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1976 Honda cb550f – ‘Patina’

Posted on September 27, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer. 35 comments

One trend that seems to be building momentum is the use of copper, brass or gold to accentuate certain parts of the build. Gold chains and rims have always been popular, but they seem to be making a come back. We think this CB550 has got the balance of copper just about right. The rear sets, levers, exhaust tip, headlight and rims are enough to get your attention – without turning it into a festival of bling. This classy café racer is the handy work of Alex Martino in collaboration with the talented Dustin Kott from Kott Motorcycles. Alex has had this bike in his head for some time, it just took a little time to make it a reality. As it turns out, Alex is a man of many talents. He’s a graphic designer by trade but acquired his fabrication skills by building custom show trucks in Chicago. After moving to L.A. he now spends his days shooting beautiful models as a freelance photographer. “I’m just a good ol’ boy in a city trying to make money and find time to spend in the garage” says Alex.

You always remember your first, and this is how Alex recalls his… “I searched through the depths of the inter webs to find my perfect “first” bike. I have been around and been on bikes my whole life but never bought one with my own money. After finding the perfect project bike I contacted Dustin Kott in Newhall, CA to do a collaboration build on my 1976 Honda cb550f. I had a design in my head for the past two or three years that just needed to get out of my head and under my legs!

“Once Dustin was on board, it was only three extremely fast months that I was taking the animal know as “PATINA” down the street. As for the build, the night I brought the bike over we had it stripped to a bare frame in less than twenty minutes. Once she was tore apart and de-tabbed we instantly started the reassemble for mock up. Dustin tackled the seat and rear sets while I fitted the 2007 GSXR 750 front forks onto the frame.”

“Because my initial design had inverted levers on the clip-ons it was a challenge to figure the best solution for the front brakes. Once the bike was back to a roller and the visual fabrication was done Dustin and I put our talents together to tackle the relocated front master cylinder. I couldn’t be happier with the solution we ended up on. I was once told that if no one notices, then you did it right.”

Alex and Dustin finished the bike on a Friday night and the following day they took it to its first show. “I had to show four judges that were walking around the bike that the handlebars had no front master cylinder on the handle bars. That show, “PATINA” ended up taking ‘best café’ out of over 400 bikes at the 5th annual VVMC (Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club) Rally in Venice, CA.” Not bad for his first build, don’t you think?

  • Love it. Got the lines just right.

  • Jens

    I like it, nice little Cafe Racer. But I´m not so sure about the copper!? To be honest, I think copper ist best used with vintage or Steampunk bikes and with a Cafe Racer I think it is a little of the track… Sorry to say so.

    • Davidabl2

      Agreed..there are some nice anodized colors at the same part of the spectrum that’ll keep
      the bright look a bit better..and it’s hard to imagine this bike with green/gray/bluish oxidized copper colors in place of the bright blingy copper color(s) it’s got now..I’m pretty sure that embalming the copper under clear-coat ISN’T a solution either…

  • Dustin

    good looking bike. I think tarnishing the copper would give it more style. clean copper is just like colored chrome, too much flash.

    • itsmefool

      10-4, good buddy; I feel the same way…it’d be a lot better looking in a few years.

  • Guest

    Can anybody identify these tyres? I’ve tried zooming but I can’t make out the model, nor can I spot the tread on the Bridgestone website…

    • FiliusDei

      I believe they’re Bridgestone S11 Spitfire

  • Shamus

    The name is bound to stir some sh*t here.

  • NWPatriot71

    The shiny copper will patina and get all cool over time, love it.

  • 50merc

    I think it came out perfect !!!

  • arnold

    Wow, I wish my shop looked so good. Oh good looking bike too.

  • arnold

    Like every touch you’ve made, especially the rearsets. I honestly display my ignorance, The rearsets, store bought or fabricated? I don’t care for the color accents below the waist, but overall a wonderful build.

    • arnold

      I guess I would like to see the left side of the machine.

    • I believe the rearsets were made by Dustin Kott and then they had them copper coated.

  • There’s a lot to like about this bike, but I’d sure like to see it in person. If it won best cafe out of 400 bikes it must be stunning in the flesh.

  • I think this is a really nice build! I love the copper and know it will change with age. I would like to see the left side, it always bugs me when they only show one side of a bike in a blog post. I want to see it all 🙂

    • arnold

      I am not happy with the Wiki explanation of copper patina. My experience , if properly cared for, it will turn a translucent grey, showing a mild green below it. Vivid green shows mega problems as exhibited by the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.

      • Helene

        i was mentioning this in an ealier post with copper parts on a bike. but there’s always the possibility of eloxidizing the copper, however, i have no idea about the prices…

        • Helene

          (i love the bike, btw….)

      • The difference between how this bike and the S of L oxidize is from location. The S of L is exposed to salty sea air which I’m assuming this bike will not be. I’m also guessing the bike will be washed from time to time with soapy water. My response is really about the “mega problems” you mention. The problem with the copper used for the S of L is the plates being fastened to iron framing. Copper and iron don’t play nice. Other than that, copper will stand the test of time. Any problem that might occur is the fact that the parts are copper plated (while the S of L is solid copper plates.)

  • fastgabe

    man those old cb’s can look good when a guy gets the lines right

  • ffjmoore

    Finally a bike from kott with a decent looking seat. This is the first bike from them that i think looks real good. Nice job.

  • I can’t tell but does it have a copper gas cap? That would be the last bit needed I think.

    The gas tanks all hanging in the last pic remind me of Sesame Street. One of these things is not like the other….hmmmm, they all hold gas….which one could it be?

    • nvr2old

      I’m thinking if it’s an F tank, the gas cap is under an access door. Good looking 550, for sure. They make great cafe’ bikes. The front end looks great. The paint is similar to the one on my own 550F. Love the 2-tone.

  • I like copper, but the copper doesn’t make this bike. The bike has nice lines and is super clean which equals winner in my book. The copper is a “cute” idea (not meant in a negative way) but this bike could certainly live without it. It beat 400 other bikes which begs the question, did the copper put it over the top or did it win in spite of?

  • A Friend

    Just met Alex last night and have to say pics dont do this bike justice. Even better in person!!

  • JCT

    Yeah, yeah, the bike, whatever. I want to talk about this guys website- What a lucky son of a bitch.

  • Singletracker

    Great looking bike, attention to detail is awesome. Good job!

  • Cliff Overton

    Well, the lines are good, the tank and seat are set well on the frame, the front end is a nice bit of work – BUT – the use of the copper on bits here and there just does not work for me, looks like the builders went on eBay to see what they could find in anodised parts and then stuck them on. I think copper and brass can work well with polished aluminium or steel, no need to black everything out. (Just my 2c worth).

  • adien

    i love this bike so much bro… impressive,

  • I don’t see a price nor a link for this bike. How do I buy this?

  • Andrew Peck

    If gold chains and rims (or anything, for that matter) have ‘always been popular’, then how can they be ‘making a comeback’? Either they were always here (in which case they aren’t returing from obscurity) or they are indeed coming back (in which case they have NOT always been popular)… Nice bike.

  • Alex Van Kuyk

    I saw this at cafe desmo. I aspire to build one to this standard. Beautiful.

  • Owner

    Please feel free to contact me if you’re really interested in the cb550 “Patina”

    • JEberenz

      was the tail end custom made or did you have someone make it for you? i really like how it’s a lower profile and with a wider rear tire it would look very modern race-like.