By far one of the most difficult parts of the process of any project, build or restoration is establishing your ground zero. Where do you start from. Naturally nearly every project seems to start with some form of disassembly, but to assume that is the first step in a project could lead to trouble.

Planning… that is the first step, and one of the keys to the plan is how far do you go? Boundaries… what to fix, and what to leave alone, what to take-a-part and what to simply clean.

In our case, we don’t know much about the ol’ 1970 Honda SL175. Mostly, what we know is that it has been in storage for a very long time (at least 35 years). The engine turns over without any trouble, and nearly all the essential components are present to get the bike to work.

The speedo only shows 62 miles – which we know can’t correct based on the wear and tear on the bike. We could check compression and get an idea of what state the pistons / cylinders are in, but that won’t tell us much of the rest of the story.

No, to have any kind of certainty, we will need to get inside the bottom end of the bike. We could pass on this deep of a dig, try to save some time, and hope for the best with the bottom end of the bike. This plan would keep the engine on the bike, and simply change the plugs, set the points, tune the carb, change the oil add some new gas and we might get “lucky” with the condition of the bottom end and be good to go… but for how long? What unknown evil could be lurking inside the crank case?

There are, however, two determining factors on our little 175 that basically make the complete tear down of the engine a necessity.

  • The kick starter is only engaging every 3rd or 4th kick
  • The shifter is “sticking” between gears when we spin the wheel and run the bike trough the gears

So knowing that we have to take look in the crank case, and the fact that we want to change out the tank, seat as well as clean up the frame to have a more custom / cafe style bike… we have decided to take this project all the way… a total rebuild… nearly every nut and bolt will be addressed.

So here we go, stay tuned for more!