Back in 2011, I bought a 1978 CB550 to ride on the inaugural two-day Kickstart Classic event. The official ride started at Dale’s Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and finished at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This event was hosted by American Iron Magazine but open to all makes and models, so the American kickers welcomed my Honda.
This event is organized for any bike with a manual kickstart, although the lazy electric-start bikes are also welcome. In the time leading up to the event, I didn’t own a kicker, so I picked up a vintage Honda from eBay. I was told it was a gem and ran great. However, the seller’s idea of “runs great” and mine varied a bit.
I had three months to prepare the bike for long-distance travel. Steve Lita, then editor of AIM and GB, and I decided that we’d ride from AIM’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to Alabama and back—all or bust.
Over those three months, I went over as many of the mechanics as I could, while bobbing and chopping the bike up into a tight little café: Clubman bars, as cool as they look, were a bad choice. That decision bit me in the lower back two hours into our six-day journey south. I had also overlooked making any upgrades to the suspension, which really should have been addressed. Live and learn.
To make a very long and backbreaking story short, the little Honda and I made it to Alabama, but the engine gave all it could on the ride down. We both rode home in a pickup truck.
It’s taken a while, but I’m resurrecting the old CB from a corner of the shop where it’s sat since 2011. I’m starting with a two-part install of Progressive rear shocks and fork springs. This is part one, the installation of Progressive 12 Series shocks and springs, a comprehensive shock and spring set that includes all the necessary hardware that you’ll need to fit a variety of bikes.
Shock spring compressor
12 Series shocks
12 Series springs