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‘92 Honda CB750 – De Palma Cycles


Posted on February 13, 2015 by Andrew in Café Racer. 36 comments

Tanks and seats. If you had to distill down the art of the custom motorcycle, moonshine-like, to its base elements in a concentrated form I’d argue the toss that tanks and seats is where you’d get to. Sure you’ve got wheels, tyres, bars and a whole cavalcade of other minutia you can tweak to make things look like this or that, but get the seat and tank wrong and it’s goodnight nurse. So when Barcelona-based De Palma Cycles told us they had a build inspired by the Honda RC110, arguable the world’s best ever tank-and-seat combo, we were more than a little excited. And then we saw the bike.

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De Palma Cycles is a project by Barcelona-based designer Gregorio Fernandez. Amongst the things, Gregorio’s states his main influences as “rock, post punk and punk music. And early motorcycle gangs.” This is how the Honda you see here, a.k.a. the “De Palma 01” was born; in a whirl of denim, studs and bad attitudes. No wonder it came out so well.

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“As a solid starting point for the build, the chosen base bike was a Honda 750 from 1992 that we think nicely combines reliability and design,” says Grego. “The engine was replaced with one of the last of the 750 series from the year 2000 with less than 20,000 km on it, and then we painted in black.” In our humble opinion, that’s always a good thing.

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Since you put it that way…

And it’s not just the engine mods that were extensive. “The first and most important one was finding a lighter and more classic gas tank. It ended up being a replica of a metallic Honda RC110, one of my all-time favorite models. The change required a modification to the chassis, drawing a horizontal line from the tank to the seat in a very similar way to the classic Soichiro design. This first change was spot on and defined most of the customizations that followed.”

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The next step was addition of a fork set from a Honda CBR900 Fireblade. “I have a special predilection for these forks; I love their classic design, length and overall quality. The calipers were kept as they were – the original CBR 900 4 pistons Nissins. The original rear brake was also kept, but we handcrafted a new flat disc that gave a harsher, more 70s look.”

The new seat unit was made in steel and topped off with leather and metallic rivets; the idea behind the steel and keeping it flat was to keep the two seat option if the need ever arose. It’s topped of with a round tail light to again reference the 70s style that Grego was looking for.

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“The pipes, a 4-into-2 set-up, have been shortened and painted in black as have most of the other parts. The mufflers have been changed for a par of Supertrapps in an aluminium finish and the air box has been replaced by cone filters. The battery is hidden in the hub of the swing arm and the speedometer was simplified.”

Overall, we love how De Palma Cycles have achieved a modern bike build with solid performance while still oozing that classic rock ‘n’ roll spirit. “We’ll keep this overall feel for our next projects; a Guzzi V50 III Monza and a Morini 350 sport.” We can’t wait.

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[Photos by Cristian Di Stefano]








  • pony

    blimey, where to start…

    Firstly, it looks mean and functional.

    But… the tank looks to have been dropped on and a child’s metal work bracket made to fill the gap. The “tank-seat horizontal line” is so bad I can’t believe it’s been highlighted as a feature!
    The rear view shows that the clip-ons are misaligned. And I could have done neater riveting with my eyes closed.

    Are standards really this low? I’m too embarrassed of the shed built nature of my bike to submit it, but it’s better than this. And I don’t do it for a living…

    • Kuiper Max

      It takes a lot of planning and effort, to make things look like they didn’t do any planning or make any effort.

    • Care to show us a photo?

      • pony

        Hopefully this will work..[IMG]http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg54/tonyjwestwood/XS650/20130929_165507_zpse4c9a625.jpg[/IMG]
        Disclaimer (/excuse): I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in a garage with no power and borrowed time on a welder, however, I know the finish is far from perfect.

        • cool reckon it could be bike of the year, this is when i started mine

          need to finish decorating the hall before am allowed to do anymore

          • arnold

            To whom is this entertaining to?
            Can’t you afford to rent a bandsaw?

            You sprayed shit all over the electrics that you failed to remove and made a shitty cut as well. you are a slob and display it prominently.

          • not sure why you found it entertaining, it is meant to be informative

          • arnold

            And it was.

        • Kuiper Max

          Good work. I nearly fell off my bike backwards, in shock, after seeing a real bike on the internet.

          I’m going to fit a four foot cissy bar. You can never be too careful.

        • arnold

          Seat needs a better meeting at the tank, color scheme is lame especially highlighting rather than hiding the front mudguard.
          The exhaust system will give a good throaty rumble for a long time from the Yami, but shows little imagination and no consideration for the already deaf neighbors.
          Your open space under the seat loop is clogged again showing small imagination and little technological knowledge.

          Probably a good rider . but compared to the stocker,
          butt ugly. ald

          • pony

            Thanks for the criticism Ald, as i readily admit above it’s not perfect, nor finished, which is why I haven’t submitted it. In fact if you re-read my first comment you’ll see I said I was embarrassed to submit it but I thought i should man up and share a photo to prove I’m not a keyboard warrior.
            To answer your points, I’m planning on redoing the seat as I’m not happy with it either. The tank is factory black so the tail was done to match, until i can redo it properly. The headers were free and the rest was a simple system made without a pipe bender. Its quieter than the previous universal mufflers. Why does having a battery box show little tech knowledge and lack of imagination?

            All said, I have never claimed an aesthetic line between tank and seat, or set up a shop offering my meagre talents!

          • arnold

            Now you know the difference between gentle criticism and cruelty to us that build. My problems aren’t so bad, bringing them back to ‘stock’ is relatively easy compared to those that make trash into award winners by modification.

            Once you mix Art into the discussion every thing becomes subjective, thus an opinion.

            My favorite art still remains ‘Dogs Playing Poker’.

          • pony

            Point taken and I could have been less harsh. However when the headline point is the tank-seat alignment resembling an rc110, this doesn’t do that by some margin. If you are selling motorcycles, the handlebars should be put on straight. I’d be quite a fan of this if those points were sorted…

          • arnold

            I agree with your points, good to have you around, Pony.

          • carry on what, camping, up the khyber, or do we need your permission to post on here?

          • Blake Proudfoot

            The fact you balled up, shared and opened it to criticism is commendable. Well done. Continue to improve it, and ride the crap out of it. Cheers

    • i would like to see it, think the site could do with more genuine shed builds rather than artists impressions, will be sending a pic of mine, if i ever finish it

  • very nice now fuck off

  • John Wanninger

    Nope

  • AWLongmeyer

    Soggy lump, “Joe Dirt” graphics and questionable build quality.
    No one over the age of 14 will be impressed.

    • That’s pretty much what they said about the Sex Pistols…

      • AWLongmeyer

        And they were correct.

        • There were only four bands that really mattered after Elvis. The Sex Pistols, the Beatles, Kraftwerk and Bob Marley.

          • arnold

            I’ll humbly add the Grateful Dead to consider adding to your list, although the time frame may not be right.

  • John Wanninger

    So- went back and re-read the first paragraph. I think what was said about seats and tanks was meant for January 24th’s bike… This bike here is “goodnight nurse” to the 10th power….

  • Kuiper Max

    You have to give the Spanish credit.

    • John Wanninger

      LOL. For their food…

      • Kuiper Max

        Que? Is hamster.

    • arnold

      That’s an EU slur , isn’t it?
      nice.

  • What was it that made this bike win out over all the other submissions that could’ve been covered instead?

  • GB400

    That tank to tail interface is dissapointing… Why is it lately, that it seems people are willing to completely ignore this area and pretend that it isn’t one of the most important aesthetic areas of the entire motorcycle. Some of the bike is nice but it has a distinct this is what i had laying around/got given and couldn’t be bothered modifying before I put it on the bike. Having just completed my own ground up custom of an old Honda GB and having spent soo long perfecting the tail to tank interface and lines, it seems a let down when professional builders do this. it still could have been “I don’t give a f*ck, coz im rock and roll” if they had really made those lines flow. and highlighting the rear disk when there’s a bolt missing doesn’t seem right. just seems like the quality from professional builders is dropping 🙁 rant over.

    • Is it a TT? Do you have any photos, if so would really like to see as there ain’t any decent photos of custom GB 400s out there, apart from what the CHAMPIONS at Raider Moto did a couple o’ years back (eg. the Salt Lake Sickle).

      • GB400

        Saddest thing is I completely finished the build apart from the carbon front guard and then moved country immediately after so I haven’t even fired her up, but I’m hanging out for the day when I return and get to take her for a blast. She’s all tucked up nicely in storage till I return.

    • Thornton

      I’ve got a GB and would be keen to see some photos – there aren’t many custom ones about

      • GB400

        See above 🙂

  • Amir Bagheri