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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. I am still pretty new to the forum and new to bikes in general. I picked up my first bike recently (cb350) and have been spending the past few weeks learning to ride and work on my bike.

My knowledge is still pretty basic but I am getting to the point where I am beginning to look in to modifications. The aftermarket seems to be pretty scattered and I am wondering about good places to find aftermarket parts. Also any ideas on things to look out for and parts that are commonly used/done by beginners?

Thanks everyone!
 

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Okay, I can offer up all sorts of advice here because I did pretty much everything wrong the first time around. So, everything I'm about to tell you will be the polar opposite of what I did and therfore will be the right way to do it...

When you say that you're new to bikes, I'm going to assume that you are just as green as I was going in to this, so don't be offended if I sound like I'm talking down to you...

First of all, spend more than a "few weeks" learning to ride and wrench on your bike before making any modifications. Have you taken a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding program? If not, do it. Not only will the program teach you defensive riding strategies, but some insurance companies give discounts to riders who complete the course. It's cheap and usually only takes a couple of evenings of coursework and one full day of on-cycle training.

As for working on the bike, Do you know how to set your points, check for spark, diagnose starting issues, etc.? Do you own a shop manual and a Clymer for your model? If you lost power and pulled off to the side of the road, would you know where to begin looking? If the bike won't start at all do you know how to systematically search for the issue? Again I don't mean to sound preachy, I'm just asking.

When you do begin to modify/upgrade/replace things, start with the not-so-sexy stuff first: swingarm bushings. Fork oil seals. Wheel bearings and brake shoes. These are things that no one will see but you will feel the difference. Remember that a true cafe racer is a performance upgrade, not just a showcase of cool looking parts thrown together on a chassis that still performs like a 40 year old bike.
The key here is to break the bike down mentally before you do physically. You know that you want to replace the brakes, so shop around for the best price on brake shoes but look for the wheel bearings while you're at it. That's going to involve removing the wheels, how's that chain looking?...When you drop that front end out to replace the steering stem bearings, consider replacing the fork seals at the same time...

Operating like this will keep you from being sidelined for long periods of time. Pick a mod, decide what related jobs could/should be done at the same time, and do it in an afternoon or over the course of a weekend. Take on too many projects at once and you'll get frustrated and lost. Plus, you need to see how one modification will affect the overall picture.

You'll find that your project will take up a whole lot of time and money before you even think about that seat/tank combo or those clipons and rearsets.

I've got a lot more to say on the subject if you're not feeling overwhelmed already, and I'm sure that other members of the forum will chime in. Welcome to the forum, this is the best place to be if you want to know how to do it right.
 

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Not much to add to what cafe350 said. Take his advice and stay away from any modifications until you have a perfectly running bike and then start with changes, keeping in mind that any one thing you change may(will) require changes to something else. Clubman bars don't work well with stock seat and footpegs, for most people, Putting pod filters on and no mufflers, leads to csrburetor issues. Get it perfect and some experience and then decide what to do next. If you want to throw some money at it, replace the rear shocks, rebuild the stock front forks and get some good tires on it.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response guys.

Yeah, I am enrolled in a motorcycle safety course but it isn't until august.

What would be a good place for me to buy OEM replacement parts? After I purchased the bike I took it in to a mechanic and dropped a little bit of money bringing it up to speed. The guy who had it before me did a lot of work on it and the mechanic commented on how good of shape it was in. Cosmetics seem to be the major issue. The housing on the front headlight is cracked and the seat is torn.
 

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+1 on what Ken said about tires and suspension. Those are mods that can be done without having a "domino effect" on other parts of the bike. As for rear shocks, I have vintage Redwings on mine. Not top of the line track bike stuff, but a definite improvement over 40 yr. old stock.
You want shocks that are of equal length to stock, or slightly taller. do NOT put lowering shocks on your bike. They're not condusive to better handling, and therefore don't belong on a cafe racer.

When upgrading tires, remember that the cl350 has a 19" front rim, and not the 18" found on the cb350. I just found that out the hard way, about a month ago.

As far as where to get this stuff: Steering stem bearings, fork seals and front and rear wheel bearing kits are made by All Balls racing. www.allballsracing.com OR( 610) 473-0505. Ask for Alex and give him your machine's model year and specifics. Make it clear that you have drum brakes, not disk...

Tires: Avon roadriders are kinda the norm for a performance upgrade, only thing I don't like about them is that they look really modern. Dunlop Goldseals are good, and cheaper. I have a set in nice shape, as well as a spare 19" front rim for sale. Just sayin'...

BikeBandit.com is a good source for tires and a lot of oem stuff. They also have parts diagrams that you can enlarge in a seperate window if you want to check compatibility of parts between different models.

Ebay can be your friend, and your enemy. Too many people don't know what the hell they're selling. The other day I saw a set of cb350 passenger peg mounts advertised as motor mounts.
That kind of thing is all too common. Be informed about what you're looking for. cb350 and cl350 parts are almost all compatible, some stuff from a 360 will also fit, but NOT the cb350F!
("F" means four cylinder, it's a whole different machine)
Watch out for shipping, too. Some people try to get you on the backend.

If you still have the cl350 high pipes, KEEP 'EM. Even if the mufflers are rotted out, keep the headers -you can fit a different set of silencers to them. Check out Mercury Kid's build page to see how he did it. High pipes are friggin' cool and it's easier to mount your rearsets to the passenger peg brackets if you have them...

If and when you decide to upgrade your carbs, go with Mikuni 30mm. Some Ebay vendors are pushing 32mm kits as a "street" upgrade, which is bullshit. 32's are for racebikes with built engines.
Again, another lesson I learned the hard way.

Well I hope you haven't been scared away or too dissapointed that you won't be turning your bike into a cafe racer over a long weekend...

P.S. edit you topic title if you want a broader audience and more feedback. "CL350 scrambler parts" sounds like you're selling stuff, not looking for advice...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks a ton for taking the time to help me. You have been really helpful.

I have spent a good deal of time building cars and rebuilding motors on cars....so I feel like I am taking a pretty realistic approach to this bike. I'm really not planning on doing any real serious modifications and I would like to keep the bike simple...just having fun learning and figured if I was gonna replace stuff, I might as well get what I really want. I have a clymer and I am planning on having some fun with simple projects. Not even planning on doing anything at the moment really....just getting ideas.
 

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Happy to help. When you get a little further into it, snap some photos and start a build page. If you have specific questions, post them up in the technical section. Or use the search function as pretty much everything has been discussed on here at one time or another...

Good luck!
 
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