So that’s that. I am now sans-motorcycle. A nice guy and his dad came buy this morning and nabbed my CB650. He got a good deal, and the bike went to a good home. It’s going to be his first bike that’s all his. It ought to serve him well.
Looking back, I had the bike for just about a year. I never did come to like the lack of low-end torque of the inline 4-cylinder, but overall the CB was a great way to get started in motorcycling. I took it on a couple trips, did quite a bit of commuting to the office and just fell in love with riding a proper motorcycle. My future bike will be even bigger and I’m really looking forward to it, but it’s bittersweet to let go of that old machine. I got it all shined up and ready to sell, and almost didn’t want to. Jeremy Clarkson and I agree that these machines have souls. Though we had our difficulties, I really feel like I came to bond with that old bike. It really was the perfect place to start.
So long old friend.
So here’s a question for you, Nathaniel. I don’t disagree with you that these machines have souls. But in that vein, what do you think is their lifespan? How long can these machines keep going?
My guess is, they’ll outlast us. And they’ll outlast most of the cars presently on the road.
Beautiful bike, by the way.
David, I think it depends on the machine. These old Honda bikes will be with us for a good long while, I imagine. The engines are so solid, and so simple, that so long as there is parts availability, these UJMs will persist. A TON of them were sold back in the day, but good examples are getting harder and harder to find. Not because they’re not out there, but because they’re simply not for sale. And with good reason. This kind of bike simply doesn’t exist anymore. The japanese took to chasing Harley Davidson in the mid ’80s and sadly, the “standard” motorcycle is all but extinct in showrooms today. Part of that is market demand, but in my opinion, part of it is Japanese manufacturers forgetting where they came from and just chasing Harley customers.
But I digress. These old Hondas are notoriously long-living. All the metal components are solid and the engineering is sound. Engines can do as much as 150,000 miles between rebuilds. The only thing that seems to ever really give is the old rubber. That’s just age, though. Thankfully, Honda’s stockpile of parts for these old bikes is still pretty plentiful and companies like Motion Pro are remanufacturing wear-out parts like cables, clutches, bearings, gaskets and rubber bits.
The other half of the longevity question is that these older bikes are so much simpler than bikes today. The carbs are pretty straightforward. The suspensions are fairly primitive. Lots of parts are interchangeable between a wide range of a company’s bikes. These bikes are also from an era long before planned obsolescence. They’re actually designed to run as close to forever as they can at the price they were offered.
I have an immaculate 1980 Honda CB650-C with less than 20K original miles that is equal to the one you sold in beauty and operation. Although I was not the original owner, I have had a lot of fun exploring and restoring this bike, but I am considering selling it like you have done, although hard. It is nice to pull out on a beautiful day here in Texas, and take a nice smooth ride on an open stretch of backroads. I will admit though, I know it is capable of longer rides, but in my opinion, this bike is too small to ride long distances but great for short rides. Anyway, pending further research on pricing and such, I was wondering if you could offer a range of pricing I might expect to get if I decide to sell it?
Thanks for any help you may offer,
P.S. Super Nice Bike you had, and there are still a few nice bikes like ours out there under cover. But, like you said, getting harder to find.
Currently working on my Red and Black, 1978 Honda XL-350 which has less than 2,500 miles on it. Runs and looks super, just rebuilt the shocks. Will probably sell it too?
I can’t remember exactly how much I got for it when it sold. A CB650 is not a particularly desirable of collectible bike, but no less fun to ride. It also depends on your local area. In the Twin Cities, in great shape, it could be worth anything from $1,000 – $2,500 depending on the buyer. I paid $900 for mine and only had to do minor work to it (fork seals, brake master cylinder, handlebars), but can’t remember what it sold for. $1,600 maybe? Good luck!