Not true. You will be able to get an aftermarket ECU that can just ignore the sensors and run in open-loop mode. That will be exactly the same as running with carburetors: fixed fuel/air ratio that is almost always wrong. This is also the failure mode for OBDII cars - sensor failures lead to the ECU running in open-loop mode, which lowers MPG and increases emissions, which will eventually foul the catalytic converters.
> I'm looking for a 1969 Honda CL350 right now. They're still around and running fine. They're much simpler and much more maintainable.
My wife has owned a CB175 and a CB550. Both required tons of work and were maintenance nightmares. They really are piece of shit bikes when it comes to reliability when compared to most Japanese bikes from 1990 onward. The prices old Honda bikes command on the market are completely out of whack with what you get because of strong demand from both the vintage bike enthusiast and hipster demographics. I would not ride one if it was given to me for free.
Compared to other bikes of their day these are very simple to maintain and they were designed from the start to be kept running by the average person. It really depends on what you are looking for in a bike.
If enjoying turning a wrench on a Saturday makes me a hipster then pass the beard wax.
* fast cylinder wear (poor materials/manufacturing, engine rebuilds all around)
* unreliable electric system ("mostly" fixed on CB550 with Charlie's solid state ignition and rectifier)
* Leaking gaskets (design flaw)
I know a lot of vintage Honda collectors and a few racers, and also a lot of vintage BMW collectors. BMW motorcycles from the same era do not have these problems.
There is a special nut on the oil spinner but that's the only specialty tool I can think of on the bike until you start actually disassembling the whole thing and you don't even have to remove it to do an oil service. I guess the shock/steering head adjuster is a specialty tool? But that was included with the bike so not hard to find either.
Parts can be a bit harder but since these things were so popular it's a lot easier than any other bike from 1969. Also the aftermarket is huge if you don't care about staying totally stock.
The Bandit is a good example that parts availability has nothing to do with the technology used and everything to do with the market. My bike is actually a 2001 Bandit 600. The 2nd generation 1200 sold well in the United States, the 2nd generation 600 never did. The 1st generation 600 did sell. So there are a ton of aftermarket 1st generation 600 parts availabe in the US, but pretty much the only new replacement parts you can get for the 2nd generation 600 here (that are not in common with the 1200 or SV650, if you can figure out which ones those are) are rebuild kits for the off-the-shelf brakes and carbs, and you can get the gaskets cut. Everything else you either have to import from the UK or get custom-made, which usually ends up being cheaper (things I have had custom made: throttle cables, fork tube).
Do you mean CB550? If so they demand a higher price because they are 1) older and 2) look way better. Super Nighthawk performance isn't much to write home about relative to newer bikes for the same price and vintage bikes look really nice.
Now is probably a great time to pick up a Super Nighthawk because as with almost all vehicles their value drops off continually for their first 20 or so years until they are truly part of a previous generation of vehicles that is no longer available. Then the value starts to rise again due to scarcity.
We saw the same thing in the 90s with 1970s domestic cars which peaked in the 2000s. It's happening now with 1980s Japanese cars and has been happening to 1970s and 80s Japanese bikes.
Other folks have mentioned that the mechanical points can be swapped out for a solid state ignition on the CL, closing that loop of maintenance for starters.