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1977 Honda CB550 ‘Aldo’ by Lossa Engineering

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Scott in Café Racer. 21 comments

When it comes to Honda CB café racers there’s not a lot of people that have built as many as Jay Lossa and his team at Lossa Engineering in Long Beach California. Jay has lost count of the number of CB’s he has brought back to life since starting his shop back in 2007. He usually starts his builds with “rusty hunks of junk” that cost no more than $500. It doesn’t usually matter what condition they are in because he replaces every nut and bolt anyway. This time around he started with a decent donor CB550 that he picked up for $1300 – which makes it the most expensive donor he has ever bought.


When you own a motorbike shop you tend to have a lot of spare parts lying around the garage, so Jay decided to build a bike with some of these spares. The Firestones were a cancelled order from a customer who changed his mind, so Jay incorporated them into the project. “I built this as an old school looking show bike, not a cornering carving machine” he jokes. “So I feel the tires are ok for that job”. The CB550 frame, wheel’s and all the parts were already powder coated black and the motor was rebuilt and blacked out.


All the tabs were removed, frame hooped, battery relocated under the cowl, bike has been wired with a modern regulator/rectifier, dry cell battery, electronic ignition, Dyna mini coils and NGK wires. Jay also added an Acewell digital gauge and a Lossa mini key set up and starter button.  It also has a H4 headlight and a Lossa LED tail light.


Tom McWeeney from Kustoms Inc had been wanting to paint one of Lossa’s bikes for a while, so Jay thought he would be perfect for this 70’s styled show bike. Tom did all the paintwork with House of Kolor paint. He started with a Orion Silver base and then did a candy apple red over with lines graphics and lace work. He finished it off with some silver leafing and hand pinstriping.  Tom even striped the part under the seat where the upholstery would have covered it up. “So not wanting to hide any of his artwork, I decided to expose the center of the seat,” said Jay. “I did all the bodywork myself and decided not to do knee dents and keep the tank straight and smooth as glass to show off all the artwork.”


The motor received a big bore kit and is now a 608cc, cases were split, all new gaskets, seals, Barnett clutch and a valve job with all new valves were used. “The bike also has a Mega-cycle cam and huge Keihin CR racing carburetors so we can burn off those Firestone tire’s I love so much!” he says.  One of Lossa Engineering’s Yoshi style replica 4 into 1 exhausts were used with one of their reverse cone mufflers and the whole set up was ceramic coated.


A chrome set of Lossa clubman styled bars were used to give it that classic café look, along with Biltwell grips, Tarrozzi fork brace and rearsets. Joker tappet cover, stem nut, axle adjusters and brake stay were used to dress up the standard stock pieces.  The brake caliper has been “polished to perfection” and the stock rotor CNC drilled. Every nut and bolt on the CB has been re-plated with chrome or zinc plating.  Jay finished off the build with some reservoir shocks, gold o-ring chain and Magura master cylinder.


This 1977 CB550 has been given the name ‘Aldo’ and has been completely rebuilt and is now better than new. Jay has fallen in love with this bike but knows he needs to let it go and move on to the next project. “I have too much stuff and can’t possibly ride all of my bikes, so if someone wants to arm wrestle me into selling this bike to them, I will” he says. So if you want a CB550 café racer in show bike condition, contact Jay for that arm wrestle – you’ll win because he does have nerve damage in his arms.

[Photos by Buckhorn studio]


  • Terry Gill

    Beautifull job. The finish of this bike is beautiful. Superb painting. I really like when the work is clean. Bravo…

  • John Wanninger

    No on the seat, but the rest of this bike is as sano as a microchip manufacturing cleanroom. That Paint! .. I want to just shrink that thing down and pop it in my mouth.

    • Darrick B

      The seat on my bicycle is a similar style. It doesn’t look comfortable, but it actually is when you sit on it. I’d imagine it’s the same for the seat on this bike.

      • arnold

        Looks like it has ball room, something I ‘ve never figured out about crotch rockets. Last time I rode one I had to tuck them in my back pocket. That was when I was much younger.

        • Darrick B

          I’m married, so I just have my wife hold onto my balls for me.

  • Matthew Welsh

    Currently for sale at Awesome bike!

    • Ted Dumais

      Wow. $15000?!? Building bikes cheap is what makes these old Honda’s cool. People who pay that much for an old Honda with worse performance than stock need their head examined. Paint job is second to none, but that doesn’t make up for the long list of very cheap Ebay parts.

      • Matthew Welsh

        Just like any concours car I don’t think the guy looking for a cheap CB is in the market for this which seems to be your comparison. There are enough POS Hondas floating around for sure at 10x less the price. That is not being disputed. To each their own. I don’t think anyone is buying this as your standard Honda CB nor thinking it should be priced as such.

        • Ted Dumais

          If you think this is concours level you, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • Jay Lossa

        Ted, There is a bike for everyone, this bike caters to the the people that want a 100% nut and bolt restored custom bike and not a half done unreliable hunk of crap. If you count the hours and money into this bike, $15k is cheap!! This bike has much more HP than stock and performs very well! It is lighter with better brake components and performance items, modern electrics, bearings and bushings over stock stuff. The one and only part from eBay is the shocks, I had them laying around and they looked the part for the bike.

        • Ted Dumais

          They don’t look the part. They look like the cheapest possible shock option available, which they are. I would bet stock suspension functions better.
          Also, looks like whoever the future owner has working on the bike will have to take the headers off to do an oil change. Not a very smart header design if that’s true. (Source – I’ve had a 550 with very similar pipes and that was a pain when you end up having to buy new exhaust gaskets every oil change.)

          The paint and body look incredible.

          • Tom Mcweeney

            het ted lets see the high quality bikes you do. sounds like someone wants a bike like this but cant afford it..

          • Ted Dumais

            Is this where I’m supposed to get all mad and tell you about my bikes? It has nothing to do with what one can afford. It has to do with the materials costing well under $5000 and someone charging triple that to fabricate a rear cowl and weld on a hoop. Most of the work is bolting on parts after that.

  • Sterling in every detail, an old school looking show bike indeed, but it’s the paintwork that steals the show!

  • Trish Collingham

    Beautiful shape not sure about seat

  • Woodie

    Don’t like the tyres! What is wrong with using modern technology to get the best out of your retro styled ride. BUT THE REST OF THE BIKE.. WOW ! Paint a mile deep and lots of shiny bits. Love it.
    it’s even got a front mudguard (fender) and no Pipewrap…. Bootiful Bernard!


    IDK WTF you guys are talking about that seat is awesome.

  • i have the same bike working good and is amazing i want a cafe racer but i dont have the heart to mod my bike 🙁 is a survivor

  • Chris.

    Really dig that he starts with pieces of crap, too many people ruin a classic. This guy done good.

  • Hugo Kappes

    That bike is sweet ! my CB 500 is nice and safe in my shed and has been for years, I first customed it as a cafe racer in 85 as a young man , maybe its time to give it a birthday, after seeing this awesome bike I certainly feel inspired. Thanks for reminding me !!

  • GarbanzoBean

    That is some extra nice color work. The centerpiece of this build. By a swag (sophisticated wild ass guess) i would say it has ’bout 40 ft. of pinlines. Are they all brushed on or did the artist use some tape? The time and patience involved is appreciated here.