This build, which later became known as "Zero" and the "Frankenhonda," had one of the worst beginning conditions of any of the Thistle builds. What began as a 1976 CB750 engine nestled in a 1977 CB750 frame, grew into a monster of mixed parts, refitted suspension, and a fusion of everything early Honda big bikes. The engine was seized, sludged beyond belief and was missing the carbs, ignition, and other various parts. Loosely styled after the Mistubishi A6M "Zero" fighter, it was simplified, updated and made much nimbler. Eventually, it became a fusion of seven different Honda bikes from five different model years. The front end from a 1978 GL1000 improved the braking and handling, and Comstar wheels from 1979...
This little gal arrived as a semi-running rider that had some odd custom work already done.
The left cylinder ended up being dead, caused by a bad exhaust valve. A total top end rebuild was in order after that.
Lots of paintwork was done as there was a significant amount of corrosion all over the bike and its bits.
A leaky tank was soon replaced with a boxy 1971 version and left unpainted.
She's still having more and more work done as this bike ended up staying as my own daily rider. I couldn't let her go!
It's rare that we start on bikes that run, are complete, or are in anything close to a serviceable condition. This 1963 Honda CA102 Super Cub was no different, as it was pulled from the back of an urban garage packed with several 1950's era cars, toys—basically a picker's dream. The condition of the bike was, on the surface, deplorable. Underneath was a solid frame, and the old Japanese chrome polished up nicely. Missing more than just a few parts meant lots of sourcing and patience awaiting the many, many deliveries. In the end, she came out nicely. The Lifan engine swap was controversial, but ended up making it a very rideable suburban grocery-getter and the C90 "race" exhaust gave...