For all of the custom motorcycle shops that litter the globe there are but a few whose brand recognition truly is industry wide. While some rely on their logo for that acknowledgement others create machines so distinct you instantly know who crafted them. But for Dustin Kott of California’s Kott Motorcycles there is a rare subtlety and artistic vision that is hard to readily define and yet instantly recognisable. It is the work of a man who plies many a trade and expresses his creative side in rolling metal masterpieces. Often from Honda’s CB range they are infused with vintage British styling and customised with pure class. His latest work is based on the short-lived Honda CB400F from the ’70s and it delivers a level of sophistication you’d never expect from the old commuter classic.
It took two decades, three attempts, and a lot of downtime in between, but when Stephen Bond found Brisbane’s Ellaspede Custom Motorcycles on the net, he knew he had just the builders to complete his brilliant 1977 Honda CB400Four restoration. See, Stephen’s had a love of the Four for a long time. Many years ago, he would buy and sell them for parts to make some extra money. Then, while at Townsville University in 1995, he found this particular example and decided it would be the perfect candidate for a full-on restoration. So naturally he stripped it down to individual components, packaged it up in milk crates and let it sit for 10 long years. Then in 2005, while living in Sydney, it appeared the Honda would finally get the love it deserved. But no sooner had he started when an overseas job offer again put it all hold for 8 more years.
One of the newest custom shops to grace the east coast of Australia is Salty Speed Co. They are a small garage based in Wollongong (or ‘The Gong’ as the locals affectionately call it) and is around an hour south of Sydney. This is only their second build under the Salty Speed Co. name but they have already garnered lots of interest for their work. The owner of this CB400F, Brent, was originally looking to purchase their first build, a CB250 Brat Tracker that was up for sale at the time. “Unfortunately he was beaten to it by an eager young miner from Far Northern Queensland where the CB250 now resides, tearing up the red dirt roads of Mt Isa” says Matt from Salty. This time, instead of heading back to eBay to hunt for another finished custom, Brent decided to commission Salty to build him a bike to his specifications.