, he talked me into it (or better he made me an offer I
couldn't refuse), it is fine and I do sit well on it, just no Honda logo for now (got the stencil already)
main servicing also involved new rear tire (Dunlop GT501)/points/fork seals/fork gaitors/battery/
DID O-Ring chain/front sprocket/rear sprocket/front brake pads/speedo cable/tacho cable/clutch cable, replacement of all
fluids incl brakes/forks, valve cearance adjustment, timing chain
adjustment ... the works
not too many other things
So I started
working, it took me a couple of weeks, I took my time ... and in the meantime
rode my other horse ...
assembly was pretty much straight forward, nothing bad happens, and after three days, I made a successful maiden trip. No hickups other than a
bit low idle, but the carbs still aren't properly synch'ed so that will go
away. Here she is:
So, it remains
to be seen what I'm gonna do with it. I will have it safetied and insured and
on the road next week. After the season when the snow arrives and the bikes go in hibernation/restoration I'll make up my
Here is the plan for a sensible restoration should I decide to do that this winter:
powder coat frame and stuff
polish all aluminium parts
use all chrome parts as is
try to acquire a HM300 exhaust
leave the engine alone (but if its out I might as well
open the lid and see what's inside, right?)
I bought the bike from the second owner who had it for 30 years. It has not been
tampered with, I can tell from the threads. I am quite happy with that baby and
will enjoy the next weeks of riding.
I decided to do my first longer trip into the Adirondacks,
Upstate New York on the last weekend of October. Wonderful weather (sometimes NOT), open roads (sometimes wet), not a lot of traffic,
brilliant colors (when the sun was shining).
I decided not to do anything on the frame. I have seriously tried to acquire
HM300 exhausts but they run US$120.00 a pop in decent condition.
I have decided to leave the engine alone (if it ain't broke, don't fix it)
and do aluminium polish as I go along. I have however decided to do
a few modifications/improvements to get me over the rest of the winter without going
I installed a CB750K (1977-1978) sidestand which is self retracting; I
bought it in Europe where either retracting sidestands or sidestands
associated with a microswitch (killing the engine if you are trying
to put it in gear) are required by law
I have decided to have all bodywork painted in the original
period color Candy Ruby Red (my favorite color wasn't actually introduced before
1974 so I had to revise my master to be a red bike). I am using
BK Custom Coatings in Brantford, Ontario and
here are the excellent results (the close-ups are not showing the color as it is, so total views do):
Simply gorgeous ...
Pride and joy will are the new decals, emblems and trims on
the bodywork: all tank trim/decals are brandnew, diamonds are brandnew, 750Four
emblems are refurbished (their tabs were in bad shape so they have been
affixed using silicone)
I complelety stripped the petcock and reworked
it using all new seals, gaskets and brass filter
I had a chat with Brad from BK Custom Coatings and he recommended to use a
POR product for my exhaust. Especially the inside of the pipes facing the wheels
had a few areas where rustspots appear on the chrome after some time (ok,
it was in the garage over winter and I did not clean it.
POR-20 was the right
product for the application (exhaust and manifolds up to 1400F). It
has an "aluminium cast" appearance and I will see over time how it
performs. It is not original, but it
looks "period" enough for me and protects a major investment (especially if you
have to replace even a HM341 exhaust system).
Reassembly has started.
It's finally done:
Update June 5, 2005:
After all this work and TLC, I have finally sold the bike. It was a very
good experience but my true love is with BMW Airheads (as some of
you might have guessed already) so the proceedings will be used to finance
a new Airhead project, a Dual Sports bike.
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