Retro Honda 4

Although the old Honda 4 was the ugliest thing he had ever bought, Gary knew it was ready to be reborn.

AFTER FINISHING my Ford 1928 A Model Roadster I was at a loss in the garage and yearning for a new project. I started looking for a CB750/4 project, but after searching for a few months, I gave up as most of the gear out there was over-priced crap.

Out of the blue, about two years later, I get an email from a fellow club member, Craig ‘Flames’ Clements, with a couple of pics of a bike for sale on eBay. After a visit to see the bike (which was in Perth), a price was agreed on and I picked up the bike and rode it home on my birthday.

Now this bike is the ugliest thing I have ever bought. It’s only running on three cylinders, is a pig to ride with huge ape-hangers and mid-controls, and I get some strange looks and comments from friends. But I can see in its heart it was looking to be reborn.

The bike was fully stripped and all the unnecessary holes in the frame welded up, then off to the powder-coaters to be coated in satin black (the bonus of having a son who is a powder-coater).

The tyres were removed from the rims and the spokes cut out. The hubs and rims were sandblasted in my table-top sandblaster and small compressor (6—8 hours work: never again) then off to be powder-coated satin black as well.

When the rims were finished they were taken to Spoke Wheel Services to have the stainless steel spoke treatment and to have the tyres refitted with new tubes.

The forks were stripped and new seals and damping piston seals machined at work and fitted.

The motor was pulled down and fitted with new bearings, seals and gaskets throughout. The capacity was upped to 810 cc with a Yoshimura big bore kit taken from a spare motor. A new primary chain and cam chain and adjusters were fitted; also a cam that came out of the spare motor. The carbs were pulled apart and chemically cleaned and then fitted with rebuild kits. Dyna electronic ignition was fitted, and after assembly and painting, the outer casings were sent off for a bit of polishing to complete the motor build.

The tank and guards were test fitted and then off to Craig ‘Flames’ Clements for the flake job. We started thinking of solid scallops, but after a few beers, we settled on the faded versions which give the bike a slight link to my hot rod influences.

The wiring harness was pulled apart and re-made to tidy it up (thanks to the chopper underground member Crazy Cats in the USA for sorting out a charging issue we had).

The seats were fabricated steel braces rolled by Ben ‘Ferret’ Forster and trimmed by Drew from Northside Motor Trimmers. Helen, my better half, trimmed the rear seat with the assistance of Drew.

The forward controls are from the USA. The mounting bars, handlebars and control linkages were all handmade in polished stainless steel. I was lucky to have access to a master machinist Phil ‘Pops’ Butt, an absolute legend, who did the machining on a lot of the parts for the bike.

When the bike came together we were very happy with the final outcome.

Thanks to the following: Firstly, Helen, my lovely wife; Stephen, my son; The Cranksters Rod and Kustom Club (the Brotherhood); all at MHS; and finally, Bosco, the Staffie, for keeping me company in the garage and not eating the wiring on this project.

photos by Brian White; words by owner/builder Gary King.

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