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Honda CB550 – Bridge City Cycles

Posted on December 10, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer. 40 comments

Portland, Oregon is not only one of the ‘craft beer’ capitals of America, but it’s also one of the ‘craft motorcycle’ capitals as well. There seems to be so many great custom shops, motorcycles and events coming out of Portland – there must be something in the Portland water beer. One such shop that we’ve been keeping our blurry eye on is Bridge City Cycles. Started by Anthony Mautemps and his wife 2 years ago, their business is going from strength to strength. “We’ll be moving to 5,000 square foot facility in May” says Anthony. “Fortunately, the move is just across the street.” Bridge City Cycles specialize in vintage and classic motorcycles from Europe, America and of course Japan. Their latest build is this super lean and clean Honda CB550 café racer…

The owner of the bike, Mike Johnson bought the CB550 into Bridge City with a clear brief of what he wanted. The bike was in a pretty bad shape and so Anthony and his crew got to work starting from the ground up. They rebuilt the complete top end including the head. They also added a bigger cam, repainted the motor, powdercoated the carb bodies and most of the other parts on the bike. They then custom made the mini fairing and seat cowl. Anthony painted the tank, fairing and seat in Super Flake Copper and Gold Candy. The old school pin striping was done by the talented Jeff Wolf. The black leather seat upholstery was carried out by New Church Moto. “We rebuilt the wheels and pretty much everything on it” says Anthony.  

We asked Anthony why he thought the motorcycle scene was so healthy in Portland: “Not sure about the scene here, but there are a lot of year-round riders, and then when the weather gets warmer there are a shit-ton of motorcycles out and about. I think it has to do with gas prices and motorcycles being economical. Portland is a very “green” city, so that makes sense. Also it makes getting around and parking way easier.” 

Bridge City Cycle have yet again built another top class cafe racer. This time with strong 70’s influences that have been executed in a tasteful fashion. You can’t argue with classic metal flake paint, pinstriping and a discreet fairing. We also love the brake light and licence plate which both seem to be hidden nicely under the rear cowl – the cops will probably love that feature as well.

  • Barhu

    Cool bike! It kinda looks like the CB550 Repsol bike but still very nice!

    • aaron

      I think both bikes are using the same Carpy mini fairing

  • arnold

    Very Christmassy last photo. Enough gripe about the studio lighting effects from me.
    Big fan of candy and pins, I feel that it should have been carried further to the front and inner fenders.
    Minimal air filtering on someone’s happy bike is a problem for me, but I would not banish to a dusty corner.
    Clean and obviously a good effort.

  • aaron

    “They rebuilt the complete top end including the head”……that would be the “complete top end wouldn’t it?

    • Mark Linder

      I’m not sure why it was worded that way. The head and cam were toast on
      the bike. A ‘new’ head was used, rebuilt, with a slightly lumpier cam.
      Of course, the cylinders were honed and pistons re-ringed.
      Top end includes jugs and pistons.

      • Aaron Richard

        that’s what I thought. I built a 75 cb550 5 yrs ago. Went through the engine.
        Still running strong. the 550 ‘s are a blast to ride..

        • Nice ride you have there.

  • Peter Ayers


  • revdub

    I’m in love with this paint. And, Ginger’s seats never disappoint. Very classy build.

  • tmcsp

    A cafe bike will real suspension, tires, and a strong motor to go with its stunning looks?!

    Great looking bike. My only complaint would be to move the rear sets up by about 3 inches. Having them on the passenger peg locations looks cheesy I think.

    • Mark Linder

      The owner is about 6’3″ with something like a 36″ inseam. No way he could have had the rearsets any further up.
      No point in cutting them off to replace them with the same thing in the same place.

      • tmcsp

        My mistake then. Leave the pegs where they are lol.

  • Now&Zen

    Not bad . Not great mind you… but not bad . Paint’s mighty fine . Workmanship looks good ( at least from what can be sussed from the photo’s ) But the design ….. well ….. it isn’t . Designed very well that is . Something about it either being missing or out of proportion … I can’t put a finger on it . But there’s something about the bike that ” Aint Right ” to quote an old Hollywood classic

    • revdub

      Perhaps it’s the frame color in juxtaposition to the fairing, tank, and seat color? Gold flake with a silver frame is a little off-putting, in my humble opinion. A dark frame might have fit the overall scheme better. Still a sweet bike.

      • arnold

        The flake and the fly screen come off as root beery to my eye in that lighting. Probably not what they were going for.ald

        • Mr. Mau

          Yes..the paint was exactly what I was going for…

          • revdub

            @438de5b7367357d62460b1b08bf910d4:disqus I want to repeat what I said earlier. Beautiful work on that paint! The tank alone is stunning.

          • Mr. Mau

            Thank you sir! My reply was not directed at you though, revdub… 😉 However, I think a darker frame would have looked great, but we went with what the customer requested…

      • madmusk

        Light frame with black pipes just looks like an inverted image to my eyes. Can’t get past it for some reason.

    • PhazE

      I’d say the front fender is weird, i think a bit too small but the rest seems fine.
      i like the fact that the design of the bike isn’t perfectly balanced because it would be boring.

  • Now that pinstriping, mmmm-MMMM!

  • Bob

    For the critics, what have you built lately? The only thing that matters is if the owner is happy. Looks good to me. I’ve had work done at Bridge City on my old Suzuki and wish I had the funds to make it how I really would like it to look. These guys love these old bike and it shows.

  • Mr. Mau, You’ve put a ton of work into the paint (carbs and hubs) and finish. Looks awesome! You should take an hour and extend the sidestand. Then it won’t fall over and ruin the bitchin’ paint!

  • itsmefool

    Love it; paint really pops on this one. Great job!

  • Nick

    I normally don’t like the whole pinstripe thing but the color makes it work. The bikini cover is a nice touch too, well done.

  • yes, there are some differences in cafe bike taste, and we discussed a lot of aesthetic options. we also went over many many hurdles over the last year she was in the shop. but- paint and powdercoat and chrome, those are just the frosting- i got what i came for, that being a bike i knew was mechanically sound and even moreso, fun as hell to ride.

    when i took her in, the motor was junk (ask mark, he was up to his elbows in there) the wiring junk, no working signals, and i could go on- it was an accident waiting to happen. and as a paramedic, i cannot abide that. so what started as a laundry list of troubleshooting & updates, turned into: “fuckit- let’s tear it all down to the nuts and bolts.” so there wasn’t a nook or cranny that didn’t get cleaned, reworked or replaced.

    at the end of the day, nobody is going to love this bike more than me, because i set down my wishes, and they were well exceeded. think she’s a sexy bitch. anthony, mark, ginger, the rest of the BCC guys who lent a hand, and jeff- they knocked it out of the park and gave me something i can tear around town and, as a bonus, look good doing so.

  • Cool root beer flake and pinstripes. Would have tried to talk the customer out of the silver frame (straight up black to go with all of the other black bits sounds good.) Even a deep red frame would have made the tank look richer and deeper. Ah well, not my bike. All out sweet looking little ride.

    • Mike

      The original color scheme plan was gold metal flake and black racing stripes, on a gloss black frame. The silver frame (80% chrome colored powder coat was Anthony’s idea, & the paint changed obviously as well. However I gave the shop wide berth with some of the cosmetics, and am pleased with how she looks. I get compliments everywhere I go.


      • So it was the builder’s fault. I knew it! lol

        • Mike

          Well, fault is a strong word. I like how it turned out.

  • xsbank

    You obviously enjoyed the head work because you have not filtered the intake. Otherwise great design.

    • Mike

      You can’t see it from the pics but the stacks have a filter between them and the carbs

  • Dirty Adam

    Dang, 5,000 Sq. Foot facility next May? Does this mean you guys are going to start locking up your customer bikes and/or not leaving them out in the rain and shit weather all winter??

    • Corisian

      You need your teeth kicked in…

  • Dirty Adam

    Dang, new 5,000 sq.ft. facility next May? Does this mean you guys are going to start locking up the customer bikes and potentially not keep them out in the rain and poor weather 24/7?

    • John Stenton

      really double posts? learn how to use a computer, or non constructive comments to yourself. good to see another sweet northwest cafe, best around

  • Love the build – the paint is great, and I like the way the chrome powder coat comes out looking like burnished nickel like an old Rickman. And how can you not love the pinstripes – they look just right.

  • muddypaws

    Curious about the tank? It looks like a cb550 with the flap cap, but also has scalloped sides, any idea how they did this? It looks great!

  • fred

    THE WORST CYCLE SHOP EVER!!!!!!!!!!! I took my 75 sportster to have the timing and turn signals done. 2 days after they called oh we need $1500 to make your bike run I didn`t have the money and when I returned to pick it up they charged me $180 AND DID NOTHING I ASKED.