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Memorable Motorcycles Honda 350

Friday, March 14, 2008
Based of the four-cylinder racer that dominated Grand Prix at the hands of Jim Redman and Mike Hailwood  the CB 350 Four was a short-lived design  surviving only two years after its 1972 debut.
Based of the four-cylinder racer that dominated Grand Prix at the hands of Jim Redman and Mike Hailwood, the CB 350 Four was a short-lived design, surviving only two years after its 1972 debut.
It's strange how time changes perspective. Remember how you used to hate fish for dinner? Now, cod bake is your favorite meal. How disgusting was it seeing old people, like your Mom and Dad, kiss? Today, what's better in the world than walking down the beach holding hands with the woman who has been your life-long partner?

Honda's four-cylinder 350 was a bike just like this. At the time of its launch, it missed every single target - except one which, after the years rolled by, has turned out to be its ace card.

The legend, or maybe even the truth, attached to the little Honda is this: You have to remember that in 1972 "Pops" Honda was still very much part of the Honda factory. In every way, he was "hands on" in terms of the business. He was actively involved in engineering decisions, marketing and, perhaps most important of all, was worshipped by all Honda staff. A thousand years ago, he would have been deified and would have had his own religion by now: he was that influential.

"Pop's" fondest memories were of the golden days of Honda racing. It was he, and he alone, who decided that Honda would go Grand Prix racing after he visited the Isle of Man with Mrs. Honda in 1954. And it was Mr. Honda's later decision that the factory would build not Twins or Singles but the then incredibly radical 250cc Fours which were to change the face of motorcycle racing forever.

Of these early four-cylinder machines, the bike of which he was most fond was the 350cc Four raced by such Honda icons as Jim Redman and Mike Hailwood. It is small wonder that Mr. Honda was so fond of the 350. In 1965, Redman won every Grand Prix of the season and trounced the Europeans every time he started. "Pops" reportedly thought that the 350 was the ultimate GP racing motorcycle providing an unbeatable combination of light weight, high rpm, good power and torque.
Honda was its own worst enemy when it cam to the 350 Four  as many riders were unwilling to give up their cheaper Honda CB350 Twins.
Honda was its own worst enemy when it cam to the 350 Four, as many riders were unwilling to give up their cheaper Honda CB350 Twins.

What better than to build a tribute to the Honda racers he loved so much in the form of a 350 four which would have ease of handling, high rpm, good power and torque - AND would be as a smooth as baby's bottom.

But there were problems from the start. The main one was created by Honda themselves. The 350 Four's main opposition came from Honda's own 325cc CB350 Twin. This little bike was the best-selling American bike in the company's classic period and for good reason. The bike was easy to ride, bomb-proof reliable, simple to maintain and cheap to buy. Better still, it was lighter than the "4" and produced more power. Better, better still was that the 325 Twin shared many parts with its smaller 250cc brother - in stark contrast to the 350 "4" which was almost completely unique. And finally, and even more better if that was possible, the four-cylinder engine cost much more to manufacture than the Twin - and at a whopping 136 lbs was also heavier.

If things weren't rosy on the technical or economic fronts the "4" did exceed all expectations in one respect: it was the most civilized motorcycle of its time. The engine is electric smooth all the way up to the 10,000rpm redline and the power curve is gentle and progressive. Cruising down to the golf club in your Armani sunglasses and calf skin loafers was never more elegantly achieved than on board a 350 Four.

Sophistication apart, the "4" is rather a good motorcycle too. It handled reasonably well, never tried to bite the rider and the only fault was that the disc pads of the time did not particularly like gripping the stainless steel front disc.
The 350cc four-cylinder motor is what set the Honda apart from the rest of the crowd.
The 350cc four-cylinder motor is what set the Honda apart from the rest of the crowd.

In terms of appearance, it was not one of the most breathtakingly beautiful motorcycles of its generation but neither was it ugly. Rather, the conservative metal flake colors added a touch of class to what, at $1100, was not a cheap motorcycle.

None of this mattered to motorcyclists. They didn't cruise down to the golf club, or the yoga class, and their sunglasses were from Oakley not Armani. What they wanted was power, performance and price. Smoothness and sophistication were by way of afterthoughts. After two years of production, the elegant 350 "4" was phased out. Despite all its virtues it was simply not man enough to find an economic number of buyers.

Thirty-five years on, things are very different. That long haired hippy who spent all his time grinding the center stand away on his bikes, surfing and chasing girls is now a Bank Manager with his first grandchild on the way. Now, what he wants is to cruise down to see his daughter on... Yes, you've guessed it: a gentle, elegant, non-threatening and so, so smooth classic motorcycle. In fact, what he wants is a Honda 350 Four.

This phenomenon explains the recent hike in the price of these sophisticated motorcycles. Five years ago, $1000 would have bought you a stunning example. Now, expect to double this - and then some - for a really nice bike and in my opinion, this still undervalues what is one of Honda's best ever motorcycles.


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Comments
kz1000st   May 22, 2014 11:54 AM
I remember this bike. It cost much more than the 350 twin, if I recall not much less than the 550cc four cylinder and a lot more than a 400cc Kawasaki triple. Try to remember that they punched it up to 400cc, hung clubmans and a 4 into 1 pipe on it and that failed too. Romantic prose aside, this was a forgettable motorcycle.
Wayne C. Clement -For Sale CB 350 4c  September 20, 2010 09:39 PM
I have a 350 4 cylender for SALE . Super nice ++ . Thanks wayne394@netzero.com .
Greg Kurtz -350 4  June 21, 2010 09:44 AM
I am looking to buy a good condition, fair-priced Honda 350 4. You can email me at linda-kurtz@sbcglobal.net.
Thanks!
Phil Playford -Lookin for carb floats  June 18, 2010 07:06 PM
Hi I am looking for carb float and float jet that it works along with the bracket that holds the floats up. Tried junk yards and salvage places in T.O. and Muskoka . No luck. This is for a 1973 cb 350 honda .if you have any parts like this drop me a line at playford804@hotmail.com. sure would appreciate some help
Ace -1972 Honda 350 twin  May 18, 2010 09:03 PM
I have one for sale with 78xx miles on it, very clean, runs great. 3500 obo, contact me at ace77man@gmail.com if you want to see more :)
Peace, Ace
Gabe -Honda 350 Four  March 6, 2010 11:32 AM
Looking to sell my 72 Honda 350 Four and need some help in determining a reasonable selling price. Have had the bike since 1974 and its set most of the time in the garage as it only has 3454 miles on it. It's in good shape but it's not running as it needs a new gas line and new tires. Any advice or info on a reasonable selling price would be greatly appreciated. Please email me at gabrielmurillo@comcast.net. Thanx.........
paul w baskerville -cb350four  November 25, 2009 07:40 AM
i have recently purchased acb350four.9.600miles on the clock.i would like to trace last owner luna randolph floyd barstow ca 92311.any sudgestions.
bikerrandy -Honda CB350-4  November 18, 2009 01:32 PM
You guys with rose colored glasses crack me up!

The only Honda I've ever owned was a `68 CL350 I got used for $450 and converted it to a somewhat CB350 twin in order to road race it back in `69-`70 in soCal.

The 350-4 was overweight, overcomplicated, and therefore cost too much. But I still remember the vibes, sound of my CB350 look alike. It was the first 4 stroke bike I ever owned. I replaced the CB350 with a new Yamaha R5 350 and went on to place better in amateur racing finishing 2nd in class at the end of the year. The only bike I couldn't beat with my R5 was a blueprinted & balanced CB350 like mine.
Guy Illy guyilly@bigpond.com -Honda 350/4  November 4, 2009 05:46 PM
Gentlemen,
It is with elight that I read your comments on the 350/4.
I have had one since '76. The bike was purchsed new by an Italian friend in Canberra when he was doing his PhD in '72. When he went back to Italy 6 months later a friend of mine bought and had it for 2-3 years when he bought a Sussy Katana Aand sold the bike to me for A$600. It has only 28000kms on the clock and has travelled with me from Canberra to Perth and now to Merimbula SOuth East NSW Australia. I have had the exhaust sytem made by an "artist" and the only difference from the genuine article is that mine does not have the part number stamped.
I still ride it 73, regularly but gently and receive envious looks from the biking current and ex fraternity.
I also have a early '30s OK Supreme which needs a little bit of work to get it going.

BUT I LVE THE HONDA 350/4

Walter -my 350-4  November 2, 2009 05:30 PM
Had one in 1976 when I was at San Jose State University. It had a full faring, crash bars, and pegs on the crash bars. Used to ride it from San Jose to Santa Cruz, and San Francisco all the time. Great ride - but I did have trouble getting used to the power band/rpms - my bike before that was a 72 Norton Commando - quite a bit different. Sold that Honda for $450 in 1978..........sniffle
Dan Lee -Back Rack  October 14, 2009 09:02 AM
My brother just gave me a honda cb350-four that he restored (red)my first bike and I am 66 years young. I got my liscens and off to Kansas I went. Thats where he lives. It had been 47 years since we seen each other so had lots of catching up to do. I couldn`t beleive he just gave it to me!!

Let me say its a real sweet bike. when I was with him we spent time in MO, NW AK and OK, in two weeks we put on 3200 miles. That bike never missed a lick...Love it. While I was there Another guy gave me another one, needs lots of work but can be saved, for sure I will restore it. Right now I am needing the Rack to mount on the back of the one I use. I have a storage box to mount on it. also need the left side cover for the one I am restoring.
I could go on and on about my 350-four so I will shut up for now.
Thank you Frank for posting this nice layout of the 350-four

Dan, kb7cmb@douglasfast.net if anyone would like to talk 350-four

PS. I live in Roseburg Oregon.
OTIS HARRIS -CB350F  August 15, 2009 05:02 PM
HI EVERYONE I BOUGH THIS BIKE BACK IN 1972 NOW I GOING TO TRY TO GET IT RUNING AGAIN SINCE ILAST ROAD IT BACK IN 1980.IM LOOKING FOR A GAS TANK TO REPLACE THE ONE THAT ROTED OUT. YOU CAN CONTACK ME AT OTISHARR@YAHOO.COM THANK YOU.
kag@twlakes.net -No Spark  August 2, 2009 11:54 AM
Seems to be a good 350four but doesnt have any spark from coils?
Brendon Miller -350 four build  May 14, 2009 01:29 PM
One more thing dose any one know where I can find a cafe seat I am trying not to have to have one made if I dont have to
Brendon Miller -350 four build  May 14, 2009 01:27 PM
Hay guys, I am probably one of the younger one's around here"26" but I have had my 74 350f for a little over two years now I love it allways doing more to it. It is a great ride.
mike stead -RC 181 Mike the bike Hailwood replica......  April 22, 2009 08:50 PM
I saw Hailwood blow off Ago at the 67 Isle of Man T.T. ...Ago`s chain broke on the last lap.....& saw Hailwood blow off Bill Ivey, Reedy & the rest on in my opinion is the best sounding song ever writen by a set of megaphones (the Honda 6) on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brands Hatch with one of his valve springs broken, popping & bangin a go oh & he still beat the leathers off of the comp that day. Weeell its maybe a close second to the sound a Manx or a G50 on the pipe coming out of cregna ba in 2nd gear.....& third to the howl of the M.V. triple on full noise. My question is....can some kind soul give me a direction or web-site in which i can buy those RC 181 replica tank, fairing, seat, megaphones, parts ect..... i know that there out ther sooome where. Thanx.....Mike Stead.
Chris Ward -350 Four  April 5, 2009 01:00 PM
I too have a 350 four. I've owned her since she came from the USA in 1996. She is a very civilised motorcycle and always turns heads when people see her. I'm currently doing some work on the engine, the chassis was rebuilt 13 years ago.
nicole. -question!?!?  March 31, 2009 10:14 AM
Approximately how much do one of these guys weigh?!?!
Ketil Sveen -Honda 350 Twin 72  March 23, 2009 10:50 AM
I have a 82 350 Twin and I need new cylinders. Anybody that can help? ketil.sveen@vme.no
Martin Buck -The BEST Honda 350...  December 22, 2008 08:00 PM
In the late '70's I swapped an RD350 (which I had lusted after, but found strangely unfulfilling when acquired) for a Honda XL350 with custom paint job. I stretched the swing arm 2", added some street shocks and a BSA flat handlebar, and a street rear tire. Still my favourite bike ever. I had geared it up for 70 mph cruising, the mid range torque meant almost no gear changes once underway, and the unlimited ground clearance let me disappear from friends riding twins in the hills. I never noticed any vibration, the heavy flywheel kept things smooth at low revs, and the effortless handling let me ride for hours at a time. The light fuel consumption (70 mpg) let me afford this. A low seat height, great handling, and big gobs of torque let me ride like a maniac, locking both wheels and sliding around in the wet, in perfect safety with full control. I still haven't found anything modern as easy to ride. Sigh.
David C Billings -Alex' 350F  November 11, 2008 08:11 PM
Love your Honda! Great color. I've been looking for a CB-350F and a CB-400F for a few months now but haven't found "the one." They're either too costly or less-than-presentable. I sure miss the ol' standards. Right now I've a Honda VT-500 Ascot and a VT-700 Sabre, which are standard-enough for me (for now)!
Alex Leffler -I have one of these!  November 7, 2008 01:45 PM
I have a honda CB 350F, It's a great bike and it's a smooth ride. I bought it with only 8k on it, but because I love riding it so much it has close to 25k now. It's not completely original but it looks good. Here's an image of it if any one's interested. http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e126/leffler/IMG_0304.jpg