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I guess I'll chime in on this, seeing as I have a crapload of old Hondas.

The bike is worth 1400 MAX.
Non original motor, missing some odds and ends, repaint, etc.
Start it cold and listen for rattling noises or metallic tapping inside the engine.
DO NOT buy if there are any noises internally.
Rev it slightly and see if the revs drop immediately to idle or if it seems to float around before settling. Indication of imbalanced carbs.
Not horrible, but you can use it as a bargaining device.
It had better run like a top and be completely sorted out for 1400.

They are nice to work on if you have experience with multiple carb engines.
Very trouble free and easy riding.

I wish you luck in your purchase if you choose to buy it.
 

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Pretty nice condition it seems, but for me the 550 felt pretty smooth, but not enough power to satisfy me. I was used to 750's and other superbikes of the era at the time and I even wondered why did they build this thing? I'd much rather have an old 750 than a 550, but that's just me...
 

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Pretty nice condition it seems, but for me the 550 felt pretty smooth, but not enough power to satisfy me. I was used to 750's and other superbikes of the era at the time and I even wondered why did they build this thing? I'd much rather have an old 750 than a 550, but that's just me...
There were two reasons. One was the velvet smoothness. The other...with such small cylinders, the redline was WAY up there. The 250 four that Honda had...what it lacked in torque it more than made up for in RPMs and inertia. I think it was redlined at 12,000 rpm. Compare that to the AMF Hardly-Drivables of that era, with their tractorlike panhead engines...

The little Honda fours were game-changers. American insurers and European regulators controlled/priced liability according to displacement. A 250 was a small bike, even then. Except that what that Honda would do was what European machines twice its displacement could not.

IIRC,some European nations banned sale of that little Honda; and for Americans, rates went through the roof. It went away; but the market for it might have been sated, too.
 

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EWB... are we on the same wavelength or what... though i'm thinking a cb/cl350.
 

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First thing I thought of, EWB better be a young guy, because those bars are going to kill his hands and back...:D
 

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I had a Honda 450 4 cylinder and it was a hoot! I could drag the pegs through every corner.

However, that price seems way too high for anything not in pristine condition and from the photos, and description, that one isn't. I'd offer him a grand tops if everything checks out and don't be afraid to walk away. For the work any bike that age needs, you'll be in it for way more than you ever thought by the time you get done with it, so get it as cheap as possible. In this case, an oil leak is as bad as a complete rebuild, because to fix the oil leak, you are gonna have to tear it down and, once you have it apart, you might as well do a hone, new rings, lap the valves, rebuild the carbs, new brakes, fork seals, etc. Stuff that old will need attention to anything rubber, vinyl, plastic, so figure replacing a lot of that sort of stuff. Anything that needs grease, tear it down and grease. You can't trust anyone what they say, tear into it and know the wheel bearings are good.

Keep in mind; never get on a motorcycle and go fast until you've gone through the whole bike from stem to stern. The last place you want to find out that the brake shoe adhesive fails on a sweeping turn. That old, replace 'em no matter what they look like.

A big alarm is that it was put in non-op. A motorcycle that old? I bet non-op was more cost than keeping it registered!! Ha! Make him get a current registration in order to avoid any 'surprises' at the DMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
EWB... are we on the same wavelength or what... though i'm thinking a cb/cl350.
I am open to other similar rides just something simple that I can cruise around and commute to work (no freeways). being able to wrench on it is a major plus. I just don't want to do a rebuild
 

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I have a 76 CB550 with a Vetter Fairing. Nice little bike, ran great then just quit one day at the gas station. Hasn't run since broken wire somewhere I'm thinking. I had 3 other bikes at the time so it has been sitting for 10 or 12 years. I was thinking about getting it running again. First thought was a bobber, then thought keep it the way it is. Now I am thinking I want a Suzuki 650 Savage to make it into a scrambler. But I'm pretty lazy and a procrastinator so not much will actually happen.
 
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