From Malle Mile racer to backlane cruiser…
The Honda CL360 was the scrambler version of the CB360, offering high pipes, a higher rear fender, and braced enduro-style handlebars. Underneath such trappings, the CB/CL360 siblings were virtually identical, powered by a 34-hp air-cooled parallel twin tuned for a broad torque curve. Available from 1974-1976, these 360 twins were an alternative to Honda’s more sophisticated and expensive four-banger, the CB400F.
Enter Sam Evans of the UK’s Inglorious Motorcycles, who started his career as a junior race engine builder in the motorsport world — an auspicious beginning. Builders with racing backgrounds always seem to bring a higher level of detail and execution to their builds, having come from a world where a single loose bolt or failed weld can spell defeat, if not disaster. Later, wanting to pursue a more creative endeavor, Sam went to work for a well-known bike builder, where he learned much of his fabrication skills, then opened his own shop building bikes.
Sam originally bought the ’75 Honda CL360 to race in one of our favorite events, the Malle Mile — a three-day festival of “inappropriate motorcycle racing,” with sprint races, hill climbs, even MotoPolo — all on dirt, grass, and mud. Says Sam:
“I thought the bike would be ideal as it would be in the vintage class and was lightweight and easy to handle.”
After the event, he was approached by a customer who wanted a “back lane cruiser which he could enjoy in the warmer months.” They focused on lightening the bike with a number of functional improvements, while still retaining the classic style of the original 70s machine. The result is one of the cleanest, handsomest street scramblers we’ve seen. Below, we get the full story build, along with some absolutely gorgeous photos from Paul kitchen (@p_kitch).
Honda CL360 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I started out as a junior race engine builder in the motorsport world. I then wanted to pursue something more creative so I went to work for a well-known bike builder in the UK where I learnt a lot of fabrication skills. The 50-mile commute got too much after a while so I decided to start my own business building bikes. I’ve always had a love for 70’s Hondas, they have so much character and look and ride great with good build quality.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1975 Honda CL360 US import.
• Why was this bike built?
I originally bought the bike to race at a show called the Malle Mile. Which is a series of races ranging from a drag race, hill climb and a short mile long track, all on grass. I thought the bike would be ideal as it would be in the vintage class and was lightweight and easy to handle. After the show I was approached by a chap looking to get back into bikes, but didn’t want something heavy and fast, but more of a back lane cruiser which he could enjoy in the warmer months. So after a short meeting to see the little Honda in person a deal was made and the project began.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The concept was easy, nothing too far away from the standard form of the bike, but lose some weight and make sure it had that 70’s feel. I think the colours reflect that well.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- Chop and loop the rear subframe
- Custom seat with electrics/battery tray underneath
- Smaller LED indicators
- Aftermarket Headlight
- LED tail light
- Short fenders front and rear
- Straight through high pipes with baffles inside
- Small speedo
- Trial tyres
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud of the fuel tank which I painted, only the second time spraying something properly.