“This is a CL, it should look like it wants to rip around in the dirt…”
In 1968, Honda introduced the CL350, a Scrambler version of the popular 324cc CB350 twin. The CL featured high pipes, a 19-inch front wheel, and a peak power output of 33 bhp. Though these bikes certainly weren’t purpose-built for the dirt, they could take a ton of off-road abuse and keep their riders smiling:
“They have a very ‘Japanese’ style, with plenty of class. But they were built to be ridden, they were built to be reliable, and they were built for people to have fun on them.” –Charlie O’Hanlon, Motorcycle Classics
Going through the bikes from the 2021 One Moto Show earlier this month, we came across a lovely blue 1972 CL350 that put a big smile on our faces. We tracked down the builder, Michael Dubniczki (@mazimotomike) of San Francisco’s Mazi Moto — a fabrication and repair shop that he and his friend Yama Azim (@mazi.__) founded. The duo went full-time with the shop after April 1st of last year, when they were both laid off.
“April fools, but not…. That happened to be the same day our first rent was due for the new shop. We didn’t need any more of a sign than that — it was all Mazi Moto from that point on, full steam ahead!”
Mike picked up this CL from a tow yard for $500. It had a cracked frame, bent bars, and the wheels wouldn’t even move. He sent a submission photo to The One Show folks, not thinking it would be seriously considered, only to receive an invite just two weeks from the show! He immediately cleared his schedule and got to work, stripping the bike down to individual parts.
“The bike itself was set up as a cafe, drop bars, rear sets, low CB pipes. I thought to myself, This is a CL, it should look like it wants to rip around in the dirt. I had some high pipes waiting on the shelf for years just for this occasion.”
He hacked out the bent part of the frame, welded in a replacement, and replaced the rearsets with pegs welded directly to the frame to better handle off-road antics. Beneath all the Bondo, the tank turned out to be a CL175 unit — huzzah! — and Mike mounted a taillight from a ’40s Buick — one of his favorite parts of the build.
“I did the paint myself and had about one day left before the show before I started to assemble the bike back together. Fortunately my friend Joey Ukrop stayed at the shop until 3am to help out! What a guy!”
Mike ended up nicknaming the bike “Moonbeam” — a last-minute inspiration after a last long night of work getting the bike ready for the show:
“I was asked at 3am at the end of the last night and my delirious mind came up with it while I was staring at the light from the moon bounce off the still curing paint.”
It’s hard to think of a better way to name a bike. Below, we get the full story on the build straight from Mike himself, as well as more lovely photos from Paul Smith Jr. (@shredsmcgee) and Joey Ukrop (@you_krop).
“Moonbeam” CL350: In the Builder’s Words
I started riding motorcycles as a 11 year old kid on my buddy Tom’s dirt bikes in the woods of Princeton, New Jersey. My parents would never let me own one. I fell in love.
Mazi Moto started four years ago in the sunset district of San Francisco. Yama Azim and myself started in our downstairs garage wrenching on our old Sportsters. He had worked for BMW as a mechanic and I studied engineering, so we both had a common interest in working on old motorcycles. It started as flipping a few Hondas on the side while we worked our day jobs. Eventually we grew out of our garage and started renting a second one down the street and taking friends bikes as customers. We soon grew out of that and began looking for a “real motorcycle shop.”
I found a motorcycle shop in San Bruno called Motorcycle Madness. Marcus, the owner, was interested in renting out half the space. Marcus agreed to let us work after our day jobs from 6-9pm. What a guy, right? Well, on April 1st of last year we were both laid off! April fools, but not…. That happened to be the same day our first rent was due for the new shop. We didn’t need any more of a sign than that — it was all Mazi Moto from that point on, full steam ahead!
The bike was built specifically for this show. I had picked it up from a tow yard for 500 bucks. It was crashed, cracked frame, bent bars, wheels wouldn’t move. I honestly didn’t think when I sent the submission photo for The One Show that it would be seriously considered. I found out two weeks before the show that I was in! So was Yama with his Sunset Shovelhead! Well, it was time to get to work. I drove home from LA, cleared my schedule and started stripping it down to individual parts. 4into1 being just down the street was a godsend. I worked there before the pandemic and Marty the owner and I still have a great relationship.
The design was influenced by my friend Sean’s knucklehead that he had painted blue and gold, and I knew I always wanted to have that color combo on one of my bikes. The bike itself was set up as a cafe, drop bars, rear sets, low CB pipes. I thought to myself, This is a CL, it should look like it wants to rip around in the dirt. I had some high pipes waiting on the shelf for years just for this occasion.
The frame was bent in and needed to be chopped out. I have a donor CL350 frame that I cut the same price out of and welded it in. The rear sets had to go but I kept the foot pegs from it and welded them on the center of the frame for off-road riding.
The tank was covered in bondo that cracked. It wasn’t until I was an hour into grinding it down that I realized it was a late 60’s CL175 tank! After having brought it down to bare metal I began to shape it myself. I really liked the smooth contour from the front to back and I wanted to preserve that.
I did the paint myself and had about one day left before the show before I started to assemble the bike back together. Fortunately my friend Joey Ukrop stayed at the shop until 3am to help out! What a guy!
The bike’s name is “Moonbeam.” What motivated it? I was asked at 3am at the end of the last night and my delirious mind came up with it while I was staring at the light from the moon bounce off the still curing paint.
My favorite part of the bike is the old taillight of a 40’s Buick.