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Honda CB750 Café Racer


Posted on March 26th, by Scott in Café Racer. 40 comments

I stumbled upon this thing of beauty on a blog called Anatomy of a Cafe Racer. The bike was built by a talented young guy from Kansas called Pete (AKA Pistol Pete). After building it over a two year period, he finally finished it last week. I wanted to find out more about this classy CB café racer, so I got in contact with Pete and asked him a couple of questions:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Pete Moyer, I’m 28 and live in Kansas. I work in healthcare and I am married, but have no children. Ever since I can remember I have been practically obsessed with anything on wheels. I slept with hotwheels instead of teddy bears. Growing up I lived on a farm, so I had the opportunity to ride lots of dirtbikes and fourwheelers. In highschool I got more into hotrods and fast cars. I would fix up a car and sell it for in order to acquire a faster one. I frequently could be found at the local dragstrip racing my cars. I then went off to college and had only time to study. I did tinker around on a CB500 during my summer breaks, but it was a real hack job (and probably not very safe!). After graduation I moved into a house with a tiny garage. My only choice was to work on bikes, often doing so on my back porch. I built several and went a little overboard on the last one (or so my wife says).

What was the CB750 like when you bought it?

I bought this CB750 in boxes from an antique shop in Kansas City, MO. It was on craigslist, the ad simply said “rebuilt 1981 CB750″. It was a good price, so I went to look at it. To my surprise, I found that while most of the parts were rebuilt, the bike was completely disassembled. I love the frame lines of the DOHC CB’s, and I knew I could make a sweet cafe out of it, so I bought it.

Take us through the build of the bike.

The engine is a CB750 block bored to 890 cc’s with a wiseco big bore kit. It has CB900 camshafts. To keep it cool, it also has the oil cooling system from a CB900F. It is fueled by two 34mm mikuni carbs and a custom made intake manifold (courtesy of cyclexchange.net). It has the stock electronic ignition with ngk plugs and wires. The sweet crossover header came with the bike, but the mufflers were added for a minimalist cafe look.  I have them slightly pointed up and out like a moto-gp type exhaust.

The tires are Avon Distanzia’s. They are hypermotard tires and have an aggressive tread pattern. I wanted something aggressive, without being knobbies. The wheels are stock CB750K wheels. The rear hub was modified to fit a norton commando rear rim that I bought off of ebay. The front forks are from a CB900 They are thicker and more stable than the stock forks. The rear suspension was relocated forward on the rear swingarm to raise the back end approximately 1 inch.

The electronics are all hidden under the tail section, including the battery, regulator, fuse block etc. I mounted a custom digital speedometer where the fuse panel used to be (on top of the handlebar clamps). It is calibrated by a magnetic sensor that reads my rear sprocket as it turns. It has clip on handlebars made for a Ninja 500 and a motion pro throttle cable.

Lastly, the tank and seat were from Benjie’s Café Racer. They are both made of fiberglass. I sprayed the tank in Laurit silver, which is a sweet metallic silver found on the McLaren edition Merecedes-Benz. The rear tail section is gloss black. I was trying for a Norton Manx or Triton style paint scheme, so I layed some black and red pinstripes on it. The tail section has a painted on number panel with 81 because that is the year of the bike.

The build itself took me over 2 years, I would work on it as I had the money to do so. My good friend Tony Stuckwiesch helped me assemble the motor, wire it up and do some welding. Other than that, I did all of the work myself on my back porch or in my garage. The day after I completed the bike, I took it to a large predominately Harley Davidson show where it won first place. I thought that was pretty funny.

Any lessons you’ve learnt from the build?

The lessons I’ve learned are ones that I try to adhere to in life. DONT RUSH IT! While speedy work is sometimes required, it can leave you saying “what if?” way too often. I take my time and try to do things right, even the little things. My dad taught me, “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right”.

Are you going to race the bike?

I’d love to race the bike in a vintage class. Here in Kansas vintage classes (racetracks for that matter) are few and far between, but it would be really cool to take a road trip to a track day. Right now, I’m mainly just riding it on the weekends.

What’s next for you? 

I’m not going to kid myself……. another project! I’d really like to do a modern boardtracker type bike. You can probably see that I’m a “less is more” type of guy, so I think one of those would be right up my alley. You can be assured it will have a Japanese heart though.






  • Pepe

    One of my favorites and it could be my next build :-)

  • revdub

    That is one of the hottest cafe bikes I have seen. I've been a little bored by cafes lately, but this is stunning. Gets my heart going. Awesome build and great story.

  • Nick

    Stupid question but I'm a little new at this. Where do the batteries go in these bikes? Gorgeous ride btw.

  • Clintonius Monk.

    Good lookin bike. I appreciate the geometry of the tank and seat, you choose good lines and did well in keeping it minimal and clean. Have you even wound up in trouble due to complete removal of the fenders mith road debris.
    Second Q. The two carbs to four cyliders? I had no idea you can do that to a bike. your idea? Tell us a little about that set up please, Does it make servicing the bike easier or more difficult? why do it at all? It lkooks unique and i like it, tell us more.

  • http://knsweb.net kumo

    Very nice bike and cafe!

    @Nick sometimes they hide it on the rear cowl behind the seat. Other times, the bike has no battery (old Kick start).

  • http://bikermetric.com trent reker

    wow. that is the cleanest, most stripped-down cb750 cafe i have ever seen. it looks incredibly light and the tank is gorgeous.

    i know a builder/mechanic who thinks the 750 is too big and unwieldy for cafes, and have read other more well-known "cafe purists" lambast the cb750 and those who ride them as "douchebags." i'll bet this bike would cream any 650/750 trump on any track with glorious supremacy.

    i don't think the battery has been placed in yet, nick. on pete's site you can see the spot where it will sit under the seat.

    this is a beautiful bike. great job, pete!

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    Incredible execution on a DOHC 750… Not usually as nice as this one. DOHC's are notoriously hard to build right. This one is spot-on!

    Note about the carbs: Cycle X in wisconsin does those kits. VERY nice set-ups. Easier to tune and keep tuned right. Cleans up things too. http://www.cyclexchange.net/Honda%20Twin%20Carb%20Page.htm Actually, the link is in the article…

    Awesome job, Pete…

  • HAZ

    Clean. Tight. Very nice. What I really like is seeing the DOHC engine being used…since I have one of these sitting in my garage right now. :) Yeah, that motor is big, but if you wanna move, there's no replacement for displacement! Superb job!

  • http://www.christrotmanphotography.com CHris

    I like that a lot!!

  • dannyb278

    Nice bike. The battery is under the seat cone as the article states.

  • dannyb278

    The twin carb setup has got to be my favorite part of this build.

  • Tim Black

    Wow! awesome job Pete? I'm in southeast Kansas finishing up a cb550 cafe. Where did you get the race number decals?

    Tim

  • Charlie

    No indicators, killswitch, headlight switch, horn…

    I'm guessing it's not road legal?

  • Den

    Nice bike, very clean!

  • jack

    this thing, tuned exactly right, would cream alot of other bikes in its class.

    great to see a build that adds to the performance as well as the aesthetics. also good to know its coming from a guy who has done it all in his own home. that gives me hope for my own projects.

  • Todd

    Charlie, it could legally ride in my state. You just need to be able to see the tail light from 500' away, the headlight from 1500 and use hand signals.

    Batteries can also be located near the swingarm in a custom mount. It's been done by quite a few people who follow the "function before form" thing. It places the weight in a better place, even though most batteries in a bike like this would be as small as possible. I've also seen capacitors run in the headlight bucket. Those have to be replaced periodically.

    Beautiful bike. Well worth two years.

  • SVA

    Kumo, can you give me some more info on how the "no battery" thing works? I'm rather new to the technical part of motorcycles, but I've always been fascinated by the kick start simplicity. My question is: If there's no battery, how do the other electrical parts on the bike (besides the starter) work, like the lights for instance, or what drives electricity to the spark plugs? Sorry if the question is stupid :D

  • Daoud

    This is a beautiful example of what can be done when taste is somewhere other then in the mouth.

  • Andrew

    @SVA Put simply, on your bog standard internal combustion engine, the battery does nothing more than provide juice to the starter motor to get things going. Once the motor is turning, it's the alternator that provides the volatge. That's why you jump start and engine and then remove the leads once it's going.

    With no battery at all, you won't be able to run any electricals when the engine is stopped, so headlights, indicator etc. won't work the moment you kill the ignition.

    A popular mod for many cafe racers is to replace the large lead acid battery with a smaller, cigarette-sized Lithium Ion battery/batteries that are then able to be hidden under the seat, in the rear cowl etc.

    More here.

  • http://sakeracers.blogspot.com chris saddler sam

    bravo pete!!!

    ;)

  • Daoud

    A little more on batteries. When my brother and I were road racing a highly modified 350 Honda we used Polaroid camera batteries. I don't remember what the voltage was but they weighed nothing and would last the length of a sprint race. This was back in the late seventys of the last century.

  • Ash in Bali

    Lean, light, minimalist, great work Pete. I hope you keep your license long enough to enjoy it!

  • gabe harwell

    ive had cb cafe's from 200's to 750's. i think this might be my favorite build ever! good job pete, that is one gorgeous scooter!

  • gabe harwell

    well done pete. amazing job, maybe my favorite in a long while.

  • Gerardo Isler

    As a fan and old Honda seven-fifty owner I just wanna say WOAW!!!!! Great job man.

  • http://twitter.com/JetPackDillon Dillon

    Simply beautiful. Form and function complimenting each other. Wonderful work!

  • Ratchop

    Love the bike. I AM NOT A HATER..but having that said, i do find it funny that every "cafe" build i read about, has a segment where the "builder" says something along the lines of "besides the paint, wiring, welding, and any and all mechanical work, i built the whole thing." haha just wondered if any builder out there notices those kind of statements? makes me wonder what kind of "building" went on here, or if it was just a whole lot of bolting, and unbolting, shining, and sanding…. Just one mans opinion. The CB, any way you look at it, is still a nice motorcycle.

  • SpottheDogg

    gorgeous

  • Phil

    a lovely bike indeed. those honda donks are not easy to make look pretty but this bike is an exception. a credit to you!

  • Timbob81

    Smashing bike!! I'm about to start building a similar type of machine. Can anyone tell me what size wheels are on this. 19 front and 18 rear?

    Cheers

    Timbob!

  • Curtis

    Im also curious what size wheels you're running. And also, I love the pattern of the Distanzia's – what sizes are you using?

  • WFO

    Dirt bike simple and "blind eye" legal. It's like it's only legal dependng on how *cool* the cop is (just remarking to it's attitiude, not technicality).. This is my favorite type of bike.

  • irish mike

    beutiful build man -love those lines ,that seat and tank work perfectly togeather.i too am building a cafe from a 80 dohc,ive got the cyclex set up but cant seem to get the midrange spot on .would you mind telling me what pilots and mains you used….mike

  • Bigsam302

    This is a gorgeous bike! I am working on my build and your bike has inspired me. I do have one question. What did you do with your oil tank? And how do you run the bike without one? I was told that it would kill the engine if you ran it for any amount of time without it.

  • Bigsam302

    Sorry for the bad english. I was saying, "How does your bike run without one."

  • Timbob81

    BigSam, the 81 DOHC doesn't have an oil tank. The space between the carbs and rear wheel is normally filled with the air box and the battery + electrics. Think this goes for most of the DOHC's from 80 onwards.

    Cheers

    TImbob!

  • Bigsam302

    Thanks TimBob,

    That really clears things up. I guess my struggle continues with trying to figure out a way to clean up my mid section on my 76.

    Sam

  • cfox

    I just purchased a 74 CB350 and looking for a tank. Your tank is amazing! I've tried to look at Benjie's website but it is down. Any other way to get in contact with that shop?

  • noctisariel

    @cfox

    you can email him at…

    flipprboi@benjiescaferacer.com

  • Brian

    Love your bike, whats your experience with benjies tank? i've heard some bad things about his tanks, besides the price. also, what kinda digital speedo did you use?