1983 Honda Nighthawk CB650SC Nightmare

This is such a personal build for me in so many ways. This was the bike that ignited my passion for building bikes, inspired my side business and most importantly, helped dig me out of the lowest point of my life.

“The Nightmare” is dedicated to my late wife, Noelle.

THE BIKE:
After a full tear-down, I de-tabbed the frame, welded a rear hoop, fabricated a seat pan and fender liner then painted it and the final drive on sawhorses, as well as the fork lowers.
The tank was rusty and dented so I worked it and reshaped it for the custom seat then sealed it internally. It has a metallic base/2k clear I sprayed in a makeshift booth above my garage and came out great. The wheel and tank striping was done by hand with vinyl after several overall design attempts and color schemes.
The seat foam and oiled leather trimmed alcantara cover combo was done by Larson Upholstery.
Carbs are re-jetted to deliver enough fuel for the opened up air box. Exhaust baffles are drilled and it’s heat wrapped but otherwise OEM in design – a feature that originally attracted me to these bikes in large part.
Foot pegs, controls and bars were all updated my other bike’s parts bin items, including Triumph Speed Triple bars and Street Triple rear footpegs.
Braking is impressive thanks to a Triumph Thruxton R donating the Brembo M/C pushing carbon Kevlar pads to the drilled Honda Hurricane rotors via rebuilt calipers and custom braided lines.
The fenders are history and the fork is braced. Front tubes are loaded with progressive springs while the rear has custom re-valved and tuned remote reservoir units, for confidence inspired handling.
The unusually sized OEM tires were specially ordered direct from Japan – Tubeless Dunlop K460’s – wrapped around the stock painted and striped alloys.
The gigantic 80’s rectangular dash and headlight had to go. An Acewell Multifunction unit now sits atop the de-tabbed triple tree while a round/slanted light bucket houses the fuses and wiring that formerly lived behind and below the OEM headlight. The mounts for the license plate and headlight are hand fabricated.
All raw alloys are polished and hand brushed. All lighting is converted to integrated or subtle LED’s. Every detail was addressed.
The aluminum number boards are treated with black vinyl and the ’23’ is an homage to my late wife (our birthdays and anniversary date) who supported this project for the 7 years I had with her.

THE STORY:
I began in a single car garage on a shoestring budget and basic tools. I’d worked on cars over the years but at 29, I was determined to build a custom motorcycle to unite my 2 passions of riding and wrenching. I bought it in rough shape with no title, just before I met the woman who would become my wife. I had my apartment and garage scattered with parts at the time and the other tenants complaining about the paint and carb cleaner fumes! I tried to impress her with my ‘skills’ early on and eventually, got it rolling and running (poorly) by the time we married, nearly 6 years ago now.

I’d originally planned to ‘café it’ like everyone else was doing to more common CB’s but I’ve always wanted to be a bit different (hence the bike I chose to start with!). I revisited it many times over the years through our house moves and other competing projects with many design concept changes along the way. I finally stepped away in December of 2018 when my world changed forever with one phone call. My wife had died suddenly at age 33, while away on business.

My grief and depression made anything I enjoyed seem pointless, especially turning a wrench. In spite of her being so supportive of my pursuits, I couldn’t motivate myself for much of 2019. Perhaps her past support was the reason why.

Slowly, after rebuilding much of my life and working through some of the loss and pain I began doing small project work late in 2019. Finally, earlier this year, I put the aptly named ‘Nightmare’ back on the lift and refocused on the build with a different end in mind: I decided it was time to make space in the garage and move on from the project.

Then, the world froze in place and the shop became an escape. The post for this show came across my IG feed and I committed myself to it. I was going to finish it my way, and enter it.

Over the last few months and even more in the last several weeks, it evolved into what you see now: elements of a flat tracker style, some vintage design and modern performance elements. I know that Noelle would appreciate what I’ve built. I know I do, regardless of if the world loves it or hates it.

This bike held so many firsts for me: First fully custom build (Have done many smaller projects of my own and for customers), first full engine rebuild, first shot at welding, professional level painting and performance tuning carburetors. I was determined to do every part of this bike (other than engine machining and upholstery) with my two hands, in my shop. It has been immeasurably frustrating at times. From wanting to kick it over and give it away to being too deep in my grief to look at it…finishing in time for this show is so satisfying.

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