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Honda CL450 – Lossa Engineering


Posted on September 6, 2013 by Scott in Scrambler. 22 comments

Sometimes, life can really throw nasty shit at you. But one of the nastiest things it can throw is cancer. Jay Lossa from Lossa Engineering has been dealt this card not once, but twice. So when cancer reared its ugly head again a second time, he knew what the best therapy for it was. Build a bike. “I haven’t built a bike for myself in over 3 years” says Jay. “So after a horrible 2012 and getting cancer again, doing chemotherapy, full body radiation and having a bone marrow transplant I was aching to build something. I’d had a bike in my head for years and I was keen to use the build as therapy while I was recovering to get back into the swing of things. Everyone knows me for building café bikes. Well, I actually will build any brand and any model – just as long as they are from the 60’s or 70’s. I wanted to build something I could take off-road or jump off a curb and actually carry stuff with me when I ride.” Jumping off a curb? By the looks of it, Jay has built a bike that could take on just about anything – including cancer.

“I bought the donor bike a few years ago and it was so clean I was unsure if I really wanted to modify it. But being someone who can never leave good enough or perfect alone, I had to take it to the extreme. I was collecting many parts for the build over the next few years while it was just sat upstairs in my personal work area. I did a little mock up here and there over the years to dial in some of the parts I wanted to use. Then I started to spend every Saturday just working on the fabrication.”

“I basically had to assemble and build the whole bike as it was going to be finished before it was taken apart for all the plating and coatings. The 40 cal. ammo cans were custom mounted with 70’s Hondaline saddle bag mounts that I chopped up so they would come off and on easy. The exhaust had to mount under the left side ammo can and the rear suspension was a lot taller so custom gearing and clearance for the chain was needed.”

“Every nut and bolt that I was using had to be accounted for and all the chrome had to be stripped before the zinc plating. After mock-up everything went out to powder coating, yellow zinc plating, anodizing and paint. The ammo cans house solar panels from Goal Zero, they charge a flashlight, run some speakers and they charge my iPhone while I ride. They will charge anything with a USB port.”

For those who really get into the details, here’s the bike’s specs. “It’s a CL350 gas tank with a custom Lossa gas cap. There’s 40 cal. ammo cans as saddle bags. A 2-into-1 exhaust with a Lossa reverse cone muffler. Some custom-made headlight ears and a H.I.D. headlight with custom rock guard are up front. Some Mikuni VM34 carbs with K&N pod filters. A gold “O” ring chain. A cut down, shortened seat with canvas upholstery and brass grommets. There’s from scratch wiring with a modern rectifier and dry cell battery. There’s a gold steering stabilizer, billet bear trap pegs and a Lick’s Cycle “Fuck U” taillight. Also, there’s lightening holes everywhere and a custom-made bash guard. Joker Machine supplied the billet levers, throttle, brake strap & axle adjusters. Excell made the high-flanged aluminum rims which we powder coated black. The back rack and the reservoir shocks are custom. The bars are from Renthal. Paint is a 3 stage House of Kolor job with a flat clear. And to finish there’s Dunlop dirt track tires and some Goal Zero modified solar panels.”

“The tail light is a model A reproduction from Lick’s Cycle that I bought over 5 years ago, and it pretty much sums up my 2012 and how I felt against the world!” And just to put your minds at easy, we should probably add that Jay is still going strong in 2013. “I’m doing better now. I have some permanent nerve damage which is pretty annoying, but I’m still alive, and can still ride.” Amen to that.

[Shots by Eric Simpson Photography]








  • frysk

    That reminds me of my co-workers CT70. You can check out of a photo of that here:

    http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/dratv_2269_78214305

  • byebyejohnny

    Awesome bike, really love that matte color on the tank, anyone know how I achieve a similar looking result? looking for a new color on my ’74 CB350T.

  • J.Y.Kelly

    Now that’s practical! Built and fit for purpose.

  • Nate Frost

    this goes to show how the human spirit coupled with modern medicine can beat anything thrown at you. bike building is great therapy, and you get to ride what you built. keep up the good work.

  • Joe

    So many gorgeous details. Can you have too many gorgeous details? It looks like a lots of love went into this bike.

  • ccc40821

    Save for the unnneccesarily stupid message on the tail light, this is a beaut thanks to the amazing detailing and finish. As for the donor bike, it’s easy to start resurrecting something that is worn out, but a real dilemma if you have a really nice one to start with. Here it worked out well.

    • slash5alive

      This build is the bomb. I’m really digging it. Love the scrambler/custom look. As for the tail light message you have to put yourself into the situation the builder was in at the time. Unless you can relate to having to get up every day and deal with chemo, rads, etc you can’t really comment against it. I recently went through a life changing event where I didn’t know if I’d ever ride again. I can relate.

      • ccc40821

        I’ve seen enough t-shirts, tail lights etc. with that message. It doesn’t come across any better no matter who displays it, or why they do it.

  • Reminds me in a good way of the Italian military Ducati singles from the 60’s. Similar colors and metal panniers. Always liked the no-nonsense look of military bikes. Nice details. Might want to reconsider the taillight.

  • Leo

    Nicely done, beautiful bike. Things that are built with function in mind are often beautiful in a way that things designed purely around aesthetics and composition never are. You nailed it here. The tail light is pure metal, keep it.

  • E Brown

    Beautiful! I was searching local Craigslist ads today for a Honda CL for just such a project myself (though more grungy). I’ve been wanting a sort of “urban scrambler” with high pipes, knobby tires, and ammo boxes for errand-running in the city during all four seasons (the snow can get quite deep in Chicago, and the roads more awful). Nice to see the concept taken all the way.

  • Dennis LaRossa

    Jays name is Jay LaRossa, not Jay Lossa.

  • adie.mitchell

    how do you reckon he got the extra chain clearance, given the taller suspension?

  • brad

    thought i had seen this before,

    http://www.bikeexif.com/honda-cl450

    its a good looking practical bike

  • itsmefool

    Neat bike…just one question: can those fancy boxes still hold ammo? I can live with a dead phone, but my guns are useless without ammo!

    • arnold

      Wow, I like to see your training program! Used as clubs and throwing weapons even with a full magazine? Extra weight, good deal.

      • itsmefool

        Funny how three letters can make such a difference!

  • mack

    Seems like the left box is made to hold food cans or brewed coffee with that exhaust there…

    • Guzzto

      I think it’s so you can dry your wet gear whilst clocking up the miles, ingenious!
      love this bike.

  • P.Julius

    Breathtaking bike! Does anyone know the helmet?

  • Mufa

    I’ve seen previous Lossa work that was ok but “normal”. This one is beyond that. Craftsmanship, design and style. Congrats, Jay.