The Honda CL360 gets easier on the eye as the years go by. It’s perhaps the most elegant of the original scramblers—but it’s also four decades old, and a long way off the pace of a modern bike.
Steve Healey is a fan of the CL360, but he wanted something a little less pedestrian. Fortunately, he’s a long-time friend of Casey and Corey Wilkinson—the multi-talented brothers from Indiana who build classy café racers when they’re not running their design studio.
The brothers first met Steve during a charity motorcycle ride. Steve’s young daughter Anna had succumbed to neuroblastoma, and the ride was raising funds for research into this rare form of childhood cancer.
So when Steve wanted a makeover for his 1975 Honda CL360, he knew where to go. “He said, ‘Do what you’d do if it were your own bike,'” says Corey.
The brothers decided to stay close to the original ergonomics and the CL360’s appealing, ready-for-anything stance. They’d put a new spin on the classic high-pipe scrambler look, without losing the dual-purpose functionality. “We’re products of the 1970s ourselves, so we dig this bike’s roots,” says Corey.
It helped that the Honda was in decent shape. And it’s good to see the signature chrome heat shield still in place—now subtly modified to accommodate new mufflers from Dime City Cycles.
There’s a new swingarm too, similar to the setup on the Wilkinson Brothers’ BMW R75/6 café and 1.75 inches longer than stock. (It’s hooked up to a Ducati Monster shock.) A few more clean bends resulted in a new subframe, which is now home to a sheet-metal seat pan and new battery box.
Elbow grease and buffing has revived the wheels, hubs and engine cases. Casey’s father-in-law laid down the paint for the tank, and the engine is now resplendent in a matching coat of high-heat black satin.
The original front fender has been split in half, creating two new bobbed fenders, while making the most of the original chrome.
A proper scrambler needs decent seat cushioning. So here we’ve got dense marine foam shaped with an electric carving knife, then covered by the local artisans at Kent Upholstery.
Tires are Shinko SR241 dual sport rubber—narrow knobbies with a classic look but enough grip to work well off road. Other neat details include dirtbike footpegs, vintage MX style Fly Racing handlebars, and a rock guard over the new headlight.
“The lighter weight and added pep make the CL360 feel more nimble and sure-footed,” says Corey. “It’s meant to be ridden, and will tempt Steve to jump off the beaten path and take roads less traveled.”
Eagle-eyed readers may notice the letters “AH” just above the headlight. They’re the initials of Steve’s daughter Anna, and there’s a strange twist of fate to conclude the build. The day the Wilkinson Brothers invited Steve to the shop to pick up his bike would have been Anna’s birthday.
It’s a strangely appropriate bookend to the build. Here’s hoping that this stylish machine provides many happy memories for Steve in the years to come.