Honda CB450 Rebuild: Project Diamond

Posted by Brenden Macaluso on 11/11/2014
Riding season is over for most of us here in the states; however, that does not mean we need to stop wrenching. Winter is the perfect time to start going through your bike and repairing all the things that were put off during the summer. Here at the Common Motor Collective, we have started ”Project Diamond,” a 1973 Honda CB450K that has seen some better days.

Honda CB450 Project DiamondPlan of Action:

Common Motor Collective member Yanni purchased the Honda CB450 a few months back in semi-running condition. Since then, he has ridden it a couple hundred miles only to discover the bike needs some engine work to deal with a serious oil leak. Considering that the engine has over 37,000 miles on the clock, it is time for an overhaul. But why stop there? We decided that this old Honda CB450 needed a complete rebuild from top to bottom. Over the winter through mid spring we are going to go through the entire bike from engine, suspension, brakes, electrical, to fuel system and aesthetics. We will be documenting the entire build, showing the parts, tools, techniques and processes needed to take a bike like Diamond from a crusty barn find to a stripped down solid daily rider.


We see a lot of different bike builds, some of which are amazing while others never quite get done right (aka that incomplete project bike on Craigslist). For Diamond to be a success, we needed a few guideline goals to shoot for during the rebuild process:

1) Mechanically Reliable: We want this motorcycle to be a one-kick starting, non-oil dripping, no-electrical-short, machine able to ride cross country.

2) Safe to Ride: Tires, brakes, suspension, lights, riding control... need we say more?

3) Increased Performance: The finished motorcycle performance needs to be as least as good as it was when it left the factory, if not better.

4) Aesthetically Awesome: We all like bikes that look cool, however we would never trade any aspect of our first three goals in exchange for aesthetics. Too often we see bikes built that compromise safety, reliability and performance in the pursuit of looks. The final aesthetics need to complement the first three goals so we can have beautiful daily rider (no trailer queens here).
Why “Diamond?”

Yanni wanted to name the bike after a lady he met in New Orleans. But more metaphorically speaking this old gray Honda CB450 is kind of like an old stripper. She is over 40, been ridden hard, and is looking pretty rough. We felt that it was only appropriate to give the old gal a chance to sparkle on stage once again.

Next Time: Pulling out (the engine).