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Pictures in blue frames are thumbnails. Click on them to see an enlargement.

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Information and pictures from some of the CD175 owners who gave me permission to publish pictures and articles about their CD175's.

The first bike Jim from Texas, USA who sent me these pictures November 19, 2002. He also sent the write up of the restoration.

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"One of my riding buddies from the 1950's has restored some beautiful old bikes and his collection spurred my interest in trying a restoration myself.

I saw this 175 advertised in the local paper and it was cheap to buy. I decided to practice on it before investing in a 50's or 60's British bike. I bought the bike on July 14, 2002, it showed 8,202 miles on the odometer and this is probably correct because it is in working order. I lost all my "before" pictures when my hard disk failed, I have now learned my lesson about backing up files.

The bike was red originally and looked very rough, the gas tank and mufflers were full of holes, paint faded, parts missing etc. I set the timing, cleaned the carburetor, changed the oil, bought a battery from Interstate Batteries, (they had one in stock!!), dismantled the clutch to get it unstuck, a friend gave me a cb200 gas tank to use temporarily. I cranked it up and away we went. I was amazed that it ran so well. The tires were so bad I would not go more than a few hundred yards. Satisfied that the bike was in reasonable mechanical condition I cleaned it up and tore it apart. When I removed the cylinder head I was pleasantly surprised that the cylinders showed little wear, pistons are tight, I lapped in the valves and went no further into it.

I spent a good bit of time trying to repair the gas tank before deciding it was beyond my ability to fix it and thought I would have to use the CB200 tank. (Not building a museum piece anyway.)  I discovered Robert's web site and e-mailed him with some questions about the CD175 and he was a big help. Especially when he told me of a CD175 gas tank he had seen on e-Bay that did not sell. I got in touch with the lady in England who had the tank and made a great deal with her for it. The tank arrived in fine shape about six weeks after I ordered it.

There was no chain guard on the bike when I got it and I missed the bid on an original CD chain guard on e-Bay so I substituted a CB guard I found there. I had to make a small bracket at the front of it to make it fit but I like it better than the fully enclose chain anyway.

I spent a couple of weeks with paint remover, wire buffer and ospho getting ready for paint. This is my first experience with catalyzed paint and I was apprehensive about using it but after a little practice it turned out pretty well. (Martin Senour GM black).

The only new parts I have had to buy so far are a headlight sealed beam, tail light lens, chain, tires and aftermarket mufflers (Honda mufflers are available but really expensive).  The right side muffler required a big dent where it was touching the frame in order to get it close enough to clear the kick starter.

The seat that was with the bike looks good but it had no mounting hardware so I just made some brackets and bolted it on.

I got the bike running again on November 14, I have only ridden a little in my neighborhood since I still need to register it, get insurance and also get a motorcycle drivers license. (I got my first motorcycle license in 1950 and it was a lot easier then)."

Jim

 


Second bike is from Ireland.  Dominic sent me the pictures back in May 2002, and the text is from March 2003.

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Hi Rob ,its been awhile since I emailed you. I just gotta say that I'm addicted to your web logs and love the whole site. My own CD175 all but finished, (still running rich). Did the 3 oil seals on the left hand crank case cover today. Tough job getting the old ones out, new ones go in easy enough. Haven't run it yet will give it ago in the morning. Actually the bike looks a lot better now with new exhaust pipes, back tyre, side case badge, etc. Hope you and yours are keeping well. looking forward to hearing from you again greetings from DUBLIN in the spring. 

Dominic Daly.



I got this next contribution in May 2003 from England. (The enlarged picture is 600 K, but worth the wait unless you have a modem as old as the CD175)

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Hello Robert,  

My name is Graham Doubleday and I own a 1973 Honda CD175 (K4 I believe). I found your website while following up leads from the Google search engine. I was very interested to read all about the history of the humble Honda CD175 and also to hear about your exploits with the CD's that you have owned. 

I was very pleased to find the link on your site, to CMS in Holland, who were able to supply the Carburetter parts that I needed to get my CD running smoothly. Unfortunately I was not very clever in laying up my bike when I stopped using it at the end of 1996. I did not drain the carb and the inside was very badly scaled up. I ordered a carb spares kit, over the internet from CMS and the parts arrived from Holland 4 days later - an excellent service. While I was waiting for the parts, quite on the offchance, I visited a bike breakers in my home town of Chelmsford (35 miles east of London) and I was astounded to find that they had a CD175 Carburetter on the shelf, in much better condition than my original, for only 20.00 GB pounds - an absolute bargain. It worked after very minor cleaning and since fitting the new jets etc. the bike has returned 94 - 97 mpg since. Top speed has not been tested but it cruises adequately at 50 - 55 mph. 

A little History - I purchased the bike for 30 pounds back in 1980 from a good friend, who had run it into the ground and reduced it to a large box of non-running bits. I basically restored the bike to running order in 1980/81 but paid little attention to detail. The engine was given a top end overhaul with rebore but essentially otherwise left as it was, having done about 19000 miles at that time. 

I was lucky enough to come across a better engine, in a breakers in 1985 and decided to do a "from the groundup" restoration. I stripped the bike down to the frame and rebuilt it from that, reboring/and top-end overhauling the engine ( incl. a new camchain). I managed to obtain new mudguards (fenders), exhausts and a petrol tank as the other parts were quite badly rusted. At that time I spent about 200 pounds on it but I felt the result was worth it. The only deviation from original was the fork stanchion covers were painted gloss black instead of Candy Blue as I could not find any decent matching paint.

I have used the the bike off and on since the mid eighties restoration putting about another 10000 miles on the clock until 1996 when it was stored. This year, partly due to colleagues at work returning to motorcycling and partly because my 16 year old son bought a Gilera Scooter (horrible thing) that needed work doing on it, my interest in the old CD was rekindled - kind of nice really as it is 30 years old this October. I have put it back on the road and completed the restoration by having some acrylic car paint specially mixed to match the Candy Blue. I dismantled the forks to remove the upper/lower covers strip, re-paint and lacquer them. I am reasonably pleased with the results and it is great to be riding the CD once again. I did at one time think I would sell the bike to clear the space in the Garage but I am jolly glad I did not. 

Sorry to have rambled on a bit. Please find attached a recent picture of the bike. Best of luck with your continuing work on "Blue Lite" and "Red". Hope all goes well. 

Happy CD'ing

 


In June 2003, I got a before and after picture of a beautifully restored Blue CD175 and two articles below from Ken Brooks, England

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HONDA CD175 REBORN

 Sixteen and the proud owner of a Honda C100! Overwhelmed by its power and a new found mobility the experience continued for a further six years and 30,000 miles until 1973 when another machine was needed. But which machine? A quick survey suggested that another Honda, a CD175 would meet the bill. After touring the local dealers to find one that hadn't been scratched during assembly I settled on one in a stunning metallic blue. It seemed a big machine at first and apparently possessed unlimited reserves of power after the C100.

Three years on though, priorities changed. With a hefty new mortgage and needing a replacement car, it was sold on in immaculate condition and forgotten about for years. Motorcycles were, after all, just tools for going to work on, or so I thought. Memories were rekindled however when my very machine was spotted parked in 1983 and this led to a resurgence of interest, this time on a leisure basis with numerous restorations covering 49cc to 850cc machines.

cd175-after.jpg (75923 bytes)But what about that old Honda? My first "real" machine. I still had the sales receipt to remind me of it. Had it gone to the Great Motorcycle Home in the Sky? Or was it lurking, unloved, in a damp shed somewhere just waiting to be rescued? By 1992 the question was beginning to linger on my mind. And the unanswered question bothered me.

The first step was to contact our friends at DVLA Swansea. They were able to confirm that the machine existed but were not allowed to say where. The trail did not stop there though because they could pass a letter on for a small fee. This was an exciting opportunity and a suitably worded letter was sent for onward posting by DVLA. I was delighted when the owner phoned me - but he then tantalised me by refusing to sell or even let me see it - although he might do a swap!

Over a year later bargaining was tried again and I was able to negotiate a viewing, this time with a more hopeful prospect of a deal. By now I knew where it lived and was astonished to find it within 300 yards of my parent's house, where I had lived at the time when I owned it! Needless to say, it was lurking, unloved, in a damp shed and was just visible under a pile of typical shed junk. It really did look in a sorry state: The chromed tank panels were rusty, and the once pristine paintwork was neglected. The engine looked terrible, there were no exhausts and the rear end was just standing on the wheel rim. Undeterred by the unpromising appearance a swap was rapidly concluded and the bike brought home to be reborn.

A little work freeing a stuck valve soon had the engine running sufficiently well to confirm that there were no major faults. Then the stripdown started with all the metal being blast cleaned. I had always used cellulose paint before but this time decided to try two pack paint. The results were nothing short of amazing and far beyond expectations. Plated parts, including the spokes and nipples, were all reused to preserve originality and the bike was slowly transformed from a depressing pile of parts into a shiny, new machine. By pressing on, just doing a little each day, it was finished in time for its 21st birthday in August 1994 and put back on the road - for the first time in more than ten years.

So how does a CD175 live up to expectations, having ridden others during the intervening years?  It certainly runs as sweetly as it ever did even if it seems quite small now. That's not to denigrate smaller bikes because they are nimble and so easy to put on their centre stands unlike others I know. The finished project is now tended and lovingly cared for in a heated garage and gets used regularly when it's dry.

But was it worth the effort? Financially, no. But to be reunited with the old machine and riding it again brings back those rose tinted memories of distant days. And for the future? If I am still riding it in another twenty one years time the odds are on for the bike, rather than the owner, picking up any prizes for good looks!!

That story was written in 1994. Now read on for the has happened since then ……

 

Postscript 2003 

I enjoyed restoring the blue CD so much that I thought it might be good to find and restore a red one. Isn’t it strange how you go looking for something that seemed common only to find they’ve all disappeared? So some adverts were placed, bike adverts were studied and eventually I ended up with three red CD175’s, each being a bit better than the last and therefore too good to miss. The last two were interesting, one was not quite complete but too nicely original to completely restore. This has been the subject of a rolling restoration of the parts needing attention and I have now ridden about 3,000 miles on it. It gets used most weekends throughout the year.

The other was quite rough and has been completely restored. I found the red candy paint extremely tricky to use and I’m not completely happy with the results. The remaining red bike was surplus to requirements and sold on to another prospective restorer.

So what about my original blue one? When first restored I had bought blue metallic paint instead of candy lacquer finish. It looked very good in its incorrect finish but I wanted it to look original, and finally found a supplier of the transparent blue lacquer. Refinishing the blue parts in a new colour was not quite as daunting as preparing from the original damaged finish and I shortly had the bike complete and resplendent in its correct colour. Strangely, it is much easier to get good results with the blue finish than the red.

When I first owned the bike in the 70’s my father and I had tried unsuccessfully to remove the centrifugal oil filter retaining screw. This is a little recessed 6mm Philips screw. Without the essential aid of an impact driver our attempts made a real mess of the screw head and it wouldn’t budge. When I got the bike back the same old screw was still in there, and it worried me that the engine awaited its fate with an oil filter that had never been removed. All I had to access was a little conical hole in the screw head recessed deep in the filter. What should I do? Thoughts settled on two alternatives: Drill it out. This would certainly work but I had visions of accidentally drilling too far and damaging the filter or worse, the crankshaft. I wasn’t sure how much thread would be left protruding from the crankshaft either so this approach made me nervous. The alternative was to persevere with unscrewing it. The plan was to cold form a straight slot and then use a flat impact driver to loosen the screw. I used a small cold chisel to form a slot and then tapped the impact driver bit inn the slot until it fitted snugly without too much play. Again, I had visions of it all going horribly wrong and the head splitting, which really would have presented problems. However, courage was summoned and the screw given a couple of hard whacks with the impact driver. I felt it loosen. Yes, it had finally come undone. With this out of the way it was a simple matter to remove the oil filter (a handlebar bolt works as an extractor, in case you wonder how to remove the filter), and the fabled screw has been elevated to a talisman on my key ring.

Unfortunately the original spares supply is diminishing which makes future restorations and repairs just that bit more challenging. My original blue bike is still regularly used and treasured, and it is good to see that interest is increasing in these humble little machines. They have a reputation for robustness and longevity. Whilst on a recent run, an elderly gent approached and said “I had three of those” We discussed and agreed on their virtues and he then said “Yes, on the three I had, I covered 300,000 miles” That’s an average of 100,000 miles on each bike which is phenomenal by any standard! I cannot imagine a better compliment on which to end this little indulgence. Oh .. Almost forgot … I’ve just bought a CB175 too!

Ken Brooks 1994, 2003



August 2004 Dave in the USA emailed me about his CD175 purchased in the Philippines, and I love the sidecar.

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I have recently acquired a CD 175 in red identical to your picture. The Vin is 3037337. The owners manual was printed in 1974 and the title shows a manufacture date of 1975. Everything I have heard is that this was made for only two years, one of them not being 1975. I have not been able to certify the actual date of manufacture. I, also, cannot purchase parts here in the States unless I have a conversion equivalent. Apparently Honda, USA, does not furnish that. By the way, the bike has 178 Km original on the odometer and is firmly attached to a vintage Philippine Taxi Side Car in original condition. Your web site came up as the first hit on a Google search. If you could lend a hand in steering me to a parts source, and a place where I could research the history, it would be much appreciated.



November, 2004  John from southern Ireland sent a picture of his bike, and a tip.

I also have two other CD’s, a red one I bought for spares (but put it running instead!) and a blue JCD175a.jpg (117692 bytes)one (both A4’s), which I reckon is about the best non-molested original CD175, I have seen in a long time. This bike I bought in 2003 and has 30,000 miles on the clock and was owned by the one guy since it was bought in May 1974. The owner took great care of it and would you believe, recorded every single 500-mile service in the back of two owners manuals, which came with the bike. It is a lovely piece of history to get with any bike and the two owners manuals were an additional bonus with the bike. The owner must also have been terrified of losing the keys and I got about 4 sets of keys with the bike. It is a standard A4 model and the only additions were front & rear crash bars, which were very popular additions to the CD175’s in Ireland in that era. The engine is lovely and sweet and not a single screw has been removed from the engine except for the dynamo rotor cover & the points cover so it is totally original. I reckon the compression might be down a little as it is not as strong on the hill climb up to my house as the other bikes but it is not burning oil and it would be a shame to rip it open just yet. The paintwork is reasonably good with only a few scuffs on the front fender and one mark on the top of the tank. Otherwise the paintwork is perfect on the bike. I reckon the scuffing on the front fender was caused by one of those wheel chain locks, which are encased in a plastic sleeve and the rubbing of this wore some small patches off the paint. I don’t really mind it because these are character marks letting you know the bike has had a life for the last 30 years. If it were totally immaculate you would be afraid to drive it!

Would you believe I unearthed a mistake in the Haynes manual (probably more I’m sure!) to do with the carburetor settings? My very first CD175 (a blue 1972 A4), which I purchased for 25 pounds back in 1984, came with a Haynes manual, which I still have. Alas, there is not a single thing left of the bike except for it’s log book. This Haynes manual I used on that bike and also on my CD from 1990 and I have tuned some bikes for friends over the years and they all exhibited the same problem i.e. that of sooty plugs and rich running after I adjusted the float height as per the recommendation in my Haynes manual. The manual said the height was to be 21mm with a clearance between float tab & needle of 0.003”. This is incorrect as the correct measurement is given in the genuine Honda manual as 27mm from the edge of the carburetor to the float or 28mm from the base of the flange i.e. the flange is 1mm in height. I discovered this only after getting the genuine manual and I set the height properly with the air screw setting to 1 and ¼ turns out and the bikes power was transformed completely, also it now idles smoothly at a low setting whereas before it always ran poorly and usually cut out due to the flooding. Haynes must have discovered their mistake  because the last manual for the CD175’s, which is the one with the gloss cover and the picture of the  CB200 on the cover, has the correct dimension given in the text. This is something for your web site and may help your readers.