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1974 Honda CB550K ‘Lucy’ by Hot Sake Cycles


Posted on January 27th, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 31 comments

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This pretty little thing is named ‘Lucy’ and she is the 15th café racer built by Hot Sake Cycles in Orlando, Florida. We were surprised we hadn’t heard of them before, but that’s probably because ‘they’ are actually a single guy named Shannon Hulcher who builds these professional-looking bikes in his spare time. By day he works as a biology teacher who dissects frogs to show kids how the body works. By night, he dissects motorcycles to show the rest of us how to build a café racer.

“I don’t have a professional shop” says Shannon. “Lucy is a culmination of skills I’ve been developing over the years. I wanted to build an ultra lightweight bike that would be fun to ride. The whole goal was to make it as light as possible” he says. He started the build with no deadline, but then Cafemoto Orlando asked him if he could finish it for the AIM Expo. With the show only one month away, Shannon got to work.

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The build started when Shannon found the perfect donor bike – a stock standard but running CB550K. He started by stripping the bike down, and like most café racers, removed everything that wasn’t needed. The frame was modified, detabbed and a rear hoop was fabricated.

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The stock 550cc SOHC inline four engine was reconditioned and then tuned. The stock carbs were replaced with performance Keihin 26mm units. The standard pipes have been swapped with 4-into-1 ceramic coated with a stainless shorty muffler that gives the bike a nicer look and a much better bark.

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The original CB550 tank has been traded for a Legendary Motorcycles Lyta Sprint tank. To match the lines Shannon hand-made a fiberglass seat that sits perfectly with the tank. He also made some special features that aren’t as obvious as the tank and seat. “My favorite piece is the one no one ever sees” says Shannon. “The carbon fiber battery tray. I was charging the battery in my GSXR when I got the idea – plastic battery trays weigh less.”

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For a smoother ride, the old shocks have been ditched for 13.5″ remote reservoir alloy shocks. As for the front and rear wheels, Shannon chose Lester mags – 19″ X 2.15 on the front and 18″ on the back. And the front and rear fenders have been custom-made from carbon fibre to make them as light as possible. The headlight is a 7″ light from our friends at Dime City Cycles and the tail light is an LED unit.

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Shannon struggled to complete the build in a month, with a young family and only working on it part-time he was lucky to finish it in time for the show. He was actually still working on the bike at 2am the morning before. “Building the bike was a blur” says Shannon. “I guess that’s what happens when you build a bike in a month and you have a day job. But the response to the bike has been overwhelming.”

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[Photography by Eric Runyon]





  • Britbike

    Aw, come on. How can a bike be absolutely perfect in proportions, style, color and have what look like Lester mags, to boot. Great job, no question whatsoever. Simply the best 550 ever.

  • revdub

    One of the most beautiful builds I have seen in a long time. Stunning work.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Great work and beautifully finished. I never thought that the CB550 could look as nice as this. Out of curiosity, what does it weigh?

  • Woodie

    Please, please, please stop photographing such lovely machinery in the dark.
    I LOVE this bike but am squinting at the screen trying to see some of the finer details.
    P.S, this is a great bike.

  • B. J. Parker

    Gorgeous Build.

  • Robert F. Russo

    This bike is in such perfect balance it doesn’t even need a kickstand (pics 6 & 8). Great job. #1 bike of the year??

  • http://www.kulture-moto.fr/ Kulture Moto

    Très belle prépa de CB. Belle association de couleurs et la selle est vraiment réussie !!

  • SXVME

    Wouldn’t change a thing. Beautiful

  • Hamamatsu1978

    The Cafe Racer theme with 70s Nippons is deadly boring. Total lack of soul. The soul of any Honda SOHC4 (until ’76) is the engine AND the floating line from the original tank to the back of the seat (original or Giuliari-style). No cutting required. Leave that as is, then throw in any modern components just for your pleasure, upside-down forks if you like, nice shocks, wider rims (or cool Lesters!), carbon ’til you drop, whatever. Then call it modified streetbike and ride it like that. The bike’s soul will be still the same as it left the dealership with its first owner smiling happily in 1974. Anyway, good craftsmanship, no doubt.

  • itsmefool

    Who doesn’t like golden mags? Beauty!

  • http://tinywarmachine.blogspot.com/ Nicholas W

    It has been awhile since a bike has warranted a comment from me, but this one does. Beautiful bike, even if it’s not entirely my cup of tea – I generally don’t care for bikes from the cafe genre. The finish (choices of polish, matte, and gloss) are what really win me over with this bike. I’m not crazy about the gold/mustard yellow color choice – I would have preferred just the red and white with black pinstripes differentiating the two – but the paints look to be finished so well that I almost feel guilty making that statement. I also really like the exhaust – that’s about the best executed 4-to-1 exhaust I’ve ever seen – the stance, and the use of cast wheels over a spoked option. I am impressed.

  • Zac

    Is this thing for sale?!?!?!!! It’s absolutely amazing, I’m really a loss for words.

    • Bob

      Actually, Lucy is for sale. She is currently listed on EBay.

  • erle

    What’s even MORE amazing than the bike, is the bike’s builder!

    Shannon is a REAL, down to earth, friendliest person you’d ever meet.

  • Sproing

    The formula for a café racer is pretty well set now and it’s the execution and attention to detail that sets the average build from the truly extraordinary show piece. This one hits the mark on all points.

  • Geno
  • chance

    Did anyone notice the carbon fiber engine covers?

    • arnold

      No, thanks for the info.

  • arnold

    Quite a good effort at making the common into something uncommon.

  • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/ Mule

    Very, very nice. Well done!

  • duh

    Nice bike…Never been a gold accent fan (too many bad 70’s 80’s cars with gold) really nice otherwise. Love the seat leather too

  • rbird

    Gorgeous, and all on a teachers salary!

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  • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

    Well thought out and executed. Better than the original – isn’t that the way a custom should be?

  • Kaiser Soze

    This bike has been re-listed on Ebay:
    http://r.ebay.com/jieWMf

    Current bid is at $8K — someone please bid this up so I’m less tempted!

  • Kevin Horton

    Great looking bike. As a Redskins fan (i know, i know), I am a little biased on the chosen color scheme. Keep up the good work

  • Luke

    want want want. This guy needs to quit his day job… I just saw what the bike sold for – a total steal in my book. Would you rather have this or a new Triumph?…

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  • chic

    This motorcycle is beautiful, how much did it cost?

  • vesko Žnidaršič

    Very beatiful motocikle