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Honda CB360 – ‘Doris’

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Scott in Brat. 30 comments

Written by Ian Lee.

Simple and aggressive. This was the build brief for today’s feature bike, a bare bones scrambler Honda CB360. Built by Brandon Nelson, who up until two years ago had no real interest in motorbikes, let alone custom ones, but this is definitely a kick ass start to his bike building portfolio. Starting with a non runner CB he picked up off the internet, Brandon has created his first frame off rebuild – and we think he has created a truly unique little stripped back and minimalist mono motorbike.

After picking up a couple of inoperative Honda motorbikes off Craigslist, one CB360 & one CL360, Brandon decided the CB would be the better base for the build, even though it was “in terrible shape”. Without a full theme in his mind, Brandon set a couple of concepts he wanted built into the bike. These included mono shock suspension, custom exhaust, full electrical overhaul, and a healthy set of tyres. According to Brandon, this would be a “challenging and interesting twist on the CB360 platform”. And interesting it turned out to be.

An eBay purchase in the form of an RD350LC led Brandon to rethink his suspension arrangement. Although an RD style suspension setup would work on the Honda, the mono shock couldn’t fit in the frame, and clear the Mikuni carbs at the same time. This caused a change in the shock mount configuration which makes the bike rather unique. Brandon admits the term “nutcracker” has been thrown around alot in relation to the shock mounting, but defends his engineering by saying the ride is rather comfortable, and demasculation not an issue at all.

In the engine department, little has been left untouched. The engine has been bead blasted, hi temp paint applied and the covers polished. The original camshaft and journals were looking a bit worn, so a ‘less beat up’ top end was sourced, the valves lapped and new piston rings fitted. The scrambler type exhaust headers come courtesy from a CL360, feeding into a Brandon special 2 into 1 header, exiting through a 12″ stainless reverse cone muffler.

The gas tank on the CB, one of the few items with any presence on the bike, has been chemically stripped and polished by hand. The aesthetics of the gaunt frame of the bike is helped by the short flat track seat, perched atop 1″ pipe bent by South Bay Customs, one of the few fabrication jobs not carried out by Brandon. Not one component of the original electrical system remains, with a Chris Kenny custom harness in its place. Perched atop the flat tracker style bars sits an instrument cluster, housing a voltmeter. This is something Brandon wanted as the bike is only running a four cell Ballistic battery, and he wants to keep an eye on the power level. As for the compass, that is a bit more low tech but handy incase Brandon gets lost on the trails.

With a few build ideas, and no set image of what the finished bike would look like, Brandon has been able to be flexible over the course of the build. His wish for a mono shock suspension came true, albeit through thinking outside the box in relation to engineering. A desire for both a custom exhaust and electrical system allowed the builder to neaten up the look of the bike, while adding to functionality.

Finally, the bike rolls on Kenda K761 rubber, fulfilling the need for a healthy set of tires. Brandon’s ideas have all come together to allow him to have a bike that is aggressive enough to ride the trails on Sunday, then commute on the same bike to work on Monday – we just hope he is extremely careful while riding this nutcracker shock setup. 

  • itsmefool

    A Honda Nutcracker, huh? Well, I’d probably ride it once, but I’d definitely wear my Kevlar cup!

    • arnold

      Brass balls aren’t all that the ads say they are?
      Good to know. (married 21 years, still can’t find my original set.)

  • Duke

    I loved the bike since I read, that her name is Doris 😉

  • Harlan

    I wanna get the bare metal look and my tank. Anybody got any ideas about what kind of clear coat to use?

    • taka-tz

      I have had good luck with, Minwax, Helmsman Spar Urethane,(clear gloss) It comes in cans for a spray gun, or a rattle can. Clean the tank with acetone before you spray it.

    • Mjsenz

      Get ‘aircraft stripper’ from the hardware store, easy but nasty (make sure to use gloves, goggles, etc.). Spray everything nice and foamy and let sit for just about 20 minutes. Leave the channel (underside of the tank where it sits on the spine of the bike frame) untouched and with paint. Can’t see it and the original primer/paint/clear coat will protect from rust. All you have to do from there is sand it with fine grit paper and WD-40 every other month. Tried and true, that’s what most people do. If you get one iota of moisture under a clear coat it’ll start to rust, and then you have to sand it anyways. This is all info I wish someone would have condensed for me. Hope it helps.

      • Adam Santella

        works great on aluminum rims too if you want to polish a formerly painted rim. polishing is a pain but a clear coat keeps it nice and shiny. good luck with the project!

  • coldsunshine

    I like it, but I can’t get into the non-existent back end. The platform seat that ends in, well, nothing makes the bike look like a T-Rex took the pilot and half his ride in one big bite. A bump and a fender would not only finish the look, but finish the bike. And while the spring through the seat is unusual, there may be a reason for that.

    • itsmefool

      “One big bite!” Love it; I’m right there with ya, Cold…that’s one trend I’d like to see die a painful death.

      • coldsunshine

        Yeah, it NEVER looks right IMO.

        • itsmefool

          I never thought so, either, but I must be in the minority!

          • Lu Kluber

            Agree.. im going the monoshock route with my cb build and that rear end just makes the bike look lopsided.

          • Adam Santella

            we have a lot of ass men here

    • sprout

      one word: bicycle. every little kid wants a motor on their bike. every man with any shred of nostalgia would see this build and dream of killin it in his neighborhood.

  • josh

    Whats the frame color? or what was used to clear coat if it is bare metal under

    • Compoundcycles

      Dupilcolor Dark Bronzemist

  • taka-tz

    I really like the voltmeter and the exhaust. Looks fun to ride too.

    • I really like the clean bracket the gauge mounts to!

      • James Sinclair

        that must be sarcasm…..

  • John

    I like it very much! Urban warrior and light trail too. Don't slip off the back of the seat in the whoops. That could be worse than the shock mount. Which doesn't seem all that bad to me. Not much different than the tank itself.

  • saxseeny

    What about the lens as a block for the kickstand?

  • arnold

    Like the concept, like the work. Finish the seat and rear weather protection to the same standard and it will be an outstanding project , in my opinion.

  • Parts rep 141

    Couldn’t he find someone who knew how to weld?
    It would have taken a lot of the “tacky” away from the build.

    • We like it rough.

      • Zundap

        Works for him. A real conversation piece. Fun to hear the comments from all the moto artists. If it was mine I would put more foam in the seat but not change upholsterers. Definitely one of a kind. ..Z

  • Lewn

    Nasty poorly conceived CL type pipes and a badly done monoshock conversion with messy welding. However considering it’s a first attempt hats off nice try, looking forward to what Brandon can do in the future.

  • valencia911

    What tires are you using?

  • von kazoo

    7500 bucks an I believe it comes with a codpiece

  • Mikael Lewis