Having decided that I was going to purchase a classic bike, I set about seeing what was available. I initially looked at the Honda CB750 from the 1970's - a bike that I always admired as a youngster. The CB750's are very collectible nowadays and are commanding higher prices than other bikes from that era. CB900 Customs seemed to be selling for almost half the price of CB750s in similar condition. Online research suggested that the CB900C would be a nice bike to own, so I began looking at available bikes. After a while, I came across this 1980 Honda CB900 Custom being sold on e-bay. On 10th June 2005, I purchased the bike.
Having purchased the bike, I now had to decide how I was going to get it back to Bermuda. I considered having it shipped from Belfast, Maine, but finally decided that I needed to ride the bike on the open road. I made arrangements to travel to the USA to collect the bike personally.
On Saturday 30th July, 2005, I arrived in Belfast, Maine, where I met the previous owner Steve Clarke. Steve owned his own polishing and chroming facility (English Custom Polishing) and had his own line of metal polishes. Steve had already used some of his skills to polish the bike. Steve introduced me to my new bike and we shared a few drinks. He kindly allowed me to stay overnight at his home and the following day I set off on the ride to Newark, New Jersey. I'm sorry to say that Steve has since passed away following a battle with cancer but his wife, Lin, is still running English Custom Polish.
The ride on 31st July allowed me to put in some mileage on the bike. I remained on the I-95 almost the whole way, clocking up 465 miles on the journey that day. The following day, I delivered the bike to a shipping company for crating and shipment to Bermuda.
On Tuesday 23rd August, 2005, I was finally able to collect the bike from the docks in Bermuda.
Click on the thumbnails below to see how the bike looked on its day of arrival
A few days after the bike arrived, I was able to begin work on cleaning up the bike. First, I removed the touring rack. Next, the seat and side panels were removed so that I could give the bike a thorough cleaning. Following the cleaning, the tank and side panels were prepped and waxed. The frame was also waxed with 3M boat wax to provide a protective layer against corrosion.
Click on the thumbnails below to see the bike during and after its first major clean-up
Valve Shims & Dyna Coils
Shim replacement and installation of Dyna ignition coils and Dyna plug wires (March 2008)
So why do I call this bike my mid-life crisis? Well - it's the easiest way to explain to people why I would buy a 900cc bike in a country that won't license anything larger than 150cc. Like the old saying goes - "If you have to ask you won't understand." When I tell people that it's a mid-life crisis they kind of shrug and move on to the next topic.
Rust Removal and Refurbishment
In April 2006, I performed some refurbishment work on the exhaust system, rear light unit and centre stand. This included the use of Rusteco rust remover. To see 'before and after' images of the work, click here
After One Year in Bermuda
By September 2006, the bike had been in Bermuda for over a year. In that time it has had a replacement seat, grab bar added, rear brakes rebuilt and braided brake line added, exhaust refurbished, replacement rear light unit, full service and lubrication and plenty of cleaning and polishing. The next job was be a rebuild of the front brakes.and fitting of Galfer brake lines.
Click on the thumbnails below to see how the bike looked in September 2006
These photos were taken in Bermuda's Botanical Gardens, one week after Hurricane Florence blew a lot of leaves from the trees.
The images below were taken during the rebuilding of the brakes. The work was necessary due to the pistons sticking and, once they were removed, they were found to be quite rusty. Whilst the brakes were disassembled, I took the opportunity to replace the stock brake lines with Galfer stainless braided lines.
Brake caliper after being removed from bike
A couple of the pistons removed from ther calipers
The calipers and the pistons were soaked in Rusteco which helped remove the rust and gunk from all the crevices. Caliper rebuild kits were used to replace rubbers and seals before putting the brakes back together.
The above photos show the Galfer braided brake lines fitted to the front braking system prior to fluid being replaced.
My CB900 Custom at Fort St. Catherine, St. George's, Bermuda, on May 13th 2007
Photos from Bermuda Day (May 24th) 2007
Left and below:
Church Bay, Southampton
Below: Overlooking Tucker's Town Bay
Below: Alongside the Mid-Ocean Golf Course
Front fork rebuild and installation of Progressive fork springs (April 2008)