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Below 6 pictures as I received the bike
|Author Chris Dupen at netbikes.com.au Brisbane Australia.
The story, no, not a technical specifications page, those that know this bike already know it has a four speed gear box, was Honda's first big bike and will do 100mph on a good day etc etc. If you google hard enough you will find 43 million 376 thousand two hundred and sixty three point seven five pages of everything you never wanted to know about the Bomber written by anyone except the author of the page.
No, this page is simply about this one bike, so the story is, I only bought this bike a few months ago, September 2010 to be exact, it is an import from the USA that I purchased from Central Motorcycles in Victoria Australia.
Before I go further there a few people I would like to give credit to, credit where credit is due I say, VJMC members Scott Abbett for doing some electrical work, almost everything works too:-), Scott in fact does a whole bunch of that for a few of the members, we would be left in the dark without him, or worse, be forced to learn it ourselves. Graeme Knight for some electrical tuning and on the blower advise, that actually worked. Steve Day for bringing Ginger Nut biscuits, well don't you take Ginger Nuts when you go visiting??. Tom McGarth for being a very good visitor and bringing Corona's, who doesn't like Corona's??, and finally Alan Watson for just fronting up on the battle ship Galactica, (Kawasaki GTR1000 full on decked out tourer) for a chat, coffee, Pink Floyd and for just being Alan Watson. It is better to stand at the bottom of the hill with your friends than at the top by yourself.
The 450 bomber is the only Honda I have ever "really" wanted, there are plenty of others I like or admire but none that pressed all the right buttons that said buy me buy me, still to this day I think the Bomber is the best looking bike Honda has EVER built, each to their own I guess.
You can see by the pictures above I bought the bike in pretty ordinary condition, although the motor did still run, all be it just. In the good old US of A where these bikes were a dime a dozen this one would have been classified for binning, not so here in Auz, here we ride our bikes to death, build them again and do it all over again. The challenge with this bike was to get it ready to ride to the 2011 VJMC annual rally in early March this year, a round trip of about 2200K's. Considering I went over seas for 5 weeks at the time of purchase so did not start any work on the bike until late November I think I have done ok, I was lucky on two counts however, see credits above and as I said the motor was a runner. Delving deeper into the motor condition it was found to be very sound and needed nothing more that a good carb clean and general, as in complete, tune and oil change, filter cleaning etc. So the motor was not pulled down saving me heaps of time, as a consequence engine cases, barrels etc were not bead blasted and stay pretty much as found except a good hand cleaning with still a couple of areas to do further cleaning to, and as the motor was not removed the frame also remains as it was, a bit tatty looking but still very serviceable. I guess I could hand paint most or it with a brush, you can get a very good finish using enamel paint, just heat it up a little, put the can of paint, or the amount you want to use in another can in a tub of hot water and heat on the stove top for a few minutes, brush marks disappear as you paint. Old trick I learned back in the 70's from a house painter, just be sure to use a nice soft brush.
So now there was the everything else to do to get it road ready, someone had previously and recently painted the guards and side covers which was a bonus although there is a chip of paint missing from the front guard which I still need to repair, I expect the paint work was rushed and probably no primers or undercoats used, still the rest seems strong although the colour is off slightly, it has a touch too much glitter for stock but does look nice. I repainted the remaining black part myself, the headlight brackets and front fork shrouds I did with VHT satin black, then Scott introduced me to Rust-Oleum, it is a USA made product and has a awesome gloss finish so I used this on the tank and headlight.
The handle bars came off a RZ250, I liked the shape of them better than the original higher bars. The RZ bars were painted black which I didn't think would suit the Bomber so after drilling holes to feed the switch block wiring through I first painted them in a hobby paint, Champion brand, colour Stirling Silver, it is more for use on picture frames etc, goes on really well and looks like alloy but I found it is not solvent proof and even dulls some if you try to polish it, so I sprayed auto clear over it and that unexpectedly turned the colour to grey, which worked out just fine be me, so I did the front fork lowers in the same manner.
This bike came fitted with indicators which somebody somewhere had aftermarket fitted as the US model was sold without them. I wanted to go back to no indicators so original switch blocks were needed, I found a set , actually given to me for post cost only, by a member of the Honda Twins Forum, another bonus, I must be meant to have this bike. The blocks were pulled down, cleaned, sanded and polished, re assembled with new start and horn buttons and the results can be seen in the pics below. The levers and perches are for Suzuki T250 but are a close match for the original Honda parts that I could not find at the time. New grey cables fitted bought from David silver in the UK. The hand grips were purchased from a US ebay seller, they are Bolton brand and were very common back in the day, you could almost buy them from the school tuck shop, not so today, so when I saw them on ebay I grabbed a few sets.
The seat cover I got out of Canada, and the buttons too but from different sellers, I have suggested to the seat cover guy he buy a few button sets and offer them with his covers, it would be one lees item you need to source and one less post cost, just makes sense to me. I stripped the seat bare, restored the steel base, painted it and sent it and the old rubber filling (for a shaping pattern) to a local trimmer to finish off with new foam. The buttons and seat strap were fitted in my garage.
The rear parcel rack if from a TS185, I had that chromed a couple of years back to fit on a T20 but never did, it worked perfectly for the bomber, allowing enough room at the rear for the seat to swing up unhindered, it mounted to the top rear shock nuts perfectly and I only had to find the rear braces which as it happened I had in the garage, AND they were already chromed, ex unused muffler stays, I only had to drill one hole in each and attach to the parcel rack to holes already there and to the rear guard mount points. It will come in handy for the trip to the rally.
All alloy polishing was done by me, I tried not to over do it, I just wanted a clean look that represents original and kept cleaned alloy. Note the position of the kicker lever, I found when in a more upright position it dug into my ankle, not that i need it anyway, Scott stripped out the starter motor and did his thing and it works perfectly at the press of the button.
For the remainder of the bike, all wheel bearings and head stem bearings were found to be sound, the bike is only showing 3000 miles, those were re greased and reused, even the drive chain was like new so it was solvent cleaned and soaked in light oil for a coupe of days and is now back in service, both front and back brake linings have been cleaned and reused and new original pattern tyres used, check for the rear, ribbed for the front, they are Duro brand made in Thailand. New fork seals fitted and forks oil used was 30 grade as specified in the Honda workshop manual, and it rides nice. The rear shocks are untouched as yet, I'll ride the bike a bit before I decide if I need to renew them, they seem fine so far with the few miles I have ridden it to date. I may need to upgrade them if I ever intend to take a passenger. I have not touched the rims or spokes apart from cleaning, they are not perfect but are in keeping with the look of the rest of the bike. I will be doing more work on the bike to tidy it up further as time passes.
How's it ride. So far not many miles done but so far all is very good, starts instantly on the button, motor runs quiet and tight, handling is not sport bike but quite good for what it is, suspension seems good, that is it does not bounce about through the corners or under braking etc, tyres being so new are yet to be proved, brakes are average and still need to bed in some I think, all gears change fine, the transition between first and second is a little clunky but this may be clutch adjustment of just me to get the hang of it more. For me first gear needs to be a little longer, in some corners I found first too low with a slight engine lag on changing to second, you can ride around that however by slipping the clutch a little keeping the revs up a little high as you change up. I cannot comment on any vibrations yet as I have only had the bike up to 50mph, there is none up to that speed. Overall I am loving it and can't wait for the big ride late next month. There is a small movie below and I will get one of the bike running in the next few days and hopefully another of it on the road.
Cheers..chris dupen at netbikes com au.