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Honda CB360 – “Lucky 13”

Posted on September 18, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer. 21 comments

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western culture. There’s been horror movies made about the day and there’s even a name Friday the 13th phobias – it’s called friggatriskaidekaphobia. Seriously. Over the years, many bad things have happened on Friday the 13th. Most notability, it was the day the Olsen twins were born. Although some good things have happened on this infamous day as well. It was the day Brian Slater, the builder of this sweet little CB360, was born – hence the name ‘Lucky 13.’ “I’ve been working on motorcycles and building some low dollar choppers since about 2003 as a hobby,” says Brian. “I decided about 4 years ago to build a cafe racer/classic type of bike, and wanted something with a nicer finish.” So Brian went on a hunt for a donor bike for his latest project and was lucky enough not to just find one suitable bike, but three…

“I found two CB350’s and what I later found out to be a CB360 under a guy’s back porch, covered in vines and dirt for $175. The motorcycles were in various states of disassembly and decay. I dug them out and hauled them home and started hitting swap meets. I tried a variety of gas tanks for about a year, and finally found the RD400 tank hanging from some barn rafters at a bike salvage yard in Oklahoma for $50. I modified the frame to work with the tank, and cut a stock seat pan down to size. I polished almost every piece of aluminum on the bike myself. The cylinders were honed and I had the head rebuilt. The engine has been rebuilt from the pistons up, as have the carbs. I fitted with a 19″ front wheel, the rims are vintage shouldered aluminum units that have been powder coated gloss black. I also fitted some stainless steel spokes from Buchanans.”

Brian found some stainless sink strainers at the hardware store for $2 each to plug the holes for the unused air intake cross tube. He also engraved the oil filter cover on the engine with ‘Lucky 13’. Parts were found and cleaned up over the course of about 3 years. Brakes were re-lined and cleaned up. “All the polishing and the first gas tank paint job were done by myself in my loft – I live in a photo studio” he says.

The RD400 gas tank was recently repainted by Scott Shart. “It has a black base, with a heavy silver ghost flake that is actually a new Cadillac color, with an offset red/white stripe on the tank and several layers of clear coat. Gauges are NOS, and it has an extra clock mounted on the bars. Every fastener on the bike is either chrome or stainless.”

“My friend Mark Shapiro helped me rebuild the engine at his shop, and assist with final assembly which was a lot of fun. All the parts were cleaned up and sorted in boxes, so it was like building a life size model kit, and it came together relatively fast. Mark also gave me the vintage 1971 Kansas Motorcycle plate, and the chrome knob off an old English motorcycle that is mounted under the seat on the brake side. My parts were hijacked by the first powder coater for 18 months, but the second powder coater had everything back to me in 3 weeks – but it did give me plenty of time to polish all the various bits and pieces.”

All Brian’s hard work and patience finally payed off. The bike won “Best in Class – Antique Custom” at the World of Wheels Show in Kansas City 2012, and just won “Best Honda – Judges Class” at the HOAME Vintage Motorcycle Show at the Airline History Museum, Kansas City 2012. Some may call it hard work, but we’re beginning to think that maybe Brian is just plain lucky. Mind you, with a bike like this in the garage, that’s a pretty obvious call, yes?

  • SC

    Motor looks great but what happened with that tank seat combo? To me it doesn’t flow together and looks like a complete afterthought.

    • Ugh

      Agreed. Bench seats on little bikes rule.

  • holmburgers

    Wow, so surprised to see a ’71 Kansas plate, which is exactly what I’ve got on my CB100 K1! Where in KS/MO is this beauty hiding??

  • Rob

    Still rust under that stock Honda rear fender.

  • Robby

    @rob: that’s why she’s called “classic motorcycle” :p

  • Nice. I like the paint. Looks a little more stock than others, which is fine. If you cover that clunky tail light in the first pic, the seat and tank look way better together. Should certainly have a slicker brake light set up.

  • Brandon Tietsort

    Being a local bike, this is pretty rad. Hope to see it around this fall and just maybe hit up the streets of KC together

  • I’m a little confused (not unusual) but this is a cb350, right? I have a 73 350 and a 75 360 (totally different animal). The CB360 motor doesn’t have an oil filter cover (makes it had to clean the filter – you have to take off the entire right side engine cover) and the 360 frame is different from this bike. Not that I don’t like the build, I like most Honda twin builds, just want to make sure I’m not having halucinations.

    • Methink the man from the Isles didn’t read the words part of the story…

      • Now you’re picking on someone who can’t read ;^)

  • Just so we’re clear…this is a cafe racer. At least this is what I imagine in my head when I close my eyes and chant “honda cafe racer.”

    The big thrill for me here is that he didn’t go OCD and try to hide and shave off all the little extra bits and wires and tabs that a proper working bike has.

  • talkingbird


    • Woodie

      I really, really, really do NOT get the no front mudguard (fender?) look. . . every bobber/custom I see without one looks like they could not be arsed to finish it off….
      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this bike but it looks unfinished/.

  • tmcsp

    It’s a cute bike. I kinda like it. With that little motor it is never gonna be a real performance machine, no matter how ‘slimmed down’ it is.

    This build reminds me of a bulldog puppy, with a wrinkly little trusting face. Sort of saying, “I’m so ugly I’m cute, but once we start playing, you’ll be happy.”

    Just to clarify I don’t think this is an ugly bike. It simply had different lines than the traditional look, but that’s OK. Especially considering it must have been a pile or 3 of junk when he started the build!

  • revdub

    Congrats on the awards! The wheels and tank look fantastic. I’m not so into the seat, but hey, it’s still a handsome bike. Shred some of those Midwest roads!

  • arnold

    Chunky, clunky, cheap ride. Especially like the part about not being planted on an ironing board. Good effort for a budget bike.

  • Brian Slater

    Thanks for ALL of the comments everyone! Yes, it is a CB350! As for the lack of the front fender, I was trying to stay true to the idea of taking things off… And it the fender looks odd with the larger front tire. I’m trying to find a nicer rear fender, but it cleaned up fairly well… especially considering the pile of rust and mud it all was a few years ago. I personally think the seat and tank flow together better in 3D than 2D.. But I didn’t want it to be too perfect. Scott does great paint work, and he’s a cool guy. He can be found at Ussery Body Shop in KC, KS. I live down in the West Bottoms at the moment. I plan on being at Ralph Waynes, and the City Market Bike Show on Sunday. Thanks for the nice article!

  • Brian Slater
    • Brian Slater

      I just found this video of this motorcycle. Hadn’t seen it before.


    IMO it looks like you stopped short. The RD tank is awesome and paint is great..tho the metalflake is sort of overkill ..The rear tail light needs to go (they are cheap..even a stock early 60s TL would be better) .the seat lacks design ..whats with the ‘step’ in the bottom? The tail part is poorly done. ..a little more work and you could have extended the length put more of a bullet shape on it and covered the rear tail light mount hole . The stock mufflers should be replaced with upswept trumpets or reverse cones. The lack of a front racing style fender painted to match cheapens the bike.
    This bike has a lot of potential ..just looks 3/4 done to me.

  • Adam Gardner

    And after reading the words it’s still a cb350 . He found a cb360 with the other two bikes ,but the one displays is a cb350