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Assembly begins...

 

With the front end, engine mounting/bracing & guard, footrest assembly and sidestand all sorted out, one might get the impression that it would be a simple matter of adding decals, wiring and bolting it all together.  Normally, that would be the case. However, nothing about this build is simple bolt-in, off-the-shelf. This is where all of the final details get worked-out.

 

 

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 Here are the new wiring harness, LH rear sidecover, swingarm and engine in as-received condition. The wiring is from another, current production, bike and needed to be unwrapped for some fairly extensive modifications to fit at CT70 and to work properly with the early CT70 style seven-wire ignition switch. The rear sidecover required substantial machining/trimming for chain & sprocket clearance with the large diameter, offset, countershaft sprocket we're using. It also needed to be polished to compliment the chromed mag and clutch covers we'll be running. The swingarm is an aftermarket that we imported from Japan. It's beautifully made, provides a bit more width between the axle mounts and is lighter than the OEM swingarm. For this project, however, even the beautiful TIG welding from the factory just wasn't good enough to use as-is and there was no provision for a LH buddy peg. You can hardly blame the manufacturer for those two deficiencies. This is a racing part and racers don't carry passengers, nor are they overly concerned about mirror-polishing. Our philosophy is to take the best available and simply modify it as needed.

 

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 We began by converting the engine wiring back to an OEM modular plug. Since these engines are almost always adapted to older bikes, these get removed before the engines ship. A 7-wire CT70H ignition switch was adapted to the 4-wire configuration of the new harness. Since the new wire harness already had provisions for the turn signals,  headlight dimmer, horn, gear position indicator lights, fuel gauge, CDI and new 12V electronic regulator/rectifier it was a "no-brainer". The gear position indicator and fuel gauge functions were simply not used. There were a few "surprises", such as reversed polarity for the neutral indicator light, but these were sorted-out and catalogued for future reference.  Having full headlight and turn signal control on the handlebar is a vast improvement over the old keyswitch arrangement.  Riding a bike sans turn signals gets to be a pain after a while, especially on rough pavement, but turn signals can be a pain in and of themselves...and they usually don't compliment the aesthetics of the bike. The solution was an integrated tail light/signal assembly. We will also be fitting the fork with LED rings for the front signals. Bear in mind,  pre `73 bikes are not required to have turn signals in this state.

The sidecover was metalfinished and polished; the inside was milled for chain/sprocket clearance. The cam cover was similarly smoothed and polished, along with the exposed upper section of the engine center cases. This will really come together once the chrome side covers are installed.

We machined a mounting boss for the LH buddy peg, along with the swingarm. Our buds at Majestik welding handled the TIG welding, turning out even better quality work than the Japanese factory that manufactured the swingarm in the first place. We then fabbed a pair of simple mounts from T6 6061, a billet recreation of the OE style mounts. The polished stainless, Allen-head mounting through-bolts were countersunk and the mounts themselves polished. Lastly, the swingarm was polished to a mirror finish. The photos don't do it justice.

 

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 This is where things get interesting...when final assembly begins in earnest. There is, of course, the excitement of seeing months of carefully planned work come together. That gets tempered by the reality of last-minute adjustments brought about when that mean old "Mr. Reality" rudely interrupts your smooth-running project.  One of those moments came about when the rear brake stay came back from chrome looking subpar. We usually do our own metalfinishing and the plater assumed that was the case this time, too. With no time left to inject yet another month into the build schedule, we decided to make a brake stay from billet aluminum; the final result, with a mirror-polish, turned out so well that we tossed the chrome-plated OEM part into the spares bin. The polished aluminum and plated items added up to a surprising total number over the course of the project. Only upon seeing them assembled can you get a true sense of their overall impact... how all of the various pieces and small details work together, visually. In the far lefthand photo of the second row, you can see how the polished section of the engine center cases visually match the chromed outers. The integrated tailight unit sits on three billet aluminum mountings. The front fender and oil cooler both received the billet mount treatment as well; the cooler was mounted to a polished aluminum spacer that lowers the front fender 1/4", giving just enough clearance between the cooler and the headlight shell. . The exhaust was designed for another model Honda engine and the slight change in exhaust port location resulted in the muffler being about an inch lower than stock. We dealt with this issue on the shop bike by heating & bending the headpipe slightly. We weren't about to re-bend a $400 stainless exhaust pipe.  So, continuing the defacto billet "theme", we fabbed a rear mount for the muffler. Seeing the wide tires on the bike shows just how much visual difference that seemingly minor increases in section width can make. The three tires in the photo are, from top to bottom: OEM 4.00x10", the front tire and, on the bottom, the rear tire actually used on the bike. The street tread will make a huge difference in smoothness and steering precision. Lastly, the drivetrain is capped-off with something not sold in the US...an 18T countershaft sprocket. This is not something you can slap on your 72cc stocker, but with twice that displacement and four times the power of a stock motor, it's a requirement to make use of the tuned engine's power.
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In these last four detail shots you can see some of the subtle touches that set a high-end custom apart. With the exhaust in place, it becomes clear why the upper stay has a boomerang shape. We've seen many custom bikes with extended muffler hangers but they've mostly been clunky-looking , oftentimes looking like glorified strap-hanger purchased from a hardware store. A simple, yet graceful, curve capped-off with a polished stainless acorn nut makes all the difference here. It took more effort, but the result is cleaner and adds a natural bit of bling at the same time. Likewise, we replaced the inspection screw on the speedo drive with a hollow Allen-head bolt of polished stainless. It's the little details like this that don't call attention to themselves yet leave observers with the impression that there's "just something extra nice about that bike". We created our own side badges. Once again, aluminum plate was used, along with basic graphics we created on a computer. After polishing, the background was etched, then clearcoated. The end result resembles cloisonne. Note the German VIN tag, it's the original. The German market ST70 not only had a different style plate, but it was in a different location from those found on the CT70 model. It's also interesting to note that the GVW is listed as 240kg...that's 528lbs! That makes Honda's factory-rated passenger carrying capacity 372lbs(!) more than adequate for all but the heaviest of riders and adequate for a medium sized couple. The ST models were more road-oriented than the CT models with which we are more familiar, but the rated GVW for the CT70 was about half the ST's. This seems peculiar, considering that the frames are structurally identical. Our feeling is that the U.S. model load ratings had nothing to do with the actual strength of the bike and everything to do with governmental regulations in effect at that time. With the power, suspension and brake upgrades we've made, GVW is a non-issue.

 

 

 


 

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