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Old 07-03-2011, 08:32 PM   #1
oregoncoast OP
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Outta Sight Racing -The Chronicles of an SL350 race bike

Outta Sight Racing – The Chronicles of an SL350 race bike



I have found a new affliction….and it is called “vintage motorcycle racing.” But unlike a simple to treat, single-source discipline addiction (road-racing, motocross, trials) it is much, much more severe.

See, I got this cockamamie idea last year to race a 1972 Honda SL350 in the Mexican 1000 as documented on ADV.
That crazy idea led me to enter the bike into some races/events in order to make sure it was up to the task of tackling Baja. The bike survived those endeavors, and so did I. And after returning from Mexico, I decided that I just couldn’t let the old bike sit for a year until we returned. And that’s when it hit me…and that is the reason for this thread.

I have decided to enter my 1972 Honda SL350 in as many racing/riding events as possible in the next 12 months or so! And not just races similar to what we did in Baja…no. We are talking about as many different disciplines as possible: Motocross, trials, flat-track, roadracing, ice racing, hillclimb, maybe even Bonneville!

Since some of these events have already happened, I will recap the results. But as far as the events that haven't happened yet, I will be riding in moto disciplines that I have absolutely no experience, on a bike that probably has no business being there. But that’s just it, I think that the 1972 Honda SL350 is an incredible machine – and one that was a do-all, be-all bike for those who bought them when they were new.

When researching vintage motorcycle events, one realizes that back in the day, they rode what they brung. And that’s what I intend to do. The SL350 really is a decent platform for many of the vintage events that I intend to try. But in others, it really has no business being there.

I will repeat my mantra from the Mexican 1000 thread – I only hope to finish what I enter. But, of course, like anyone, I like to do well, so I will at least try my best with the skills and equipment I have, and hopefully will not embarrass myself too much.

So, I hope that some of you will come along for the ride, because I have a feeling it is going to be an interesting one.


**Shameless Plug #1- A big shout out to Atomic Moto for helping me get properly geared up for all of these events!! http://www.atomic-moto.com/ **




To start this off, let's recap what we have already done with the SL in the past 6 months:

The first official event I participated in with the SL was a crazy ride called the Alley Sweeper Urban Enduro held in Portland, OR. It is described here:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=664395



This wasn’t a race really, just fun hooligan run where the SL with it’s non-DOT LED headlight and taillight was probably one of the few legally plated bikes participating. We tore up alleys and streets all over Portland, Oregon.

Next, I entered the Stumpjumpers Desert 100 in the vintage class, which only requires one 50 mile lap. I had done this race the year before on a DRZ400 and did the 100 miles on that bike. It is a very tough race, even with a modern bike, but with a vintage one, it is shear hell.





I had some issues with the forks and I took a brutal beating on the bike. But I finished and was not the last one, although it was undoubtedly the oldest bike in that race.
This was the first time I was to meet Alex from Konflict Motorsports. He had shown an interest in the SL project and signed on to help with suspension. After this race, the bike got some much-needed help in the suspension department and it would only improve after this.

**Shameless Plug #2 – Konflict Motorsports – for helping me to keep my spleen intact by improving the shabby stock suspension on the SL http://konflictmotorsports.com/ **


Then came the Mexican 1000 adventure which is well documented..but I’ll just add, I had the adventure of a lifetime and am now hooked on Baja and will be back if there is a 2012 Mexican 1000!







**Shameless Plug #3 – TyreShield – for helping me to finish the Mexican 1000 even with a ˝ inch gash in my front tire! http://www.tyreshieldusa.com/ **

After returning from Mexico, I got to know one of my diesel sponsors, inmate LC Garage, and we started talking about running a vintage motocross. See, Rick was resurrecting his old racing bike, which just happens to be a 1972 Honda SL350, and was wanting to run it in something. Rick told me about the Hammer and Tongs vintage Motocross being held at the Portland International Raceway and I was on it like stink on poo! Those stories are documented here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=698196
And here:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=696226




LC Garage and I entered the same class, Inter-Am Intermediate, and he won the first heat and I won the second heat (in class) and ended with the overall win in class. We did pretty well considering there were experts running on proper (albeit vintage) motocross bikes. We both were in the top 8 of 18 in both heats. It was hard work. This was my first ever attempt at motocross and I did it on a 40-year-old, 325-plus pound 4 stroke twin! Suprisingly, we both got some pretty good air and luckily, LoudAl was there to take some pictures.

Here’s Rick getting a jump on me at the start of heat #2 (number T98)



And this is right after I passed Rick on the last lap:



Up, up and away….







**Shameless Plug #4 – LoudAl- for helping me to document all of this nonsense by taking some amazing photographs – www.AllanLeahyphoto.com **

Rick is a crazy-good rider and he and I were definitely cat-and-mousing it during this race. He is a great guy and I think he will be also racing his SL much more in the future and will have many cameos in this thread.

[/QUOTE]

Coming up, another vintage Motocross but this one seems to be more of a true old-school grass track on a farm:

http://www.100megsfree3.com/ahrmanw/aaMX_ChehalisWA.htm

And then there’s another one near Spokane, which I am going to try and make, because it is close to my number one sponsor (after my wife, of course) Ladybug!!

http://www.100megsfree3.com/ahrmanw/aaMX_SpokaneWA.htm

These are both AHRMA events so the bike will have to meet their tech inspection. Oh, and the insane part is…I am considering running the Observed Trials on the SL at both of those events!!

Now if I can just get Lonnie to let me borrow his Montesa Trials seat to mount on the SL….

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Old 07-06-2011, 09:23 AM   #2
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Big Fun!

OC, thanks for letting me come along for the ride, over the years while I was away from motorcycle racing, raising kids, working and involved with car racing, I finally realized what the best part of motorcycle racing was and what I missed most; the people! Being involved with the vintage racing has brought some of my old friends back into the circle and added you and other ADV riders as well.

Thanks again for the opportunity to participate, I will help out whenever and wherever possible.

PS, talked to the wife this weekend about going up to Chehalis on Friday night, maybe riding the trials on Saturday. I have my daughters TL125, and although it hasn't ran for several years, time to start wrenchin'!
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:47 AM   #3
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Subscribed.... I'll be at the Fairfield event (near Spokane) it was a blast last year and I only stuck around for trials. I'll meet you there on Ladybug's CB200 I'm restoring...
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:01 AM   #4
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I enjoyed your Mexican adventure. This should be fun too.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:21 PM   #5
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Romantic weekend...

Took my wife to the big city for a nice romantic weekend...nice lunch, old motorcycle shop, dinner, and a classy resort. Yeah, I squeezed in the old motorcycle shop...she is a very forgiving woman.

I went to the Forest Grove Honda shop in search of an O-ring for the side case (near the oil pump). They didn't have one, but were cool enough to just give me the size O-ring I needed and suggested I go across the street to Ace Hardware



Forest Grove Honda is a tiny shop, with outdoor signs straight out of the 1980's. We talked shop about SL350's and he said he remembers having a Honda poster hanging in the shop in the early 1970's...it was of Honda 350 winning the Baja

I hoped his next words would be, "In fact, I just found that old poster the other day, let me go ahead and get that for you..." Instead, he told me he didn't know what happened to that poster...or other cool ones...as they seemed to just walk away from the shop over the years.

Then an older guy comes out from behind the counter, and tells me a story of when they were up riding in the Tillamook Burn on some very knarly and steep trails and a guy on a fully street-legal SL350 shows up with his girlfriend on the back. The SL guy then drives off the landing down this incredibly steep trail and several minutes later, they see the guy in the distance, making his way up a steep trail...with his girlfriend still onboard! Everyone has a great old Honda story!

And this is what I love about getting into these vintage bikes...just sitting around a little shop talking about bikes

They ended up having a real Service Manual for the SL and a cool book listing all of the Honda models, and the differences between years of models, from 1959 until 2000. He gave me a deal for both books, and I felt like I got a serious score!



I have decided to do a Observed Trials competition on the SL350 as my next discipline

Lonnie has some great ideas to get the look and feel right, and LC Garage is going to let me borrow his CL350 pipes to give me some more ground clearance. Trials tires were ordered and should be here tomorrow

The AHRMA trials event is on August 13th, with a vintage MX on the 14th. I was hoping to do both..but the bike may be too deep in trials mode to make a quick switch on location...we'll see
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:05 PM   #6
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Fun!

This shop is close to where I work, will have to stop in and say hi. Great story about the guy riding two up in the burn! Talk to you soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oregoncoast View Post
Took my wife to the big city for a nice romantic weekend...nice lunch, old motorcycle shop, dinner, and a classy resort. Yeah, I squeezed in the old motorcycle shop...she is a very forgiving woman.

I went to the Forest Grove Honda shop in search of an O-ring for the side case (near the oil pump). They didn't have one, but were cool enough to just give me the size O-ring I needed and suggested I go across the street to Ace Hardware



Forest Grove Honda is a tiny shop, with outdoor signs straight out of the 1980's. We talked shop about SL350's and he said he remembers having a Honda poster hanging in the shop in the early 1970's...it was of Honda 350 winning the Baja

I hoped his next words would be, "In fact, I just found that old poster the other day, let me go ahead and get that for you..." Instead, he told me he didn't know what happened to that poster...or other cool ones...as they seemed to just walk away from the shop over the years.

Then an older guy comes out from behind the counter, and tells me a story of when they were up riding in the Tillamook Burn on some very knarly and steep trails and a guy on a fully street-legal SL350 shows up with his girlfriend on the back. The SL guy then drives off the landing down this incredibly steep trail and several minutes later, they see the guy in the distance, making his way up a steep trail...with his girlfriend still onboard! Everyone has a great old Honda story!

And this is what I love about getting into these vintage bikes...just sitting around a little shop talking about bikes

They ended up having a real Service Manual for the SL and a cool book listing all of the Honda models, and the differences between years of models, from 1959 until 2000. He gave me a deal for both books, and I felt like I got a serious score!



I have decided to do a Observed Trials competition on the SL350 as my next discipline

Lonnie has some great ideas to get the look and feel right, and LC Garage is going to let me borrow his CL350 pipes to give me some more ground clearance. Trials tires were ordered and should be here tomorrow

The AHRMA trials event is on August 13th, with a vintage MX on the 14th. I was hoping to do both..but the bike may be too deep in trials mode to make a quick switch on location...we'll see
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:41 AM   #7
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Trials time

Well, the conversion of the old SL into a pseudo-trials bike has begun

On Thursday, while riding through town on my V-strom, I stopped by See See Motorcycles in Portland and talked to Thor and the boys:
http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/321/10...d-Opening.aspx

Next door to See See, is a treasure trove of old motorcycle parts belonging to a certain eBay merchant known as roofis27

The boys were eating lunch, but were willing to shoot the breeze with me. They had heard of my Baja efforts on the SL and thought it was insane, but cool..so that kind of broke the ice. Suspicions about my sanity were further confirmed when I told them I was next entering the bike in an observed trials event and was looking for some parts.

These guys were totally gracious about the whole thing, and Ken, "roofis27", even let me poke around his parts and look through his gas tanks. I didn't see any Honda TL tanks, but I did grab an early 70's Yamaha MX tank because it was small and thought it may be able to be beat into submission and used if necessary. I bungeed it to my strom.



Turns out that See See's owner, Thor Drake, is quite an accomplished racer beside for being a builder. We talked (ok, bragged) about our class wins at the Hammer and Tongs Vintage event a few weeks earlier: Thor took first in the Trans Am Intermediate and the 250 Evolution Intermediate classes on a 1975 Husky. He has also race other off road races on vintage bikes, including the Virginia City GP. He told me that this year, he seized the motor on the way down into a deep ravine. Not wanting to push the bike out, he dug into the head, squirted some WD-40 all over the place and got things loose, then got the bike running again and got himself out of there. Nice.



In the front window of See See, is one of his creations: A cafe racer which started life as a Honda XR400..I just love this bike:



Honestly, it is a cool little shop, filled with some real motorcycle gear heads. I've said it before, but this is one of the reasons I love these vintage bike projects...you really get to meet like-minded crazy people along the way!


I got over to Lonnie's yesterday, and pulled the bike out of the trailer...it was still covered in mud from the motocross, so I thought I'd better wash it up so Lonnie would allow it inside



These had just come in the mail from Motorcycle Superstore....



And I picked up some nourishment needed for working on old bikes....yes, I got sucked in by the nostalgic packaging:



Lonnie showed up with his grandson. Lonnie had been helping out a friend by cleaning up an old beemer to sell. This bike was causing Lonnie some stress so he and his grandson decided to burn a little BMW in effigy



I loaded up my trailer with tons of motorcycle parts that we had accumulated during the SL baja build. Lonnie wanted the space, and I want to fill my garage with this crap!

Lonnie has an old Honda TL125 tank that is pretty rough, but we think we can make work for the trials event. He also has an old Montesa cota seat...and probably a fender lying around that we can use. We have the AHRMA rule book and believe that we will be able to comply in order to compete. I doubt there will be another person crazy enough to try and trials an SL350...although it really wouldn't surprise me

On the to-do list to get the SL trials ready:

* Order the largest rear sprocket that will fit, and get a chain that will work.

* Mount up the TL125 gas tank

* Mount up the Montesa seat

* Install wider, trials-type handlebars

* Install a low front fender

* Mount-up trials tires (front will be on a vintage-correct Elsinore DID aluminum rim)

* Install CL350 scrambler pipes with after market mufflers. This will give me much needed ground clearance. I have a set of these I pulled off my CL, but LC Garage says I can borrow his which already have supertrapp mufflers on them

* Might install Trials type foot pegs, which are higher.

* Lastly, I am deciding whether to install another lower triple clamp. I have a few that have less of a stop, and would allow the handlebars to turn much more tightly...and with the TL tank, I should have the clearance. I have a spare SL lower from which I can remove the tabs, without having to mess with the frame....we'll see.

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Old 07-17-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
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Thumb

Subscribed OC and thanks for the plug!
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:21 PM   #9
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Can't wait.....

OC, can't wait to see the SL morph into a trials bike! It will be even more fun watching you trials ride that beast!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Dang, I was asleep at the wheel and this has been out here and I missed it until now. But no problem, I'm now subscribed and waiting for more.

OC, you do know your wife it the best don't you?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kootenai Rider View Post
Subscribed.... I'll be at the Fairfield event (near Spokane) it was a blast last year and I only stuck around for trials. I'll meet you there on Ladybug's CB200 I'm restoring...
KR, If you get the CB200 up and running, then come get the CB400 up and running for me we can take both of them to the Rattlers Run and watch OC ride trials on the SL. Heck, I'd even let you ride the 400 as long as you would wait for me at the turns.

OC, I was reading this thread when one of my work buddies walked up, I told her you were planning to do trials with the SL next. She'd followed along with the Mexican 1000 and enjoyed seeing what you were doing with a 40 year old bike. I explained what trials are since she knows very little about motorcycles and motorcycle events. She pointed at the forks and said "Aren't those sticky things too small for doing that"?

LC, Are you coming this way and doing trials with your SL too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:46 PM   #11
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The transformation is underway. Here are some phone-pics of the "SL-TL" with a TL tank and Montesa seat sitting on the bike:







The tank needs to be beat into submission and then it and the seat mounted. Anyone have a trials fender and a TL125 gas cap I could borrow for a month or so???

Also, I decided not to mount the CL Scrambler pipes because of the weight and the fact that they will interfere with my leg....so I am giving up some ground clearance. Of course, in beginners trials...there's really not very big obstacles


The tank will be painted white and have Lonnie's custom stripe....I'm waiting for wheel bearings, then the trials tires will be mounted up. The new giant sprocket is here, now to get a chain to fit.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:00 PM   #12
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Gas Cap

OC,

You can use the gas cap off my daughters TL125, it sure looks like the same tank and I think it will fit. I'm still planning on tuning your bike Sunday if you are coming this way?

By the way, it almost has a flat track look to it, kind of cool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by oregoncoast View Post
The transformation is underway. Here are some phone-pics of the "SL-TL" with a TL tank and Montesa seat sitting on the bike:







The tank needs to be beat into submission and then it and the seat mounted. Anyone have a trials fender and a TL125 gas cap I could borrow for a month or so???

Also, I decided not to mount the CL Scrambler pipes because of the weight and the fact that they will interfere with my leg....so I am giving up some ground clearance. Of course, in beginners trials...there's really not very big obstacles


The tank will be painted white and have Lonnie's custom stripe....I'm waiting for wheel bearings, then the trials tires will be mounted up. The new giant sprocket is here, now to get a chain to fit.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #13
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No Trials for me (this time)

Ladybug, I'm not planning to ride the trials, just not enough time to get the bike ready for both or prep another bike. However, there is an event in Crooked River that would be way cool for next year that combines MX and Trials and we should all put on our list for next year; http://steelstampede.wordpress.com/ (Tom Street is the former PowRoll rider from the '70's, we used to race against each other when we were kids. Great guy). See you in Chehalis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048 View Post
Dang, I was asleep at the wheel and this has been out here and I missed it until now. But no problem, I'm now subscribed and waiting for more.

OC, you do know your wife it the best don't you?





KR, If you get the CB200 up and running, then come get the CB400 up and running for me we can take both of them to the Rattlers Run and watch OC ride trials on the SL. Heck, I'd even let you ride the 400 as long as you would wait for me at the turns.

OC, I was reading this thread when one of my work buddies walked up, I told her you were planning to do trials with the SL next. She'd followed along with the Mexican 1000 and enjoyed seeing what you were doing with a 40 year old bike. I explained what trials are since she knows very little about motorcycles and motorcycle events. She pointed at the forks and said "Aren't those sticky things too small for doing that"?

LC, Are you coming this way and doing trials with your SL too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:09 PM   #14
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Yer one sick sunovabich OC.... looking forward to seeing it in action.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #15
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That bike sure looks different now. I bet it will look real nice when you paint the tank and Lonnie does his thing to it.
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