Showing posts with label Honda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honda. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Nate's Burly CB - PopBang Honda Cafe Racer

This little Honda CB400F ended up with me after an impulse buy at the Mudgeeraba swap meet in Queensland. After a bit of haggling, I handed over $350 and it was mine. It was reasonably stock other that a rattle can paint job on the tank with bashed in knee wells. The motor had been pulled out and the top end lifted off, but it was all there. I got it back to my workshop, basically stuck it up on the mezzanine and forgot about it. It wasn't until a couple of big burly looking fellas came in wanting me to build a couple of bikes for them and asked what I had. All I had was a CX500 in a million pieces and this 1974 CB400f project. They argued over who would get which one and the one that ended up choosing the CB was none other than NRL superstar and just general legend Nate Myles.

Obviously Honda's little 400 four isn't the biggest bike around. So the plan was to make it larger while retaining its original proportions. The rear of the frame was cut off at the back bone and swing arm mounts and a raised floating seat section with mono shock mount was fabbed up to replace it. The swing arm was extended 50mm, bracing for the mono shock was welded in and the shock from a late model Triumph holds it all together. I then found a really nice Ducati Monster front end that had the perfect dimensions for this project. The neck of the frame had to be dropped about 20mm lower so the Ducati top clamp could sit closer to the bikes tank.

The bikes tank and tail are modified versions of a fibreglass Cafe Racer kit I make for the CB400f with a 3" longer tank. On this one I added knee wells, scallops to accommodate the Ducati triple trees, a flush mounted pop up cap and I separated the seat from the tail section. Carbon fibre strips were also added down the back bone of the tank and tail for additional strength and aesthetics. Once it was all mocked up with a set of clip-on handlebars the bike was looking much more aggressive.

Nate came in to try it out for size. I have to admit, I was a little scared it was still going to be too small, especially when he stood next to it. But once he sat in the saddle it fit him like a glove. I then had to think about moving this bulk of a man along at a reasonable pace.

The motor was fully rebuilt with a Yoshimura style big bore kit, Dyna ignition, freshly rebuilt carbs wearing K&N filters and lots of new internal parts. I made the custom exhaust out of stainless steel including the mufflers. Each side is made out of 22 pieces welded together. They give the bike a mean super bike sound, but it doesn't pierce your ear drums. You could say it sounds a lot bigger than what it is.

To keep it sticking to the road a 17" x 5" rim was polished up and laced to the original rear hub. The front wheel however, was a little more complex, and soon became my favourite part of the bike. It's a CBX550 twin ventilated inboard disc brake hub. It took me forever to find it. It had to come out of England and it was a mess. I completely rebuilt it and smoothed the outer plates of any unwanted excess. As these hubs were originally mounted to an ugly ComStar style rim I had to CAD design the two rings that bolt onto the hub to adapt it to spokes. I had it water jet cut, machined the taper and countersunk all the holes. It was then laced to an Excell 18" x 3.5" rim with stainless spokes. Both rims were wrapped in Pirelli Angel GT rubber

Then it was time to add all the fancy bits. It's running a 4" GPS speedo/tacho custom made by SpeedHut in the states . It was sunk into the 7" headlight that's mounted using custom stainless brackets and wrapped with a one off stainless grill. It also has customised hydraulic brake and clutch masters with hidden reservoirs. Flush mount handle bar switches, CAD designed, one off foot controls, custom polished linkages, stainless steel etched logo on the points cover, keyless ignition system, custom made tail lights, custom made seat trimmed by Hotel & Club Decor in Burleigh, hidden AntiGravity Battery, wiring run through the frame and electrics hidden under the seat in a custom flush mount box.

I was given strict orders that the bike had to be maroon, so I found a deep burgundy to keep it classic,  adding in a little modern flare with layered graphics on the side including Nate's state of origin number and the iconic Honda wings. The real carbon fibre on top was outlined in an off white and cleared over. The motor, brake plates and master cylinders where all painted a custom mix of pewter and satin cleared to mix it up a bit. The frame was totally smoothed over and freshly coated in gloss 2 pack black.

At the beginning of the build I had convinced Nate we'd end up with a 70's styled street fighter, and I think that's what he got. It was a huge project and I want to thank Nate for putting up with how long it took me to finish! Hopefully there's another project between us  down the track!

First read on www.returnofthecaferacers

Story by Justin Holmes

Photography  by Kenny Smith

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Honda CB550 – Old Empire Motorcycles

The ever-useful Wikipedia notes that the ‘Ripon’, or ‘Blackburn T.5 Ripon’ to use its correct name, was a ‘British carrier-based torpedo bomber and reconnaissance biplane which first flew in 1926.’ Naming their creations after Britain’s rich aviation history has become quite the thing with Norfolk’s Old Empire Motorcycles, as has creating bloody amazing custom bikes, and drinking cups of tea. And rest assured, this one is no exception to the rule. You may know it as a Honda CB550, but they know it by another name…
Alec Sharp, one half of OEM’s dream team, fills us in on the details. “The Ripon build started when we were approached by a customer who had seen some of our previous work and decided that our take on a 4 cylinder café-brat was the order of the day. A large capacity engine was not needed and the opportunity came up to purchase a ’79 CB550 which was promptly stripped and the surgery began.”
In terms of fabrication, Alec notes that it was a complex build. The engine-mounted parts of the frame stayed pretty much stock, however the entire rear subsection was removed and spliced into a bespoke frame and cowling, inside of which they then integrated the necessary LED lights an wiring.
“We had to break out the set square and protractor set for the suspension, as we ended up removing the rear shocks entirely. It was decided that there was plenty of room under the engine for a pull-type shock, so we duly obtained a second-hand Buell unit, created a jig on the bench and began extending the frame. Various other modifications were made to the front end of the frame and the swingarm to accommodate the new shock and damper unit. After many trials and tweaks, we got it bang on and couldn’t be more chuffed with the overall classic, uncluttered look it now possesses.”
In the tinware department, the tank was shimmied forward and knee scallops were added to stay in keeping with the classic ‘Empire Style’ the boys have become renown for. The front cowling was hand rolled from sheet steel and tidily integrates the headlight with the clocks and ignition barrel.
“As always, we started with the running gear, as this can greatly affect or even define the rest of the build. The front and rear wheels were replaced with 19’’ aluminium rims and fully rebuilt with stainless spokes, vapour blasted hubs and wrapped with some classic Coker rubber.”
At the sharp end you’ll find a stock set of forks that have been fully rebuilt and lowered right down with a rework of the internals to house a custom set of super stiff shocks from Hagon, along with a heavy-weight fork oil. They also decided to upgrade the braking system by opting for a twin disc set up rather than the standard single. “A note of caution to others,” says Alec. “We thought it was a simple case of just bolting on another caliper and disc; it most definitely wasn’t.”
“Our own aluminium clip-ons were fabricated, vapour blasted and rebuilt alongside the control units and levers and then finished with our laser-cut leather grips. We wanted a ‘cockpit’ looking dash, so we opted for twin Koso units and remounted a simple ignition barrel between them. LED indicators were mounted discreetly front and back and tied into our one-off loom that featured all upgraded or renewed components tied into the new Shorai battery which sits in a tidy leather satchel along with the starter relay.”
The engine had previously had the barrels honed and new rings installed, so they went about upgrading the usual weakest links in the chain; namely new seals, gaskets, a rewound generator and electronic ignition. The old lump was then soda blasted, repainted, the cases were vapour blasted and the fins polished to get what seems to be a fantastic-looking little engine.
“The exhausts, although simple, took quite some time to figure out. Initially we wanted high-level pipes, but in reality it would be a choice between high pipes or calf muscles so we installed them low, tucked neatly along the sides. They are just long enough to make it run nicely but short enough to give it some real bark.”
They matched the leather grips at the front with their “universal adjustable leather foot controls” which were made as rear-sets and mounted on two curved struts that have been carefully integrated into the stock frame. Everything was then connected up with stainless linkages and rose joints.
“Eventually we replaced the standard Buell shock for a completely custom-made unit from AST suspension, which has fully adjustable dampening and preload settings – meaning we could fine-tune the ride perfectly.”
“Finishing-wise, we enlisted the help of our specialist painter Greg from Black Shuck Kustoms to work alongside side us in creating the look we wanted. Safe to say the deep, smokey blue with gold highlights isperfect in every way. Everything else was powder coated black, vapour blasted or plated to get things looking suitably distinguished.”
Four pipes, and a bespoke suspension setup. Jolly good
Leather seems to be quite an important finish to all the OEM builds, and clearly that trend continues here. They’ve tied the grips and pegs in nicely with the leather battery satchel and the diamond stitched brown leather seat. All reports from the nether regions of the lads confirm our suspicions – it’s comfy as.
“After assembly, we were a little apprehensive to see if the shock would work as we intended it to, but we are proud to say that it functions flawlessly. It’s such a satisfying thing to see working and it keeps the whole bike super clean at the back and really ‘chunks’ up the main body of the bike giving it a vastly more aggressive stance.”
Rafe takes the Ripon out for a quick afternoon torpedo run
And there we have it. Another great build by the proud boys from Norfolk. We’re scared to think just how many cups of tea were downed in the making of this beast. So if you like what you see, and you like tea, make sure and check out their YouTube channel. It’s not half bad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put the kettle on.
[Photos by Vaughan Treyvellan]
First published by

Friday, October 2, 2015

Honda CB750 by Vibrazioni Art Design

The Honda CB750 has become the go-to bike for customization. It has been chopped and molded into countless cafe racers, scramblers and some cycles we’re not even so sure about. Most of us here at Selectism are not gear heads — but we find redeeming qualities in aesthetics. That’s where this beautiful custom CB750 comes into play.Meet Vibrazioni Art Design, an Italy-based boutique firm with a knack for creating pieces like furniture from repurposed branded oil barrels. Their latest endeavor is this reworked CB750 featuring original logos from Pennzoil.

First published by http://gascapkustom.

The Pursuit of Perfection: Eastern Spirit’s CX500

Three years ago, Poland’s Eastern Spirit Garage exploded onto the custom scene with one of the best Honda CX500s ever built. Its immaculate lines even inspired automotive designer Charlie Trelogan to write a hugely popular guide, How To Build A Cafe Racer. Lukas and Sylwester from Eastern Spirit are now back with another Honda CX500, and it’s even better than the first. It’s a little less raw, a little more detailed, and drop-dead gorgeous.

“I enjoy building ‘classic’ looking bikes,” Sylwester tells us, “so most of the technical elements are original, but with modern touches.” The beautifully proportioned lines of this machine are in direct opposition to Sylwester’s background: Like Guy Martin, he’s spent much of his career working on monster Scania trucks.

But he also spent his teens tweaking Polish WSK and WFM mopeds, and building karts with Honda CBR engines. And the years of engineering experience are clear to see.
This Honda CX500 is a 1978 bike, lowered by eight centimeters. The suspension has been stiffened up with new springs and oil, but the ground clearance is still ample. “With the improved center of gravity it handles way better, and corners much faster,” says Sylwester.

New triple clamps tidy up the front end, and there’s a cleaner dashboard to match—with twin compact gauges and ‘idiot lights’ set into the front edge of the top clamp.
The tank has been reshaped and set level, removing the awkward slope from the original. It sits flush with a new rear frame: nothing fancy here, just clean lines and a classic humped seat unit with a diagonal support underneath.
If you need to carry a passenger, there’s a two-up seat that is an easy ten-minute job to switch.

The distinctive Honda CX500 central down tube remains, but it’s much less noticeable, and is now flanked by a pair of cone filters. The engine has been completely refreshed, and a new cam chain and tensioner fitted—a common wear issue with the overhead valve, liquid-cooled v-twin.
To keep the CX500 humming sweetly along, there’s also a new clutch, new brakes with metal braided hoses, and a brand new wiring loom.

The exhaust headers have been fashioned from an acid-resistant, high alloy stainless steel. They’re bent to match the original shape, but terminated with blacked-out reverse cone mufflers.
We love the simplicity of the black-and-white color scheme too. The ungainly clutter of the standard CX500 has all gone: this is truly the ugly duckling transformed into a swan. Eastern Spirit Garage Facebook | Instagram | Images by Mateusz Stankiewicz
first published

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Channelling Tron: the ultimate café fighter kit

Huge Moto will turn your CBR1000RR into a Tron-style café fighter

A few months ago, Bill Webb’s Honda CBR1000RR almost melted our servers. The ‘café fighter’ conversion became one of the most popular bikes we’ve ever shown. Bill’s an industrial designer by trade, and he hinted at a short production run of parts. That day has thankfully come, and the kit will soon be on sale.

The bike you see here is running the complete kit, which costs $2,999 and is available for pre-order now. The caveat: Bill needs $75,000 of orders before going into production.

Seventy-five large sounds like a lofty aim, but that’s only 25 kits. And there are literally thousands of post-2008 CBR1000RRs on the road in the US alone. The Huge Moto café fighter kit includes extremely sexy hardware: the levers, headlight and that extraordinary tail unit. Plus the bikini fairing, and mounts to relocate the ignition and speedometer.

To put that into perspective, a pair of adjustable CBR1000RR rearsets can set you back over $400. And you can easily spend the same amount on adjustable levers from any reputable aftermarket brand.

If you just want the Tron-style tail unit, it’s yours for a dollar under two grand. That package includes billet aluminum seat-stays, an aluminum subframe with red ABS shell, the seat, and a taillight with integrated turn signals.

Folks who have basic mechanical and wiring skills will be able to install the kit themselves. If you don’t have the tools or inclination, Huge Moto will do a turnkey job for $6,000 all up.

The NADA average retail price for a 2008-model CBR is just under $8,000. So for $11,000—plus a few evenings in the garage—you could build one of the most traffic-stopping customs around. And the bike will go as fast as it looks. Check out the Huge Moto Indiegogo page here.
Huge Moto | Instagram | Twitter | With thanks to Paulo Rosas of Pagnol Moto
Huge Moto will turn your CBR1000RR into a Tron-style café fighter
Full Size

first published by

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Super sano: Heiwa’s slammed Honda CB500T

The Japanese custom scene is known for playing by its own rules. Builds from the land of the rising sun have an unconventional style that’s hard to define—and even harder to replicate. Break through the mystique, and you’ll find shops like Heiwa at the forefront. Based in Hiroshima and headed up by Kengo Kimura, Heiwa’s bikes epitomize the Japanese aesthetic and uncompromising levels of craftsmanship.

So when this sublime Honda CB500T popped up in our news feed, we scrambled to get in touch with Kimura-san to get the low-down on the build. Heiwa tweaked the 1974 CB’s stance by lowering the front forks and fitting a set of shorter rear shocks. The back of the frame was cut down and tweaked to hold the new, custom-made tail section.

The seat’s also a one-off, as are the side covers and the lithe gas tank. To carry through the Honda’s new lines, Heiwa fabricated a new, stainless steel exhaust system—rerouting both pipes to the same side.

Heiwa manufacture a few select parts for sale to the public; the handlebars and taillight were cherry-picked from their catalog for this project. The new headlight’s particularly interesting: it’s an old Lucas fog light, mounted sideways on an asymmetrical bracket.

Other add-ons include Amal grips, and a small speedo mounted in front of the triple clamp.
The CB500T twin motor was in good nick and didn’t need much work. Heiwa ditched the airbox, fitted a pair of aftermarket filters and got stuck into the wiring. The wheels were refinished in black, and fitted with vintage looking Avon SM Mark IIs.

The Hatsukaichi paint shop Six Shooter applied the Honda’s new colors. At first, it seems like a pretty straightforward white scheme—but a closer look will reveal delicate silver leaf pinstriping.
It’s those little details that give this CB500T an effortless, understated charm. And it’s good to see that Kengo Kimura is still at the top of the game.
Heiwa Motorcycle | Facebook | Instagram
Clean aesthetics and uncompromising craftsmanship: a custom Honda CB500t by Heiwa.
Full Size

First published on