Honda CL350 1971
This 1971 Honda CL350 is finished in the Magna Red of that year and the paintwork is original. It was still being enjoyed by its previous owner and that owner has clearly taken great care of it.
We would recommend a carb clean and perhaps some elbow grease with the polish on the chrome and maybe even a slight touching up here and there if you’d like it in even better condition.
Overall though, this one is in good condition for such an original machine. There is no paint fade as the bike was clearly garaged during its life in the US and the condition of the seat, clocks and exhaust are really good.
In 1968 Honda introduced the idea of the CL350 street scrambler. They were not the only ones with the idea of a bike which had off-road looks but street performance. British manufacturers had also had the same idea already and the 1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler has strikingly similar looks to the CL.
Along came a complete family of CLs, all using proven and existing motors from road bikes but differing in style by using a semi-off-road configuration including greater ground clearance and raised exhaust pipes. Twin cylinder machines included the 175, 350 and 450 variants.
A popular idea was that the CL was a bike you could ride to the beach and then keep on riding (as opposed to the CB equivalent which was always taken to mean City Bike). Whatever the reasons behind them, CLs evoked the idea of a bike which was somewhere between a road bike and a dedicated off-roader.
They have become popular in recent years with those looking for a bike with some presence on the road yet which are still light enough to be easy to ride. The fact that they were for the US market rather than the British one makes them unusual in the UK and means that bikes here inevitably started life with American owners.
Most buyers don’t differentiate greatly between the 350 and 360, basing their choice instead on overall condition.
The CL 350 was produced up until 1973 and featured the same motor as the very successful CB350. The CL was never as popular at the time although they now have just as big a following.
The air-cooled four-stroke overhead cam parallel twin produced 33 bhp and the bike could achieve a top speed of 100 mph. Fuel consumption was reasonable but mot spectacular at 40 to 50 to the gallon.
As might be expected, the bikes were reliable and well made. Many were kept in garages for riding on fine days which means examples can still be found in good condition. Many are now imported into the UK to fill a demand which has grown amongst fans of British bikes wanting something lighter, reliable and with an electric start.
The CL360 followed on from the 350 using the same motor as the CB360 which replaced the CB350. The motor followed the same configuration of an overhead cam parallel twin and the CB360 became a high selling bike for Honda with over a quarter of a million sold.
As before, the CL variant sold in smaller numbers but was still just as reliable. It was produced between 1974 and 1976 with only small changes to the styling of the CL350. They were sold with one main colour choice each year, with 1974 featuring Muscat Green Metallic and 1975 featuring Candy Orange.