Michael LaFountain’s 1971 Honda CB350

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Hi Cafe Racer Team,

My motorcycle building days started when I was eighteen and saw a 1965 S-90 for the first time in my friend’s garage. I wanted one so bad I would spend hours at the local magazine store searching through every Walnecks and Cycle trader possible (no craigslist back then,) but after about five months of no luck, I stumbled upon a motorcycle tire sticking out of a small dried up creek bed. I dug it out only to find that under it was a headlight, then a frame, and finally a tank. It was a 1965 Honda S-90 identical to my friend’s. I felt like Ralphie finding that Red Rider Christmas morning. I spent my entire summer vacation excavating and rebuilding. We fired up both our 90cc of fury in the same week. They may have only gone 55mph off a cliff, but to us at the time it felt like a Bonneville land-speed record. 15 years and dozens of bikes later, the primary goal has been the same- faster, lighter, and louder. The true essence of the cafe racer.

Ok enough, Nicolas Sparks, Here is my most recent build; it’s a 1971 Honda CB350. I’ve always loved mid 60’s British and Italian race bikes, so a lot of that inspiration went into this build. The Matchless G-50 and the Norton Manx played a large roll in the over all design of the bike. Here are a few alterations made: Bbattery relocation, handmade seat, alternate tank, and clip-ons to start. I handmade the rearsets and spent a healthy amount of time reshaping the cases to really set it apart from other 350’s I’ve seen. With a good amount of weight removed, the larger pistons and steeper cam this little two cylinder really pulls! I really focused on creating lines for this bike that originally did not exsist. To me the lines are everything and it and I am pretty satisfied with the result on this one. The Mike Taggart Guy Webster Vintage Motorcycle Museum in Ojai California is the final resting place of this CB350 if anyone would like to see it in person.

Thank you for choosing my bike as the bike of the week, I hope you guys like it.

Michael LaFountain