Well, I have decided to take the plunge and restore an old motorcycle. I have owned a couple of vintage Hondas in the past (not including the 70’s and 80’s Hondas I owned in the 70’s and 80’s), and knowing how much fun they are to ride, I made my mind up to find another Honda. Thanks to Mr. Simpson, I had a chance to look at his 360 closely and after having the opportunity to ride it, I was convinced that this would be a nice bike to tackle. He has set the bar very high with his 360 (and now his 750), and I knew it would take a lot of work (not to mention $$$) to come close to his.
Back in the day, 360’s had a reputation of being reliable, good handling and a pretty good performer (mid-15 second quarter mile and a top speed in the low 90’s). It was one of the first street bikes with a 6 speed gearbox, and since I originally wanted to restore a bike that I haven’t owned before (I’ve owned 26), I started my search.
I was unable to locate a good candidate locally, but Simpson found my bike on Craigslist in Pennsylvania. It looked good in pictures, and after requesting and receiving additional pictures from the owner, a deal was made. I made the 12 hour roundtrip drive in my wife’s Honda Odyssey in late December to pick it up, and I was able to load it into the van quite easily.
Here is how she looked before I got her. More to come. . .
Welcome! Looking at the picture, the bike is in great shape to start. Let me know if you need a hand. Excited to see you start the build-up. Do you know how to to get Kreem off powder coat paint? Had a small boo boo today.
That's a nice looking 360T! Here is a shot of my little project that I started on last week. The bike has some cool little add-ons like the highway-bars and the sissy-bar/luggage-rack combo on the back.
So far I have the tank and carbs pulled off and found one of the diaphrams torn... Everything is solid on the bike except the left side exhaust becuase it has a dime size rust hole right at the end. Haven't started looking for a new one yet... From what I've seen in various online pics there seems to be two pipe styles. One seems more open-conical and the other is like mine where the end inch bevels back in narrowing the end diameter a bit?
Nice to know that I will not be alone trying to pull this 360 thing off.
I have been searching for exhaust for a while and this is what I have been able to find out. The '74 and '75 exhaust are two pieces connected by a chrome clamp. There are one piece OEM exhaust out there that I have been told fit later year 360's. I haven't seen one in person, but have seen them on ebay.
Digital camera’s. . .they tend to hide a lot of warts. Remember that the next time you visit that online dating site.
When I arrived in Myerstown, PA and got my first close look the 360, I noticed that really wasn’t as nice as it looked in pictures. The left muffler was rusted through, the top of the gas tank was badly scratched and had a small dent, the master cylinder had been removed and dismantled and the frame had lots of scratches. On the plus side, it was complete with very little rust, the instruments were in great condition, as was the seat. The chrome was good and she looked like she had spent most of her life indoors (odometer read just over 4300 miles). Though it had not been run in a while, it sounded ok when the starter turned the engine over.
Once home, I started pulling things off and found more warts. That’s when I decided to go all out and do a complete “frame off” restoration on it. Here is what I found.
The more I removed, the worse she looked. Typical with Honda twins of this era, the battery was over-charged and leaked acid from its vent tube all over the lower frame and swingarm. The horn did not work, neither did the turn signals. The fuel tank had some rust inside, but not too bad. I found an individual on ebay who advertised that he re-painted vintage Honda’s (mostly early 750’s). A quick e-mail revealed that he could repaint 360’s as well, using the correct Honda color and stripes. So, off to West Virginia went the tank and side covers. The only other thing I needed was the address of the local powder coater from Simpson.
I cannot say enough about powder-coating, it really is a neat process that gives great results. After looking at Mr. Simpson's 360, I knew that this was how I wanted my frame to look as well. Our local powder-coat does a brisk business powder-coating lots if different things, from street lights to the NASCAR-type car chassis they were working on the day I picked up my completed parts. The before and after pictures shows the transformation. Needless to say I am very happy with the results.
Alright, time to start putting this jigsaw puzzle together.
I started from the bottom with the center stand, and worked my way up. Getting the engine back into the frame was a breeze. After helping Simpson get his 750 engine back into its frame, I used the same technique on mine. Simply put, his idea was to put the engine in its side and “drop” the frame on to it. It works! I wish I had thought of this many years ago when I was constantly removing and installing Suzuki 1100 engines in my endurance racer.
Getting the shock bushings into the swingarm was a bit of a chore. I placed them (as well as the bronze swingarm pivot bushings) in the freezer overnight which helped.
It’s coming along nicely, even though I am building it on the floor of my garage. It is certainly hard on the back, especially at my age. More to come.
P.S. By 1991 I personally owned or had owned a V65 Magna, FZR600, Ninja 600R, Maxim-I XJ650, CBR600F, FJ1200 and at least 3 VTR250's including one we turbo-charged (and a few others not worth mentioning)
I have ridden plenty of bandit 400's, but never owned one... they are quick as fu*k and extremely nimble even if not well suspended.
It is starting to look like a motorcycle again. . .
I spent some time cleaning the instruments, replacing some rusted hardware with NOS stuff. Replaced the rocker arm cover with a NOS piece, installed the wiring harness, the triple trees, put NOS switches on the handlebar and installed it, and finally the forks. It's now ready for the front wheel so I can finally get it off of the floor!
I have only recently ventured into the vintage realm. Got a very sweet 32 year old delivered a couple weeks ago
now I am looking for a 1987 EX500 (white with the red seat) or a 91-93 Bandit 400
What a nice, clean RD ! ! ! It's hard to find an unmolested one like that. . .
Those 500 Kawasaki's were (are) very fast. I endurance raced a 1990 FZR400 Yamaha in '91 and several well-ridden EX's gave us fits! Unmolested EX's are also hard to find. Hope you get a nice one as well. . .
She's now up off of the floor. Cleaned the front wheel, installed it and put her on the center stand. Replaced the starter cover as well as the stator cover with NOS parts, installed the grab handle and installed the ignition switch in it's proper location.
The goal was to get her running by Easter weekend, but it looks like that will not happen. The carbs still need to be rebuilt, the inside of the fuel tank needs to be cleaned and coated, and the master cylinder needs to be rebuilt. I hope to complete most of this by next week.