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1975 Honda CB500 Café Racer

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 33 comments

It might not be the superbike he is used to, but wouldn’t you love to see the World Champion Casey Stoner ride this Team Repsol inspired 1975 Honda CB500 around Phillip Island for some timed laps? Sure, he might not get close to his usual times but he would sure strike a more dashing figure. This immaculate CB was built by 24 year old Josue Alvarez (or Josh to friends) from the central valley in California. It was recently crowned Do The Ton Bike of the Month, up against a couple of great little motorcycles and a bucket of parts. Yes, you read that correctly. “It’s been more than a years work,” says Josh. “I always keep finding something I can upgrade. The bike is my interpretation of the team Honda Repsol Superbike – a vintage interpretation.”

The story starts like most bikes featured on these pages. The whole bike was stripped to a bare frame and thoroughly gone over; from the engine, pistons, valves and anything else that looked like it needed a little love.  The frame was shortened and re-braced, the swing arm was stretched by 3 inches and the bike was lowered at the front by 1.5 inches to compensate the geometry as much as possible. Josh also added adjustable nitrogen rear shocks, a 2-1 exhaust wrapped and pushed into a reverse cone, a Suzuki GSX R1000 steering damper and the mandatory clip-on bars for a bike of this vintage. A custom made fiberglass Thruxton mini fairing was fabbed, plus a slick fibreglass seat and tail – all painted in Repsol colours by Josh himself.

With a spec list longer than Casey Stoner’s win sheet, we think Josh has created something special building this unique Honda Repsol CB and we’re not the only ones who think so – the build also managed to land Josh a part time job at a local custom bike shop called Monkey Fab. This CB500 might not be able to keep up with the superbikes of today, but we reckon it has just as much kudos or more. Don’t you think?

  • emaychee

    Super tidy. posting before someone mentions the pipewrap and the lack of a plate holder.
    I don’t care at all.
    There’s something about that super-slick rear, definitely not as ‘lumpy’ as most bolt-on cafe..Where can I buy it? I must have it. And built by someone at 24..another example of ousting your elders.
     Time for everyone else to step up their game a notch or two!

  • Josh Uhlman

    rad bike.  i’m interested in knowing what the final cost was.

    • HondaCB360

      Most of these bikes cost $6000-$8000 to build if you do the labor yourself.  Some of the well known shops sell a properly sorted bike for $12,000.  A much nicer ride that some belly button mad dog chopper.

  • Mpress

    it’s definitely got that “look” and it does look good.
    i especially like the pipe sweep, the seat unit and the mini fairing.
     just wish the pics were up closer and a bit brighter.
    bikes too nice not to have some light cast onto it!
     good job young man!

  • Coxster

    One of the best I’ve seen here. Would be proud to own/ride this one!

  • Sil80nissan

    Hmmm I think thats a 450…

    • Richard Brandt

      just about the same bike, those two.

    • DUHH

      This is a CB500 TWIN, not a CB500 FOUR

  • JustinLonghorn

    Hell Yeah, man. Beautiful,

  • Nicole ashley

    I can’t believe you now how to do this!!!!! This is awesome, I’m so proud of you Joshua! It’s beautiful!

  • Ringo

    Congrats Josh! Looking fine, looking fine!

  • revdub

    Looks amazing. Great job on this build. I love the stance. And that headlight fairing is pretty mean looking.

  • Ccc40821

    Having seen a shitload of bikes here and on Bikeexif more or less that same style – and getting bored with them by now – I’m glad to see that a guy like Josh manages to build one that really stands out. Special thanks for not putting those crap Firestone replica tyres on it.

  • Davidabl2

    CB 450 with a big bore kit eaquals a Cb 500 in this case?
    Sure as heck isn’t a pair of 2-into one pipes on this one

    • Tomas

      Look at pic 1, then pic 4…

  • Love it

  • No me gusta el “fluo”, pero nice bike hermano

  • HELLY YA JOSH! Well deserved. Great guy, and a killer scoot!

  • Fstarproductions

    Damn son! I have a ’76 CB500T and I want it to look very similar to this! How can I find you!?

  • Marck

    the motorcycle in looks great in general, but i just can’t stand the decals….

    • Mach-X

      For a race bike tribute it’s actually pretty light on the stickers and decals.  It is definitely missing as fork brace though (Gixxer steering stabilizer but no fork brace?  Uh .. ok.  Talk about making something trick into something that hangs on the bike for looks!  Geez.).  Unless it is intended to be a ~boulevard racer~ … if so it needs more stickers to impress the chumps that hang out in the parking lot at the local bike haunt on Friday nights.  🙂

      I’d be curious what the frame mods did for (or against) the handling.  Text says the “frame was shortened (???) and the swingarm was lengthened three inches (wow!) to compensate..”.  That’s moving a LOT of weight forward.  So I gotta wonder how the thing turns, y’know? (especially with no fork brace .. that much weight transferred up front puts a TON of demand on front end stability issues .. fork brace is pretty much a necessary thing if the frame mods and steering stab are to realize any potential) …. unless, as I said, it’s just a Friday Night Cruising Champion.

      Josh, just straddle the front wheel with your legs and try to *turn* the handlebars while holding the front wheel between your knees and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Invest $100 bux in a fork brace and the frame mods you’ve done will really ~pop~. 

      And congrats … you were born in the same area as most of the fastest American rider stock came from (I too am from the bay-ish area … home of theee hottest of the US hotshoes).  So you have a lot going for you.  HIt Laguna Seca on Track Day for me will ya? (I’m permanently disabled these days so my racing days are done).

      Again if the intention was to create the ~look~ of a racebike .. good on ya.  But if we’re actually building somerthing that is Track Day worthy (or better yet AHRMA worthy) then there’s a few things that need to be discussed (for instance converting the rear to a full floating rear brake would do W.O.N.D.E.R.S. for corner entry.  It doesn’t need to be a disk brake but a full floating brake would truly do tons for this machine .. look into it ….and a fork brace!  Heheh.).

      Other than that … nice bike for a 24 year old.  Keep it up bro and you’ll have these old greybeards critisizing you out of envy.  Then you know you’ve truly hit on something when you fiddle with the nerve-ends of the old guys!  When you make them envious to the point of being critical then you know you are 100% on the absolute right track!  😉

      Good on ya, bud.  Keep it up, you’ll not regret it.

      More Stickers!  (heheh .. )

  • Mach-X

    Oh .. and Merry Christmas folks … 🙂

  • thormentor86

    nearly perfect cafe racer ! great !

  • Mo Doggie

    that is a CB450 engine. CB500 is a four.

  • Josh

    Hey fellas, thanks all for the comments, I appreciate all the props as well as the advice and critique, as always it is very constructive, and productive as its great to learn from the more experienced.
    As far as a fork brace and suspension handling, an aluminum unit is in the works with a machine shop and a reinforced stock unit is being used for the meantime, fenderless, but is not pictured. Also full suspension has been redone and upgraded,front and back.

    And since it’s been asked, it is a cb500 twin, greatly similar to the 450, almost identical looking actually.

  • Bobb

    stonor rides motogp.. way different to superbike. prototype shit ! nice honda. love the concept ! 

  • Pwilliam

    Seat looks great with the 500t tank. Who is the manufacturer?

  • patrick

    very cool.


  • Shuggaaaa

    hello everybody. i’m surching for every information of this bike. please help me.