White Hot: A cafe racer CB750 from New York
It takes a healthy imagination to create a good custom motorcycle. You need the ability to look through a stock bike and see its potential. Or, if you’re Bryan Moses, look at a rusted pile of bits and visualize this brawny Honda CB750 cafe racer.
Bryan’s a hobbyist based in Geneseo, New York. Most of the time he works out of his home garage, but when that doesn’t cut it, he moves his projects to his family’s collision repair shop up the road.
According to Bryan, there’s no “cool story for the build or anything,” but that’s not entirely true. So we pressed further.
“I picked this CB750 up as a parts bike for $50 a few years ago,” he tells us. “I was going to scrap it after I took off what I needed—it was really nasty and rusty. But with the frame and motor being in ‘fair’ shape, I couldn’t bring myself to toss them.”
Even though the engine and frame were usable, they weren’t perfect. So Bryan tore into the 1974-model motor, rebuilding it with an 836cc kit. He also swapped the airbox out for a set of velocity stacks, and re-jetted the carbs to match.
The big four’s sporting a new exhaust system too, hand-made from stainless steel. Bryan designed the headers to join and loop around under the bike, exiting on the left. “Rather than having the exhaust dump out the back,” he explains, “I thought this might help keep all the chrome tubing looking tight and together.”
Bryan’s CB750 was in dire need of new suspension, so he decided to go big. The rear of the frame was redesigned, and now houses the swing arm, wheel, linkages and mono-shock from a Honda CBR600F4i sport bike. Up front, you’ll find the triples, forks, brakes and wheel from another Honda—a CBR900RR Fireblade.
The new subframe and tail hump are one unit, made from 1” tubing and 16 gauge steel. The overall effect is extremely tidy, with a tail light and turn signal combo LED embedded in the back, and a bare bones seat up top. “The seat is by no means comfortable,” Bryan admits, “but was made slim and sleek to keep the rear end clean and minimal.”
Redesigning the rear end left little room for the CB’s original oil tank, so Bryan decided to try something unorthodox. He built a new oil tank, making it long and narrow and mounting it to the front of the frame. Then he chrome plated it, to help it blend in with the exhaust headers.
“This was kind of trial and error,” he says, “as I didn’t know how the oil temp would react to the heat from the headers. But to my surprise, it seems to stay cooler being up front in the wind.”
The fuel tank is original, but was subjected to a lot of massaging. The interior had to be cleaned up, and there were a number of dings that needed filling in—including the indents where the Honda badges used to be.
Simplifying the CB’s bodywork meant having to simplify its wiring too, so Bryan redid everything from front to back. Rather than group all the components together in one central location, he’s cleverly tucked them into every nook and cranny he could find. The only part that’s clearly visible is the battery—an Antigravity Lithium-ion unit. It’s mounted in front of the swing arm in a custom-made bracket.
Headlight duties are handled by a small LED light bar, mounted to a hand-made number board-style shroud. Just behind it, Bryan machined the top triple clamp to accommodate Motogadget’s tiniest speedo.
Aftermarket clip-ons, grips, switches and rear-sets tie everything together. Bryan’s even trimmed the bike’s side stand to match its low and stretched stance, and seen to the finer details, like braided brake hoses.
All-black is usually a safer choice than all-white, but this Honda’s livery is spot on. Bryan drew inspiration from a Honda CX500 Turbo that his uncle has owned for as long as he can remember, then shot the colors himself in the family shop. “I’ve always loved the colors, since I first saw it as a kid,” he tells us.
“You may not be able to judge it from the pictures, but the paint and powder coat are a flat white that could best be described as ‘marshmallow.’ While I love the way this looks, it’s a pain in the ass to keep clean!”
Thankfully we don’t have to keep it clean. We get to just stare at it—and hope that Bryan stumbles across another rusted out pile of parts real soon.
Images by Bryan Moses