‘92 Honda CB750 – Bull Cafe Racers
Written by Martin Hodgson.
From the outside looking in the custom motorcycle culture must appear to be quite confusing for those who don’t have petrol running through their veins. Why do builders the world over take old bikes, that may not have even been that great at the time of their release, and then spend thousands of dollars and hours building crazy contraptions when you could just go into a dealership and buy a brand new superbike for the same price. The reasoning is just not something the average punter will ever understand, the thrill of an old 2-stroke, the character of the best of British or buzz that comes from hearing a 50-year-old engine fire to life again for the first time in decades, it has to be lived. But amongst us is a rare breed that make much more logical decisions, like first time builder Krystian Bednarek from Bull Cafe Racers who chose a 1992 Honda CB750 as his project over the much more fancied early models.
There is no doubt the original CB750 is one of the most important motorcycles of the custom bike scene, it was revolutionary when in 1969 it was released as the first “superbike” and decades later its classic beauty and punchy performance haven’t dimmed any of its popularity. But with purchase prices rising, original spare parts harder to find and the aftermarket charging a pretty penny for custom parts the often maligned late models start to make some sense. That becomes even more true for a young man undertaking his first build, who wants to end up with a reliable motorcycle that can be used daily and benefits from Honda‘s years of development before it re-released the classic CB750 in 1992 as a retro model that would meet the long warranty/never fail demands of the modern consumer. With an idea in his mind of exactly what the end result should be and a helpful hand from his Dad he set to work on his first adventure into world of bike building.
The bike was disassembled methodically with Krystian labelling every part, bagging them and even taking pictures and videos to ensure reassembly would be a smooth process, a brilliant tip for first time builders. With boxes of labelled parts to one side he could get to bringing to life his vision and got straight to work modifying the standard frame. The subframe has been shortened with the rails straightened and a rear loop added. The swingarm and side stand were also smoothed out, with brackets added for later use before the whole lot was sent out to be blasted and powder coated in black. So happy with the result the wheels were stripped of their rubber and sent out for the same finish before it was all reassembled into a rolling chassis. Krystian then built a hand-made stainless battery box that bolts to the swingarm brackets he added and drastically cleans up the look of the Honda with much of the wiring hidden in there too.
With the wiring now relocated there was no need for the less than appealing side covers that took away from much of the classic bike looks. With these ditched Krystian got to work on the tank, smoothing the areas that once supported the covers and making sure the metal was straight as a die. With his metal work skills improving by the day the Fenders were handmade from 2mm sheet metal with the rear unit mounted to the swingarm with metal rod resulting in a fender that moves seamlessly with the suspension. With his tins finished they were sandblasted to remove any imperfections before being painted in a classic deep metallic grey. The finishing touch comes with the custom logos for this machine known as Bull Cafe Racer and Krystian’s design was added to the tank in black before being cleared leaving the logos proud from the metal; a classic hot rod trick to create the look of badges without the cost.
With such high quality paint work and having gone to the effort to create a subframe capable of holding the exact seat he desired Krystian outsourced the work to ARMJ, known for their high-end leather work in the automotive industry. The seat consists of two foam types, the bottom a stiff hard-wearing product, with the upper layer a soft body contouring material, perfect for long days in the saddle. High grade brown leather was then chosen as the cover, with double stitched sides for increased durability. New headlight ears were purchased and then drilled to take the new indicators. While the rear features matching items mounted to the frame and a classic round tail light fitted up. The final touch to the vintage look is the removal of the bulky standard instrument cluster with classic look items held in place by Krystian’s own polished steel bracket.
Like it’s older Brother’s the ’92 is powered by an air-cooled, four-stroke, transverse four-cylinder with the benefit of a new 16-valve head using hydraulic tappets for low maintenance. Along with the bank of four carbs the rest of the engine even has a distinct resemblance to the original and thanks to bead blasting Krystian had an engine that looked the goods. Wanting to ensure the CB would give him years of trouble-free riding he threw a set of gaskets and seals at the donk and added a modern oil filter that was chrome-plated. But logic also calls for unleashing the classic air-cooled growl and the heat-resistant painted and wrapped pipes end with a pair of chrome megaphone mufflers with removable baffles for extra bark. While the 52mm conical air filters to add some extra air and a rorty induction sound were made for him especially by Proton.
The original suspension has largely been left in place but given what Honda fitted as standard that is not a bad thing at all. The adjustable telescopic front forks are based on the CBR600 items of the time and with the legs given a brilliant polish, retain a classic look. A new set of factory remote reservoir dampers with adjustable spring preload offer up superb handling in all conditions with the twin shock setup a throwback to the original CB750. To steer the Honda the factory low-rise bars have been ditched for a custom set of clip-ons that consist of steel handles and machined aluminium attachments. Where the risers once sat for the bars a steel backing plate and leather cover with the Bull Racer logo cut out mask the site perfectly. To show just how serious Krystian is about racking up bulk kilometres on his build there are even heated grips for the Polish winters, but with the controller and wiring hidden you’d never know!
With 500hrs of labour time, a collection of 80 instructional videos he’d made himself and a camera full of photos to guide the way the CB750 was complete. There was just one last step, a process that daunts even seasoned veterans of the bike building game, would it start? Would a year of hard work pay off, this is a moment you only ever get to experience once, the first bike you’ve completely disassembled firing to life again. With a few nervous moments of nothing at all the big Honda four fired to life and filled Krystian’s shed with that glorious smell of burnt fuel and a twist of the throttle that spine tingling sound of a bike you built growling your name. Before he’d even thrown his leg over it Bull Cafe Racer and Krystian had been on a hell of a ride, but with a 1992 Honda CB750 between his legs he’s got a beautiful workhorse that will live on for years and thousands of fun-filled kilometres await!