Bit By the Bug

Story by Stu Seaton// Photos by Stu Seaton
October 1 2009

The World Health Organization recently announced that sadly, Swine flu has reached new pandemic levels. Scary stuff. I hope nobody I know gets it, as I understand it’s pretty nasty.

The last bug that I got hit with is known in some circles as ‘continuous tinkerosis-on-semi-old-thought-to-be-vintage-motorcycles’. I know, a mouthful to say but it is a very dangerous, if not a heathenish bug. It manifests itself in an obsessive-compulsive kind of way. It alters your normal routine, leading to bouts of never-ending internet searches and late night phone calls to a buddy of a buddy whose sister’s cousin knew a guy that might have the set of header pipes you’re looking for.

I must caution all Mojo readers. It’s a sneaky affliction, you get it full bore before any real symptoms show. No red splotches breakout, aside from those on your knuckles when a wrench slips on that seized nut. You don’t get short of breath unless you actually find the part you need, then brief, but somewhat intense dizzy spells have been known to happen. About that time you may notice your better half putting the local nut house on speed dial. Yes, it’s a very dangerous affliction indeed.

In retrospect, I guess it hit me when my old riding buddy Dave McDonald putted up my drive on a sparkling red 1975 Honda CB350. It’s all original except for the mufflers, which I can tell you, are as rare as chicken’s teeth. See, there ya go… I just manifested a symptom. Shortly after that, good ol’ Dave called me and said that he found another CB350, a 1971 that looks pretty good. The next day I had it delivered to my shop. Up it goes on the hoist. Hmm. New fork seals for sure, brakes, plugs, lubes, those ape hanger bars have got to go, new battery, what the heck let’s rip this baby down. Paint looks great! Parts litter my shop. I wonder if 1971 OEM pipes are available? Nope, not yet—but I have a few more sites to research 2 a.m., okay, I can live with aftermarket pipes. Darn.

Three months later I have pretty much everything done except polish, polish, polish. I have also found that it’s very important to keep track of rags soaked in brake fluid; so much for unblemished paint on a pristine British racing green side cover. Now I need to do a paint match and spend some serious buff time. The throttle cable splitter still needs a change-out as it feels a bit stiff.

Just about this time a friend of my daughter’s, Soulange, (Salami for short), gets word that I have this CB350. She has a CD175. Whoa, wait a minute! That was my first real road bike.

I wonder if it has a toaster tank and flared wet dream fenders? Oh, I hope so. Pictures zip back and forth on the net and I’ll be darned, it looks like a CB, but it’s a CD. Hmm. Okay. Now I’m hyped. We swap bikes. Her’s needs some serious electrical work, so I’m immediately on the hunt for a coil set and a 6-volt battery; no sweat there, and the mufflers look great!

Now the little CD sits in my shop while the shopping list grows. What’s the original OEM paint scheme? I’m not sure the original lines are right and the manual I have leaves some doubts, so there’s more ‘Google’ time ahead. In the meantime, Dave calls with a line on a Henderson that’s been in a barn for a zillion years, supposedly still in the original crate. Whooo… this is the big leagues. Dave is good at that kind of stuff I guess. He’s always been a snoopy sorta guy.

Now I need a bigger compressor and that ride on air ramp is positively beckoning. An arm hoist would be nice too and I really need to install a better heating system, the list goes on.

See how it starts? An innocent little putt up my drive to say, “Hey, have a look at this!” Now I’m installing friggin’ hydraulics and a bigger beer fridge. Damn you Dave!

Continuous tinkerosis-on-semi-old-thought-to-be-vintage-motorcycles. The World Health Organization should have a special update on this as I can see that it could very well reach pandemic levels.

Gotta scoot. My wife has arranged some sort of therapy session for me. I shouldn’t be too late as I think this swing-arm should only take about ten minutes, honest.

Ride Safe. Ride (very) Far, Stu


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