• USD
  • CAD
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • EUR
  • JPY
  • INR


CB350 Revival

  • Motorcycles
  •  | 
Simplicity on Two Wheels
Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Craig Thompson
Over time, as more restorations and custom builds start popping up, certain classic bikes seem to gain an appreciation. The popularity of the Honda CB line has remained solid throughout the years, cementing them in history as some of the most stylish, reliable bikes ever produced. The first CB models were born over sixty years ago, and when Honda moved forward with the CB350 in 1972, the four-cylinder, 347cc four-stroke was the smallest multi-cylinder motorcycles ever put into full-scale production.
This rich history is cherished by motorcycle enthusiasts like Craig Thompson, a full-time photographer in Pittsburgh. Craig works mostly on the commercial side, which includes architecture, magazine, corporate, movie set, product, and portrait photography. He has also been riding motorcycles since he was roughly ten years old and has quite a passion for restoring vintage bikes. The first of hopefully many that we will feature is the 1974 CB350 shown here.
What is the story behind the CB350?
Craig Thompson: The bike was originally purchased by a friend. It was totally stock as far as I could tell. She had plans to ride it but never did, so it sat in her studio for years before I convinced her to sell it to me. It had all the problems one would expect. There was gas left in the carbs and the tank had turned to shellac. Additionally, the battery was dead, the front brake assembly was gummed up, and many other problems.
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
What parts or pieces of the bike do you find the most interesting?
CT: I like this particular bike because the tank is cool with the indents for the knees. It also has a really nice factory paint job that was abnormally nice for being a forty-five year old bike. It’s hard to find a tank this old in this condition.
Any changes during the restoration?
CT: I drilled out the front rotor and based the hole arrangement on a rotor from one of my other bikes. The aftermarket exhausts were a bit scratched up, so my affordable solution was to remove around eight inches from the ends of the pipes. This increased the sound of the bike a bit, and I liked the look. I also added black paint to several areas of the bike. I feel the Japanese bikes from this period were crazy for chrome and clear coated polished aluminum.
What is it about these classic bikes that you feel continues to attract enthusiasts?
CT: For me it’s a combination of things: The classic style, spoke wheels, simple design, and ease of repair. There is a sort of aesthetic restraint employed. With simplicity as a starting point, as I feel these bikes are, one is afforded much freedom to modify.
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Are there similarities between your passion for building or restoring classic motorcycles and photography?
CT: Yes, for me it’s all about problem-solving. I love the challenge, whether it’s getting a photo of a difficult subject and making it shine or bringing an old and dead motorcycle back to life.
Where do you feel the motorcycle industry will be in ten years? Do you personally see it trending in a particular direction?
CT: Hard to say for sure, but electric bikes will become more prominent. I also think more energy will be put into making bikes even more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly.
What bikes do you currently have in your garage?
CT: I currently have two 1974 Norton Commando 850s. They are both fully restored and in beautiful condition. I do ride them but not on long rides. I also have a fully restored 1990 BMW K75S, which is considered a sport/touring bike that’s great for long rides. It’s super comfortable but still has a sporty-like ride. My final and most recent purchase is a 2005 Ducati 800 Supersport. This is really an excellent bike in every way that’s plenty fast when I want it and just a pleasure to ride.
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Pittsburgh
  • Featured in Issue 007
  • 1974 CB350F1
  • Words by KURT DISERIO
  • Photos by CRAIG THOMPSON
  • Loading...