Reserve fuel capacity:
Rake (fork angle):
Gleaming twin pipes always make us a little weak at the knees, but then we have arthritic knees. And probably gout. In which case, a can of soda would have the same impact. <Ed – I feel we’ve gone a little off topic . . .>
In 1973, next to nothing was happening, let alone anything that would still be casting its shadow almost 49 years later. Sure, Marvin Gaye was wooing knickers off from fifty-paces whilst crooning Let’s Get It On, something called the Vietnam War was finally bought to a head, and the little impact of Roe vs Wade was battling it out in US Courtrooms. But other than that! Virtually nothing of importance that we’d ever hear of again. Fortunately, to help us remember the year, Honda released the last of the CL350, a four-stroke weapon bridling 33 horses that first captured hearts in 1968. The CL designation was an indication of its off-road capability, but in reality these were dressed-up street bikes with a higher mounted exhaust to woo weak minded fools like us at Shepster Towers, knocking out 99mph whilst weighing less than a sparrow’s fart at 157kg. Even with our arthritic knees, we could pick that up.
Two hardy drum brakes and some Flinstones-esque foot-leather was used as stopping power, assuming you were wanted to stop as pulling up at the lights may inevitably illicit conversations about the colour pallet. The ’73 versions came in two fetching hues: Hawaiian Metallic Blue and Light Ruby Red. On the face of it, this year got away lightly, as previous incarnations embraced a drug-addled Candy Panther Gold and Poppy Yellow Metallic, which confused the sh*t out of us as we thought panthers were black and poppies were red. ‘Hey mate, I like your CL350! Is that the Green Sky or Midnight Flamingo version?’
Equipped with a lithe 9-litre tank and a 5-seed transmission, the engine was a simple 325cc OHC parallel twin with two CV carburettors, the type adored by our fashionistas of today. It was a café racer before there were cafés wafting out mellow lattes and frappuccinos, with wire-wheels and a kick-start for that authentic look. Feeling the need to completely start from the ground-up by refreshing the line, in 1974 Honda superseded the 350 LC with the other worldly 102 mph LC 360, a two-cylinder four-stroke with twin pipes. They must take us for fools! We’re not going to simply throw our hard-earned at . . . ohhhhhh arthritic-red, there go the knees again!