When I was eighteen I walked behind a doublewide trailer and bought a 1982 Honda CB750F SuperSport for a thousand bucks. This was a bad decision. A classic irrational life choice — but sometimes, the project chooses you. I knew this is what had happened as soon as I pulled up the craigslist ad.
The bike didn’t run. It started, barely, but didn’t idle and wouldn’t rev past 2k. It had a horrible paint job. It had 43k on the clock. But it was the bike, and I had to have it.
My dad shrugged. “It’s your project.” It was, and it was way over my head.
I had been spending a lot of time on CustomFighters.com, a forum site where people shared motorcycle projects in the “Streetfighter” style — an angry, minimalist approach to two wheels. Basically, rip everything off besides the engine and wheels and spray paint it black. This is pretty much what I did, to start. With some carb cleaning and some jetting changes, I got all four cylinders firing. It idled, but still didn’t like revving in the higher RPMs.
The wiring was a melted disaster. It soon became apparent that the battery wasn’t charging. The sinkhole began — a new Regulator/Rectifier to start, and soon a new Stator:
In the end I ended up ripping out all the wiring and making a new harness myself from stratch, but that’s getting ahead of myself. After a few weeks of learning the joys of trying to synchronize and properly jet carburetors for four different cylinders, the bike looked like this:
I relieved the bike of the previous owner’s purple paint job vision, leaving the tank bare steel with a coat of clear. I threw on some cheap tidbits to make things feel more modern — flushmounted signals, bar end mirrors, grips. Much to my father’s horror, I pulled the seat and chopped the subframe in half. No turning back! At this point the taillight and rear signals I had flushmounted in the seat:
I cleaned up the rusty 4-1’s, painted and wrapped them. I was working on a side panel to cover the battery box, with plans to relocate the whole thing tight under the seat:
At this point I proceeded to piss off the neighbors and wear out my dad’s patience — he must have picked me up in my pickup at least five times in the first month after I broke down on the bike somewhere. I couldn’t get the charging issue dialed, and the bike wasn’t running hot past 3k. A set of iridium plugs helped the matter, but I was still convinced it was a jetting issue. I changed the jets so many times I got to the point where I could pull all four carbs and have a different set of jets installed in minutes. While I struggled with that, I experimented with more bike aesthetics:
I made some custom side panels and worked my sanding skills cleaning up the side cases. The previous owner had stripped the valve cover bolts — I found this out when I peeled at least a bottle’s worth of gasket cement out trying to get the valve cover off to paint. I learned how to use Helicoils, and got it back on.
After a while I toyed with a new seat and rear end:
And that’s how it sits. I finally lost it with the charging issue and ripped the old wiring harness out. I am making a new one from scratch now, which has been humbling and difficult. Right now, the bike turns over but I haven’t had the time to get the carbs cleaned and synched enough to see if the revving issue is solved. I’ll keep this updated as the project progresses.
Thanks for reading!
In the works:
– Finish wiring
– Replace coils. I’m thinking of trying some cheap Ebay coils from a wrecked CBR
– Rebuild carbs completely, get jetting dialed in on cone filters with electrical system working
– CBR front end swap
– Mono shock and swinger