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‘76 Honda CB350F – Apache Custom Motorcycles


Posted on May 6, 2016 by Andrew in Brat. 83 comments

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A good custom bike build is a big ask from just about anybody. The time, effort, thought and skills required are a challenge that has bettered the best of us. Starting custom shop is another step above that. Suddenly there are things like rent and customers to think about, let alone building cool bikes. Adding restorations into the mix means you’ll have to have an understanding of just how the bikes came out of the factory. Add cars to the mix and you’ve now got vast expanses of metal bodywork to consider. Seems like your climbing Everest already, yes? Well what if, just for good measure, we now make the shop both a clothing store and a brewery? Mission completely freakin’ impossible? Not for the keen proprietors of Italy’s Apache Custom Motorcycles. And as if to boast, here’s their out-of-the-box take on a Honda CB350F brat.

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Apache Custom Motorcycles is a relatively new brand created for the purpose of creating Italy’s best custom motorcycles. Born in January 2015, in fair Verona, near Italy’s biggest and clearly most beautiful lake, Lake Garda. The workshop is open 7 days a week to all and sundry, specialising in pretty much everything to do with that big, wonderful world of customisation. This apparently includes café racers, scramblers, bobbers and choppers of both Japanese and English extraction. Add restoration to the mix, and the fact that they carry almost everything in-house for the preparation and reinvigorating of engines, the creation of frames, new and old tanks, fenders and more, and you’ve got a retail space that sounds like any real biker’s idea of seventh heaven.

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But wait, there’s more. Heaps more. “Within the complex there is also a machine shop for repairs, a motorcycle restorations department, a recently commissioned vintage Porsche department (of which 90% are Porsche 356s), a body shop where we paint the motorcycles and cars, and to finish it off the new showroom is almost complete,” Says Apache’s Danes, short of breath. And just when you think they could possibly have time to do anything more… “We are developing our own line of clothing and accessories, and we currently produce and distribute our beer own beer, an American Pale Ale also named ‘Apache’.

“Then we saw the dusty frame of an old Honda 350 four smiling at us from the darkness.”

But let’s not stray too far from the task at hand. “It was barely a month before the big Motorbike Expo and still we had not thought of a decent idea for a bike to promote the shop – main because we had a lot of work commissioned by customers. Getting worried, we looked around for some spare parts inspiration, and in the workshop we had several pieces and accessories that we thought we could use. Then we saw the dusty frame of an old Honda 350 four smiling at us from the darkness.” And hey presto, they had their basis of their bike for MBE 2016.

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“We wanted to do something different, something that would really strike people. And not necessarily because they liked it – but more because it was different to what they’d seen before.” It was also decided that the build would use a s much recycled materials as possible. So they begin to assemble all the old parts they though could be useful. A wonderful old Husqvarna tank came from a friend of a friend. Some bike handlebars with two old levers, and various other bits and bobs.

Danese and bike at MPE 2016

“In my house in the countryside, I saw two old tires off a tractor and decided that the bike’s tires had to have that a similar look. In the meantime, we decide to lighten the bike as much as possible; we removed all that wasn’t essential and totally simplified the electrical system.” At the same time they sanded they frame back to patchy bare metal and gave it a few days to oxidise before giving it four coats of clear gloss to sell in the natural goodness.

“We also had another 400cc, four-cylinder Honda engine in stock, and so we decided to use it.” So with a few small tweaks, a thorough tune, new electronic ignition and a polish, it was time to assemble.

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The wheels were chosen via some good old Italian design serendipity. “We were mounting these ‘lenticular’ wheels on a bobber for a client when Giorgio, one of the three partners, finds himself in front of the bike with one in his hand. Eureka!”

Inspired, the boys decide to ditch the front stoppers and mount the discs to both front and rear wheels, with the front one small enough to leave a halo of spokes showing around the periphery.

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“And so we came to the Saddle. With enough ‘wow’ already in the bike, a basic flat design was chosen to keep eyes focused where they should be.” Then a handcrafted 4-into-1 exhaust was fashioned from recycled pipes, and was matched to an aluminium can front number board. Is that the sound of opinions I hear splitting? You betcha.

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The end result? A bike that snubs its nose at the expensive, eye candy bling of most shows with a breath of fresh air, a sense of humour and a refreshingly lo-fi approach. And all for a fraction of you average trailer queen fodder. Leave it to the Italians to see beauty where the rest of us saw broken bits and pieces. Bravo!

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Danese, Roberto and a freshly shucked bottle of ice-cold Apache Ale

[Photos by Charles Séguy]








  • John Wanninger

    Nope. Hideous. What a mess. This site is better than this…. Are you guys really needing to scrape the bottom of a dumpster to give us bikes?

    I sincerely hope that this will be the last time I see wheelbarrow tires and 10 speed handle bars on a motorcycle.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Agreed ! Along with my absolute disgust with those trash can lid wheel ( covers ) as well as the desperate mish mash of parts adding up to an irrelevant and fugly whole . The very epitome of that so called ‘ Hipster ‘ irony [ that isn’t ironic in the slightest ] gone completely out of hand and wrong to the point of abject vulgarity .

      • Blackbird

        Theres your little buddy…..
        Love you guys.

    • blackbird

      Bhwahaahaaaaaa. Damn it John, lol. Wheres your sidekick Hardley? Tooooo Awesome. You guys are like special needs kids. I know I’m not suppost to laugh at ya but your so cute in your silliness

      • John Wanninger

        I think its funny that you feel compelled to pat the ass of every builder no matter how low the skillset. It’s ok to let go of the life scarring event you had in the third grade- for not getting a trophy for being last picked for dodgeball.

        • Blackbird

          Hell no stubs. Theres a lot about this bike i dont think is functional or tasteful to my eyeballs. But there are builder concepts here that i’m stoked someone gave a crack at. It’s creative and weird and brends genres. That is worth discussion in of itself. With the shift away from factory builds into garages, builders challenge those designs and the idea of what a bike needs to be. Slicing and diceing genres is only natural. I have a friend that swears that custom motorcycles don’t qualify as an artistic endeavor. I think thats crap. We can throw form or function out the window and still find cool things about this bike. talking about a bike without listing what you personally dont like is not a one to one with likeing the bike. Don’t mistake the two.

        • guvnor67

          Dodgeball’s for girls … British Bulldog is so much more fun.

        • Blackbird

          Dude, i rock at dodgeball. Absolutly amazing actually. My overhand is deadly and i move as the Ninja. We should play sometime. Im pretty sure my backside slip throw has more english than Texas. You would get a run for your money my friend.

    • They not only missed the mark, they landed in the next county. Could it be possible to put less effort into a seat design? Open velocity stacks and no inner fender? First and last bike build I’m thinking.The bars will receive accolades because nobody has done it before. Hint: There’s good reason for that. Good thing it doesn’t have a front brake. The first you used it you’d do a face plant. And not not in a humorous Youtube kinda way.

      • lemieuxmc

        Next planet… but more likely that they are spinning off into the vacuum of space. That’s how fucking far they are off the mark!

        What a tragic waste of a CB 350-4 and a Husky tank.

        • the watcher

          Lem old fruit, if Mule said it was the greatest thing since tits, you’d agree. Try and have an original thought, please.

          • lemieuxmc

            Ask Mule what I think of his shock mounts…

            See you at The Quail?

      • swiers

        Bicycle racers have no problem pulling controlled stoppies with such bars (I’ve done it just for fun). Center of gravity on the motorcycle would be lower than a bicycle, allowing even stronger braking with same rider position.

        Tony Foale’s Quantum Leap had similar ergonomics (near vertical hand grips level with seat). Seems a viable option for some riders. Maybe not so great if you have back problems or weak core muscles.

  • Blackbird

    I love the absurb swapping of genres here and that busted ass patina frame. It’s ridiculous and absurd and loooks like a ton of fun to ride. It feels like its ready for a game of bike polo. You guys did a good job with balancing the colors also. The ruddy reds and browns fit that rusty frame nice along with the exhaust and the lenticular wheels give it this dash of 50 flying saucer moon girl madness. This bike is gunna flying in the face of the P-burn hate squad. Im just curious whos gunna grab the low hanging fruit first? wait for it……

    • John_Tangeraas

      As a member of the “hate squad” I am interested in knowing what kind of bike would NOT be worthy of your praise. Seriously, could you post a pic. of a bike you don’t like? I admire and respect your attitude of not putting other people`s work down, but I think you should stop calling people haters just because they dislike a bike. There must be better bikes to pick from than this? I think a bike should at least have one of the following qualities to be on this site: Creativity, workmanship, technically interesting and artistic value. This bike has none. Balancing the colours? You mean putting a red tank on a rusty frame? If they put a black tank on an oil leaking hag, would that qualify? Look at that plate where the headlight normally is. Is that evidence of workmanship or is it made so (badly) intentionally to create some artistic effect? If I take one of my bikes and leave it outside for 3 years near saltwater, shoot holes in it and paint it with clear laquer, would that qualify as art? Do you know the story “The emperors new clothes”? Seems to me that you are one of the guys in the cheering crowd and the little boy is one of your “haters”.

      • Blackbird

        1. what is a “oil leaking hag”?
        2. i feel your pain on the headlight plate, totally agree.
        3. dont shoot your bike or leave it out in the rain.
        3.5 No, combining three independent qualities most certainly does not automatically qualify as art. You are correct. That would be the equivilent of slapping a instagram frame on a photo and calling it art.
        4. Made me think of a Matthew Crawford quote, tell me what you think.

        “The lover of excellence is prone to being drawn out of himself, erotically almost, in a way that the universalist egalitarian is not. The latter’s empathy, projected from afar and without discrimination, is more principled than attentive. It is similar to bad art and mathematical shoelaces, in this regard; it is content to posit rather than to see the humanity of its beneficiaries.”

        • John_Tangeraas

          Thanks for your response, good to hear from you. Oil leaking hag, is something like a neglected british bike never been cleaned (repectfully, I own and love british bikes). The Matthew Crawford quote is difficult to understand, I must admit. I get the essence of it, but not full comprehension. I am from Norway, so there are words and and context “eg. mathematical shoelaces” there which would be easier to understand if written in my native language.

          • Blackbird

            Cool, I’m from Montana, USA. Nice to meet you. I was ribbing myself with that quote for being the “universalist egalitarian” devils advocate this post.

            I think maybe he is speaking to the tendency for us all to be so absolute in our own assuredness that our idea of excellence (or craftsmanship/workmanship/beauty) is the best and only definition of what is correct. To not agree with my viewpoint could only be explained away by a “principled empathy” towards a bad bike build, possibly?

            Lol, or maybe
            To be non-discriminatory in your response to a bike post is to just posit, and by failing to elicit a strong emotional response from the viewer, the bike has failed in some capacity?

          • John_Tangeraas

            Thanks for the explenation, much appreciated. I think that it’s almost impossible to discuss this subject (art or not, beautiful or ugly etc.). Personally I feel that in order to call something art, there must be high amount of workmanship or skill involved, or otherwise I would rate it as junk, to be honest. Example, if somebody made a welded sculpture, beautiful on it’s own, but the welds were poor, I would have issues with it. Art, to me at least, is a term one should not throw at everything that stands out, it’s a higher order thing, if you understand. Anyway, interesting discussion, have a great weekend!

          • Jeronimo

            Valuable dialog here, guys! Somehow this stopless, steerless little “Husqahonda” has got us cutting to the heart of some really existential issues: “What is Art? Is there Good Art, and Bad? How to judge?? And, BTW, What is a Motorcycle??” I find real truths in both sides of this debate, and would side with John on quality of welds and his other general criteria–were it not for the art-pioneers of this world who relentlessly push us all to abandon our own comfort-levels and preconceptions to be fundamentally challenged in some way by their sometimes ugly and disturbing work. These “artists” are often condemned in life, then appreciated posthumously with culture at large taking much longer to catch up to the bold and visionary nature of their statements…rough deal. So, here’s a question for us all: are these young gentlemen skillfully lampooning us in our pretentiousness and faddishness (signs: farcically-mismatched parts with clashing corporate logo’s, rusty frame cliche’, blatant disregard for sensibility)–or, in their youthful inexperience, are they just trying to find approval by working within these perceived constructs themselves (signs: same as above, but seen through a different lens as poor engineering, primitive design, clumsy fabrication)? If the former, it could be validly Good Art, in my opinion; if the latter, it’d be just Bad. I’d suggest that the difference between the two is solely in the artist’s Intent, and to know, I think we need a body-of-work to discover if there’s a message in it.

          • blackbird

            “the labour of the individual (the producer) asserts itself as part of the labour of society only by means of the relations which the act of exchange establishes directly between the products, and indirectly, through them, between the producers” (Marx, 321)

            …Art or not, not that it matters that it matters or not. Either way, the’re Hipsters, lol….

          • the watcher

            And, damnit, I bloody well knew you were gonna fall back on Marx; a bloke who said some serious and worthwhile stuff, and still the only time he gets quoted is in art(y-fucking-farty) debates. Oh when will man ever learn?

        • the watcher

          Betcha ole MC sees himself as the “lover of excellence”, and I reckon that “universal egalitarian” is what those of us who don’t (not can’t) talk “undergraduate, high-fallutin’, wankerese”, would call “P.C asshole”. Not sure he’s right about which camp he belongs in, unless this is part of a doctoral thesis; it takes ages to say something nobody ever cared enough about to say before. Yep, it must be a phD.

    • “It loooks like a ton of fun to ride”? You’re kidding right? You must be extremely new to motorcycling or haven’t actually ridden. Not low hanging fruit. Fly covered rotting fruit!

  • same bars I had on my 1972 Schwinn 10 speed

  • Ed

    I love the ‘rat-rod’ look of this bike! This is exactly the heart of old school bobber building. Anyone can order shiny parts from a catalog and bolt them on, it takes a lot of creativity and skill to Frankenstein-fit all these parts from a whole array of different makes and models, and improvise things (like the awesome handlebars) and make it all look like it belongs. This truly is artwork, and like art, some people will just never get it.

    • the watcher

      Absolutely wrong! Only apologists (for artists, not art, mark you) ever propound the theory that an otherwise intelligent and discerning individual must be failing to understand a thing simply because they DON’T LIKE THE FUCKER! Preposterous, patronising, and ultimately, not helpful.

    • swiers

      “Anyone can order shiny parts from a catalog and bolt them on”

      Which seems to be exactly what is going on with the most visually grabbing item on this bike (those wheel covers). And they don’t look like they belong, because really – aero wheel mods on naked bike? ANY aero mod with those tires?

      I think I can make a fair claim to having the skill to frankenbike, and have a decent chance of “getting” art / the appeal of ‘found object’ work. This bike hits a few good points there, but misses as many for me, and even the builders stated intents seem confused. Glad Pipeburn saw fit to share it though.

  • yelnatz

    without a doubt the fugliest thing being called a motorbike i have seen in my entire life.are they serious?

  • Paul Elliot

    It might go, but it won’t stop, won’t handle and looks right at home in a dumpster. It might be art, but it is not.

  • revdub

    The comments have been a little low lately. This ought to ramp them up! On a more serious note, I had no idea that Blitz had relocated to Italy.

  • Jim Roberts

    if kanye west ever decides to venture into the custom bike biz…..

    • Jim Stuart

      Jimbo I hate to interrupt you but Beyonce would make a great bike too!

      • Blackbird

        Does she come with those handlebars. Cause if she does…….

      • Jim Roberts

        so would you classify her as a sportbike or a ghetto cruiser…
        either way, i’d take a ride

        • Jim Stuart

          Until someone reroutes that speedo cable it will remain a death trap. It will never be mistaken as a sportbike, so let’s fall on default mode and refer to it a ghetto to the core….totally ratchet

  • Astounded

    What an abortion!

    • Should have been aborted because it’s an abomination?

  • CharlieD

    Obviously a bike built out of humor like the article states but no front brake and 10 speed bars…come on.

  • Jim Stuart

    All aesthetics aside this has to be perhaps the most dangerous POS ever featured on this site. What happens when the already shorten front forks bottom out and pinch the throttle cable? I wouldn’t trust these ‘tards in a rubber room with a spoon much less a classic 356 Porsche. T shirt sales must be what keep the lights on.

  • duh

    well….I can tell you one thing. This guy is no relative of Enzo Ferrari!…yukkk!!!

  • duh

    And while I’m at it……What’s with the Amish guy hat??

  • Jeronimo

    Ya, who needs brakes, lights and steerage? Not enough HP in that old 4-cylinder hi-revving mill to hurt yourself anyway…and besides, if you’re riding with an Artistic License, they’re not required.

  • Racing Enthusiast

    …and this is an art gallery.

    • Blackbird

      Ladies and gentlemen, i give you a fine example of picassos late work. Called the “mod” period. However, he didn’t start doing pin-up girls till just before his death.

  • jlgace

    Congratulations to this group. I’m impressed by the response to this bike. At first I was kind of put off, but now I get it. Nothing wrong with the quality of work here either.

  • Jeronimo

    But seriously friends, I submit that we need to decide here: What are our criteria? If this is Art for Art’s Sake, then we might all judge silently, for ourselves, as we would in the Gallery pictured below (Breathtaking composition by the way, I love this exhibit!). Or then the ‘Art’ Critics might have a ‘go’ with the Art-bikes, and so on. Bear in mind, effective art can evoke powerfully negative–as well as positive–reactions in the perceiver, both being equally valid signs of its power as expression. So the other day I had to catch myself from chiding a ‘post’ here for this current and I feel, ridiculously faddish, “no front fender” craze; obvious functionality issues with this, along with the now-standard, macho knobby tires for street use, right? But–if it’s really an art object, then–fine. So, I’d like to propose the Admin-team consider organizing this site into Categories of Entry, so we can discuss these bikes in an ‘apples-to-apples’ way. As in, “This is an Art-bike entry”, “This is a Functional-bike entry”‘, or etc.. I think we’d all be a lot more fair and focused on these young artists, who are after all just trying to find themselves, develop character all their own, and maybe make a worthwhile statement along the way–be it Artistically, or Functionally. How about it?

    • Blackbird

      It’s a good question. These types of mash-up projects made me curious as to how to define where the aesthetic is going. I liken it to an almost post-modern kind of interpretation which flat rejects the grand narrative of ‘rational and function first’ as a philosophy of building that dominates framework in which we can interpret the bike.
      Maybe that’s why I have been critical (sorry guys) of the dialogue. The discussion doesn’t match what we are looking at.

      In this sense, I don’t believe it’s an art vs. function question. Like I want to see what distills out first.

      Andrew, can we get some more of that neo-racer eye candy please?

    • Jim Roberts

      it’s like the man said “i can’t define it but i know it when i see it”. this site is primarily about motorcycles, frequented by people whose main purpose in visiting is….motorcycles. we know who we is and we know a piece o’ shit when we see it. as far as criteria and how to judge,,,dude we got judgmental down, hence, i would assume, your posting.

  • Fast2Furious

    Just a heads up to the builders aluminum road bicycle handlebars are not appropriate for motorsport they are simply not strong enough.

    • I have a feeling they’re only riding this very short distances at a time and definitely not jumping it off of anything. They should be fine to pose with.

    • Blackbird

      Agreed, that is very soft metal. Super dangerous if that concept was actually put to the roadways.

  • “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde

    • Like a stream bat’s piss.

      • lemieuxmc

        Actually more like a stream of large Billy goat’s piss… there’s more of it and it smells really bad.

        • Honky-lips

          You know, your insult might flow better if you said “large stream of Billy goats piss”. The way it is currently structured makes it sound as if there is a regular piss stream coming from a large Billy goat. Which is not very insulting. Also to say “there is more of it” it a redundant statement already inferred in the stem of the sentence. “Very” may also be a good substitute for “really” or try both to add humor to your insult, for example, “really very bad” or even, “really really very extra bad”. Or replace bad with “stinky” for a kind of tongue in cheek funny insult. Keep trying, don’t give up! Mt personal favorite is to make a word salad. For example, you could say “this smells like a gay jewish logger was eating suger puffs with placental fluid WHILE voting for trump and then peed on a hot pile of burning babies and I’d rather blow bloody dicks then ride that savage hog sniffer. Die Hipster scum!”

          • lemieuxmc

            (1) Contrasting to Mule’s bat; a large Billy goat, not the stream size.

            (2) Large Billy goats pretty much have a regular piss stream which does (in objective fact) smell really bad. However, in drawing the parallel between bad smells and bad visuals, this bike certainly could be described as “really, really, very extra bad”
            (3) A totally epic run on sentence would have avoided the period before “Die hipster scum!” This “bike” is so hideously bad that it even disgraces the hipster ethos of ironic and descends to “just fucking stupid”. If you want to present it as a straight up piece of kinetic sculpture, that would be different and I wouldn’t criticize it so harshly (eye of the beholder and all) but this is arguably a motorcycle site, so there you have it.
            Truly… you should have known.

          • Jazz Honky

            Good, for a sec, i didn’t think you got it, this thing is simply torqued mustard, totally saudi grade monkey guts. I wouldn’t ride this bike for hitlers dick or your moms puddin. I vote we should float it back to Japan and let um think about thier sins and……. wait, how do you know so much about urine?

          • “Die Hipster scum”! Yer preechin’ to the Kwire!

        • the watcher

          Oh, good grief…..

  • Larry Kahn

    Rolling junkpile.

  • Eddie

    The only cool thing about this bike is the tank, and all they did was bolt it on.
    Look at the exhaust collector!

    • Collector….sweet!

      • lemieuxmc

        Needs pipe wrap…

        • Racing Enthusiast

          Needs artisinal napalm.

        • the watcher

          This is getting silly now!

  • Pete

    Pipeburn! This is total garbage! Literally.

  • ‘This ought to get the comments flowing,” I thought to myself. Little did I know…

    • Good job! That’s why you get paid the big bucks!

    • Astounded

      By posting garbage like this you insult and detract from all of the worthy builders and bikes featured on here.

      It’s lame.

  • Mo Denaro

    Thanks for the chuckle.

  • “shop both a clothing store and a brewery?”

    They need to pick one and based on this, not the “shop”.

  • Jaime Near

    With a few streetable mods, I’d really like this bike. The lack of any lighting is of course a problem (but a problem that means that this thing in its current deathtrap state of being is not actually used on the street.) Regular low rise bars and nearly any other type of seat would be nice, especially if the rear frame rails were shortened a bit. The wheel covers either need to be ditched or at least have one sized appropriately for the front, assuming of course you could run a brake with the wheel cover on.

  • Waahey what a thing! Love the liberal dose of Italian sense of humour.

    • the watcher

      Didn’t know that boasting and bull-shitting constituted a sense of humour

  • BobFalfa

    let this be a warning “Don’t build Drunk”

  • Steven Seagal

    look at this dude with his Amish hat and Redwing iron rangers. so hip.

  • Gedigedi

    Pretty ugly and way off the mark. Anyone ever use a road-bike lever? Pulling in the clutch with that thing would fold the damn thing in half. That poor Honda should’ve been left alone.

  • the watcher

    First 5mph get-off is going to cost you all your teeth, both wrists and your sternum (fucking OUCH!). Looks kind of funky though. So, you choose.

  • JayJay

    Besides the fact that it’s horrible, it’s most of all very dangerous.

  • The Ogre

    Sigh. It really doesn’t work for me at all. To me it jsut looks *stupid*. And an unfun dangerous handful to ride.
    No thank you.

  • John Kozul

    typical hippster , crap. Micro brewery , clothing brand , resin , seaweed, gravel, asphalt , latte , comb over, lumber something . How about MOTORBIKES! fuck everything else

  • Wrhinrichsen

    Lovely Bike—–but I DO love my front brakes. That engine is such a treasure.