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‘82 Honda CB450T Hawk – Classified Moto


Posted on August 21, 2013 by Andrew in Brat, Scrambler. 27 comments

Many people, us included, will strenuously argue about the artistic merits of custom motorcycles. From the raw materials to the choice of metal finishes right down to the minutiae of headlight placement and visual flow, in the eyes of the faithful anything can be considered a work of art. Be here’s a crazy idea – what if a bike was not only a work of art in itself, but actually included a work of art as part of it’s asthetic. What if you commissioned an artist to create art for your bike? What if the bike you created was actually a kind of rolling art gallery? Sound crazy? Then welcome to the mind of John Ryland and his Classified Moto Team with their latest creation, an artsy Honda CB450T that goes by the nickname of “The Fox”.

“This one is a 1982 Honda CB450T Hawk, which we nicknamed “Le Renard” – French for ‘The Fox’. It was commissioned by Justin Renard of Brooklyn, New York. He had some specific design elements he wanted to see incorporated — atypical materials like wood and waxed canvas, a splash of red and some subtle graphic element to give a nod to his last name. But mostly he wanted a lightweight curb hopper to conquer the battered pavement in style.”

“The bike was sold as a Level 2 build (indicates a modern front end swap) but for aesthetics we ended up re-working the entire back end of the bike as well. We were building a Level 1 CB400T at the same time and modified the frame in a similar way. To me, it just looks a lot cooler than the swoopy, bendy stock frame. The mounts for the Progressive Series 12 shocks were relocated as well for a rock solid feel.”

“I suppose the focal point of the bike is the seat. The pan is made from a skateboard deck painted by Richmond, Virginia artist Kristy Heilenday. We looked high and low for a vintage deck with some kind of fox graphic on it. No luck. So we commissioned Kristy to do something that fit the bill. The final art is of a fox lying on his back in a bed of red flowers with a wrench in his mouth. I think it’s a 14mm. Ha. We were under a time crunch when we were shooting the bike so we didn’t get detail shots of the underside, but Kristy has a few on her website. The seat was shaped in house and upholstered by Richmond’s Roy Baird.

Justin provided some military style waxed canvas which worked out great and will only look better with age. To help showcase the deck artwork, we elevated the seat an inch or so off the frame rails. Makes it easier to see ‘Le Renard’ underneath.

The front forks, brakes and wheel are all from a 2005 Kawasaki ZX6R attached via a Classified Triple Tree Conversion with a custom billet aluminum upper clamp. Justin liked the idea of clip-ons, which we finished off with vintage brown grips. The speedo is a Danmoto digital unit with a traditional sweeping needle. It’s mounted in a custom nickel plated housing designed by my buddy and author Matt Crawford.”

“Greg Ownby, our mechanic, rebuilt the 30 year old motor and simplified the wiring harness which now resides mostly under the fuel tank. A tiny Shorai Lithium Ion battery powers everything and provides 240 cold cranking amps to the starter. The tank is a Honda CB350 model, nickel plated with a two-tone candy black stripe and copper CM badging. The carbs were jetted to match the Uni filters and the 2-into-1 exhaust.

This bike is definitely a unique look for us. It’s kind of all over the place with genres which made it a lot of fun to build. We had great unveiling evening at E3 Motorcycles in Brooklyn last month. It was the perfect way to cap off the project with a bunch of great people. There hasn’t been a lot of time to kick back and drink a beer lately, so it was awesome.”








  • G369

    some really interesting solutions here, very intriguing and good-looking.

  • TitanTamer

    Not to nitpick, but the front and rear wheels don’t match… they aren’t even really close. Thoughts??

  • itsmefool

    ‘Bout time we had a good example of the “skateboard-deck-as-seat-pan” trick; BTW, these things, in bare wood, are available at a popular art and framing store chain for $30. Might just be the cheapest part of the build! The rest of the bike is nice, too, even with the mismatched wheels.

    • Glad you pointed that out. For a lot of builds a skateboard is just the right size. Around here thrift shop skateboards go for a couple of bucks.

  • jaspered

    I like the mismatched wheels, it has a throwback feel reminding you of what it came from. Its an old bike with a shiny front end. Asymmetry pleases me.

  • E Brown

    Some interesting parts but the individual elements never gel into a cohesive bike, and function seems to have been left by the wayside. The front wheel – I’m guessing the original Yamaha design – is too different from the rear (original Comstar?) and the suspension front to rear seems similarly mismatched. Add in the raised seat with the low clip-ons and I cringe at the thought of actually riding this, especially for an extended period.

  • Justin McClintock

    Mostly I like it. But I’d like it more if the seat sat closer to flush on the frame and it had drag bars instead of clip-ons.

  • Jacob Speis

    You know, I’m a huge fan of Classified’s work, but this one isn’t doing it for me as much. Granted, it’s still a very solid build, but the skateboard doesn’t so much look like an integral part of the build as much as it looks like a nod to pander to the client’s interests.

  • brad barber

    Cool. Another art project bike on the wonderful Pipeburn. Hope the new owner beats the snot out of it like I do mine.

  • There’s just something very cool and McGuyver about this! Love it!

  • TheFatGuido

    We need to build our bikes like this in NYC, ive been running a 16 in the rear all summer on my Xs and just relaced to a 19 just to deal with the potholes. Cant wait to see this at the brooklyn invit. next month

  • arnold

    Concept good.
    Bars, tank seam, seat would not be my choices, if I was buying this build.
    Ride ability in an urban environment? Completely subjective. I would hate for the tires to loose grip while accelerating to dodge a 36 hour shift Taxi driver, in a light mist.
    The bars seem to be the same width as the pegs; bars get through the gap, so will the rest if the bike (with a slight shoulder turn).
    Heavy enough that one person could not pick it up to throw it into a pick up truck bed.
    Stoppies look like a definite bling move under the right conditions.
    Oh, and fenders to keep the urban grime off of my seersucker suit.

    Just my opinion, a good solid ‘B+’

  • Dan

    I know I’m probably in the minority here, but the whole knobby tire/custom, retro, vintage street bike never did it for me, and it seems like that’s all I see anymore. Must be what all the kool kids are riding this summer… I also know this is a customer build so beauty is in the eye of the “check book holder” but to me, bolting on a completely new front end that doesn’t integrate with the rest of the bike at all, and throwing in a skateboard deck as a seat pan make me feel like this is a “trendy, bolt-on special.” I know it’s not, and the fab skills are top notch from what I see… so a big nod to Classified Moto for the execution… I just prefer a bike with a little more “flow” if that makes any sense… but I know “flow” costs money and time.

    • You’re not alone. Knobbies on the street is a puzzling fad at best. Then add agressive clip-ons? Workmanship and finish look great and if these are the tires customers are asking for, then I guess that’s what you install. I’d like to see a close up of the gauge housing. That looks really interesting.

      • Dan

        I come from a road racing background and I LOVE the ZX6 forks, radial calipers, etc… I would just like to see the original Honda rim in use. I know the spacers, axle diameter, brake rotor mounting and alignment would all have to be figured out, but knowing all that had to be re-engineered to achieve matching wheels would make the front end alone worthy of a Pipeburn feature… (to this humble Pipeburn lurker anyway)

      • Eric

        I agree on the gauge housing; it looks like Crawford can fab as well as he writes! 🙂

  • nathas909

    Usually I don’t mind mismatched wheels, I actually like them, but I think having mismatched wheels and mismatched sizes doesn’t work work for me here.
    Also I dont know why, but I usually like the Classified Moto front end conversion set up, but on this one its just too much, but I think it would look better with a bigger front wheel.
    But over all its another one of these guys amazing builds. I would quite happily own this or be very proud if I built it.

  • Zundap

    Nice front end. ..Z

  • Guest

    Thanks for the feedback

  • Todd Johnson

    I’ve been rocking a skateboard deck as a seat for two years now.. it’s comfy and an easy addition…

  • I think this is my favorite Classified build to date. Looks like a blast to ride and for me, elevating the skate deck ever so slightly was a good call. Ryland dares to be different and I respect that!

  • CD

    une tuerie !!!!

    means awesome !!

  • Vintage King Motor

    A great looking 82 Honda CB450T motorcycle well put
    together. Keep them coming thanks for sharing. Vintage Motorcycle Parts

  • cx500

    Perhaps there’s no room for it in a level 2 build, but I would have liked to see the rear Comstar converted to spokes. Spoked wheels would suit that bike and you could match front and rear. (probably a Harley hub for the front to get a big enough axle.)

    http://motosynthesis.blogspot.ca/p/products.html

  • Simon

    Love the bike1 especially the seat. However, I am wondering how they fitted the upholstery to the skateboard. Do you think its sewed or glued? any ideas?

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