Written by Martin Hodgson
You don’t have to spend long on the internet before you’re confronted with those ever annoying pop up ads; the 21st Century equivalent of the door to door salesman. Just like their human counterparts of yesteryear, they seem to appear at the most inopportune time, offering seemingly incredible products for a suspiciously low price. But what if I told you about an opportunity to own a classic cafe racer by one of the best cafe racer builders in the world? No catches and no tricks. No, there won’t be any steak knives thrown in but it all could be yours for just $10. It’s raffle bike No. 2 from California’s Kott Motorcycles, a sublime transformation of a 1979 Honda CB750 DOHC.
So why build a bike to be raffled off? Head honcho Dustin Kott explains, “The first attempt was very successful and the overwhelming amount of interest inspired the present raffle. The most prevalent sentiment that raffle entrants mentioned was the opportunity to own a custom-built motorcycle for as little as ten dollars. The gentlemen that won the first raffle bike had only bought one ticket! The first machine that we decided to build and raffle off was a Honda 1970 CB350 twin. This bike had an appeal to a wide audience and performed very well for a smaller displacement bike, however, this second raffle attempt features a high performance 750 cc motorcycle.”
There is another excellent reason for Kott to build a custom bike without the explicit instructions of a client hanging over his head. That is the freedom to try something new and for the man who has made his name building single cam Honda motorcycles that was the chance to take on the later models with the extra bump stick. “Along with a vastly different style of motor, frame, front end, ignition and body work, this 1979 model really started to branch away from the more classic lines of the 60’s and early 70’s to the more angular and futuristic look of the 80’s era machines.”
Despite the step across to the bigger cylinder head machine the classic lines of a traditional cafe racer we’ve come to know from Kott remain. It all starts with the bike on the lift and pulled down to a bare frame. Not only is it stripped of all unnecessary tabs and brackets that clutter the look its given a coat of black to give it a better than factory finish. But before the dark hue was applied modifications were made to the backbone to allow the fitment of the new tank to come and the signature Kott tail section. “With the removal and replacement of the main upper frame rails we were able to establish an uninterrupted line from front to back.”
[superquote]“This tank immediately added some sharp angles with a smooth, classic flow that the bike lacked.”[/superquote]
The all steel tail is a thing of beauty, hand fabricated by Kott, the tail and seat combination he’s mastered is one of the most recognisable pieces in the custom industry. Ensuring it is also a pleasant place to be the lower and rear support are covered in just enough foam then wrapped in high quality brown leather. Then comes the tank, taken from a Yamaha XS750, “This tank immediately added some sharp angles with a smooth, classic flow that the bike lacked,” says Kott on his choice to ditch the Honda unit. Then all the body work needed was to be coated in subtle pastel gray paint along with a darker gray hand pinstriped line for a stunning finish.
With the minimalist bodywork the engine becomes as much apart of the visual of the ride as the mechanical piece providing the power. But before it was given a spit and polish the 748cc twin cam Honda engine was given a complete rebuild to provide years of reliable motoring. To add some extra pep the carbs are now big fuel flowing CR items with individual pod filters for some induction roar. Exiting fumes funnel out of the custom stainless exhaust system from Benjie’s Cafe Racers into dual classic mufflers. Finally the engine was cleaned within an inch of its life and key components dipped in a black chrome finish.
To provide the cafe’s spark and an ultra clean look the entire wiring system has been treated to an all new loom, painstakingly put together using the best components. Up front the 12 volts flow to a classic style headlight with the bucket paint matched to the body, while an LED tail light gives the rear a modern touch. The rearsets are another of the signature Kott pieces, using a mix of hand-made parts and re-purposed factory items with some dipped in black chrome they look as good as they operate. The hand controls follow the same theme with old school black grips fitted up to the clip-on bars and a Honda master cylinder.
This sends fluid down a braided line to a polished caliper that clamps a single cross drilled front brake disc. To improve the handling of the big brother CB that’s gone on a diet, the front forks are rebuilt and slot into smoothed out triple trees. But out back is where the big dollars have been spent with Works coil over adjustable shocks providing a far superior ride to the stock 40-year-old units. To finish out the look the factory wheels were stripped and refurbished with the rims treated to some more of that lush black chrome before being wrapped in period matching Bridgestone rubber.
Kott’s style is all about producing motorcycles of the highest quality, with plenty of hands on old school fabrication and a commitment to the era that started it all. “With all that being said, my intention was to design a more classic-style machine around this more modern and less conducive platform,” and its hard to argue he hasn’t achieved exactly that. Creating along the way the knowledge that allows for Kott Motorcycles to do the same again for any customer who requires such a beast. Or you can jump the queue and win it all for just $10 by heading over to their website and grabbing a raffle ticket to call this incredible Honda cafe racer your very own.