In '72 it was still the CB500, right? I almost bought one when I got out of the Nav in '71.
If it's a CB350 I wouldn't give more than $300-400. CB350s were designed and built as cheap throwaway motorcycles. As a typical Japanese multi, it is reliable but atrociously expensive to rebuild once it wears out.. Old Hondas are best thrown away. Or you buy 3 or 4 of the same bike so you can keep one running. Sort of like you had to do with brand new AMF Harleys.
I guess in your case you buy a couple dozen CB350s. Then you can keep them running for years. If anyone would want to.
No no. Not crack. My ex-brother-in-law gave me a well thrashed CB350 twin years ago. Another friend asked me to sell his old thrashed CB350 when he was suddenly transfered to another town. Both bikes (they were WELL used, like 40,000 miles used) were pretty pathetic and the costs of new engine parts (valves, guide, carb boots,pistons, etc) were far more than the bikes could ever have been sold for.
That's generally been my experience with old Japanese multis. Engine rebuilds are exceedingly costly.
Look at the sticker on the headstock (the part of the frame that holds the bearings that the fork rotates on); it will tell you the exact day Honda cranked it out. Square gauges? Late 70's. Round gauges? Not a CB650.
My first street bike: '71 CB350. Rode it through college (year round in Kansas), and had a blast. Totally pinned, it would indicate a buzzy, frantic 90 mph with my 180lb ass in a full tuck.
Caveats: I paid $350 for it ( a fair price for both buyer and seller), put in new points, plugs, and battery, and rode the snot out of it. Sold it after three years of oil tight, tireless service for $500. For comparison, my rommate's brand new Sportster (1998), leaked oil from day one. No worries, the mechanic said they all do that...
The drum brakes on old bikes suck. If you guys live in an urban area with intense traffic, get your wife a newer bike with real brakes. Honda Hawk, Kawasaki Zephyr 550 (watch for oil leaks), EX500, Buell Blast. Some great suggestions have already been made. Any of these (well, not the Hawk in San Francisco, nor the Blast), can regularly be found for under $2000 in decent shape. Just ride until you're bored, then step up a bit. I'm currently an MZ Skorpion Sport Cup with a 660cc single and plan to take a few more steps before GSXR1000.....
If you guys love the nostalgic look of the 70's faux Triumph Bonneville Japanese stuff, pay as little as possible, freshen the rubber and fluids, and have a great time, just at a mellow pace. All old bikes need are smooth, easy inputs and regular basic maintenance to remain trusty friends for years. Pass on a fixer-upper though; parts are rediculous for most.
Geeezzzeee - do a little shopping, get something smaller for learning. Cycle trader has over 80,000 bikes listed....... a CB 650 is nothing special that price is way high. Once you get into riding you can always trade up.... go slow, enjoy but let your neighbor keep the CB......
Turns out it's a 1981 CB650. After I sent in the questions, I did some snooping around, and the year didn't make sense to me either. The seller changed his sign to the right year as well. I took the bike for an other ride, and it starts vibrating through the handlebars right at freeway speeds. Also, he won't come down on his price much, so I think I am going to skip on this one, even though it is in great shape.