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FASTER AND SON. A ’75 Honda CB550 from Italy’s Soiatti Family

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Andrew in Brat, Café Racer, Classic. 19 comments

It’s easy to underestimate just how big motocross was in Europe in the 70s and 80s. In Italy, it seems you’d be more likely to find someone who didn’t like their Nonna’s food than find a custom bike shop without some connection to the off-road art. For the Soiatti family, it was a seat on a factory bike that marked the peak of their motocross addictions. And after they kicked that habit in the 80s, father Daniele started the Soiatti Moto Classics workshop. Thirty six years later and with his son now in the picture, here’s their latest build.

Alberto on the freshly-painted Honda

“My name is Alberto. Soiatti Moto Classics was created by Daniele Soiatti, my father, in 1981. In the 70s, he had been an official motocross rider, racing a factory bike for the Milanese SWM company. After his riding career, he worked for a couple of years in the official Moto Guzzi dealer network and then he opened the workshop”.

Today, the Soiatti’s main activity is focused on the restoration of motorcycles, with their bikes regularly entered into prestige events like Lake Como’s Concours d’Elegance Villa d’Este. Thanks to son Alberto, they can still carry on their exclusive commissioned work from a range of Italian and international clients. So consistent and renown are their bikes, they have a regular monthly column dedicated to them in two of Italy’s leading moto publications.

Blue paint and brown leather matches customer’s Porsche

“The bike is a Honda CB500 Four made in 1975,” says Alberto. “Surprisingly, the donor bike was found on a beach. The build was done for a client whose source of inspiration was a classic Porsche. In a way, the bike is a dedication to the famous German brand; the owner of the bike is lucky enough to also be an owner of a vintage Porsche Targa with blue paint and a brown leather interior”.

The bike came to Alberto and Daniele in very poor condition. After a long period of neglect at the beach, it arrived badly corroded. They even found sand inside the cylinders. After the purchase of a second engine and a whole bunch of new parts, the thing was completely dismantled and rebuilt with new pistons, primary chain and transmission gears. Next, the frame was modified to remove the passenger footrests and clean up the overall look.

“All the aluminium parts were polished, along with the rims. The headlight has been replaced with an old Ural unit. Adapting this new headlight with integrated instrumentation was probably the most complicated part of the build,” notes Daniele. “The saddle is the original, but it was shortened a little and re-covered in calfskin. The same leather was then used to create a matching set of tailored saddlebags”.

“What do I like the most about it?” questions Alberto? “Probably my favourite part of the bike is its front end. With the double polished calipers and the drilled discs, the bike instantly got a more aggressive look that really sets it apart”.

Ragazzo veloce

[ Soiatti Moto ClassicsInstagram | Photos by Fabio Bonanno ]

  • ShS

    Il farettone è bellissimo forse un filino troppo grosso, “secondo me” ma nel complesso la moto è bella.

    • Quando dici “farettone” vuoi dire la luce?

      • ShS

        Sì luce anteriore, vista di profilo preferisco possibilmente il faro in linea con il serbatoio, così quasi per tutte le moto, è un mio gusto personale naturalmente”

  • Rob

    Upfh, the builder likes the dual disk setup “because of the agressive looks”. I remember when dual disks were put on for a real purpose. Nice build, but, really guy?

    • Remember, it was translated from Italian. No doubt some subtleties were lost in the translation…

  • the watcher

    Nice, relatively unpretentious build on the ever-lovable cb550. Easy riding for the 21st century.

  • martin hodgson

    Love the colour combo of the paint and leather, really gives the Honda a classic euro feel. But most impressive is just how thorough the resto is, every but and bolt is perfect. No, she’ll be right, attitude here! Beautiful!

  • guvnor67


  • AB

    A bit of a quiet performer this one. I initially thought ‘ho hum’ but paying attention to the build detail I really dig it. I very much like the the side cover saddlebags. Nice job.

  • Flying W

    It’s a CB500, not a 550; headline’s wrong. Love the BM /5 series headlamp nacelle.

    • AJ

      I’d take a punt on the replacement engine being a 550 – transmission parts wore out fast on the 500, plus they’re rarer and have 50 less cc, so doesn’t make much sense to replace. I guess you can argue the toss as to whether that makes it a CB500 or CB550, but either way it’s a very sweet build, nicely understated.

      • If the owner says 550, it’s a 550. Unless yr Soichiro Honda himself, I’m guessing you are probably lacking all the details to make a call like that…

  • Woodie

    I really, really like that. It’s nice to see a bike where bits are polished rather than ‘matt’ and I love this little saddle bags in the frame space. It doesn’t look very modded but the attention to detail is top notch. Un sottile restauro / modifica pulito.

    • Perhaps we should have called it a ‘restomod’ instead?

      • Woodie

        So sue me< I like shiny bikes. 😀 great bike, great site….