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‘Black & Tan’ Honda CB750 – Analog Motorcycles


Posted on June 6, 2016 by Scott in Brat, Café Racer, Classic. 45 comments

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Words by Martin Hodgson.

There was a point in time when the bike before you could have been a Yamaha XS650, but this 1974 Honda CB750 had a destiny with Analog Motorcycles from Gurnee, Illinois that couldn’t be broken. When owner Arne Dinse brought his partially customised CB750 to Analog he had an idea for what he was after but was worried about some creepy noises coming from the engine. Proprietor Tony Prust explained they had an XS650 they could do in a similar theme to that Arne was after and with a handshake and a deposit laid down it was set. With Analog Motorcycles churning out brilliant streetable customs there is understandably a wait for their services so by the time it was Arne’s turn in the schedule he’d decided he wanted to stick with the CB, but it wasn’t just the engine that was not quite right, beware the dodgy mod.

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As the team tore into the bike it was discovered someone had attempted some amateur modifications that would make the bike less than safe left unattended “The frame had been cut by a previous owner to possibly do some engine work. So we repaired that by welding new bungs and frame tubes. Also the swing arm had been lengthened but upon further inspection not done very well since the rear wheel did not line up straight with the frame. So we picked up another stock swing arm to replace that with.” With Tony now happy that he had a frame that was in perfect condition, the subframe was shortened and a loop welded in with a slight up kick to support the seat. With Arne wanting no front fender it’s been left bare and just a small rear unit fabricated to keep the worse of the road mess off the seat.

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“Now with the structural stuff taken care of we proceeded with the custom work,” which begins with the fairly serious changes to the classic Honda tank. The sides were cut out and new sheet metal fabricated to create aggressive knee dents that are then welded back into the tank. The metal work is picture perfect with absolute uniformity achieved on both sides and the top is finished out with a chrome flip cap. The side covers also received some customisation with three neat holes drilled out and back filled with mesh for a stunning effect and great flow to the airfilters. The custom seat pan was then upholstered in tan leather by Dave Pruney who’d also done the tank work. Before the stunning gloss black was laid down by Kiel’s Kustoms which is finished off with modification highlighting pinstripe work by Brando and you can quickly see why the Honda has earned the nickname “Black and Tan”.

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As mentioned earlier, before the build was started the Honda engine was making some strange noises so Analog sent Arne of for a new engine which comes courtesy of Cycle X, the CB750 specialists in Wisconsin. With the engine running a treat it was over to Analog to get it looking right and to add some extra ponies. For reliability and better running Dyna ignition and coils were fitted up that bring the old war horse of an engine into the 21st century.

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A beautiful set of Mac 4 into 1 headers were fitted up but Arne wasn’t a fan of the muffler they come with so Analog adapted a Cone Engineering item for a more customised and individual appearance. The bank of four 28 mm Keihin carbs now breathe through individual K&N pod filters that give a great roar at full throttle. With NGK caps and the right covers blacked out along with the rocker cover the classic CB four gets the clean looks to match its new lease on life.

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Analog builds their bikes to ride as well as they look and with a request to lower the bike handling wasn’t going to be compromised, “Just because it is low don’t mean it needs to ride poorly is what we told Arne and he agreed.” To get it done in the right way the bike is lowered 2inches all-round with the front telescopic forks getting a new set of Race Tech springs. They’ve also been fitted with Gold Valve Emulators that greatly assist both low-speed and high-speed compression for greater feel and precision without compromising ride quality. Out back has been brought up to the same spec with a custom set of Race Tech G3-S shocks. The braking has also been improved over the ’70s tech with a modern master cylinder providing the power. This connects to the caliper by way of a HEL S.S. brake line for great feel at the lever and clamps a Godfrey’s Garage drilled and thinned rotor.

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That new master cylinder sits on an inverted set of bars that is a look Analog have utilised on other builds “We flipped a set of handlebars upside down to give it a lower feel but not like a set of clubman’s or clip ons. This is something we have done in the past on Ducati Monsters and on El Matador. We like the look and so did Arne.” Joining new levers, the clutch perched on a GSXR fixture, is a pair of tan grips, a single mirror and Motone Customs buttons.

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The whole bike has been rewired with a Moto Gadget M-Unit but without many of the additions Analog would normally run “We typically leave all motorcycles we build with all their normal functionality (signals, horn, hi/low, speedo, tach, etc.). Arne wanted the bike to just have the bare essentials so no signals and no horn on this one leaving it clean and simple.” But it does get a 4.75” Bates style headlight mounted with modified aftermarket headlight ears and out back a stunning Analog Reverse Bates taillight.

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To finish out the build the wheels were torn down and rebuilt with new stainless steel spokes and nipples from Buchanan’s. They’ve been fitted up with Arne’s tire of choice, the classic styled Firestones for the vintage look that definitely matches the theme of the build. With the Honda set to be put to good use on the road Analog had many of the components powder coated by J & J for a long lasting finish that will keep “Black and Tan” looking slick even after years on the streets. Which is what Analog Motorcycles is all about, a lot of custom bikes clearly compromise a great deal of their streetability for the look, but when you sign up with Analog you ride away on the bike of your dreams that also operates just like a great motorcycle should!

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[Photos by Grant Schwingle]








  • Larry Kahn

    Great work and style and then you (and so many others) blow the whole purpose of a cafe racer (going around corners fast!) and put on those DAMN STUPID TIRES!!! What the hell is wrong with you guys?? You may as well get a Harley if it’s all about style and not going around corners.

    • Jim Roberts

      yeah…if you were reading a 1948 advertisement for the “all new for ’48
      B.F.Goodrich road holder deluxe”, and they have a picture of a tire that looks like “somethin’ you’d see a on a damn motorcycle” in 2016…well, you start too become confused and begin to wonder, what it all means.
      i’m waiting to see if the return of wooden wheels will catch on

      • Hardley T Whispnade III

        Amen !

    • Again with the whining, get off my lawn, Firestone hating troll rants… Like your opinion is going to change the course of how people customize THEIR bike or somehow alter the demand for this brand or type of tire. I don’t personally run Firestones but if I was building a brat cafe I would, without question put Firestones or Cokers on it. It would be my choice… Funny that, but maybe something to remember before your next rant: “MY BIKE… MY CHOICE”. If I was building an era correct Triton, I would run an era correct old school Avon on the front and the period correct Dunlop on the back… NOT the best or most ideal for cornering today as say a set of new generation Avons… Strange though it may seem, it would be my choice and not yours. Be original. Make a comment that actually provokes something beyond people thinking you’re whining in repeat mode across blog forums and comment sections. With all respect and good intention, it’s just a tired, stale and old argument.

      • Jim Roberts

        dude….maybe you ought to look at postings as pieces of paper that have been customized by the author. i see as much innovation implemented here by the keyboard as i do by a bridgeport or heliarc. personally i’m of the “no quarter asked for or given” school but i’d be willing to abide by you’re suggestion that personal choice be the critical factor that will allow the site to retain its’ integrity. we don’t want too end up sounding like a bunch of ass kissing sycophants.

        • Absolutely. We do not have to sit back in silence and endure treadmill rants. Children often repeat shit over and over like it means something. It doesn’t necessarily validate their point. It’s just kinda irritating. We get it, Firestones piss some people off. It was a cliché rant like five years ago…

      • Rainbows, unicorns, My little pony and Firestones. Analog builds beautiful stuff and this bike is another example of their great workmanship. However, Firestones are played out. As you stated, the only thing that Firestones (and mullets), have going for them is there is a group of people that “Like” them. You will have to acknowledge though, that there are also people that DON’T. Which group is wrong? Obviously not any group YOU belong too.

        • I meant, crazy people repeat the same shit over and over again. Sorry, my bad.

          • Maybe it’s because we’re into like, year “5” of all the things you mentioned. Fads, trends and coolness of the day keep things interesting, but when they’ve been repeated a billion times, commenters on these “Cutting edge” sites start getting restless to see new stuff. Yet another boxer twin (or Honda inline four) with Firestones, a Brat seat and pipe wrap puts people looking for something new and exciting right over the edge. They start lashing out. It’s inevitable. It’s not haters or trolls or old timers, it’s people expecting excitement and being bored to tears. This here is new, exciting, carbon fiber, light and high function. It has a hard seat (that’s cool these days), and has a motor that I’ve not seen one of the new featured garage builders go near. And they’re cheap and can make 100 HP at the wheel. All it needs is lights!

          • Jim Roberts

            well for me it’s late in life and here it’s late at night, but in another hour or so i’ll be riding this bad boy somewhere…
            both feet up, full lock right on the cushion and that means somehow or other i’m about 19 again. damn i love this site

          • Agree. Fresh is good. A lot of builders are doing flat trackers. Not all of them are as light and nimble as this one but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen several Flat Trackers on Pipeburn and they constantly break the mold as far as the kind of bikes they feature. If you like Flat Trackers, also check out http://www.facebook.com/FlatTracker. And I get what you are saying on the Firestones… but I don’t think tires make or break a bike and the comments, however intentioned just detract from all the work that has gone into a bike. I agree with you as far as repetition of platform. It’s really exciting when people strike out and use a donor bike that is rarely or never used and create something amazing and outside the box. We all love bikes. We don’t all have to love FIrestones, but we can reexamine whether our comments contribute something or detract by restating disdain to the point of sounding like scratched vinyl…

          • the watcher

            I really like the way girder forks look on brand new, 40 grand H-D customs. Where can I get some for my Panigale?

          • The response I’ve heard in the past is, “If you don’t like what you see here, bugger off.” That said, there are only a couple sites that are featuring current builds by real people day in and day out. However, I’m thinking more and more, we’re being force fed a particular style. Not a bike style, but a hurried, more of the same, tired trendy style of building. If this site had a worldwide build-off, 95% of the bikes would have pipewrap and Firestones. Is that where we’ve sunk to in the custom world? I posted the flattracker because it actually looks different than all the stuff we’re seeing day in and day out. I wouldn’t want to ride it on the street, but (see the article in Sideburn), the engineering is cutting edge. WAY outside the box. Outside the box has come to mean knobbies and clip-ons, or a rust covered tank. Ooh, ahh. Not much in the way of inspiration there. I try to bite my tongue and not get too negative with the comments, but some people are starting to get more vocal. It’s the nature of a forum. People can say what they think. Good or bad. There are two possible ways to deal with these responses. Run off the people that disagree or listen to them and think possibly they have a point.

          • There is also that saying, “We can agree to disagree and at this juncture, I strongly disagree with the logic of your argument but you seem like a nice guy? That won’t change the meaning of what a redundant point is or help matters towards making the redundant point less redundant. I have pipe wrap on my bike and I love it and could give two shits what anyone else thinks about it, because it’s my bike and when I walk up to it, it makes me a lot happier than a couple of people in the comments section of a blog. My bike the way I like it and not how it came from the factory is better than most things. You can’t even get close to even swaying what I want or don’t want on my bike. Because it’s my bike and I make confident choices based on shit I like… Not what you like. There is a paradigm here and you sound like you have common sense, so who knows, maybe you guys might let it go and learn to accept and enjoy more bikes by not caring? Think of Marlon Brando in The Wild One… You think his character cares about what anyone thinks… Or Peter Fonda’s character in Wild Angeles, when the preacher asks him, “Just what is it you want?”… You think he’s seeking validation and approval?

          • If you you dreamed up “pipewrap” all on your own and you’re going to quote a line from the Wild One (a movie that single handedly ruined motorcycling’s image for decades) and Peter Fonda, I’m pissin’ in the wind. Enjoy your pipewrap and Firestones. These are the new “Sissybar”.

          • I am clearly out-matched by the strong wind of sound reason as I take the piss…

          • lemieuxmc

            “We want to be free, free to ride our machines without getting hassled by the man… and we want to get loaded!”
            https://youtu.be/hc14gU-OSMM

          • Davidabl2

            Sissybars are functional for carrying luggage..and gascans.

          • Davidabl2

            There’s a certain beauty in All-Go, No Show” isn’t there…

        • Gentile Sodomite

          eat a dick, my little pony bitch. put up or shut up. let’s see your build, pussy.

          • John_Tangeraas

            Could somebody please ban this infantile from this site?

          • the watcher

            Please don’t let’s start calling for bans; it’s like watching footballers miming red cards to referees! If someone writes drivel, ignore orcorrect them, but sensorship has never improved a goddam thing!

        • Davidabl2

          As far as I can tell the only thing that ‘Stones have going for them is that they come in a lot of different sizes.

      • Larry Kahn

        Pose or ride is the choice here.

        • Ride. I have performance tires on lighter, more road friendly Canyon Motorcycles TT Wheels on my Thruxton along with upgraded FOX piggyback shocks. I love the ride. Sometimes it’s like the bike is riding for me. But I don’t think the argument is so black and white. Sure there are posers out there, however counter to self-preservation, that are more into capturing the moment than being in the moment. I don’t think tire choice makes you a poser. It’s a balance and it’s a personal choice based on usage and the style you are going for. It’s not like we all ride high performance sports bikes and hug corners like Lorenzo.

      • JayJay

        Amen!

    • grandb3rry

      I don’t understand the hate towards the firestones? They are pretty much the only ones that offer the period correct look for classic bike. The same whining can be applied to anyone having an iPhone… Everyone has them these days…
      Seriously it’s like people have nothing better to do than leave retarded comments every f&ck!ng hour of the day…
      My bike has got firestones on and I know they are not as safe as the modern tyres are but then modern ones do not offer the same streamlined look and style…
      Have some chill…drink some milk…

  • des stanley

    those stooopid tyres screw up all the great work,why?

    • Gentile Sodomite

      because your mom didn’t stick a coat hanger up her snatch and terminate the second mistake she made in one night.

  • jlgace

    I think it might have been a good idea to keep with the extended swingarm. Never been a fan of the back tire tucking inside the frame. I’d be curious to feel the handling penalty for making that one single modification to a motorcycle as I have a bike with that same visual issue.

  • Dave Coetzee

    Complete with rear footpegs, Arne can enjoy this fine build with Anne!
    Perhaps I’m a couple of decades out but I kind of thought these Firestones gelled quite well with the knee-indented, chrome flip cap fuel and oil caps – cafe racer look?

    • Larry Kahn

      If wanting to keep with the 1950’s/60’s era builds then tires would be Avon or Dunlop K81/TT100 or their K70’s. (all available in updated compounds) Firestones would be in the 1930-1950’s bobber era for effect. In my not so humble opinion modern tires are always the way to go no matter what. And yeah stay off my lawn.

  • Jester the Clown

    OK, So it’s got the form-over-function tyres, so let’s not expect too much in the handling dept. but then it is a standard CB750 frame anyway, so it’s never going to be great.
    Otherwise, it looks pretty good to me. They’ve had the sense to retain the side panels, even if the holes don’t actually supply “a great flow to the airfilters” as suggested in the article.
    It’s even got a rear mudguard, of sorts.

    • It has tires. The tires have a function. The tires have tread. The girl is no one. Wait… sorry, I got sidetracked by detraction… Anyway, they were made for road use. Maybe you don’t put this bike up for the next Isle of Man TT… That said, as a nostalgic street style bike, the tires work, serve their purpose and their form equals their function. In this case a very respected builder, Analog Motorcycles, built a great bike, true in form and keeping with the brat cafe style. I think they kicked ass and I respect the time they put in.

  • revdub

    Analog is one of the best. The tank, side covers, and new loop all look perfect. This is one classy CB. Another extremely clean build.

  • Jeff W Simpkins

    It was a popular mod,back in the day, to cut the top frame rails so you could pull the head without taking the engine out of the frame. Usually sleeves and bolts held the cut piece back in. This bike was probably a victim of that practice.

    • WRHibrichsen

      Thanks Jeff— I had forgotten that old practice—– what a load of crap techniques back in the day.

    • the watcher

      Fuck me! Never heard of that and I’m pretty ancient. Still, there’s stupid bastards in all walks, eh?

  • Tyler Stone

    That’s dangerous – the subtle custom work these guys have done makes it look easy. I’m sure the previous owner of the machine can testify that it’s certainly not.

  • Andy Rappold

    I really liked the kwacker yesterday but this thing is right out gorgeous!

  • Robert Henry

    She’s a bute Clark and I really like the color contrast and the trick touches. I’m a gun builder and a bike tinker so I’ll leave the professional rants to the professional ranters. The bike stopped me and I wanted to say I like it. Thats a compliment as I have the attention span of a gold fish.

  • Blay

    Ja,Ja, Ja, Totally agree Larry, these tires should be better …

  • Mo Denaro

    What a great bike! Only things I would change would be the seat, tires and bars.

  • Mo Denaro

    Why is someone considered a troll when they point out a known fact?

  • Ed Turner

    This is some very nice work. I don’t care about tires, that’s really a rider choice but what’s up with the wierd bend in the throttle cable? That looks like it could awkward in a parking lot righty? A front fender would really look good balancing the lines of the bike not to mention the practical application.