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1971 Honda CB450 Bobber

Posted on July 30, 2010 by Scott in Bobber, Brat. 39 comments

There will be many die-hard Honda enthusiasts who might think taking a mint condition 1971 CB450 and turning it into a Gravel Crew inspired bobber is sacrilegious. I for one, am not one of those people.

After riding for 10 years, Scott Halbleib came across a group of vintage riders who were members of Louisville Vintage Motorworks. After falling in love with their retro bikes he decided to search for a vintage ride of his own. “I also started searching the internet to get ideas of what i wanted to do to it. Gravel Crew WAS the inspiration. After looking through their bikes I settled on a Honda 500 they had done” Scott says. “I located a CB450 in mint condition 4 hours away, and off I went. Brought it back, put a couple hundred miles on it, and then one night after a few High Life’s decided to start tearing it down. It wasn’t an easy decision but the process had begun.

The first and largest task was going to be the tank. I had seen Benjie’s (BCR) work and decided to see if he’d be willing to help. He agreed to the job! I sent photos of what I wanted with little modifications here and there. Benjie created the tank and exhaust plus I used one of his headlight bucket mounts. Next were the wheels/tires. It took a while but I finally sourced the tires, and a friend recommended I contact Woody’s Wheel Works to build the wheels. I supplied the tire info and sent the stock hubs, and they powdercoated, laced and mounted the finish product – twice – turns out I could no longer use a disc up front, so off to Ebay for a drum that would work, and, repeat process.

I grinded the passenger peg mounts off the frame, chopped the rear fender, fabbed some straight bars, a license plate bracket and old Ford tailight. Then I took everything I had to Kwik Blast for final fab, paint and assembly. 8 months later, she returned, almost done and 3 days before 2 bike shows. A friend from the club who was luckily unemployed spent 10-12 hours a day all 3 days reworking fuel lines, reworking the electrical and tweaking the carbs.”

The bike was finished on a Friday at 10pm and at its first show the following day it won best rocker and best in show at Mods vs. Rockers. It also went on to win best Japanese bike at the Beatersville Show. Scott would like to thank all the people involved in helping him build his masterpiece. You can check out more pics of this stunning bobber on Scott’s microsite. [Thanks Benjie]

  • Pamberjack

    Loving that exhaust – never seen pipes done like that before. Looks mean, like an old-school hotrod…

  • mingh

    usually, honda’s don’t ring my bell, but the originality and build quality in this one are exceptrional. Love the work. Must be about the first honda i’d like to see on my driveway. Although i’d like it better with a triumph 650 unit engine in it.

  • Twostoked

    I think gravel crew would be impressed with this cb

  • revdub

    I have the pleasure of seeing this bike (almost) every Wed. night. It amazes me every time I see it. Awesome job on a kick-ass bike!! The Ville should be proud to have this bike riding its streets.

  • Some excellent lines on there, has a dash of the pre-WWII look.

  • drek

    something about the converging swoopiness of the pipes, footpeg bracket, and brake pedal just does it. is that the stock location for the the foot controls?

  • tom

    looks like a speedway bike with fat wheels?

  • scott halbleib

    thanks for the comments fellas. and yes drek that is the stock location on the pegs

  • great work scott. wish i could photograph this bike myself.

  • wonderful!!!


    Not real sure it can "ride the streets" with the front tire rubbing on the forks.

    • Jbaker001200

      contact me please if you are interested in selling

  • john rayson

    Just beautiful, the tank carressing the top of the engine showing off the twin cam (very advanced for the era), the "nakedness" accentuatfed by the bareness of the frame sets off a beautiful unit. I've got one rusting away in the garage. You've inspired me to get of my backside and do something.
    If end up with something half as freakin good I'll be wrapped.
    I had one back in the seventies and loved the motor but hated the frame. No ground clearnce and crappy forks. CL footpegs, 2 into 1 exhaust going under the engine, spacrs ant ATF in the front forks made it a great bike. I'll have to do it in a cafe racer style the wayI used to ride them. Yours is a piece of art. Congrats on a top job.Cheers john

  • scott

    hey ffj, it "rides the streets" at least a couple times a week. front tire is tight but works just fine.

  • Curtis

    what size tires are those? where did you get them?

  • scott

    Hey Curtis, they are: Shinko Classic 240 Whitewall Tire – MT90H-16/Double White Wall

    I ordered them through Universal tire I believe. Google may give you some other options if you don't find them there. What are ya working on?? Good luck with it!

  • Craig Dorroh

    Awesome bike! My CL450 is stripped to the frame and waiting for me to make some decisions… this helps.
    No electric start, eh? No battery either?
    Everything you need and nothing you don't! Love it.

  • scott

    thanks craig. good luck with your build. it can get costly! it is kick start only but uses a small battery to charge the coils. it's in the toolbox! i like the way it came out and am looking forward to doing something else. bad thing is i put so much $$$ into this one i'd have to sell it to afford another project…

  • Curtis

    Thanks for the tire info. Im working on a cb450 K5. I love your machine, what project is next?

  • scott

    was initially think of a beefy yam xs650 but i keep seeing bits and pieces of other amazing work I like… I need someone to commission something! may just do a lot of drawing and dreaming this winter until there's $$ available.

  • Craig

    Alright… after trying to reverse engineer a battery size, I gotta know – what is the spec on that tiny battery?
    I'm keeping my CL450 a little closer to stock (tank, chrome wheels and gauges are staying), but no turn signals and no starter.

  • scott halbleib

    sorry craig, i don't remeber the batter size. think it was a 6 amp from battery plus. it's the one that fits in the tool box – barely

  • aLLy

    Help !!!

    Wheel and Tire Size ????? Please ?

  • scott

    wheels are 3 x 16. buchannan spokes. contact woody's wheel works if u want a set built. tell him i sent ya.

    tires i don't remember but just look for the double WW shinkos. there's only one size – 4-5" wide.

  • aLLy

    Thanx for info…

  • Eric

    The bike is awesome! Amazing work! What size and brand rear shocks are those?

  • hey eric, i've looked and looked for receipts since people ask different questions about parts but they're MIA. I know I found them online, they were eye to eye so we had to cut the bracket off the bottom of the honda shock and weld it to the new ones. they were a couple inches shorter but you're going to want to take your own measurements. I had to get my fender where I wanted it, determine how close I wanted it to the tire, see how much my weight would compress it and then find a shock that would only allow that much travel. it takes some time. and if you're going form over function, you'll be left w/ about 1 1/2" of travel.

  • I have just listed this bike on Ebay to fund the next project. Thanks again everyone for your comments.

  • Mattro

    really impressive bike. hope all your man-hours and investment pays off — this build deserves it. great to see louisville rides making pipeburn.

  • Bikes just been posted on Ebay if anyone might be interested. Thx

    • Did you sell it yet? if not I’d be very intreastead. Also that tanks is awesome, I’m guessing its definetly custom…where could I find something like that

      • Yes, the bikes been sold. Benji at BCR made the tanks for me.

        • Thanks, I just picked a 80cb 650 and am in the midst of building it but I really like your work. You have anything your looking to sell currently?

          • I have a BMW K100 that was posted on here not too long ago. It will be up for sale soon. I was invited to show it in the One MC Show in Austin in April, so it won’t be available til then. I’m working on an XJ650 for a customer right now and then I have an XT and FT I’ve started on.

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