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Honda CB350 Café Racer

Posted on April 4, 2011 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 26 comments

Michael LaFountain from Raccia Motorcycles has been obsessed with motorcycles ever since he built his first bike when he was 17 years old. Little did he know that building that motorcycle would shape the course of his life for the next 16 years. “I’ve been buying and recreating bikes ever since” says Michael. “I’ve built British and Italian motorbikes in the past but I have found the Japanese bikes to be more of a challenge due to the fact that the a large majority of the British and Italian bikes were beautiful to begin with, unlike a lot of Japanese bikes.”

After spending a few years in Europe and spending way too much time plastering his apartment walls with sketches of new ideas, Michael knew that when he returned home he had to take this bike building thing more seriously. “I formed Raccia Motorcycles in 2006 with the main objective to create vintage Japanese race-inspired motorcycles using primarily Japanese parts along with some hand built parts” he says. The main shop is in Southern California but 4 months ago Michael opened another satellite shop in the Bay Area of northern California.

“In my opinion the Japanese engineering surpassed it’s European predecessors in the 60s and 70s but was still far inferior in the aesthetics department. I’ve always believed that the Japanese motorcycle could rival the beauty of let’s say a Norton or Ducati, but it just takes a little more work.” This is exactly what Michael has achieved with this stunning 1971 Honda cb350. “I’ve always loved the styling of the 60s British and Italian production racers so a lot of that inspiration went into this build.” Here are a few of the alterations he made: Battery relocation, handmade seat, alternate tank and clip-ons to start. Michael handmade the rear-sets and spent a good amount of time reshaping the cases to give it the ‘Raccia touch’. With a large amount of weight removed, larger pistons and a steeper cam this beautiful little two cylinder really moves. “As an art major in college one of the most valuable things I learned was the importance of proportion and lines” he says. “I’ve always tried to build bikes from an artistic perspective and utilize those ideas obtained in college. I focused a lot on the lines of this bike and I’m pretty satisfied with the result.”

This CB350 cafe racer was purchased by The Mike Taggart Guy Webster Motorcycle Museum in Ojai California last year and will probably spend the rest of its days being drooled over by numerous automotive fans. Michael LaFountain is currently working on six new projects with the first to be completed in early May. As far as we’re concerned, May can’t come quick enough.

  • Kim of Copenhagen

    Neat touch with the mirrored logo on the last picture (assuming you didn't do it by mistake, and will correct it)

  • Luca Bar

    Looks like the the logo really is MIRRORED…look at the first picture and check with the Honda logo on the engine that is not.

  • Love the bike! I will look up the Nor Cal store and drop by…


  • only the R is mirrored…
    nice paintjob

  • David

    "purchased by ……… Museum" – Booo! Should be ridden!

  • Indiesol

    It's a shame it won't be ridden. Might as well have left the motor stock. However, the builder accomplished his goal, in my opinion.

    Those rear sets are very unique, and I like them.

  • Arion

    Where does the alternate tank come from?

  • revdub

    Such a beautiful bike, but why wasn't something more creative done with the pipes?

  • Scott

    @Arion – The tank is off a late model yamaha xs750

  • jack

    This has always been a faveourite of mine. Definately a source of inspiration for my cb350 build. I agree that there are certain elements of design in the cb 350 that are not as desirable, but overall they are lovely looking little bikes.

    The rear sets on this are absolutley going to be copied for my cb350.

  • Ya Stretch

    Wow!! I've gotta say that this is the nicest 350 I've ever seen. Good job dude.

  • Clinton-

    Lines look really clean you can follow the line between the tank and cowl nicley. I appreciate that no gauges at all stayed with the bike. Keeps the triple tree looking clean and smooth. Can you tell us about some of the motor mods to increase speed? If any that is. How is the jetting different from the stock carbs?

  • pascie

    Very nice!
    It's a shame that it will be gathering dust in the museum instead of being ridden as it is supposed to..

  • Really love this bike, seems such a shame that it'll live in a museum and never be ridden like it should be.

  • Whip NYC

    Beautiful machine….one of the really great ones.
    It kills me to see so much attention payed to detail finished up with vinyl pin striping.

  • Paddy

    Looks like the tank emblem is a sticker too. So what. This things got style. i like the brown on brown paint. Unusual but classy in an old world way.

  • There are some really good detail photos of this bike on the Classic Honda Bulletin Board site.

    I recognized the bike as soon as I saw it. Mr. LaFountain really does have a great eye for detail.

  • CHETtheJET


  • zimmerb

    I love that look. I'm going to try to copy some of it on my 71 350. Great job very classy

  • karin

    beautiful Bike! very impressive; nice aritstic work

  • D-Mo

    Great looking bike! Nice job cousin.

  • James

    Unreal!!!……….this bike is on a whole different level!!!

  • Durka


  • Germy

    This is way better than anything I could do, or even dream of.

  • Marcus Ling

    Does anyone know what the rear shocks are from??

  • jeff

    What exhaust is that, MAC 2-2?