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My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!

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Laverda Dave:
I picked up a new project last Thursday although it isn’t a project I was actually looking for but came my way really unexpectedly so I had to accept it!

May I introduce you all to Project CB400/4! Yes, another one ::). As you can see from the photos it’s in a bit of a sorry state, some would say ‘cosmetically challenged’ and I would 100% agree, it looks terrible with all that black paint, ape hangers, chrome shopping rack on the front mudguard, the peaked front spot lights, the tombstone rear light and the seat. The seat, it’s terrible, what was I thinking of when I made the seat 43 years ago, yes that’s my handiwork from my days as a coach trimmer!

Why I have I chosen this particular project? The story goes back 44 years and my Brother was going out with a girl and she had a really cool brother called Hank. He had a yellow CB400/4 that was immaculate and had a Marshall end pipe that sounded great. I loved that bike; he called it the flying banana. I had a CB200 but eventually bought a red 400/4 from Speedway Motorcycles in Acton, West London, now sadly gone.  Hank and I would hang out on our bikes with another couple of guys on CB400/4’s. Hank decided to customise his 400/4 by painting the engine black (and eventually the lovely yellow tank) and fitting the high bars. He asked me to make a stepped seat for it so his girlfriend perched on the back could see where she was going. I added foam to the original seat foam to give him what he wanted.

To cut a long story short my brother split up with Hank's sister after about 5 years and I got married, moved away and lost touch with Hank until a few months ago when I gave him a call after about 20 years :o. We met up for a beer and talked about the old times. I asked him if he still had the 400/4, he did but it hadn’t been used for 22 years and was sitting in the garden shed. He asked me to go and have a look at it. When I got there it took 45 minutes to get the bike out of the shed and it stank! There were rats in the shed and the bike is covered in rats crap and urine. Hank has no interest in the bike and asked me if I wanted to buy it, we agreed a price of £500, how could I refuse to buy the actual bike that inspired me to build my own CB400/4 Flying Banana in 1990 as a homage to Hank's original :). I brought it home a couple of days ago in a van.

First job is to fumigate it, the smell of the rats is unbelievable! Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of the smell? From the photos you can see it is missing a few bits, I have the tank but the speedo and rev counter have gone AWOL along with the ignition/seat lock key (and I can’t lift the seat up as its locked down) and the V5, the air filter plenum chamber is also missing. It does have a Cibie headlight though, a real bonus ;D

I’ll add to this post as the project moves forward but this bike is not going to be touched until I have the Triton running properly and it is off the bike lift.

That doesn't look too bad at all (excluding the 'extras') The front carrier is a hoot!

One way to de-rat piss it is "Jeyes" fluid as disinfectant, it has a piquancy of it's own, but much better than alternative, also for your own health and risk of Weil's disease too.

Like the background story Dave. Great find and looks pretty good really.

Laverda Dave:
I'll try that Nigel. Weils disease is something I know about having worked on London Underground for over 40 years, lots of rats in the station drainage systems  and down the tunnels although the brown mice you see on the platforms at a number of stations such as South Kensington are protected as they are unique to the Underground!
I was at the Kempton Park Autojumble today buying NGK plugs and carb jets for the Triton when I came across a guy selling some 400/4 bits. I bought a set of genuine handlebars for £5 although they need a re-chrome. I went back 30 minutes later to buy the complete front mudguard for £20 but it had sold, you snooze, you loose :(


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