The Honda Dream can refer to multiple models over the years.
One of the most sought-after vintage bikes is the Honda Dream 305, a redesigned version of the world’s first woot bike.
The Honda Dream 305 was manufactured between 1960 and 1969; many of us moto-enthusiasts consider it a pivotal step in the ladder leading to the Modern Classic genre. The Dream was ahead of its time, with its wet-slump engine design, and an electric-start powered by a 12v electrical system.
But don’t all old bikes have issues? Read on; we’ll wake you to the three most common problems with the Honda Dream 305!
1. Wobbling; Swing Arm Bearings Need Replacement
Dream 305 riders chat quite a bit about the rigid frame and how obnoxious the speed wobbles are. What doesn’t get brought up enough is the culprit.
Now, this may not be the case in all situations—read on for a fork issue that can also cause wobbling, particularly at the front end.
That said, more than a few Honda Dreamers I encountered into the forums were able to improve the quality of their ride by tracing the wobbling back to worn swing arm bearings.
If your Honda Dream is exhibiting a wobble, especially if you feel it’s getting worse, inspecting the swingarm bearing is a logical first step.
- You’ll need a centre stand or a lift to hold the back wheel off the ground. Note: Use a lift or stand that doesn’t hold the swingarm in place.
- Grab the ends of your Dream 305’s swingarm and shake it up and down and back and forth.
- While shaking the swingarm, feel for the clear sensation of bearing resistance.
- Now bounce the bike’s rear up and down to see if the swingarm moves without resistance.
- If you suspect your swingarm bearings are worn in there, you’ll have to uninstall the real wheel and shock absorber to feel how the swingarm moves.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t necessarily indicative of any flaw in the Dream’s design; swingarm bearings don’t last forever on any bike, and we’re talking about a series of bikes that went out in 1969 here, after all.
That said, owner maintenance and riding habits significantly impact the longevity of parts like swingarm bearings.
Even brand new bearings wouldn’t last a year if the previous owner stored the bike out in the rain for months on end.
In short, it’s not enough to replace your swingarm bearings and hope the Dream’s wobble goes away. You have to perform routine maintenance according to Honda’s recommended service intervals—this includes the greasing and inspection of your Dream’s swingarm bearings.
Chances are it’s just been a while since they’ve been replaced. The leading cause of swingarm bearing damage is water corrosion; keep those bearings greased and your Dream clean and protected from harsh weather, and your new bearings could last until the bike’s a hundred, who knows!
2. Front Fork Gets Jammed
As I mentioned above, front fork trouble is another Dream rider-reported cause of wobbling, particularly at the front end.
The Honda Dream 305 has a unique fork design; it’s one of the first things you notice when looking at the bike. Unfortunately, thanks to the corrosion on the aluminum for tubes, the tubes on the Honda Dream 305 tend to get jammed down into the triple tree clamps on the lower fork.
How to Release a Stuck Front Fork on a Honda Dream:
- Spread a heavy-duty penetrating oil or lubricant onto the lower fork and triple tree clamp.
- Wedge a flathead screwdriver, or something with a similar prying potential, into the space where the fork tube is bolted to the clamp. If you need to use a little force to wedge that sucker in there, do so carefully, at a gentle pace.
- Remove the top aluminum for bridge.
- Remove the clamp and fork oil cap and screws. Slip a lengthy 10mm bolt into the tube and rap on the bolt’s head with a rubber mallet to push the fork tube down and out of the clamp; use player if you need extra grip to work the tube through. That said, don’t use a lot of force on the tube, and don’t use any gripping tool in the place where the fork tube slides through, as you risk causing deformations.
- That said, one Dream home mechanic reiterates that a clamp or a channel locks just below the place where the triple tree clamp meets the fork tube can be effective.
- Once you’ve got it popped free, clean the tube of all rust and corrosion and buff out any spurs from both the tube and fork before reinstalling the fork tube.
- Reinstall the fork using the spec bolt lengths, particularly on the drain hole, to avoid fork-slider damage.
- The lower fork axel holder is fastened with 2 bolts each, with a lock and flat washer. You want the tall part facing the front. Tighten the front bolt first on each side of the fork, then tighten the short end until it’s snug. The axel should now be completely fastened into place.
We had you clean all that corrosion off for a reason—that’s the culprit for the stuck fork problem on the Honda Dream. Fork oil has come a long way since the 60s; once you’ve got your forks unstuck and cleaned up, use some high-grade, Honda-suggested fork oil to keep the fork slip-sliding and rust-free.
3. Carb Trouble: Adjustment or Rebuild Required
Another unfortunate byproduct of riding a vintage bike is carburetor problems, even if it’s a Honda Dream. The simple fact is that carb maintenance is a fact of ownership for oldies-but-goldies like one of the earliest race bikes around. So, without further hesitation;
How to Adjust the Carb on a Honda Dream 305:
- Your Dream’s air/fuel ratio is regulated by three components: the air jet screw, the jet needle (and its relative position), and the main carb jet. First things first, these main jets need to be changed at higher altitudes, meaning if you’re riding cross-country on a Honda Dream, you’re going to have to carry some spare jets.
- #135 is the standard jet to be used on the Honda Dream 305
- Use Jet #130 between 2,500-4,000 feet above sea level.
- Use either #125 or #125 once you’re higher that 5,000 feet, depending on how much higher.
- Some riders carry spare jets holders with jets already set up therein while they travel on carbureted bikes like the Dream, in order to swap the jets out more efficiently on the side of the road.
- If swapping your jets out doesn’t improve your bike’s waiting performance, read on for more troubleshooting.
- While your Dream’s Main Jet regulates the overall fuel mix throughout the RPM band, the Jet Needle and are Screw effect your ratio at the low to mid ranges of engine performance.
- If your Dream is running noticeably rich in the lower and middle range, you can “lean it” by lowering the needle further down into the throttle valve and unscrewing the jet air screw. Note: Note the original position of the throttle valve and lower the needle one notch at a time.
If the engine still runs rich, you’ve either got to replace that main jet or clean out your carb. Or, you have an air leak somewhere.
Another possible carb-related cause of lapses in the Honda Dream’s engine performance could be the jet needles; they might be out of synch.
Synching the jet needles on a Honda Dream is as straightforward of a process as in any other old vintage cafe:
- Drain the float bowls.
- Drop the bowls and remove the needle jet holder at the base.
- You’ll see the needles sticking through the bottom of the jet holder; you want them to move in synch, as in they should be moving up and down on the same plane while you’re inspecting them through the base. Adjust accordingly.
- Use the Air Jet Screw to adjust the jet needle’s synchronization.
Note: All carb adjustments should be made by capable home mechanics with proper tools and accommodations, as it dramatically alters the engine performance. Conducting car adjustments without appropriate knowledge or understanding of the fuel/air ratio and the process can cause more significant problems down the road.
Another adjustment that might optimize your Honda Dream’s performance is the synchronization of the carb’s floats. This is a complicated process done by calibrating the float’s engagement point, the distance between where the float touches the base of the float valve and the bottom of the carb body.
Honda makes a unique tool for adjusting the float level of the Dream’s carb; once again, there’s no shame in taking your collector’s item to a Vintage-Honda-specialized mechanic to ensure the carb gets cleaned and adjusted. They can also show you how to change your jets on the fly while traveling to higher altitudes.
General Pros and Cons of Honda Dream
Here are some general pros and cons of Honda Dream:
- Fun to ride
- Collector’s item
- Can be fixed up and sold at a high price on the vintage collector’s moto-market
- Historical build and influential engineering
- Long-lasting if well-kept
- Wobbling; Swing Arm Bearings Need Replacement
- Front Fork Gets Jammed
- Carb Trouble: Adjustment it Rebuild Required
What Do the Reviews Say?
Bumped up to 305cc, the same engine was introduced to North America in the CA76 Dream in 1959. There were, in fact, several different versions of the 247cc and 305cc Dreams imported that year, but none in very great numbers.
The dry sump CA76 lasted a single year, replaced in 1960 with the CA77 Dream Tourer. Honda updated the CA77 with a wet sump engine and also offered a 247cc CA72. Both the 247cc and 305cc Dreams used a 360-degree crankshaft, meaning the twin pistons rise and fall simultaneously, but fire alternately. Fuel and air mixed in a single 22mm Keihin carburetor, and exhaust left the robust cylinder head via dual-wall header pipes before exiting through mufflers equipped with removable baffles. The 305cc twin was rated at 24 horsepower at 8,000rpm.
Dreams produced from 1960 to 1963 are called “early” models, while machines built from 1963 to 1969 are dubbed “late” models. Differences between early and late are few. Visually, the shape of the gas tank changed, but the rectangular rear shock absorber upper covers and the square headlight nacelle, complete with speedometer, remained. Over its production run, Dream specifications continued virtually unchanged.
Honda built a surprising number of offshoot models based on the Dream, including the CSA77 Dream Sport; a 305cc Dream equipped with a high-level exhaust system to distinguish it from the Tourer.
What’s the Resale Value of a Honda Dream?