There’s no denying that the Portland café racer scene is alive and well. Especially when we keep coming across stunning bikes like this 1971 CB750, owned and built by Portland local Phil G. It has been his project and obsession for the last 2 1/2 years but doesn’t want to take all the glory. “I would like to sit here and tell you that I did it all myself but i have to give credit were credit is due” says Phil. While the overall concept and design of the bike was all Phil, there are a few very important elements that would not have been possible without the help from his very talented friends. “I have to say thanks to Sam Hill for welding the custom oil tank and the 5” stretch into the fuel tank, also to Sean Smith for laying down the beautiful black paint, Paul Burdette for the stage 3 port job and general engine building help, Ginger McCabe of New Church Customs for the seat pad, and to Deon Staffelbach for the awesome photography. Other than that I pretty much did everything myself.” I asked Phil why there’s so many custom bikes coming out of Portland and he replied “maybe it’s the long wet winters, plenty of time to build, not a lot of time to ride.” With winter approaching over there, we look forward to seeing more impressive builds after they come out of hibernation.
Thomas Lonnen has been building and riding bikes since he was a kid – although building this bike was no child’s play. After having an accident and breaking his leg quite badly on a 2001 CR250, he decided to use the CR engine in this café racer project. Starting with a Honda CRM250 he cleaned the frame of brackets and welds then made the subframe to suit the aluminium body work – which was all beautifully home made. “I’ve been a welder since I left school” said Thom. “That’s the forth tank I’ve made and they are getting better each time.” Thomas then fitted the CR250 motor with a lighting coil making it AC electrics, “so I had to borrow a horn from an old vespa” he says.” The forks were taken from a Suzuki GS400, motard rims from an XR400SM and the overall weight of this super light bike is under 90Kg.
An amazing ‘before and after’ shot can do wonders shifting products. Just think of all the diet products that are sold by showing a photo of a fat person and right next to it the same person now slim with an amazing six pack. Sometimes the improvement is so incredible you can’t believe the transformation. It’s similar to when I first laid eyes on this beautiful looking street tracker – it was hard to believe it came from a beat-up 1992 Honda Dominator. Luckily there’s people like Andrew Greenland, who didn’t see an out of shape body but a hot street tracker waiting to get out.
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We always love receiving motorcycles from our readers in far away places. This Honda CB750 café racer was built by engineering student Ilkka Töyli from Finland. The bike has an original Dunstall racing tank, clubman bars, Suzuki GT front end /w dual disc brakes, Dunstall rear sets, chromed swingarm and a seat built by Ilkka himself. “I also designed the Dunstall logo on the tank purposely to resemble the old Ducati double-line logo” he says. The bike took around 10 months to build and is Ilkka first ever bike – not bad for a poor engineering student.
Larry Pearson is no newcomer to the pages of Pipeburn. First we featured his beautiful CB550, then his Wes Cooley GS1000S (which is about to appear in Cycle World) and now this striking Honda XL250. “A co-worker of mine had this dilapidated ’72 Honda XL250 that he used as a woods bike for 20 years” said Larry. “He stripped it down, put a set of knobby tires on it and just rode it occasionally. It had been bored out to a 305cc and a mild cam installed by a previous owner.” For whatever reason it sat outside for about 5 years unused, until it was offered to Larry for free – just to see if he could do something with it. “I didn’t really have any need for a dirt bike, but when he told me about the engine and how well it ran, I went over for a look. Even after sitting outside for all those years, and with bad gas in the tank, it fired right up after about 5 kicks!.” Larry decided to haul it home. It was in terrible shape, with rust everywhere, dented tank, broken fenders, bent exhaust and anything else you can think of. Wondering what to do, Larry came up with the idea to make a retro motard.
Rick Sanders started searching for a café racer donor bike at the beginning of 2010. “In the early spring I came across this red 1975 Honda CB360T bone stock, decent shape but not running, so on to the trailer it went” said Rick. You see Rick’s usual ride is a BMW R1100, so when he took on this project he wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out. “I’m no mechanic, but I can turn a wrench” he says. “Its amazing what people can create and conceive with motorcycles. Any café bike I was going to build was destined to have clip-ons or clubmans, so that became the starting point. Complete rewire of the front end, removed the gauges, bars, mirrors and turn signals. All that’s left up front is the new headlight and re-designed tach. I wanted drum brakes, so off with the rotors, calipers, hydraulics and levers. Each drum brake has its own custom made brake stops and MSR adjustable levers. Bar-end mirrors and machined aluminum bar plugs finish off the clip-ons.”
This super clean and lean ‘Brat Styled’ CB400 was built by Jared Johnson and Joe Carlino from the newly formed Holiday Customs. The project started when Joe purchased a beat up old 1975 Honda CB400. After stripping the bike down to the frame they then painted everything black. Joe found a tank off an old Suzuki 125 and had to pound out the inside so it would fit. The velocity stacks were found NOS in a box from the 70’s and Jared came up with the idea to have them stick up to add a little flair. The bike is actually for sale, so if you live in the Portland area and are interested in buying this CB400, you can email the guys on email@example.com (unfortunately they don’t have a website up and running yet).
Up until now we had never heard of a Honda JX110 – probably because it’s most commonly found in Thailand. In Thailand there are various models of 110-125cc Honda Motorcycles including cb, jx, cg and gl models. Almost every models use the same frames and engines, but have minor differences like fuel tanks, seats and shock absorbers. This model is a 1981 Honda jx110 and has been turned into a Norton Manx styled café racer by Thai resident Torsak. “My dream motorcycle is a racing-style one with long fuel tank and single seat like former British café racer” Torsak said. “I spent 6 months modifying the whole bodywork except the frame and engine. The work includes a set of Yamaha vr150 shock absorber system and disc brake, change front-wheel and back-wheel size from 17 inch to 18 inch by using vintage D.I.D.’s wheel aluminium rims, the front tire is a Dunlop F11 and the rear tire is a classic Dunlop TT100GP. Fuel tank is from Custom House Stinky in Japan, rearsets from Yoshimura and the headlamp is from Vintage Bike UK .The seat, exhaust and front-back mudguards were all hand made.”
There will be many die-hard Honda enthusiasts who might think taking a mint condition 1971 CB450 and turning it into a Gravel Crew inspired bobber is sacrilegious. I for one, am not one of those people.
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Spotted this stunning Honda CB450 café racer on Kneeslider the other day. The bike was built by Philip Little and was actually started many years ago. “I started this 1972 CB-450 café in 2003” Phil says. “It was to be a showcase bike for my CR450 body kit and hard parts. The bike’s completion, in 2010, came after the CR450 product line was purchased by Robert Ward of Concord, CA”.
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