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Trillion Industries ’79 Honda CB650

Posted on January 4, 2012 by Andrew in Café Racer, Racer. 64 comments

How’s that for a fresh take on an exhaust can?

Adam Sandler movies. They’re a dime a dozen. He’s an uncultured yet loveable ice hockey player/divorcee/single dad/college drop-out who tries his best to raise a kid/make it into the big leagues/get a job/be responsible/fall in love/manage his successful father’s dildo factory (what – you didn’t see that one?) blah blah blah. That’s what I thought too, and then I saw Punch Drunk Love and I was blown away. What really made it for me was the fact that I went into it with preconceptions of what I was about to see and subsequently had my brain deep-fried by a very clever director who knew just how to screw with the formula to take something good and make it truly great. How the bejesus does that have anything to do with the killer Honda CB you see here? Well, this director’s name is Derek Pauletto and he’s managed to cafe a Honda CB (which some would consider a very tired, “Sandler-ish” formula) and put just enough clever little twists into it to really make it into one of this year’s must-see customs.

Here’s Derek. “I formed Trillion Industries in ‘03 and made it a full time job in ‘05. Half my work is motorcycle related from complete ground-up builds to repair and restoration of unique bits you can’t buy anymore. From ugly vintage cast aluminums to exotic titanium, we do it here. We also fabricate anything else that is metal – from trailer BBQ’s to railings to repairing pots and pans. If you need it worked on we are glad to help out.”

Sick of supermarket queues, Derek fitted a barcode scanner to the bike so he could ride and shop simultaneously

“I used it because I couldn’t get rid of it; no one wanted a ‘crappy old nothing bike’”

“I started this bike back in ‘04 with the wheels first because I had this idea with the new tyre sizes the v-twin bikes were using could be a cool cafe styled layout for a bike. I used this Honda CB650 because i couldn’t get rid of it, no one at the time wanted a “crappy old nothing bike”. I took personal offense because this bike I had for a couple of years had gotten me around everywhere I needed to go and even to the tech school I got my welding journeymanship from. I decided it’s fate was to end with me and a customizing I will do! The CB deserved it!”

Headlight is from Harley and Fender is from Buell. Bike soon to be with ponytail and broken, then?

“The wheels I widened from 1.85” to 3.5” on the front and 2.5” to 8.5” on the rear, not an easy task as I found the Comstar wheel rims where hollow! Next I tore down the engine and overhauled it with new valves bearings and shaved 0.015” off the head to increase compression. I then tackled the frame by cutting off any tabs that were useless or not needed, widened the left side of the frame to accommodate the width of the new rear 250 tyre.”

“I overbuilt a brand new swingarm for looks as it still will only have just above the stock HP, it utilizes the original rear chain adjusters though and added 2.75″ to the length overall. A widened (1.75″) off-set engine drive sprocket I made from two sprockets is how made the chain line up with the rear sprocket, and it’s supported by the sprocket cover and a bracket attached to the frame. Grafting the ZX front end was accomplished by changing the front wheel bearings to a larger ID to fit the 25mm axle and a custom set of T-clamps. CNC’d all the brake disk to wheel carriers.

The tank and tail are a ‘69-‘70 CR750 replica from Airtech in Vista CA. USA. The headlight is Harley V-rod and the front fender is from a Buell. This bike has bits from all four Japanese manufacturers and some American parts, a bit of a mutt but I feel it all works. New Mikuni flatslide-style carbs are the newest parts I’ve added to get better performance not seen in the pics.”

Highway to the Derek zone

Nice work, huh? With it’s crotch-rocket-cum-cafe-racer (crochet racer?) style, It’s a definite breath of fresh air to the CB scene and hopefully due cause for any of you out there with a rusty old Honda in the garage and a twinkle in your eye to pause and think to yourselves, “sure – I AM loveable college drop-out with a heart of gold, but maybe I should give that relationship idea for a cafe’d CB a clean sheet of paper…”

  • GuitarSlinger

    Dump the exhaust can being in front ( and get one better suited visually for the bike ) and this would be a winner . But as is its a victim of ” The Devil is in the Details ” with the details proclaiming its a miss . The tank needs a bit of tweaking as well ( too flat and expansive )

    A tweak here . A twist there is all its needing though as the overall concept is a good one 

  • jerry

    Awsome work, your welding skills are top of the line. The exhaust has to be looked a at little to get used to. Are the rear shocks off a zxr1100

    • Derek Pauletto

      Rear Shocks are off an ’03 ZRX1100

  • I like. I am also building a CB. I like the tail light sunk in. May just incorporate that into my seat.

  • Tracfone

    I would love to see a magazine layout showing this bike in process, and more pics.  Do I like all the individual bits..not really. Do I like this bike as rideable art? Absolutely, it is a show winner!

  • revdub

    I’m a fan. The details are outstanding. That swing arm looks perfect. This is definitely not a repeat of any cafe I have seen before. Great work.

  • Ccc40821

    I really appreciate the point of having a bike rejected by everybody else, and thinking ‘oh yeah’? Unforunately the one such I have is a pathetic 150 cc Chinese cruiser, rather than a 650 cc four….

  • dave

    fuck that mufler of, get a decent one and you probably would get some more horses out of it, but its pretty good looking and it should  go harder

  • Memphis Twin

    Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Epic fail…

  • Sil80nissan

    I actually like the location of the muffler but I think if he would have done two into one with smaller round cans (one each side) it would have looked cleaner.

    I would love more details on the swingarm and front sprocket in hopes to copy for my build.

  • D13

    rovad. CB650.  raquel.  all different creatures.  all incredibility creative.  all motorcycle art
    world class workmanship and engineering expertise.

  • Benjamin Helton

    I dig it!

  • Davidabl2

    The muffler reallly does take some getting used to..But I very much like the way the tank/bodywork are an echo of the early Honda racers…

    Tucking it under the frame Buell style would have been a safer (if not better)choice. With a flat canister like that it shouldn’t cost any ground clearance. Leaving that ugly filter canister cover(?) uncovered would
    be a downside..Maybe a good place for an oil radiator??

  • Den

    I love every detail, the muffler is ace!

  • somedudeonthenet

    I like the muffler placement, and the whole bike overall. Its different, and it give the engine and the entire bike a more aggressive “mass-forward” look to it.

  • Dozybois

    I think the exhaust is sick def a stand out feature and gives it alot of character… great work on building something differed and thinking outside the box

  • Guzzi twin

    I am following a number of MC sites on a daily basis but this is the nicest custom I have seen in the last year or so. Just love how the tank / seat combo (125cc racer reminiscent) work with the new front fork and the very nice rear swingarm. Very interesting exhaust placement – takes some getting used to. I am wondering how the bike looks from the other side? Phantastic work!

    • Ryanames

      It’ll be at the Calgary motorcycle show this coming weekend if you’d like to get a better look!!

  • Derek – what IS the red light on the swing arm?

    • Derek Pauletto

      It is a Watsen Design LED signal meant for Ducati Monsters, he custom made me a set in red vs amber. Fit really well in the bottom opening of the shock mount. 

  • TJsCycle

    The muffler did create a tuning issue., The bottom line is that Derek made the header pipe it fits too, in order to show his skills. This guy kicks ass as a fabricator. Keep your eyes pealed for more of his work. (There is an old Triumph with a blower built onto the cases. ………can’t say more)

  • Jed

    Muffler is cool as fuck.

  • Anton

    I love the muffler, all in all just an amazing bike, great build.
    I’m sure it sounds pretty gnarly too

  • Troy van Trienen

    This bike is “SPOT ON”….. Great workmanship, strong proportions and to all the ‘nay sayers’ get back in your pigeon hole of perception. It makes me happy to see bikes like this when I turn my computer on in the morning. Keep up the great work

  • The article I read said the light was turn signals

    • Derek Pauletto

      Yes, the small one’s on the lower shock mounts/swingarm area I use as signal only and the projection light (I modified using an LED vs the 30 watt bulb) is the running/stop lamp. 

  • Larry Pearson

    I like how simple the bike looks, defying the amount of work that went into it.  It’s only when you really start looking at it do you realize how much has been done.  All the colors and pieces contrast beautifully.  i like how the levers match the forks, and the gold touches on the brakes.  The swing arm is a work of art in itself.  Just the fact that he took a set of Comstars that have “Do Not Disassemble” stamped right on them and said, screw that…so cool.  I could take or leave the exhaust, but I won’t dis it any more than that because it’s his baby, and he likes it, so who am I to say change it.  Nicely done!

    • Derek Pauletto

      Thanks Larry! You totally get it like many others on this blog. I’m gratefull to have everyone’s comments….good or bad. And to settle the exhaust, I was given an ’06 GSXR600 stock titanium exhaust for free as well as a broken Yosh Tri-oval canister. I cut up the header and fabricated something I could use all the bits with, shortened the can and did something unconventional with it. Which is what the majority of the bike is. Hope that answers some questions. Thanks!

      • Larry Pearson

        I totally understand how you “put yourself out there” when you have your bike featured on this site.;  I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of my own bikes featured, a ’79 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica, and a tricked out ’76 Honda CB550F cafe’.  You hope everyone will like it and appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to build a bike worthy of representation.  Those 2 bikes got very nice response, but a ’72 Honda XL250 custom that I have, which also took 100’s of hrs. to build, only to have people focus in on just one aspect of it and totally shred it.  In my case it was the seat.  I just wanted to say..”Jeez..what about the smoothed and molded frame, the custom built tail section, CB500 front end, the hand-made exhaust, and the paint, just to name a few..argh..  I invite you to check out my site, and see a few of the bikes I’ve done.  They’re like your want only the best for them..and cringe a little when they draw fire..

        Your 650 is a perfect blend of old and new..and that alone walks a fine line of acceptance in these fickle days of what’s considered “correct”.  It’s a masterpiece of combined styles and understatement. 

        • paul@evolution

          Larry, don’t let the keyboard hero’s grind you down. Keep doing what you love and leave it to them to hate…..they have nothing better to do.

  • manvil

     ah, what an unlimited budget can do

    • Derek Pauletto

      Unlimited as in all my hours, about 600 or so. The cost of all I had to buy came to about $8000 including the original $300 for the bike, and most of that is when the Cdn dollar was $0.75 against the greenback!

  • Derek Pauletto

    I would like to thank all the members of Pipeburn (especially Andrew!), for taking your personal time to post your views. You guys are awesome!!!

    Derek Pauletto
    O/O Trillon Industries

    • Kurtblankemeyer

      Congrats on this bike Derek.  This bike is very nice.  The work you have done on it is superb.  My favorite part of this bike is the wheels.  I have a CX500 which has those Comstar wheels and they are a limiting factor on what you can do with the bike. The cockpit area is very nice also. 

      Take care,
      Kurt Blankemeyer
      Design Cycle

  • Mark Hawwa

    Awesome bike. Last photo is stunning 

  • Sabastiaanm

     i’m really feeling that exhaust, always love a different spin on things. the last photo is great.. the bike is nice too! hah

  • Smellii

    Bravo, good sir. Have you had it out? How’s it perform? I’m curious (and ignorant) about the short exhaust; what was your inspiration?

  • Really cool little bike! I like the 650’s.. Not in love with the muffler, but it *is* kinda cool. I like some of the little things y’all did. Neat!

  • Xmjan

    Great job! Another proof that the 60:ies and 70:ies Hondas are wonderful cafe racer objects! Engine, spartan looks and build quality! Personally I am in love with the CB750-1100 Honda engines though…

  • Cornish Pixie

    Hey, lovely build with great attention to detail. The exhaust? Personally I think it’s great to see something different from the same old, same old, 4 into 1 with a muffler poking out somewhere behind the foot pegs – Nice work sir and good on you for doing something different. What front brake and clutch controls were used? Once again, lovely build.   

  • Gary Thomson

    She’s a beaut!  Great work and I love the design – About that exhaust, I agree with cornish pixie, it is really refreshing to see something new and original and not the same old same old.  I take my hat off to you Derek.

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Now that is a build worth talking about, and all I can say is DAMN!

  • Gorgeous!  And what a perfect comparison with Punch Drunk Love.  Brilliant writing for a brilliant build.  
    Is the front end from a Buell as well? 

    • Forks are ‘03 Kawasaki ZX636 inverted forks with custom T-clamps.

      • Thanks..I must have missed that in the article.  I’m doing a similar conversion to my cx500 (’08 gsxr1000 front end to a 79 cx500D) so I want to read up on the brake job Derek did.  Let the research begin…again.
        BTW–keep up the good work on the site!

        • You didn’t miss it – it was in the specs Derek sent me on the build. Thanks for the complement, too. 🙂

  • David Beasley

    Its nice it looks good (even the tank) Its a Café Racer ,It looks the part Give your self a pat on the back

  • Davidabl2

    There’s an expression about “the shock of the new”  which applies to that canister placement.
    After  more people do it it’ll be more acceptable.

  • Davidabl2

    600 hrs(by an expert in a very well equipped shop.) Plus $8k(even times .75)
    No wonder it looks like it does.

  • Bobb

    this looks so good 

  • paul@evolution

    my hat is off to you. I DIG!

  • Mahaan Ghose

    Awesome work Derek! I love the build. The swing-arm is gorgeous. The muffler is very creative – keeps the rear clean, the belly free, and smartly covers the visual gap between the front-wheel and the frame down-tubes. Also, should be sounding kick ass from there.

  • Be interesting to see what this pipe does on a dyno, but regardless of that, it sure looks bitchin’!

  • Nash

    although i’d agree the pipe probably isnt the best from a purely performance standpoint, i LOVE it. so different and in a very good way. i have a ’79 CB650 and this is very inspiring!

  • Brian

    You KNOW you’ve hit on something excellent when the self annointed blast what you’ve created.  Anytime someone is able to polarize a critical group it’s a 100% sure fire “you betchya!” no-two-ways-about-it HOME RUN!!  Leave the exhaust as you have it there … when the critiquers buy it from you (heheh) then they can put whatever off-the-shelf system makes their tails wag .. right?

    Do I like it?  Doesn’t matter one fucking iota, now does it.

    My only criticism?  The same one I have repeated over and over.  All that work in the back, all that big cash spent on high-zoot parts, the m.o.n.s.t.e.r effort of friggin widening the wheels (!!!) to be able to wear wider meats, all that time and effort going into the handling and adding on of mega-trick suspension pieces, all of that effort to make the bike a “mass-forward” design … and still no floating rear brake.  It’s no different than fully outfitting a soldier with every one of the latest combat-ready gizmos .. and then giving him no bullets.  The thought is “incomplete”.  A teensy tiny detail that makes ALL the difference.  Like giant Brembo brakes combined with old-school bias ply tires or something.  Or using high-perfomance exhaust/intake without rejetting the carbs.  Incomplete … “DOES NOT COMPUTE”.  Heheh. 🙂 

    Anyone that has raced will tell you how beneficial the full-floating rear brake modification setup is (what good is all of that ~mass forward~ stuff if the rear wheel is gonna chatter like a teenaged girl during aggressive braking?).   It’s the difference between “honest track bikes” and posers.  That “little detail” that every half-fast rider looks for on any machine claiming to be “track worthy” or even one that is posing as a track-type bike.  This is a certified tell-tale between “show bikes” and “actual high-perfomance ridable machines”.  Not having it negates the rest of the handling details.  Leaves it “unfinished”.  (Pops rolls in his grave everytime one of these comes around.).

    With the amount of time and level of workmanship put into all of that trick fab in the back … it’s sure a bummer that this huge detail was left unaddressed.  I mean  … just that little bit more .. so close … so close.

    Less expensive shocks coupled with a floating rear brake will handle better than highbuck shox and no floating rear brake.  Just sayin’.  $1500 Ohlins can be replaced with $700 Works Perfomance shocks and a floating brake, and the cheaper setup will handle far better.  Ask around if my words smell of the BS.  (I know the builder used some “used” ZRX shocks in back, but you get my point here).

    But it makes no matter what I think.  I’m just another “opinion” on the web.  When I buy it (see my point?) I can change whatever I like .. right?  😉

    GREAT job.  You’re a great fabber.  More!  More of this!  🙂

  • Tim

    what kind of grips are those?

  • Bryan

    The is bike beautiful and functional. I love the weight savings you incorporated into your design. It looks like a well executed retro modded CB. One question where did you get your bar end indicators/turn signals?

  • Phil Cady

    I hate these hipster “vintage” bikes. All that amazing suspension for a piece of junk engine. Good luck selling it, I’m sure some rich douche in Silver Lake will pay way too much for it.