Bringing you the world's best café racers, bobbers and custom motorcycles

‘77 Honda CB500 – ‘La Bambina’


Posted on March 22nd, by Andrew in Brat, Classic. 32 comments

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_01

It’s sad to say, but we hear a lot of bike build stories and not all of them end with a smiling owner riding off into the sunset with a quality build between their legs. For Italy’s Giuseppe Pizzuto, his dream to own a classic Honda started well, and then took a sudden left turn into Nightmaresville. His solution to the problem was simple; he rebuilt the bike from the ground up. And this time he did it all by himself. Meet the Japanese phoenix called “La Bambina”.

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_02

“Hello, my name is Giuseppe Pizzuto and this is my bike, ‘La Bambina’.  She’s a Honda CB500 four from 1977. She has a particularly interesting story. Some time ago, I entrusted her to a well-known brand of Italian customisers that I know. Aesthetically, they did a very nice job and the bike was published on many major blogs and magazines.”

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_03

“Unfortunately, she was just beautiful on the pictures. The work done in real life was really bad. She was literally crumbling away. And later on I found out that I was not the only one. You can probably imagine my state of mind. I was down but I was not knocked out, which is why I decided to turn my house into a garage and work on her myself.”

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_10

“From there I began to discover little by little, day after day, my real passion for customization. I did almost everything myself. The saddle, from the base to the padding, except for the stitching was all me. I also attached a stop at the base of the saddle. I created the belt that holds the battery and spent days painting many pieces of the engine.”

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_04

“I spent more than a few days creating a system for attaching the fender to the swingarm. I handmade the Honda logo for the tank written in silver on black. I created a grid fixed around the brake fluid reservoir. You get my drift. The important thing, however, is that I did everything myself with my hands, in my own house!”

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_06

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_07

21_03_2014_Honda_la_bambina_08

“In the end, the misfortune I had was a very fortunate one. I had a great result and also got the satisfaction of having done it only with my own hands. My little girl is back and I’m happier than ever! I don’t mean to sound selfish, but in a way this is a little bit of revenge for me, and a very big dose of satisfaction. I hope you enjoy it.”





  • Tyler Stone

    Awesome job! Also, the first time I’ve actually *liked* that seat-style on a bike.

    • nathas909

      Yes I agree about the seat. I think it has something to do with the rear fender carrying on over the rear wheel. It continues the lines of the bike.
      Also it is a little thicker than what we are use to seeing.

      • Giu Piz

        yes, I did not want to do the usual thin saddle! Thank you man!

    • Giu Piz

      Thanks!!

  • revdub

    This turned out great! I love the looks. And you have the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

    • Giu Piz

      Yes, it is!! Thanks man!

  • SFA

    Lovely bike. What exactly did you do yourself though? You sound like it was a shed when you got it and you rebuilt the whole thing. Then you describe cosmetics (not that that’s not important :) )… Sorry if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick and you actually did build/rebuild it.

    • Giu Piz

      Have you ever put your hands on a bike for the first time? Have you ever built a saddle, changed a gas tank, a triple tree, an instrument and many other things, with no idea where to start? Have you ever create a system for attaching the fender to the swingarm? Have you ever had to do on an engine for the first time? I will. And I learned to weld, learned about eletrics…and I did all for the first time. This is not my job. I i did it better than who wants to be paid to do something like that. And this is the result. That’s it.

  • Das Raubtier

    Really nice work!

    • Giu Piz

      Thanks!!

  • Mfa

    Front and rear tyre size please?

    • Giu Piz

      19 – 18

  • natek

    First, the bike looks great, really nice work.

    From the write-up here, I have a hard time understanding how the bike was “literally crumbling away”. It seems like your mechanicals were in the same shape then that they’re in now. Is she still crumbling?

    • Giu Piz

      Hi Natek, thank you. When i take the bike from those “professionists”, she look great too. She looks different, very different, but great. After three days began to crumbling away. The previous tank literally fall away when i was run because it was not fixed. With fuel inside obviuosly. The engine painting gone away because all the bike was painting summarily with spray, without dissasembling the engine. The gas tank and the seat goes rusty after 4 days. They changed filters without setting the carburators. I had always problems with electrics parts, specially with tail light (the brake light doesn’t work ever) and lights signal. They put in two sidecars tyres. I risk to fall down every curves. Except the electrics problem, the rests are resolved. I did all i can do. I didn’t make the carburators set up. An expert mechanic did it. That’s it.

  • Kris

    Great rear fender! This completely changes the lines of the bike and I like it very much :) Is this some front fender, from what?

    • Giu Piz

      Hi Kris! The two fenders are original honda cb 500 four front fenders. I just cut the front one and i create a system for attaching the back fender to the swingarm. Thanks man!

  • Erik

    The fender is a great touch. Some might call it a hugger but I love that it’s all chrome. A really nice build, great that you did it yourself Giuseppe, and a great pity the “professionals” let you down. Love your Baby.

    • Giu Piz

      Thank you Erik!!

  • Kaspar Berthelsen

    Hi Giuseppe. Really nice work. I own a Honda CB 500 Four as well. It’s currently stock, but I’m planning to modify. What brand/model are those turnsignals? I like that they are so tiny!

  • Neha Singh

    nice article

    thanks for sharing

    regards

    neha.

  • Paul McM

    “I did everything myself with my hands, in my own house.” — That I can respect. And kudos for fixing the problems left by the “well-known brand of Italian customisers”. There are too many shops that dress up the outside of a machine while leaving the mechanicals in bad shape.

    • Giu Piz

      Thanks Paul. Holy words man…

  • onanysunday

    cool looking bike but haw does the rear fender not get crushed when you hit a bump? are the shocks welded solid like struts ?

    • Giu Piz

      The support is solid and the rear fenders moves with the swingarm, so the shocks are absorbed. But if i’ll have some problems i’ll write you ;)

      • onanysunday

        but the fender will hit the seat before the shocks hit bottom
        this is a bewilderingly common mistake :-(

        • Giu Piz

          I should take a very big bump to hit the seat. I don’t tink to do off road with this bike…

  • Jonathan De la Cruz

    old school,sin palabras..eso si es cafe racer como en los 50 s

    • Giu Piz

      Thank you Jonathan!!

  • Dan

    Love the seat, did you buy it complete or make it from scratch? If you bought it from a supplier I would love to know where I could get one

  • Chris

    id love to hear more about the battery box harness, how did you mount it to the bike? working on a gs build and putting it on the swing arm is obvious, so id love to do something more creative like yours!