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1978 Honda CB550k

Posted on August 4, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer. 40 comments

The Honda CB550 is like the steak on the menu at the most pretentious restaurant you can think of – you know the one that has Salmon foam and Quail eggs cooked “three ways”. The steak is usually the banker though. The one meal you can easily pronounce and the one that is really hard to screw up. Plus, with the right cooking methods and sauces you can stamp your individuality on it. So when the Head Chef of “some new restaurant” David Jeffers wanted to buy a motorcycle, he started sourcing ebay for some prime steak… I mean some prime examples of the Honda CB550.

It didn’t take David long until he found his dream bike. It was a Dustin Kott CB500 café racer which ironically Dustin ended up talking David out of buying – yes, the builder told him not to buy it. Here’s David to tell the whole tale: “The story behind my bike is kind of interesting. I’ve had motorcycles in my life for as long as I can remember – my first motorcycle had training wheels on it. Growing up I always loved the oldschool motorcycles but never dipped my fingers into it. I did several custom trucks but never motorcycles. Now that I was a bit older (28), more mature and had the money to buy a motorcycle, I started combing the web for motorcycles. ebay,craigslist, etc. I eventually came across a motorcycle in LA that I loved and it happened to be a Dustin Kott CB500.

“I contacted him and he basically talked me into NOT buying that one he had built but buying a stock bike and designing and having him build it the exact way I wanted and involve me as much as I could. So I bought a Cherry 1978 cb550k from one of my fathers co-workers. Took it down to Newhall, California and all my idea’s that I had for as many years as i could remember. I always wanted to build this exact bike. The clean show bike but with a weathered copper sorta steampunk look. In my personal opinion a café racer should be a little dirty, anyways Dustin loved the idea to and we took out the engine and I took it home to rebuild. My dad and I rebuilt and leaned the engine, painted, polished and rejetted. We ditched the stock air box and got steel dragon velocity stacks.

After I was done with the engine it back down to start the final process. Dustin had sent some pieces out to get dipped in copper and clear coated. He also had everything I wanted black power coated black. Replaced the wheels, drilled out the rotor and some others things done. Relaced the wheels, fork seals, clip-ons, ditched all the gauges, mirrors, button start no key, toggle switches on for the high and low beams. We decided to leave the weld marks on the seatpan to give it unique weathered unfinished look. Anyway, I love how it turned out – retro weathered but still very clean. Plus it was a great experience having Dustin’s years of knowledge and skill to bring my design and dream bike to reality.”

  • Mike Cambareri

    It doesn’t strike me as particularly groundbreaking, but it is rather nice to look at. I dig the copper.

  • arnold

    Tough one to judge from the photographs, the final pic cinched it for me . It is a rider. kudos.

  • revdub

    Classy build. The tail section is beautiful. I too like the copper.

  • These shots were taken moments before the 3:15 to Yuma passed through. The bike survived but the rider was a total loss. Love the bubble in the last pic.

    • I thought it was the last train to Clarksville.

      • arnold

        Riding that train…………. Grateful Dead.

      • Randy Moran

        Train in Vain

      • Now if the WrenchMONKEES had built this, I’d be a believer.

    • It takes a lot to laugh but it takes a train to cry – Dylan

      • arnold

        Wow, nicely done. I now have a sock in my mouff. ald

    • My bad. That was the 3:10 to Yuma. Whew, that was a close one…

      • ShapeShifter

        I pulled a train on Betty Morgan once…..

        • Alright now. I had a feeling someone at some point would head down that track.

  • HammerheadFistpunch

    Personally I think “Steampunk” is played out, but I probably spend too much time with Boingboing nerds.

  • Oldnbroken

    It’s from the 70’s, it’s custom and it’s a Honda, what more could you want.


  • cagivarider

    Looks like a well proportioned, clean build, but imho the copper doesn’t fit the Honda racer style… I’d prefer some aluminum and red/silver paint to a bike like this.

    Best regards

  • Militiaman11

    Nice bike. I like the copper. But It would be nice to have some close up photos.

  • davmo

    Nice bike. Like the seat and general layout. Not so crazy about the copper, but hey, it’s not my bike.

  • Scott

    Would love to see some close ups and detail shots. Hard to see how the tank is finished etc. I was okay with everything until he actually said the word “steampunk” Thats, not okay! 😉

  • Lowflying

    Nice. Copper looks cool. IMHO tho, the nice shiny bits don’t go with that raw tank. Some nice paint on that tank would perfect this for me. Maybe a rich brown or gold or a nice pewter. Just my opinion tho. Ride on.

  • epifage

    “The clean show bike but with a weathered copper sorta steampunk look. In my personal opinion a café racer should be a little dirty”
    There it is, and there it’s so nice. But something miss, maybe the sound that we can’t heard, maybe a cape. This amazing bike just ask to be take in picture during a drive… congrats

  • A little bit of copper does not a steampunk make. It is a nice metal to use however and a builder doesn’t need to wedge the purpose of its use into the steampunk genre.

    • Which one of you bastards dared to give my comment a thumbs down?!?!?!?

  • Oldschoolmachinist

    Let the copper weather a bit and its patina will better match the rest of the bike.

  • Robbie

    Really cool bike. I quite like the contrast of the raw tank and the copper pieces. I’d say once the coppers weathers a bit it will blend in more. Looks like it’d be really fun to ride.

  • kevin__fullerton

    I’m down. Kott Motorcycles makes great looking CB’s.

  • ShapeShifter

    I’d like to see this bike after the copper has weatherd green…

  • ShapeShifter

  • I like the copper. it will look better once it ages a bit and gains a nice patina.
    good job.

  • I totally get it. Dave is a Chef. Go into the kitchen of any respectable restaurant and two things are immediately visually apparent. Copper bottoms and weathered steel. This bike simply represents the convergence of two passions for Dave. Tipping my hat…Cut

  • I gotta know where I can get me one of those spaceman bubble visor helmets.

  • Bobby Hancock

    i just bought a 1978 honda cb 550 k for $300.00 and now im just trying to find parts and to make it fit my personality i love it runs great but if any one has any good parts and body sights e mail me at thanks