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Steel Bent Custom’s ’81 Honda CB750 -“Janica”

Posted on February 23, 2013 by Andrew in Brat. 106 comments

Every now and then on Pipeburn we’ll get a certain kind of bike. One that’s just, well, just right. Not too flashy yet not too vanilla. Not too cool yet not too square. Not too stock yet not too personalised. They are slippery little suckers that kind of defy description yet somehow speaks volumes about the state of play. Bikes that you innately feel will be the ones we’ll all look back in twenty year’s time and say, ‘now that is what the custom bike scene in the early part of the 21st century was all about. This is the latest bike from Steel Bent Customs. This is one hell of a CB750. This is that bike.

Here’s Chief bender himself, SBC’s Michael Mundy. “It’s 1981 Honda CB750. Something we’re calling the ‘Janica’ build. This time around it was a fully commissioned build. The core of the client’s brief was that he wanted the nostalgic look of the spoke wheels & the raw steel tank to be the main elements that defined the bike’s look.”

But that wasn’t all the client had in mind. Obviously a man of classic tastes, he tick the box on a couple of classic touches as well. “He also requested that we use the Firestone Champion tires & velocity stacks to shove all the air through the block and on into the 4:1 exhaust where a Cone Engineering silencer can spit it out.” Sounds like a pretty scenic journey to us.

“We finished her off with mini gauges, powder coated the headlight bucket & ears a steel silver to match our own custom fabricated clip-on bars. Add a two rider signature seat, and a set if gas filled shocks and it was pretty much done.” In a nifty nod to the modern, Mike added a tasty little Twenty First Century magic by making all the bike’s lights LED units.

Mike finishes on a rebellious note. “All the mods really make this one ride that’s ready to terrorize the streets of Chicago.” Looks like the perfect tool for that job, if you ask us.

[Photography by Erick Runyon at Choppershotz]

  • Graham Cracker

    This is such a great looking build it seems a shame to put a completely impractical seat on what would otherwise be a fun bike to ride. I don't believe a functional saddle would completely ruin the aesthetics of this machine.


    i said it before and i say it again: put some fenders, indicators, real tires and a real seat on it. i am tired of those showbikes which totally fail when used in real life. every bike on earth will have a “clean” look when i skip the essential things on it. the art is to build one with all those parts on it AND still give it a clean look. apart from that : good job.

    • Seth Rose

      Its has indicators on it the tires seem to be real and what this about fenders is he going to be riding in the mud? Dude its not a Harley so get off your high horse that cost ya 12 grand when this one only cost 2. Everyone has diffrent tastes and the guy that built this has exceptional taste.

      • THE HDN

        i wanna see you do a 5000 miles trip on this. in bad weather. no thanks. oh and i ride a bratstyle YAM XS650. i don’t see a “high horse” in my comment. you put your shit on the internet, you gotta deal with criticism. i didn’t say anything about “no taste” nor similar. i am just fed up with showbikes. that’s it.

        • Seth Rose

          Maybe he only rides on days it doesnt rain and it says he rides it in Chicago. My guess is its not a show bike and he really does ride the thing. Its not built for a 5000 mile trip its ment for being loud and quick and tearing up the local streets not riding from coast to coast.

        • Rotreg

          I agree, this bike’s pretty but it’s not for riding. Pure posing bike, which is ok if you’ve got money lying about to spend on jewellery.

          • Our builds are tuned & designed to be ridden. We understand how to dial in the Honda CB correctly.


          • kilo

            just curious what jetting is used. CV carbs are difficult to jet with pods or stacks.

          • If we had a one size fits all solution, we’d share it.


          • That’s what I dig about discussions “chez Pipeburn”: freedom of built and freedom of speech. For all those guys out there who are into customizing cycles, this is a privilege to be inspired by builds like this one. You might criticise it, find whatever you like on a bike and write your decent comment – c’est merveilleux! And this build IS asking for position, huh?! My humble opinion: the back section don’t fit to the front, the look-through frame’s not always appropriate. Just to look at it, so it’s meant to?

          • We understand that Mark. We open up our center frames, its what we feel gives our builds a uniqueness & its becoming an iconic SBC style.


        • Because we all do 5000 mile trips in bad weather most weeks, yeah?

          • THE HDN

            I do one every year, yes. on a built from 1977. and with this set up here i won’t even reach the suburbs. once again: this is NOT a bad bike. it just isn’t finished 🙂

      • We love riding in mud & Harley’s, & think you too have great taste.


    • We don’t weld steel with a soldering iron. That’s not to say we don’t own a soldering iron. Every tool or bike has its time to shine. Our seats are surprisingly comfortable & many of our builds include turn signals and some include fenders.


  • Guest

    Clean build and looks good I really like it. If you dont mind me asking what shocks did he use? Id like to have a set for my honda and those look really good.

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    Great bike. The only thing i don’t like is that with no fender the rear tire gonna catapult small stones and dirt in to the carbs, the battery and so on…
    Also it will be dangerous for the passenger’s foot to be so close to the chain like this with no protection.

    • We’ve not had any issues with debris into the pods/velocity stacks running without fenders, nor with running without chain guards. Except on our bobber -the Seven 1, the chain slings grease on your back.


  • Jherrid

    dear Pipeburn,

    less home brewed brat bikes and more choppers and unique motorcycles.


    probably fucking everyone

    • Nolan Ryan

      Choppers are equally as dumb.

    • Choppers? When have we EVER posted choppers?

      • Jherrid

        i didn’t say you did… i said you SHOULD. don’t like choppers? no biggie. There are plenty of original, masterfully crafted bikes out there. Why focus on these garage built brat bikes? they’re just a fad.

      • We respect & ride choppers, sport bikes, Harley’s, bobbers, etc. Anything on two wheels. Not trikes -we hate trikes. (Kidding)


      • JHERRID

        wow… why did you delete my comments?

        you’re a classy guy.

    • When have we EVER posted choppers?

    • monkeyboylx

      Honestly, the home built ones are the reason I started following pipeburn. Ive begin losing interest since theyve started going to the same-formula shops. I feel the home built ones with pictures taken in someones driveway rather than a photo-booth are the valuable ones.

      • We started out in my garage. We moved into a small shop the beginning of last year to start getting serious about the overwhelming demand. We are still a “1 man show” with many subcontractors -paint, powder coat, upholstery, etc. We started using a professional photographer when we realized the photos are all we get to retain of our hard work. Once the bike is finished, it’s shipped out to its new owner & we don’t hear much or know what’s her fate. The photos are our way of keeping record of our work & to allow others to design their own builds.


    • monkeyboylx

      I feel I should clarify that my previous post isnt hating on Pipeburn. You guys share what you want to share, and I appreciate that. Without you or Bike EXIF I feel the internet would be a lesser place. I just disagree with the mentality that the only bikes worth sharing are the professionally built, professionally photographed ones.

      • Guest

        Apparently my last post never showed up haha I was saying that I disagree with the idea that less home built bikes should be shared. I feel they are more valuable than the ones built by the same-formula shops that seem to turn out one style. The home built ones are the reason I started following Pipeburn.

        • monkeyboylx

          Gah! mod can delete these 2 replies. Sorry about that guys.

      • MB – just did a quick tally; looking back through the last dozen or so bikes, the counts about 50% pro shoots and 50% owner-shot. That’s a decent mix, isn’t it?

  • revdub

    Steel Bent’s builds have an amazing amount of style and quality. This bike’s clean lines are stellar. I really like the black engine. For me, this is the perfect amount of darkness and light.

    • So right, revdub, the black engine looks pretty cool. I think the DOHC CB750s are highly under rated. Here in my neck of the woods they are the cheapest 750”s on craigslist. Bullet proof, hydraulic lifters and, to me anyway, easy to work on. Good choice for resto/mod build.

    • Thanks. We’ve grown organically into an iconic style.


  • Nate Frost

    lets remember it is the thrill of the ride that matters. i would be happy to ride this bike. everyone has the freedom to build and ride what you want. i salute you for doing what YOU like.

    • If only there were more Nates in the world.

    • We appreciate the salute, and we also appreciate the criticism. Say anything you’d like, just keep talking about us.


      • You can love it or you can hate it, but at least have an opinion.

        • Joel E Cervantes

          the seat looks like a latke

    • Zundap

      It is all about the ride. ..Z

  • BK


  • bikeymikey748

    I love bikes. I appreciate the effort that goes into a ‘custom’ bike. Can we all put aside our political correctness and agree that if it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck…..?
    I would not want to ride this a short distance, a long distance, whatever. No, real, suspension. Is that, really, supposed to be a seat? No fenders, etc, etc. Details? What’s with the cables/wiring in the headlight area? Hell, they didn’t even bother with the tank badges! I cannot believe that a ‘build’ like this warrants exposure . On the one hand, you can’t sell it as a show bike, that would be an insult to the folks who put any effort into their builds. On the other hand, selling it as a general daily ( or other ) runner, nope….waaaay too impractical/flawed ( creative licence be damned ). Carrying those pieces of wood around in your pocket,so you can hold it upright on the side stand, is going to get ‘old’ real fast!
    Man, I can hardly wait to see this when its finished!

  • itsmefool

    Might as well take the cover off the seat and show the world that rad skateboard deck!

    • We grew up skateboarding. I personally pound our seat pans out of aluminum.


  • put the horn under the tank i know they fit and tank still has stock paint on the inside

    • What? The horns typically stay in stock position (if not removed) and our painter refuses to paint the inside of our tanks -some nonsense about the paint gun not fitting through the tank filler hole.


      • them crazy painters just saying the bike will good with the horn under the tank just to make it look even cleaner love the bike tho is it a dime city seat ?

        • Dime City seats are our seats. They approached us to mass produce our design. See their website -the use our bikes as display. We love the guys at & recommend them to anyone looking for parts.


  • Man, this copycat build thing is getting incredibly boring to say the least!

  • meh.

  • BoxerFanatic

    “Bikes that you innately feel will be the ones we’ll all look back in twenty year’s time and say, ‘now that is what the custom bike scene in the early part of the 21st century was all about.”

    Seems like you are about 30 years off. The custom bike scene of the early 80’s perhaps, when these 70’s style bikes were on the used market, and people first started unbolting the pieces that didn’t affect the necessary operation of the machine.

    This may be a 1981 model year, but they built CB750s starting in 1969. This stripped down one could just as easily have been a 1971 as a 1981, with barely a difference… maybe drum brakes, and a SOHC cylinder head… but not innately different as a whole.

    I can’t particularly see that there is anything 21st century about this, not even the style of the modifications. This could have been done in 1983, instead of 2013.

    It isn’t a bad bike. It is fine. if it is what the builder wants. I don’t begrudge people what they want, even if I can articulate why I don’t or wouldn’t want it. Different steel horses for different road courses, and all that.

    However, it seems a little blank and mundane to me, but I do chalk that somewhat up to my taste in motorcycles.

    I just find the ecstatic prose in the article to be a little over the top, but again, someone else’s opinion than mine.

    • 1983 you say? I’m pretty sure you are mistaken. Here’s a little image to jog your memory…

    • 1983 you reckon? I’d love to see a shot from that era of a bike like this. Off you go, then…

    • It’s art. If our builds pleased everyone, we’d be doing something wrong.


    • I keep track of your comments as well as a few others on Pipeburn because you make some good points and you’re respectful of the builders – and anyone who is a boxer fanatic can’t be all bad. 😉 I think what builders like Steel Bent, Modern Motorcycle Company and others are doing is evoking the essence of the post-WWII American bobber movement. Like the returning GI taking a used ex-military surplus Harley or Indian and stripping off everything that didn’t make the bike go faster modern builders (and riders) are doing the same thing with low cost used Japanese bikes. Are they beautiful…maybe, maybe not since beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Are they fun? Oh, yeah. I think there is room in our sport for the over the top customs, resto-mods, end-of-days bikes like Icon’s, hipster mopeds, and raw bikes like this one. I like them all and am willing to ride all of them. I try to find something positive about a build and try to take away a lesson, if nothing else what not to do. So, you’re probably right that this bike doesn’t have a 21st century vibe about it. I think it has a cool mid-century thing going on. I could see Lee Marvin riding it in a black and white biker movie. ;^}

      • arnold

        Too well said Manx.

      • We’re honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as Modern Motorcycle Company.


      • BoxerFanatic

        Very good comment, and as I said in my initial comment…
        If you like the style, it is a fine bike that merely seems a bit aesthetically blank to my taste. It isn’t that there is a problem with the machine.

        My comment was much more centered on the article’s overly glowing praise.

        Whether it is a reflection of post-WWII bobber style (late 1940s-1950s), or that style brought forward to 1970’s era motorcycles… either way, it doesn’t flash a neon sign at me saying that it is the epitome of 21st Century custom motorcycle style. By what we are both saying, it seems to be very strongly tied to mid-late 20th century, several decades before now.

        However, if the author is correct, and this bike’s aesthetic is an accurate summation of what the motorcycle custom scene is about right now… it means that the custom motorcycle scene can do little apart from re-living the past, and that creativity as a whole is stuck inside a nostalgic box, trying to re-live the ‘good-ol’-days.’ Maybe it is just a reflection of society re-living the carter years all over again in other aspects, as well.

  • AG

    Listen to all you pathetic haters. You don’t have to build your bike like this one. But appreciate it for what it is. Show me all your perfect bikes since you know everything.

    • bikeymikey748

      Not saying I know everything. In fact, don’t recollect anyone mentioning that they did, sorry if we’ve misled you that way. But….I DO know how much effort has to be expended in the building of a bike that makes, some kind, of statement, succeeds in capturing our imaginations, maybe inspires us in some way. Sorry, but this bike doesn’t check any of those boxes. I also take issue with, politically correct people who rush to bolster a ‘builder’s’ , wounded, ego when they (the builder) have clearly missed the mark.
      “Show me all your perfect bikes…”, nope, don’t feel obliged to turn this into a pissing contest.

  • I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s gorgeous. Perfect for Sunday morning menace sessions.

  • Wondering where your comment went? As always, keep your comments respectful to both the builder and tho other users or they will be deleted. Keep it up and you will be blacklisted.

    • We’re talking personal preferences on motorcycles, not politics or religion. Live & let live -& ride safe.


  • This is a simple, clean, straight-forward build. Do I love it? No. Do I hate it? No. Would I ride it? Heck, I’d try any bike once (I’m a bike whore, so sue me.) The guy who commissioned this build got the very basic idea of an 80’s (or 70’s) stripped down CB750; just with the quality of a custom shop. They hit all the “nostalgia” points the buyer wanted, so there it is. Looks like Steel Bent Customs did an excellent job cleaning this thing up. As for the buyer, I would guess that he knows A LOT about bikes or absolutely nothing about them. Seems to me this bike fits one of those two extremes.

  • Mike Cambareri

    My, this has been a divisive bike… While I admire the build quality and like the overall lean, bare look, I still just can’t get into the “brat” seat. It leaves the rear end looking small and unfinished. Sort of like the salvaged foam and duct tape bodge job I made so I could still ride mine while the real seat was away at the upholsterers.

    • Our signature seats do spark controversy. They are more comfortable than they appear -much more than any sport bike. We do understand not everyone appreciates our designs.


  • neat tidy mean , wants to be ridden i love it , yeah i might not of put led turn signals on it but who gives a rats, its the builders bike and im jealous.

    • We prefer no turn signals too, but some states require them to be registered. We figure LED lights are durable & require minimal juice.


  • jimmy.mac

    I second the motion to find out where those beautiful shocks come from.

    • We import them wholesale from China. Check out ebay -I think there are a few companies that sell them retail. We don’t sell parts.


  • TheFatGuido

    This bike is begging for some more performance tires as well, those new Kenda Retroactives are pretty neat! Regardless, even if its not the most outrageous custom, it looks like a lot of fun and I am sure we would all love one of these in our garage. I know in 2045 I want my kids to be dragging one of these out of my garage and properly restore that old 2013 cafe!

  • Lewn

    The overall poise and finish of this bike is nice, black and silver or raw, you can’t go wrong. Nicely put together without breaking the bank, most likely. To me, somehow the bike just looks just a bit off. Mini gauges, that are hard to read, bench seat and retro Firestones juxtaposed with futuristic LEDs. The rims and the tires look too skinny, I realize that they are very likely original tire sizes but why not go with something wider? Original pegs with a cafe bar but no rear-sets. Building an 80’s inline 4, surely Sanctuary would be an inspiration? Don’t get me wrong I like it, and if one of my mates built it, I’d be very impressed, but it’s just not an all time favorite.

  • mark cooke

    steel bent is pumping em out! keep the good work up guys ur an inspiration to me and class act, congrats on the notoriety!

  • Tron

    Im sorry,

    But i tried a cb build with clip ons, flat seat, and stock footpegs. I just doesnt work. Especially with “lowered” forks (sliding the triples down)..

    Cool look but arn’t we trying to make these things perform better?

    • Tron

      P.s.. pipeburn, Are you really ACTUALLY impressed by this bike or are those just shameless plugs for steelbent customs?

      If you are..well…uh… yaaa.

  • Sampson

    Seat looks a little thin IMO



    I TELL U –











  • rider69

    pretty sweet bike, though i have a few grudges. he seems like a competent bike builder, why not shorten the forks instead of sliding them up?

  • Lloydy

    Great stance good wheel/tyre choice. Shite seat, I don't really get the ironing board aesthetic.

  • straylight2k

    Shame that this thing won't run right with those stacks. Should have CRs. Not a fan of the seat either, but I think i'd also have smoothed the badge mounting areas on the tank.

  • jhay

    Awesome bike.Its like a version of Honda tmx 155 in the Philippines. The skeleton frame with a small motor 125 to 175cc.

  • mark88

    The first shot of this bike to me shows off it’s great stance. It’s low and lean with those custom clip ons and that neat pipe which gives it a bit of a flat tracker feel. Aesthetically I think you nailed it SBC!

  • All Images copyright Erick Runyon /

  • i have a ’81 CB400 and I was wondering if it’s the same frame across all sizes for the CB line.

  • Joshua August Hays

    how exactly does one eliminate all the components where the battery was when this was stock?

  • Pedro

    Just ordered one of these SBC icons last week! The style fits me perfectly….might even change a few things during the build process! Can’t wait to get on this bike! Kick-ass style Michael!

  • Adam12a

    I am just starting a build of the same bike. I really like what’s been done here which is very similar to my own vision. In fact before I saw this I have already stripped the tank and clear coated raw like this. My plan also included a black motor, spoke wheels and similar exhaust. This is almost a prequel to what mine will be. So my compliments.

  • LA

    you sound like a pussy. i ride my cafe with no bogus weekend rider shit

  • Zac

    What tach/speedo gauges are you running on this bike?