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1976 Honda CB550K Café Racer

Posted on June 25, 2013 by Scott in Café Racer. 15 comments

Written by guest writer Ian Lee.

Who doesn’t love the look of bare metal? It gives the impression of so much potential, but can also be a finish in itself. Jason Moore of Flying J Customs is one man who is able to produce a bike using bare metal highlights, and his 1976 Honda CB550 café racer is packing more aluminum than a fridge full of leftovers. With performance to match the looks, today’s feature bike is bare metal goodness, with old school styling thrown in. Did I mention about the bare metal?  

Relieving the CB of it’s original fuel tank and seat, a Norton Sprint tank and tail combo has been fitted, custom made for this bike. “I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted until I talked to Richard from TAB Classics.” says Jason. “He sent me a picture of a CB550 frame with the Norton Sprint tank on it and I was instantly sold.” A bikini fairing sourced from Japan continues the aluminium aspect of the build, wrapped tight around an Acewell speedo/tachometer. Aluminum clip-ons and Raask rear sets build the café racer image of the bike, while a set of 18″ Excel rims laced with stainless spokes make up the rolling stock.

In the engine department, Jason has made sure his bike goes as hard as it looks. 61mm pistons, running at 10.5:1 compression, boost the capacity up to 592cc. The mildly ported head, with matched intakes, is running a hot street cam. A set of aluminum velocity stacks breathe in, a race replica 4-4 exhaust system exhales.

To increase the reliability of the electricals, some modifications have been made. Dyna 2000 ignition and mini coils replace the original system, a modern regulator rectifier and lightweight Shorai battery have been fitted as well.

A second disc and caliper has been added for improved braking, as well as having the discs drilled and lighted by 2 lbs each. It has taken Jason over 5 years to finish this build and has built and sold many bikes in between to pay for this one. From the ported and bored out engine, to the beautiful tank and seat arrangement, he has built a bare metal beauty that any rider would be happy to race between more than just cafes – as long as they don’t mind a bit of polishing that is.

[To see more of this stunning bike, check out this very thorough build thread].

  • brandEn

    LOVE IT!

  • pietro

    scary good build. only thing i would have skipped is the see-through carter, and i’d add a front fender. the hand work on this bike is amazing!

  • g

    Pretty but a little impractical. One pebble tossed into a velocity stack from the rear tire and sayonara!

    • A shame too. Those are such beautiful carbs. Lessons must be learned the hard way!

    • ’58

      Those stacks look like the DCC ones, which have built in screens… You can actually see the screens in the second pic down.

  • itsmefool

    Yeah, coolness…the frame is finished like a glossy version of an old warbird’s cadmium primer coat. Great job!

  • Peterperfect

    Bike porn! Just beautiful.

  • coldsunshine

    She’s a beauty. If this was a Kawasaki, all things being equal, and the frame was Kawasaki green, it would be the cat’s meow. Since the color on the frame stands out so distinctly, I’m just feeling another color. Not Honda red (red frames have been done to death,) or black (for the same reason,) but I’m not sure what color I have in mind. It’ll come to me…

    With that said, I really like this ride. Maybe a brown leather “saddle bag” hanging in that breezeway. At least something that would stop road debris from flying from the back wheel into the stacks.

  • coldsunshine

    “A set of aluminum velocity stacks breathe in, a race replica 4-4 exhaust system exhales.” That’s a good line. I like that.

  • Adam Santella

    i can’t imagine how sore your hands would be from polishing this masterpiece. I try to polish an aluminum rearset on my bike and need a break every twenty minutes…

  • The Badger


  • FlyingJ

    Thanks for the compliments guys. The bike is currently in “show” form, rest assured it has an inner fender and foam filters when it gets ridden. No rocks are getting in this motor.

  • Dale E.

    I give it an A for effort. Couple of things i noticed that i would like to point out to the builder. Dont like how the tank is mounted. The front of the tank looks like its higher than the front. The tank looks like its about to fly off and looks like it was just shoe horned in.Same goes with the bikini fairing. Why is the bottom pinched in? Would have been nice if its wide as the bottom. Again to me it looks like the bikini fairing was just forced to fit the bike. Rear shocks should have been in chrome or polished to match the fork, and billet style exhaust hangers looks like it was just an after thought. Ohh yeah just like what almost everybody said, the bike need fenders.

  • barney fife

    Love it also.

  • robweeve

    who did your tigged exhaust pipes? beautiful bike!