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PRECIOUS MENTAL. The “Goldenrod” Honda CB750 from Steel Bent Customs

Posted on November 17, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 30 comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

In the 2017 world of custom bikes there is an enormous number of styles of motorcycles being built with new names like Neo Racer and Cafe Fighter emerging over time. But for all of the custom builders around the world there are a handful who simply create, the style takes care of itself and one look at the motorcycle in question and you know exactly who built it. From the state of Florida, Michael Mundy and his Steel Bent Customs crew is one such example, there is no trickery here just ultra clean classic customs, ready to be ridden hard. Their latest creation is a stunning 1978 Honda CB750 that ticks all the boxes and packs plenty of punch with the owner crowning her ‘Goldenrod’.

The Florida based shop has been around longer than most and given their prolific nature have put together a catalogue of custom bikes totalling between 80-100 machines. But with long-term success comes the ability to be more selective as head honcho Mundy describes “Over the past couple years, Steel Bent Customs has transformed into a boutique-style customs shop. I’m able to pick and choose the builds I’d like to produce and be a bit more selective with the clients I work with. The quality is at a higher standard and thus production is a bit longer to stretch the creativity a bit.”

But despite this change there are certain things that Steel Bent Customs maintain, clever use of negative space, minimalist and clean looks, the signature reverse cone muffler and the creators of some of the best street based CB750’s ever built. So it’s no surprise that knowing this was what he was after the owner of this particular steed picked SB for the job! The donor bike was located about 30 miles from the shop in the Tampa Bay Area, with only 5800 miles on her and completely stock it was perfect for the task. “My build process has always been the same over the past 80+ builds in the past 7 years. I get the bike on the lift, strip her down a bit and let her “guide” me through the process,” explains Mundy.

With the major components removed the racer’s tail section was to be handled by a big name from the West Coast and the engine sent out for a major overhaul. The client wanted clean lines and to ditch the under seat oil bag and knowing how well Dustin Kott of Kott Motorcycles can pull this off he was tasked with the job. The decision had already been made to use a different tank than stock on the bike but this meant Steel Bent had to wait for the new seat cowl/oil tank combo to return from Kott before that job could begin. Once it did the stunning tailpiece was laid on the frame and a Benelli-style tank offered up for a unique look on the classic Honda.

The frame was customised and cleaned up to receive both items and allow them to be neatly bolted down. But before final assembly it was totally smoothed out and sent to ProFab Powder Coating for a deep grey finish that allows the custom paint job to really pop. Before the tins were sent out the Steel Bent crew added an aircraft style filler cap for some high-end appeal. “Craig Paints Bikes here in Tampa was able to shoot the pearl white and do a hammered copper look with a great accent line. Craig has a great eye for finish work and he’s been painting for Steel Bent Customs for the last 6 years,” proclaims a thrilled Mundy who couldn’t be happier with the stunning look.

But as parts were coming and going there was always work to be done on the bike and one addition that took some time to get just right was the brake upgrade. You can slap on parts and hope for the best or do it right and deliver the perfect product. Steel Bent Customs only accepts the later and the dual brake conversion was no different with the team ensuring perfect operation from the wave drilled rotor, twin caliper combo. The front suspensions lower legs are polished to a mirror shine and clamped with a custom upper triple. While out back the ride quality is further improved with a set of remote reservoir rear shocks.

The cafe’s engine meanwhile had been crated up and sent to Wisconsin where it would receive the hot rod treatment from the kings of Honda horsepower for the last four decades, Cycle X. The motor gets the lot, an increase in capacity to 850cc with a bored block, full bottom end rebuild and cut back gears. Up top the engine is able to breathe easy with the cylinder head ported and all the covers have been polished for good measure. On the outside the big block CB now is fed thanks to a bank of Keihin CR carbs that provide plenty of fuel flow. While dumping the left over gases is a Steel Bent signature 4-1 heat proofed exhaust exiting via a stainless reverse cone muffler.

To click through the gears the team also had Kott send out a set of his stunning custom rearsets, with the linkages now modified to clear the case and chain guard. The right side operating the Honda factory drum brake that is now laced to a 17″ wheel from Sun Rims with an 18″ item selected for the front. As with any Steel Bent Custom minimalism remains high on the priority list and the controls are no different with the clip on bars wearing only the bare essentials. Bar end mirrors, modern switch gear and a more powerful master cylinder get the job done; no mess, no fuss.

To keep things clean the Honda has undergone a complete re-wiring job that is based around the standard loom as a template. With Michael showing off his years of experience and hiding the lithium ion battery completely out of site under the rear section of the fuel tank. To finish off the build a beautifully stitched classic leather seat fits neatly into the Kott tale and once again another custom classic was ready to roll off the Steel Bent Custom line. It’s another killer build, unmistakably from the hand of Michael Mundy whose intuition for perfection continues to roll on, “It sounds a little hokey, but every bike has its own lines, its own style, its own path. I try to listen to all this and help it evolve.” It’s a flawless process that shows no sign of slowing down!

[ Steel Bent Customs – FacebookInstagram | Photos by Erick Runyon ]

  • guvnor67

    Stunning! And it looks so light. Take the headlight mounts for instance, at certain angles they’re barely there. The cockpit area is ultra clean, and the paint as sharp as you can get. Also, what impresses me is that he/they aren’t afraid to farm things out to those who do a better job, and not hide the fact! Brilliant!

    • JayJay

      Spot on comment. This also shows that the Classic caferacer will never go out of style. And Hey! A Benelli tank.. doesn’t look cliché here. Lovely bike

      • guvnor67

        Thanks JayJay! And absolutely, especially when they’re as good as this

    • Bultaco Metralla

      Great comment, I love it when the bike is stripped back to the elements.

      • guvnor67

        Absolutely. I know it’s progress but it saddens me a little that modern machines have to be encumbered by so much “Technology”. Also, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked at a (factory) bike and checked the specs to find it has a dry weight akin to a fully loaded school bus! Bikes like those featured here have me smiling like an idiot with too much sugar!!

  • Andy Rappold

    I love it too..the paint choice/job is excellent and all this shiny party..lovely!

  • Greybeard1

    So where’s the oil tank?
    Excellent build, though I much prefer classic wheel & tire sizes. They seem to compliment the overall style better.

    • Eric

      I see oil lines running up the inside of the frame, terminating under the tail section. It must be underneath the tail, somehow. Brilliantly minimal solution!

      • Gary Hartman

        Hello I’m the owner of the bike. Thank you for the kind words. The rear cowl is the oil tank

    • Dustin Kott designed the tank within tail piece.

      • Greybeard1

        Oh, I thought I read the battery was under there.
        ‘K, thanks!

  • RD350

    Very nice! Can anyone identify the piggyback shocks?

  • the watcher

    SBC were one of the first to turn me on to the new caff scene and they’ve still got it. Just great.

  • I love Fridays: The anticipation of cocktails and camaraderie after work and another perfect Pipeburn post to start the day. Love this Steel Bent Honda! I don’t know if there’s anyone else who follows this blog who wonders how much these customs cost. Understand that the owner and the shop probably want to keep that private – but anyone want to venture a guess how much Gold is in this Rod?

    • I’d hazard a guess and say the excluding the cost of the donor bike, it’d probably be somewhere in the region of US$20-25k or so.

      • Seems reasonable – and like a good guess Andrew. OK, it’s just about Happy Hour here – so I’m off!

        • Have one for us, Jim.

          • The deed is already done Andrew. Next time I’ll be sure to bend an elbow for the Pipeburn community. For the record: no drinking and driving or riding.

      • Owner

        Your close but I put a little more into it because I had cycle x do a complete motor rebuild with top of the line everything

  • AB

    Very nice build. I kept thinking I’d seen similar on here ….. but then if I think your build looks like a Kott Honda I am paying a compliment.

    • Justin Kott was involved with the build. 4th Paragraph…

  • The dimpled texture on the tank. Yes or no?

    • AB

      At first glance I thought they were leather panels. I don’t mind it, but I wonder how stunning it would look if the tank had been copper plated leaving those areas exposed copper with a clear coat (like the old Nortons etc with chrome and paint tanks).

      • Real copper’s really tricky to pull off. We’ve seen SO MANY bikes that fall flat trying to use it. It’s very easy for it to come out looking like some nasty steampunk wanna be.

  • Leon

    I am a tremendous fan of SBC and have been enjoying my 1980 CB 750 called Motorvator Mike built for me a couple of years ago. I get compliments on that bike wherever I ride. Thank you Mike for all you do!

  • I think it looks, just right, nothing to take and nothing to add! Y

  • Marlon

    “I get the bike on the lift, strip her down a bit and let her “guide” me through the process,” explains Mundy.

    As a chronic overplanner that I am – that’s great advice.

    Also, how sweet is that view from the cockpit. Absolutely nothing in the way.

    • Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. If that were me, I’d have the thing planned out on paper right down to the grade of oil I was going to put in it. I.e. zero room for serendipity.

  • Top drawer all the way.