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1982 Honda CB750 ‘Convertible’ – Steel Bent Customs

Posted on May 9, 2013 by Andrew in Café Racer. 30 comments

Yes, you are on the right site. And no, we haven’t suddenly decided to add four wheeled vehicles to our stock-in-trade. That’s because the convertible we happen to be talking about here isn’t a little red Corvette or your daddy’s Thunderbird, but instead it’s the latest build by Florida’s Steel Bent Customs. This Nighthawk not only ticks all the right boxes in terms of clean lines, cool pipes, and sweet paint – it also manages to be both a café and a brat at the same time. Cool trick, huh?

Mike Mundy, owner of Steel Bent Customs, has a simple plan. “I will build 15 to 17 bikes this year. 12 or so will be commissioned, built to order bikes – the others will be personal shop builds to allow us to express some creativity.” This is the first of these builds, and by the looks of what he’s created, it won’t be the last.

Mike wanted to create a center, or ‘cat’s butt’ (as he put it) exhaust bike. “We didn’t know how to expect the exhaust to sound or if we even had ample rear tire clearance.” Turns out that the set-up is good on space and the exhaust tone is very similar to your average 4-in-to-1 set-up. He also wanted to do a mono shock out back without switching out the rear swing arm. Tick and tick again, we’d say.

“Once we were moving along with the build we decided that we liked the look of the seat cowl, but wanted the option of a space for a passenger. Hence the ‘Convertible’ name,” Mike says. The guys then had their upholster give them a diamond stitch pattern on the two seats, and their painter finished off the tins in a wet-look gloss black and silver design with a red go-faster stripe.

Then, when most of us would be happy with creating a bike that simply crossed two genres, Mike still wanted more. “We went with a motocross bar set up and added a screen protected headlight for a look we are coining ‘urban cafe’ – ready to assault the city streets.” Assault the streets and then sip a nice latté, we’re guessing.

For the final touches, red pod filters and mono shock springs give the bike a little attitude. Mike notes that although the bike was inherently an ‘inside job,’ the new features and unique details will allow new customers to see more options when detailing their own builds.

Mike ends by pointing out that she was purchased by a guy overseas before she was finished and that they will be shipping her out soon. How’s that for an endorsement? We’re guessing that if Mike and the lads can keep this up, it won’t be just one ‘guy overseas’ who wants a part of the action. I wonder if they ship to Sydney?

Photography by the talented Erick Runyon

  • Jon in Pollock


  • revdub

    That snaky exhaust is really different. I’m not sure what I think about it. The mono shock looks great though. Being able to convert to a double seat by removing the cowl is a nice touch.

  • MotoTrooper

    Add this one to the very few, well thought out practical custom builds. Lots of visual balance going on with the mirror harmonizinging the offset exhaust which does double duty complimenting the tank and frame. Well done! No wonder it sold before it was finished.

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Nicely finished machine for sure. Why the writer references to Bratstyle bikes is unknown to me. If it a nod to the styling of the bike, then it's much closer to a Wrench Monkee's machine than a Bratstyle.

  • Night Hawk tanks can be a problem because the eye follows the lower edge and expects it to flow into the stock side covers. Putting the red pinstripe and color change is a great solution. I’ve got to remember that trick.

    • revdub

      You’re totally right about that red pinstripe and two-tone color. It changes the lines of the tank completely. The line of the rear section supports follows the bottom angle of tank as well, which adds to the effect and makes this work great visually.

  • .: Chris

    Very nice…past the seat being a joke.

    • revdub

      It’s only a joke if you were expecting a cruiser or touring seat and came home to find this. If the purpose is to head down to the local pub every Saturday, it seems this seat might do just fine. It’s all in what you want to do with it, in my opinion. Maybe two bikes in the stable? One for touring, and another for quick trips around town. Or, better yet would have been to create two seats for this bike that were easily exchangeable. Now, that would have been the ultimate in convertibility!

      • Your idea is brilliant Rev !
        Let me push the boundaries of convertibility even further. Waxed cotton panniers like the Hammarhead V7 Wayward Guzzi, a rear hugger and you’re off.
        Check this out:

        • revdub

          Yes! Nice video, but even better bike and bags!! I’d take a set of those, or one of the Farmer’s Racer bags. Having seen those up close, I have to say that the quality is pretty amazing.

          • Farmer’s Racer custom SR 400 is pretty amazing also 🙂

        • Only difference is, the MG here doesn’t have nice svelte lines. Looks like functional paniers on a school bus.

  • Casper

    The exhaust is really sweet to see, although the asymmetry is a bit odd, but necessary. I think the passenger seat is a nice idea, but a bit useless in real life. I can’t see it giving enough comfort for the passenger for them wanting to go on another ride after the first ride..

  • Timbob

    A great looker, but again cv carbs with pod filters. Spent a fair bit of time playing with this style of set up on the road and dyno. Air boxes for cv’s and pods for slide carbs. Just to set the record straight for anyone who’s about to build a cb750… Lovely paint!!

    • Richard Brandt

      If the Honda factory team couldn’t pull it off, it’s a safe bet the rest of us will have a tough time. 🙂

    • Guest

      It IS possible but requires a fairly significant modification of the carbs and a little toying with jetting, etc. afterward. This isn’t just me talking. After having conversations with several builders who have used the CB DOHC platform for customs and a little prodding they shared their secret(s). I took their advice and you can make them work. Everyone who reads the forums says it’s impossible bc they’re taking advice from individuals who tried to figure it out on their own and you simply can’t. It requires more than slapping in some new jets, adjusting the mixture screws, or figuring out the correct filter area inlet,etc… Another nice build by Steel Bent. Always wanted to see someone try the convertible seat idea and here it is!

      • Timbob

        Correct, make an adaptor that fits the inlet of the carb that enables the vac chamber inlet to see a controlled constant pressure (preferably atmospheric or close to it). This can be done by adding pipe adaptors to this adaptor and running them up underneath the tank. This will enable the carbs to see a depression on engine side that can react against a controlled pressure (atmospheric) on the inlet side..thus they operate as designed…. : -) Then jet to 72 pilot and 122 main ….ish

  • wabernat

    Curious: That engine and tank belong to a CB750-F, not a Nighthawk. (Here in the US.) ‘Round these parts, the Nighthawk started out as a cruiser-styled UJM with a shaft drive, followed by a more sporting version (also with a shaft)

    Did they market this 750 four as a Nighthawk in Australia?

  • I really really like this bike. From the stance to the paint, it’s a total win. Stoked to see riser bars instead of clip-ons. Steel Bent Customs deserve serious bonus points for routing the exhaust through the swingarm behind the pivot and converting it to mono-shock without interference issues. Achieving that was probably a fairly significant challenge. If they had converted another front wheel to rear duty, brought a disc brake to the rear with it, and swapped the forks to some fatter conventionals, this bike would be a 10/10 for me. However, it’s not too far off as it sits.

  • itsmefool

    Low three-quarter view is the best shot of this thing…I likey! Good job, SBC!

  • arnold

    This mono shock on an original swing arm is interesting. Any body reliable doing the numbers? any response would be appreciated. thanks. ald

    • arnold

      Sorry , love the concept and its implementation. Good looking wheeler.

  • bryan kerswill

    I like this a lot, clean simple lines and for me at least the flat bars instead of clip-ons are a god send. Whether I would prefer a single seat and drop the pillion pegs to clean up that area i,m not sure. A neat trick to off-set the pipe as it exits at the rear. And I agree the paint scheme has change the visual shape of the tank…clever. A great, very rideable bike and in the end that’s what its all about for me.

  • Jed


  • Richard Brandt

    Blah blah CV carbs pod filters. I think the long exhaust is an interesting touch – would be interested to hear from the builder what the power delivery is like at the top end with that long snake.

  • Lewn

    I like everything minus headlight mesh and seat, but that still means it’s 99.8% perfect. I’d love to have the skills to do this to an air-cooled twin. Exhaust and mono-shock are really sweet. Thanks for sharing.

  • Two very nice bikes in a row!! Is Pipeburn changing it’s format? This thing is cool!

  • Jtown

    This bike is so gorgeous. The cat tail exhaust is pretty awesome and pulled out perfectly with this bike. The combination of cafe and street looks just sets it apart. Period!

  • Michael

    Nice enough bike but we beat him to the headlight, mirror and handle bar mods by 40+ years. Those were essential and functional elements of any ridge runner back then.

    Doubtless someone did them before then too.

    The way the red stripe works is my favorite part.

  • I have been thinking of doing the mono shock, under tail, and coverted seat on one bike for 2 years… so weird to see it be built by someone else