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Cowboy 01-19-2008 12:23 AM

Honda CB160 Restoration Thread
Just to make sure the airheads don't dominate the Old School threads, I decided to let the gang follow along on my restoration. I picked up this '65 CB160 off Craigslist near Boulder, Colorado last week.

The bike is nearly complete, but it had been sitting for a couple decades, and the engine was seized. I love a gamble. :evil I got the bike home and sprayed some PBlaster into the spark plug holes. After letting it sit all night, I tried the kicker this morning. Still stuck solid. After it sat all day, I decided to work it a bit this evening. I put the bike in fourth gear, crawled aboard, and started rocking it backward and forward gently. After ten minutes, I worked the pistons loose. I gave it a push across the garage and back, tried the kicker, and everything seemed to be free. :D It will be a while before I try starting it, though. I need to get a key made, replace all the control cables, and rebuild the carbs before I bother trying to fire it up. (In the meantime, I squirted some light oil into each cylinder, to make sure the rings get loosened up by the time I add fire to the mix.)

My plan is to get the bike running well, do the mechanical restoration first, work out the bugs, then strip it down for paint when the weather warms up a bit. (It's exactly 0 degrees F outside as I type this. I'm glad my garage has a woodstove!)

In the end, I'm looking for a frequent rider, something I can take out into the mountains for fun, so this won't be a concourse restoration. Today I ordered new tires, pulled the front wheel apart and cleaned it up. It all looks serviceable. I also took some steel wool to several of the worst chrome parts. It looks like the chrome should clean up well.

Pop open a beer, and watch the fun! :freaky

Here are some more pics:

Edit: For those who are too impatient to read through the whole thread, here's a link to the "after" photos, a year and a half later:

EvilClown 01-19-2008 02:17 AM


niccoIndy 01-19-2008 04:41 AM

Very Nice, it looks alot like my 71 CB125s, except the 160 is cooler in every way. I love the tanks on those older hondas. You've got an extra 35cc's and its a twin to boot! Fun project.

Any ideas where you are going to find parts? I've had decent luck with ebay for my CL350, although my choices are much more slim for the 125. I will probably just have to get creative.

Looking forward to more!

Udo 01-19-2008 04:55 AM

Reminds me of my CB77 I rode in the 60's. I'll be following this one.

kbasa 01-19-2008 05:57 AM


eyedragaknee 01-19-2008 07:11 AM

CB160 incentive
Good choice. There is hope.

Before pic

eyedragaknee 01-19-2008 07:12 AM

A year later

Mukluk25 01-19-2008 07:22 AM

Good on ya!!! What is PBlaster??? Sounds like I need some of that.

Uncle Ernie 01-19-2008 07:31 AM

Knee-dude, I've seen that picture before... it makes me feel- lust, pain, confused, envious... I'm limp. Do you have a story about the work done anywhere?

Cowboy, good on ya. I'll be following this, too.

mark1305 01-19-2008 07:57 AM

Great project!

My first bike was a 1968 CB160 bought new in March of 68. Put a lot of miles on that bike, both highway miles and all kinds of dirt from gasline right of ways to trying hill climbs in old clay/kaolin mines. Those bikes were and are still great.

305racer 01-19-2008 09:11 AM

Nice platform to work from there it looks like you have most if not all the big ticket item. Still be prepared to lighten your wallet:D Let me know if you need to find parts used,repro and NOS as I have some contacts I'll pass onto ya.

Cowboy 01-19-2008 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by niccoIndy
Any ideas where you are going to find parts? I've had decent luck with ebay for my CL350, although my choices are much more slim for the 125. I will probably just have to get creative.

I restored a CB350 twin recently, and I was surprised at how many parts I could order at the local Honda dealer. (they are generally cheaper than ebay, too!) Of course, the 350 saw much higher production, so it makes sense that they would still carry parts. that may not be so true for the 160.

So far I've identified ebay stores sources for all the control cables on the bike, and also for carb kits. I know I can buy the gaskets to rebuild the petcock through my Honda dealer parts counter, as I have bought them for several other bikes with the same petcock. The only other parts I can think of that I need to replace right away are the rubber pad on the left side of the tank, and the knob for the steering dampner. Any ideas where I might find those?

I'll try posting a wanted ad over on the SOHC4 forums, which have been a great source of parts and advice on my previous Honda restorations. For those who aren't familiar, SOHC4 is a great source of knowledge on Hondas in general, not just the SOHCs. (Isn't it, Uncle Ernie!?) Here's a link to the "Other bikes" forum there, which is where the knowledge on these old twins will be found:

Thankfully I have all the other sheetmetal parts in restorable condition. Those seem to be the hardest parts to find. Surprisingly, the fuel tank is clean inside. My exhaust system is also in usable (though not perfect) condition. I polished up one muffler last night, and when I turned it end up, some rust and black junk started falling out of the muffler. I shook it, and a large pile of black junk came out. I was sure my muffler was rotten inside, until I looked closely at that pile of junk: sunflower seed shells. Some mouse was apparently living in the muffler all those years. I haven't pulled the second muffler off, but I'll bet it's full of shells too!

Cowboy 01-19-2008 11:31 AM

Some other parts sources worth repeatinghere for future reference: (These come from another old Honda restoration thread, courtesy of Bloodweiser:

The only one I've done business with before is David Silver Spares, a UK based specialist in old Honda parts.

Cowboy 01-19-2008 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by Mukluk25
Good on ya!!! What is PBlaster??? Sounds like I need some of that.

PBlaster is just a brand name of penetrating oil. I get it at the local auto parts store.

I suspect most brands of light oil or penetrating oil (my dad always called the stuff "panther piss") would work as well for freeing up a stuck engine on a bike. I think that the type of oil you use is less important than the action. Trying to force the engine to turn over with a kickstarter is likely to break something, since the kick starter only moves one direction. If you put the bike in high gear, (with the spark plugs pulled) and rock the bike back and forth, you put pressure on the pistons in both directions, up and down (as you rock the bike forward and back) which is more likely to break them loose without breaking anything. I've had success with this method on several bikes with stuck motors, and I've never broken the rings or the kick start mechanism in the process. Patience helps too, as the penetrating oil sometimes needs a few days to do its job.

mark1305 01-19-2008 12:50 PM

For parts sourcing and info you may be able to track down some of the roadracing clubs racing CB 160s as a racing class. I think they are all in the PNW, but not positive. I only remember reading about it over last year or the year before.

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