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Honda 1971 CB450 “Bonita Applebum”


Posted on January 4, 2011 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 67 comments

Suddenly, Bonita found herself lost and alone in a scary but very well-lit cave

Here’s another bike from one of the new friends we made at the Deus Build-off. Please meet the very lovely Bonita Applebum and her old man, Pepe Luque.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Bolivia and migrated to Australia at the age of 2. I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney in a family of 7 in a small housing commission home (aka ‘housos’ to us westies). As you could imagine, I spent most of my time on the streets getting away from a cramped up houso, where we were fighting over every little thing. Meanwhile, I had taken up skateboarding which till this day I still do and love. The rest of the time was spent modifying cars in my mother’s backyard, poor Mum! These mods were basically pulling out the piston motor and dropping in a rotary. Some of the cars were Gemini’s 12a and 12a turbo, Datsun 1000 coupe 12a, 13b turbo, and a Ford Anglia (Harry Potter’s car) 12a and so on… In the meantime, while skating, I managed to pick up a few sponsors and a few speeding fines! I eventually moved out of the western ‘burbs and I am currently working for a large private hospital on Sydney’s North Shore as the Operating Theatre Prosthetic Inventory Co-ordinator. Still skating biatches! I also love snowboarding, wakeskating, PS3 and anything to do with Apple Inc. I love building things and Bonita Applebum is my first ever bike build.

Take us through the build of the bike.

Bonita Applebum began life as a 1971 Honda CB450, which I bought on eBay. It had a broken top triple tree and it was also unregistered. I searched everywhere for a replacement and was unable to find one, until a friend suggested I contact Jay from Sydney Motorcycle Wreckers. I was fortunate enough that he had one, but it came with a price, I had to buy a beaten up, rusted, old ass rolling chassis with it. I was content on riding Bonita stock standard until I witnessed my first ever nostalgic race class at Eastern Creek, and from that day on I fell in love with Cafe Racers and that era of bikes.

  

I had no intention of building a serious contender in the Cafe world. This build took place on the lounge room floor in my small apartment; I was very fortunate that I had an understanding flatmate at the time. The majority of the parts were gathered from eBay, and the transformation started. As I took parts off the bike I bought on eBay, I cleaned, painted and spit polished them before I installed them onto the newly sand blasted and powder coated frame I got from Jay. I thought it would be easier to take parts off from one bike and put them back on the other, considering I had no experience in building motorcycles.

I’m considerably happy with the final outcome, besides some minor fine-tuning. For example upsizing the main jets to compensate for the airflow in and out of the motor and replacing the Pirelli tyres for some Firestones is on the agenda also.

Polishing – so addictive

Did you sketch, Photoshop, or just go with the flow while building?

There was basically no detailed pre planning with the build, but I did have a picture of a bike that inspired me that BCR built, that was the CB450 Armadillo. The colour scheme chosen for the bike is timeless. The handgrips and seat colour was suggested by my flatmate, it turned out better than I could imagine.

You entered the bike in the Deus Bike Build-off. How was it?

Since I had never built a bike before I was a little freaked out in entering the bike in the Deus Enthusiast Biker Build-off. It was nerve racking and a lot of fun at the same time. The atmosphere Deus created helped with my nerves and by lunchtime I had made some new friends and met some interesting people. One of them I consider to be the Godfather of the old Hondas, who I speak to occasionally and he has a lot of Honda wisdom (Sensei). It was extremely flattering receiving so many positive comments from spectators. What I also found out on the day was that Tony (who did the pinstripe demo at the Deus show) was the original Bonita owner. He swapped it with Glenn, the guy I bought the bike off on eBay, I discovered it’s a small world!

Judging by the faces and comments from the judges it seemed and sounded like they really appreciated Bonita Applebum. The only thing that went wrong on the day was when the bike was being judged and the throttle cable snapped when the judges asked me to give it some stick (who’s cable snaps just on judgement time?) I only wished someone had taken a picture of my face at the time of the throttle snapping, it would have been priceless.

  

How have the mods you’ve made changed the way the bike rides?

Considering I had not ridden the bike before the mods, they have not affected my ride, as I don’t know what the ride should be like! I have had a lot of negative feedback about the travel height between the rear tyre and the rear cowl. After riding the bike for the first time on the road recently, I had no issue with the travel height; no scrubbing or rubbing.

Any lessons you’ve learnt from the build?

I did tackle this bike aesthetically first before considering every other aspect. I now know for future builds that getting it up and running comes first, then tear it down, then pretty everything up and put it back together. Also, do not neglect Call of Duty as I once reined supreme and now I have a lot of catching up to do. Muff-Diver is my PSN username if anyone wants to add me and please add Pipeburn when requesting.

If money was no object, what would be your ultimate Honda? Do you have any other non-Honda favourites?

I don’t know much about Honda bikes, so I can’t really comment on which would be my ultimate Honda. Wait a minute, a friend from work owns a CBR1000RR and that looks pretty nice, so I guess that would be the weapon of choice. My all time favourite bike would be The Falcon Bullet. If Earl Hickey can own one, so can I.

Loving the subdued colours with the tan highlights

What bikes have you owned before?

Previous bike owned before would be a GSR RR, which is a pocket bike with a Bizeta 50cc motor in it. This thing threw my brother-in-law off in a matter of 2 seconds, he ain’t your ordinary size guy! He is quite large which surprised me when it threw him off. Mind you, he was only wearing thongs (flip flops) shorts and a t-shirt. Poor bastard had gravel rash for the rest of his holiday. (Personally, I’d much prefer photos of that over the cable snap face – Andrew.)

You mentioned you are colour blind. How did that impact the bike build?

The main section I really struggled with was the wiring of the bike. As you could imagine, being colour blind did not help with the colours of the wires. I was very fortunate that my girl and my brother’s wife helped with labelling the wires. For instance, yellow with a white trace, I labelled FLB (front left blinker) and so on. It took me by surprise that I nailed the wiring on first go.

You’re a keen skateboarder. Any similarities between the skating world and custom bikes?

The biggest similarity I see between the skateboard world and the bike world is the phrase “Go Hard or go Home”!

PS. Are you in Sydney? Do you have a bike that you think tops Bonita? Why not contact us and see if we can’t get it shot in the Pipeburn Garage of Photographic Super Excellence? Do it; do it now.