Do The Ton September 2017 Bike of The Month Winner
James Kaufman's 1981 Honda CB750K "Rhonda"
"Back in November last year, with months of Montreal winter looming large and my cruiser square-wheeled for the foreseeable, I decided if I couldn't ride a bike for a while then building onewould be the next best thing. I found a non-starting '81 Honda CB750K locally and - after asking a mate what questions I should ask the seller in order to sound like I knew what I was talking about - pushed it 10 kilometers home after handing over a couple of bills. The nods of approval on that long journey home reinforced my hunch that I had a great bike on my hands, and the fact I made it to within 100 metres of my garage before dropping the thing on the sidewalk is a secret I'll take to the grave. Oh, wait...."
"With the bike (immediately christened Rhonda - in hindsight I could probably have come up with a better name if I'd thought for a moment she'd ever have a spot in the limelight) squarely in its new home and with my username and password on DoTheTon freshly minted, it was time to start doing what I do best - inundate anyone that'll listen with as many questions as I thought I could reasonably get away with. Which, it turns out, over at DoTheTon is a lot. A very lot. I should emphasize that Rhonda is the fist bike I've ever worked on despite riding the things for years, and so - armed with equal parts enthusiasm, naivety and (hopefully) beginners luck - I embarked on what would become a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding 9 month build.
"The bike was completely stripped down, the frame de-tabbed and powdercoated, the carbs rebuilt, new bearings front to rear. The rear subframe was sawn off and with the help of Kieran from Death Rattle Moto a squared-off seat hoop was fabricated and welded on. Undaunted by the unknown (that should read thoroughly daunted but whatever) I tore into a top engine rebuild, re-shimmed the valves, cleaned out the exhaust ports and - for three cold weeks in January - got through 15 toothbrushes cleaning out all the oil and road gunk that had blown between the cylinders from a stripped cam chain tensioner bolt. Which itself needed a TimeSert to repair - with a one-shot window to get it right that was most definitely squeaky bum time. Fabricated a seat pan, had a gorgeous seat made by Rod Alves here in Montreal and then with some of the extra leather I sewed my first ever anything - the side bags with riveted stainless steel panels. Think they came out pretty good, even if I messed up the top strap so the only thing that'll fit in them is a couple of cigars. Kerr-ching! "
"Cleaned out all the varnish and rust from the tank, stripped off the paint and gave it a brushed finish before giving it a matte 2K clear coat. Brushed aluminium Renthal tracker bars, new dials, indicators, taillight and lovely root beer-coloured grips (all from DCC, thanks guys), new master cylinder and levers which I painted gold to match the other gold details I'd given the bike (Honda badges, chain, carb top hats or whatever they're called and a bunch of other nuts and bolts), chopped and brushed fenders, restored spokes, blacked-out rims and new rubber - Dunlop K70's take a bow. The front forks were rebuilt, and Progressive Series 12 shocks installed out back to help soften the blow of Montreal's - ahem - questionable asphalt."
"The bike now runs like a dream, goes like the clappers and turns heads at every traffic light. I'm very proud of Rhonda, and am indebted to everyone that helped get her rubber on the road. I'm truly standing on the shoulders of giants."