by Jim Reed
Several years ago I did a series of articles for Motorcycle Shopper Magazine. At the time, publisher Luis Hernandez and I thought the MSM readership might be interested in knowing how to get into vintage roadracing.
The series revolved around building two entry level (club level) racers. One a CB450 four-stroke twin, the other a Yamaha RD250/350 two-stroke twin.
Paramount in the list of considerations for such a machine was simplicity of construction, ease of maintenance and cost effectiveness. All aimed at giving a new entrant in the sport as much "seat time" as possible. Nothing turns off a newcomer to racing quicker than spending lots of money and most of their time in the pits at a race.
An additional consideration was that the "club level" bike be able to be upgraded to "national caliber" as the owners riding skill and interest increased.
The response to the series was overwhelming. Reprints are still being sent out by MSM and myself to interested parties. Apparently we struck a chord.
Eric Kalamaja is sure to achieve a similar response with his Building a Honda CB350 Vintage Road Racer.
During its production, the CB350 became known as the "Chevy" of street bikes. Simple, tough as nails and capable of being "leaned-on" heavily by speed tuners, and, like its automotive counterpart, it makes a great starting point for a competition vehicle.
Although I have never raced a CB350, my friend and multi-time National Vintage Champion, Todd Henning, has. On numerous occasions he has commented that between his Yamaha TR3 350, Honda CB450 and the CB350, he likes the 350 best. It is light, nimble, reliable to a fault and fully capable of dusting 500cc single and twin four-strokers.
What more can you say. Sounds like great fun to me.