Best 20 Honda cafe racers of 2015 (CX500, CB750, CB750F & MORE)

Honda-CB650-Cafe-Racer 1) Leatherhead Honda CB650
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This Honda cafe racer is called the LeatherHead – you can probably guess why. With many interesting leather accents, the creator, Oscar, ran into some issues with his original bike choice. Initially it was a Honda CB750, but the motor design was not what he was looking for. So he decided to change the bike, rather than his vision.

After selling his Honda CB750 he picked up this 1980 Honda CB650, which could be referred to as the “little brother” of his original Honda.  That was when he meet Tärnsjö Tannery. Unintentionally he started talking about motorcycles and fell in love with the work she was doing to leather. Inspired, and loving the look of the warm leather with cold steel and aluminum, he started thinking about how he could combine his café racer with his newfound love of leather to fulfil his vision.

Soon after, he accidently met with Helena Engström, a saddler who lives in Stockholm. She gave him the solution for attaching the leather onto the bike. Being incredibly passionate about what she does, she was able to help out immensely. For the rest of the build a lot of work and planning went into the rear end of this Honda cafe racer.

Oscar wanted the cafe racer seat to be one with the lines of the frame. It took him three attempts to perfect the shape, while also mounting a taillight directly into the frame for a clean look. Some other custom work that was done on this Honda includes the wiring harness and the battery box, which are both nicely hidden away from view.

 

2)Cognito Moto CB550
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Cognito-Moto-CB550

This bike has to be my personal favorite; not only do I own a Cb550, but this is an amazing example of one. When Devin Henriques posted a Craigslist add. He was just looking to buy a frame but when a man from West VA replied back to him his plan changed. He had a whole Honda CB550 that had been sitting for many years. After talking some numbers they settled on $260, and the building starts.

This was where the rebuilding process started. After striping the bike down. Devin started re shaping the rear end to give it a more aggressive stance. He then added a Dime City Cycles seat, but shortened it 2 inches before installing it. The stock gas tank had to go because the lines did not work for Devin; he went with a CB500T gas tank instead.

The GSX-R front end also looks great on this bike; not only is it a better look, but it gives the bike more stability and performance upgrades. Now usually when people install the GSX-R fork they leave the stock rim on it. But Devin went the extra mile and made a custom hub to be able to fit the laced rim on there with the GSX-R breaks.

The motor received a full rebuild and powdercoat. The frame was also powdercoated into a flat black. The electric starter was removed and the bike was just left with the kick starter.

 

3) MADE IN AUSTRALIA: GLORY ROAD’S CB750K
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cb750k cafe racer

This beautiful cafe racer was built in the heart of Adelaide Australia by Tom Harrison, the owner of Glory Road Motorcycles. Though this is the first cafe racer built at the shop, he has much experience in the field. Starting wrenching at the age of 17, he eventually acquired enough skill and experience to handle the fabrication of almost everything alone.  The only things he now outsources are the trim and the paint.

Tom’s first Honda CB750 k was a wreck, so he took it to his shop and began the rebuilding process, with alterations and improvements. The fuel tank is stock but the rear end is not. Tom decided to bend and shape sheet metal into a unique looking tail piece, while underneath the leather seat lies the electricals of the bike and the new oil tank

He also installed a row of Keihin CR carbs with K&N filters at their ends. The engine also received some attention, being fitted with an 830cc Piston kit and a new cam shaft. The rest of the motor was water blasted and put back together. The exhaust on this bike is a bit special; Tom bent the stainless steel to make it flow well with the frame, and hand rolled the muffler itself. The forks at the front of the bike were lowered and secured by CNC Milled aluminum triple clamps, with clip on handlebars attached. To finish off the front, Tom added a chrome headlight held by custom mounts. In the near future the tires will be replaced by Avons.

 

4)Benjies cafe racer Honda XR400R
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Honda Cafe racer

When the guys at Benjie’s cafe racers got this Honda XR 400r the bike was tired and had been used as a commuter bike. The gas tank was swollen and the plastic was just giving up. On the bright, side the bike was owned by a performance junkie, who installed some 450cc pistons, high lift cams and Excel wheels. Right from the start the guys knew they wanted to have a lighter front end on the bike. So they went with the earlier CBR600s front end, but when they wanted to install the front end in such a way that they would be able to switch to the other front end whenever they wanted.
If you haven’t noticed yet this gas tank is not a Honda gas tank. The guys wanted to make this bike stand out a little more, so they went the extra mile and made their own tear drop gas tank, completing it with a polished mirror finish.
This Honda also carries a nice color combination throughout; from the pinstripes on the gas tank, or the aluminum LED housing on the tracker tail end, to the custom front end number plate.

 

5) Brady Young’s Honda CB750 F
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Bradys honda cafe racer

The original plan for this bike was very simple; Brady Young just wanted to freshen up the 1980 Honda CB750 F. He wanted to clean it up and give it some paint. Now, what happened was different. When Brady was working on the bike and started assembling the rear shocks, he really did not like the way they sat, and the idea of giving the bike a mono shock came to mind. That was where the idea of building a bike started. Brady then sat down and figured out what he wanted out of the bike.

He started by installing the mono shock from a ZR750 that was laying around. Installing the shock raised the bike so they lowered it 1.5 inches with a fork brace added. Now that the rear end was getting cleaned up, Brady decided to hide as much as he could under the gas tank. In order to get it all to fit, custom brackets were added and raised the tank slightly.

The motor was not abandoned ether; Brady installed some uni filters and a 4 into 1 exhaust with a reverse cone muffler. This created another dilemma where they would now make more power than the clutch could handle, so upgraded plates and springs where installed. Brady also said that one of the hardest parts of this whole build was coming up with the right color for the bike; after much thought he decided to go with the desert tan with gloss black accent. I personally think the paintjob looks amazing on the bike.

 

6) URBAN SCRAMBLER: CAIMAN’S HONDA CX500
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caiman-honda-cx500

Because this bike was going to be ridden in the rougher parts of South Africa it had to be purpose built; that’s where the Honda CX500 would be the best motorcycle for the build. When Caiman Urban ‘n Dirt acquired it they wanted to go with an earthy and rugged feel to fit the part. The CX already had a great foundation and a frame that lends itself to modifications, so Walter decided to change the tank and front end. What they did change was the rear shock set up, with the bike now running a mono shock from a Yamaha YZ250 with an upgraded spring. The sub frame is now shorter and painted brown. Now under the seat everything is also cleaned up. All the electronics on the bike are now hidden under the handmade skid plate, and there are also a pair of blacked out reverse one mufflers on both sides of the bike. The tires on this Honda scrambler don’t only look good, but are very practical for the longer travels in Joburg.

 

7) Roast Moto Honda CX500
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CX500 honda cafe racer

This bike is the Roast Moto 005 bike, the 1980 Honda CX500 that the guys built.  Is a blend of modern performance and vintage styling. When buying the Honda the guys had to visit the owner a number of times because of trouble starting the engine. Unfortunately they weren’t able to get it started, so they took it back to the shop with hopes that it was nothing serious. After cleaning the bike, tearing it down, and doing some engine work the cx500 was up and running.

The frame was then shortened and all the unnecessary tabs and brackets were simply removed. The frame was then layered a classic gloss black, with the wheels in hot pursuit. They got a semi-gloss black, just to give the bike a few different tones of black. The gas tank was shipped off to Tennessee where Zidekahedron took 3 months to paint this unique pattern on it.

Now for some performance parts we have the upgraded aluminum Mishimoto Radiator that allows for almost twice the volume of the stock radiator. The carbs were also upgraded to a pair of Mikuni Carbs. On the other end we see the Yoshumura silencer that gives the bike a deep raw undertone. The wiring on this bike was cleaned up well with a motogadget m-unit along with the mini switches on the handle bars. Now to power the electrical on this bike the bike has an anti gravity 8-cell lithium battery.

 

8) CUSTOMS BY FRANK – HONDA CB450
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cb400 hondacafe racer

This is a beautiful example of a 1971 Honda CB 450. The builder of this bike is Frank and he has a true passion for motorcycles. He started off very young on the back of his father in law’s Ducati, and that was where the passion was born. When Frank decided to build this Honda cafe racer he wanted to build something with two cylinders. He really likes the look of the twin engines that Honda makes. They have great flowing lines and they sounds great. Now for the gas tank, Frank went with a CB500t because of how well the lines would transition into his cafe racer seat made by Miller Kustom upholstery.

The rest of the bike is just as great. The spoke wheels with the fat tires really give the bike a vintage look. The round headlight is positioned to flow well with the gas tank of the bike, and, as you can see, every line on this bike is there with a purpose. Together they come together to make one beautiful bike; even the paint job has racing lines. The lines where inspired by old school Porsches. The exhaust is of a CBR1000RR that sounds amazing. Frank usually takes one project at a time and pour in all of his passion and time into it to get it exactly how he envisioned it.

 

9)Nils Customs Honda CB550
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Nils Honda CB550

This bike is built by a 28 year old German bike builder. He started building and riding bikes from an early age of  15 up to 24. He has owned bikes ranging from 50cc all the way up to 1050cc, and has always liked working on bikes, but more of the parts that he would install were just off the shell parts. He wanted to build a bike to his liking with his hands – That’s when he bought the busted up Honda CB550. The CB550 was in bad condition when he bought it. It had an orange frame with a white gas tank. The Engine was not running and the bike came without a key or documents.

The plan was to build a bike that appeared flat and low and had a cafe racer seat that was as slim as possible. That was the plan of the build. This was not going to be an authentic cafe racer. This was just going to be the bike that Nils liked riding. The first step was taking the bike apart and getting it running again. After a run to the local shop, and swapping out the broken parts the motor was alive again. The frame was next, a powder coated to black. The wheels where replaced and the forks where painted. Then, he wrapped the rims in some vintage styled Avon rubber. All of the alloy parts where polished like the brake calipers, brake arms, engine side covers and so on. Then the carburetors where rebuilt along with the wiring system.

Some pod filters where added along with adjusting the carburetors. A pair of clip-on handle bars were added and a different headlight attached. The break system is from a CBR600 witch gave it two discs instead of one. The triple tree was also replaced with a simpler one. At this time Niel found the perfect orange gas tank and made the rear end section. He then lowered the bike about 40mm.

 

10) SACHA LAKIC’S CX500 CAFE RACER
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cx500-cafe-racer

This is a bike that has received lots of attention on the internet ever since it was created by Sacha Lakic; For those of you who don’t know him he is an architectural designer who also runs a studio in Lexembourg, and likes to build bikes once In a while. When he first saw this bike at his friend’s shop he was interested in building a cafe racer, so that’s when he picked up the 1982 Honda CX500 and they started planning.

Sacha has always liked how the 80 degree v-twin looks, so when designing the bike he wanted to make sure to keep the rest of the bike was simple, And not to take away from the beautiful design of the motor. That’s not to say that the bike was not heavily modified; Sacha had straightened out the lines of the gas tank and the rear end. He also added a mono shock to minimize the attention to the rear. He had to reinforce the swing arm, but it worked out and looks great. The gas tank is actually stock; it was tilted forward about 10 degrees. The front forks are from a Ducati 851 and they are matched to fit the Öhlins unit in the rear.

The wheels on this bike are a pair of 17” Excel rims laced to custom hubs. The rubber on them are Dunlop spormax mutants. These tires are mostly designed for supermotard use. The breaks are Nissin calipers with Rizoma reservoir up top. The engine was fully rebuilt and received a nice black paint job with the lines polished out.

 

11) Timo’s 1973 HONDA CB350
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honda-cb350- cafe racer

This sweet little bike was built in the Arctic Circle, a place you wouldn’t think many people ever ride motorcycles. But that’s where Timo picked up this little Honda CB350. The reason he went with a CB350 as opposed to some other bikes that might take the weather easer is because he loves how small and simple the motor looks.

While Timo was building this cafe racer he found that one of the hardest things to do was to sneak into his school and use the workshop to fabricate parts for his bike, as this was prohibited by his school. Later he found out that one of the teachers also snuck into the work shop to build bike parts. When Timo first got the vintage motorcycle it was in the stock form, and he rode it that way for the first summer. When winter came around Timo decided he wanted to keep this bike but make it more his own, so he installed bored out pistons and rings. He also removed the starter and modified the exhaust. For the other, smaller, parts Timo used hand tools to make them. He prefers to handmake as many parts as he can.

 

12) THE BLACK: A STEALTHY HONDA CB350 FROM AUSTRALIA
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1971-honda-cb350

This beautiful cafe racer was built in Australia. It is a Honda CB350, which is usually not what comes to mind when one thinks of a cafe racer. This particular Honda was built by Sixty-Six Motorcycles, which is now located on the coast of Western Australia. This is not the first time Sixty-Six has built smaller displacement Hondas, so they definitely know what they are doing and how to make the bikes sing. The head mechanic, Paul, owns and races his own Honda CB350.

He knows these bikes inside out, and has the skill and knowledge to make them perform at their best. Since Paul is experienced with CB350 performance, the guys decided to build a bike and upgrade the air-cooled motor by adding dual Keihin carburetors rejetted to work with the K&N Filter. A change from their usual 12inch cones, they added an 18inch reverse cone. This change gives the Honda CB a desirable rumble without being loud enough to wake the neighbours.

Some other upgrades include stainless steel fenders, indicators from Posh, Tarozzi rearsets, and a vintage-style Daytona headlight and gauge combo. The rear shocks were also updated to a pair of Gazi shocks with a softer spring and light damping. These springs work well with the whole set up to give the rider great comfort and control in cornering. To add to the performance a pair of Avon AM26 Roadriders tires were also added.

 

13)“Red Sun” CB750 by 7seven Custom
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RedSun-honda-cb750 cafe racer

This bike began its life in 1982 as a Honda Cb750 Nighthawk, but when the guys at 7Seven Custom got their hands on it in 2006 they wanted to bring back an give it a vintage motorcycles look. At this point the bike was not running, and all of its parts were spread out amongst 4 boxes. This is usually not the best place to start, because it’s hard to tell whether all the parts are there, but they guys started with the motor rebuild anyway.

They installed new race pistons and the stock carburetors were tuned to suit the 4 into 1 exhaust and the pod filters. Then they cleaned up the appearance of the motor and dropped it back on the CB750. Firestone Champion Deluxe rubber was then wrapped around the murdered out ComStar rims and all new lighting was added to the Honda.

The wiring on this bike was cleaned up and hooked up to an all in one digital speedo, while the speedo was mounted to a set of Rethal Handle bars with brown BiltWell grips at the ends. Going along with the frame, the guys created a seat pan and then wrapped it in brown leather to work with the new fiery red paint job they had. The whole build took about 6 months, and now this Honda cafe racer is alive and running on the roads of Slovenia.

 

14) LEAN ‘N CLEAN: SLIPSTREAM CREATIONS’ HONDA CB360T
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honda cb360t cafe racer

James Fawcett is the creater of this beautiful 1976 Honda Cb360T, but bike building is not the only thing James is good at;he is also skilled at making furniture and painting bicycles. When James first got this Honda Cb it was already in good condtion, but he wanted to make it his own. Handling everything himself, other than the upholstery, his major modifications are as follows; an airbox delete and a pair of Mikuni VM30 carbs, with K&N filters and reverse cone mufflers to complete the engine modifications.

In addition to this, the wiring was upgraded, with a high-output charging system from Rick’s Motorsport Electrics, an electronic ignition from Honda specialist Charlie’s Place, and Dynatek coils. The cockpit was also slimmed down with some low rise bars, new grips, and a small speedo. The Cb360 features many other smaller modifications and additions which enhance its value. Such as the cloth-wrapped spark plug wires.

 

15) Max Hughes Double Barrel Garage CX500 “Spike”
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honda cafe racer cx500

When Max Hughes found this bike 3 years ago in non-running condition it was just a shadow of a 1981 Honda CX500. Ridden frequently, the previous owner said “the 70,000km on the clock was the second time he had seen that number!” Since then has Max replaced many parts and rebuilt the whole motor. He was able to mix and match parts from a number of variations of the CX500 to get the performance and look that he was going for. Max wanted to build a bike that he could go on adventures with.

The bike now has wheels from a 1982 CX500 with some detailed work done to them. The frame is an original 1981 model, and the motor is from a 1983 converted to run the CDI ignition. The front end is from a ’78, with the rotor from the European CX500 and caliper from CB900. The fuel tank is from a 1980 CX500. Most Max’s work on this bike, excluding the exhaust and candy red paintjob, was done out of his one car garage, usually at night after work.

Some of the custom parts on this bike include the 2 into 1 exhaust, a huge 9 inch headlight, the indicators and tail light. The battery was relocated under the back of the motor and the air box was done away with. At the end of the build Max likes the time that he spent on the small details, like drilling the wheels and adding LED Lights.

 

16) Catrina CB750 CafeTracker
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honda cafe racer

This sweet looking Honda scrambler was built in Guadalajara Mexico by Ricardo Meade of Catrina Motorcycles. The way this build started is also interesting; Ricardo was looking at some cool bike pictures on the internet and decided to not only build a custom bike, but to also to start a custom bike company.

This was about two years ago, when Ricardo picked up a 1971 Honda Cl350 and built the first Catrina #1. While he was working on the CL350 the guy that sold him the bike offered him a 1974 Honda CB750 with a non-running engine, which Recardo picked it up and put it in his garage for the next project. Then, one day a guy stopped by his shop, noticed the CB750 in the corner and then asked Ricardo if he could build this CB750 for him. Recardo agreed, only with the condition that he could make all of the design decisions.

Since the bike was stock and not running Recardo had a lot of work cut out for him. He started with rebuilding the engine and figuring out the wiring, using as many new Japanese parts as possible. Next were the carbs that were rebuilt, the rectifier and regulator which were updated, along with a combined regulator rectifier. Recardo also took care of the ignition system by upgrading it to a Dynatec Electronic ignition. They then cut the mufflers off and added high flow air filters.

After that, the frame was stripped completely and shaved as much as possible, while the center stand was removed and the rear end was tweaked a little to get the angle right. The front forks and rims are of a 1982 Honda CB750 with the double disk breaks up front. The triple tree holding the forks in place are of a Honda Interceptor, which was slightly modified to make it work. The clip-on handlebars are from a first gen Yamaha R6 and the headlight is from a 1984 Honda Shadow. The turn signals are of a 1992 Kawasaki ZX7.

Lots of the parts where handmade, including;the regulator base, seat pan, battery box and the motorcycle seat, for whichhe was able to reuse the foam from an old seat. Every nut and bolt was cleaned up, and the engine was painted with VHT engine enamel. The bike was originally orange, and Recardo decided to keep that color with the bike. Overall this bike looks great, and, as Recardo likes to call it, it’s truly a “Cafe Tracker”.

 

17) FROM SAFARI TO STREET: 66 MOTORCYCLES’ XR600
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xr600 honda cafe tracker

There are not too many motorcycles that can take on the Australian outback like the Honda XR600. This particular bike is a 1996 XR600; originally it was set up to tackle the Australasian Safari, but over the years the terrain took a toll on the Honda. When Sixty-Six Motorcycles got it the bike needed some TLC.

The first step to building this bike was finding a time appropriate gas tank that would match the lines. The guys decided to go with a Honda CB250 tank; to make the tank would work they had to modify the tunnel a little. They then tackled the sub frame. They wanted the lines of the rear end to flow well with the new Cb250 tank. They significantly slimmed down the sub frame, added a tan leather seat on top, and painted the sub frame black and the motor wrinkle black.

For the wheels they went with a pair of 17” SM pro Rims with some Shinko 705 Rubber. The rims are laced with Talon hubs, and the front forks have been lowered and rebuilt due to the smaller wheels. All of the electricals are nicely tucked away on this café racer; you might have noticed the ignition under the seat in an aluminum box.

The carburetor on this Honda was upgraded to a Mikuni TM40 Flat-slide. The exhaust was actually bought and slightly modified to get the desired angle. Up front there is a 7” Headlight, turn signals mini switches, grips and mirrors all from Posh Japan. And the heat shields, chain guard and single sided front fender bracket where all made in the shop.

 

18) TON UP CX500 BLUBBER
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cx500 honda cafe racer

Lately Portugal has been producing really quality builds, like the bikes from Ton-up Garage. The cafe racer scene is definitely growing in Portugal, and the latest Honda CX500 Build is no exception. The guys started the build by stripping the CX donor bike down the frame and sending it off to the powder coater shop along with a box of miscellaneous parts.

Every part sits right in its spot. The neat and simple headlight is surrounded by aluminum and creates the nice cafe racer lines. The LSL clip-ons are attached to the rebuild forks, giving the bike the cafe racer riding position. Right above the clip-ons is the Motogadget speedometer built into the triple tree.

The custom seat also fits wonderfully with the cafe racer shaped cowl. And it looks like it would be comfortable to sit on. The wheels on this bike have been drilled and some small machine screws and nuts inserted. All of which is wrapped with Avon Safety Mileage tyres. This bike also does a good job hiding all the things that you might not want to see like the wiring and the miniature lithium battery.

 

19) TBC Steven Project CB750
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honda cafe racer

When Tim Bradham started looking for the next bike to build in his TBC shop, he never thought he would come across a bike of this much sentimental value. While searching craigslist Tim noticed a stock CB750 for the right price. After calling the owner to negotiate a price, Tim found out that this bike used to belong to his friend Steven.

Now the bike belongs to Stevens brother Dennis Robinson who was trying to sell it. After Steven sold this bike he bought himself a Harley. Sadly, shortly after buying the bike he went under a truck and lost his life. When Tim heard this story it changed his whole idea for the bike; he now wanted to rebuild this Honda CB and return it to the family to commemorate Steven.

The guys at TBC decided to transform the stock Honda CB750 to a Honda cafe racer. The reason they chose this styling for their project was because Steven had a love for Ducatis and the traditional(?) Porsche design. That’s why they went with an aggressive stance. The following 12 months Tim and business partner Josh Cipra worked rebuilding the Honda with the plan of unveiling the bike to the Robinson family

With the bike being so opened up and exposed the guys wanted to hide away as much of the electrical components as possible. That is also where the Antigravity 8 cell battery is. The headlight is of an old tractor, and the triple tree was cleaned up and a pair of clip on handlebars were added.

“Overall The Steven Project made the Robinson family super happy. To have this beautiful piece of rolling art built in Steven’s name was a very special experience.”

 

20) DIGGING DEEP: A RUSTY CB750F2 FROM OUTSIDERS
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honda cb 750 cafe racer

This Honda CB750 was built by the Netherlands shop The Outsiders. Managed by couple Bert and Jene, with their assistant Lex, this CB750 is their seventh build to date.  About a year ago they received a call from their client, Lars, who had just bought a 1978 Honda CB750 F2 and wanted to upgrade it, and so this build began.

While most people come to The Outsiders with a plan and a budget in mind, Lars wanted the Outsiders to have a little bit of freedom with this project; coming from a graphic design background he understood the need for  the builder to have some freedom and flow of the project. He gave them almost free rein, only asking that the bigger purchases were run past him.

When Bert started working on the Honda he began with the engine; the motor was nowhere near running, he honed out the cylinders and ported the heads. New rings and valve seals were installed, and everything was put back together with stainless steel hardware. Lars also asked to have the electric starter removed from the bike;now this CB 750 is kick-start only.

Bert also added a rack of Keihin CR carbs with K&N pod filters, and organized some stainless steel 4 to 1 exhaust for the bike. The frame was de–tabbed, and then the subframe was built from scratch. During the process they also moved the passenger pegs.

If you have built a sweet Honda cafe racer bike feel free to email us with your story and pictures to get a feature on out site, and on our Instagram.

8 Responses

  1. Renaat January 12, 2016 / 12:24 am

    Hello and congratulations on some amazing builts. I finished my first project being a woodworker, artist, wafflebaker. Glad with the outcome and would love to tackle more projects. I did discover you on Instagram. We are @wannawafelvictoria in Victoria BC Canada. Just wanted to say Hi. Hope you can give me a score on my bike the “orenda”
    Take care

  2. Adam February 7, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I have a cb750 in its original form. It has a tiny bit of rust but is road capable. I want someone in the Tampa, FL area, with Cafe Racer experience, to make it a Cafe Racer so it will need a full work over done. If anyone knows anyone who can help my fixeruper I’d like to talk to them.

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