A “Lil Red” 360 steals the heart of a vintage superbike racer…
In the early 1970s, Honda engineers had the challenging task of developing a successor to the immensely popular CB350 twin. Although the 325cc twin couldn’t boast the sophistication and flair of the Honda fours, it remained a strong seller with a loyal following.
For the 1974 model year, the new CB360 was introduced. Displacement was up to 356cc, and although max power was down slightly — 34 hp compared to the CB350’s 36 hp — it made that power 1500 rpm sooner (9000 rpm). The bike took some heat from riders and reviewers for straying from the winning design of the 350, and the most of the parts did not interchange:
“The 356 cc engine and frame of 360 family of bikes is completely different in architecture and shares very little in terms of parts interchangeability with its predecessor.” —Common Motor
Woes included the cam chain tensioner design and failing cam chain guides. However, 360 advocates like the good folks at Houston’s Common Motor have worked out most of the weak points on these bikes, helping any handy owner to do the same, and we continue to see many of the 360’s still on the road.
Design-wise, it had one of the best Honda tanks and lines for a twin, and has become a popular platform for customization — especially for folks who’d rather not cut up a 350. The bike you see here, “Lil Red,” comes to us from Paul Massingberd of F.O.G. Racing, whose Eddie Lawson replica restomod we recently featured.
While Paul, who restores and races vintage superbikes in the VRRA (Vintage Road Racing Association), certainly has the skills and discipline to build bikes of his own, this was one of those love-at-first-sight bikes. Says Paul:
“As much as I would like to claim I built it, I didn’t — I just bought it. It was built by a fellow named Zac. I saw it was for sale and fell in love with it. When I saw the quality of the workmanship and the overall cool look I had to buy it.”
That fellow was Zac Hoffman (@blackcatzac), who rebuilt it from a derelict parts bike. Paul knows good work when he sees it, and Lil Red is dripping with details: hand-laid carbon fiber dash, custom tail with integrated Ducati taillight and Alacantra seat, powder-coated wheels with stainless spokes, custom stainless exhaust, high performance rubber, overbored engine with ported / polished head, and more.
Paul says the riding position is quite aggressive, but as a superbike racer, he’s right at home — at least for shorter rides!
Honda CB360 Street Tracker: Owner Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Paul Massingberd, Vintage Superbike racer and restorer.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
1974 Honda 360.
• Why was this bike built?
As much as I would like to claim I built it, I didn’t — I just bought it. It was built by a fellow named Zac. I saw it was for sale and fell in love with it. When I saw the quality of the workmanship and the overall cool look I had to buy it. Bike was bought from a local classified ad.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Custom hand-laid carbon fiber dash
Integrated LED headlight
Cafe seat hump with integrated Ducati tail light and Alacantra seat
Renthal fat bars with Ohlins steering dampener
Custom stainless mandrel-bent exhaust with Cone Engineering muffler
Motor overbore, ported and polished head
Carbs ultrasonic-cleaned and jetted
New EBC clutch and springs
Black powder coated wheels with stainless steel spokes
Brembo 11” rotor with four-pot caliper
Continental Attack tires
Custom billet rear sets
Progressive adjustable shocks
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Lil Red Café.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The rear sets are very aggressive. You are laid down and forward — great for short runs.
Awesome I built this bike in 2015 it was just a derelict parts bike when I found it
If you have any questions message me
Yes, I do have questions. What is the front wheel that you used with the Brembo brakes?
Wow, carbon fibre, big disk, flat bars, Conti Attacks…. and, a headlight brow? Don’t know when those were ever cool, but certainly not now.
Otherwise – sweet!
What nobody seems to remember there was a huge recall on the cb360 engine and it was a whole massive replacement of the cam chain followers and tensioners that left you with an engine you could rely on and tune it past a hundred miles an hour.. I was working in a Honda shop in one day they sent me to Chicago to pick up some bikes at the warehouse and about 30 Japanese people I swear dressed in there long white lab coats as a standard scenario they looked the part .. anyway inside the Chicago warehouse for Honda they had set up a disassembly line and a reassembly line right down to slipping the cardboard box back over the crate and stapling it shut like it never been opened they were doing the recalls on 360s it was amazing to watch… And it sure took the heat off the dealership to try to get them all done
That tank is from late 60’s early 70’s CB350/CL350