It’s getting harder and harder to categorize custom bikes. We all know a traditional cafe racer when we see one, but these days we’re just as likely to stumble across a ‘cafe’ bike with dual sport tires. Or a bobber with clip-ons and racing rubber.
Some mash-ups hit the mark, and some don’t. This is most definitely one that does: a fusion of café racer and chopper styles that could never work on paper, but looks amazing in the metal.
It’s the work of Christian Klein, who first graced these pages six years ago with an unusual Ducati 350. Klein is not a man to follow trends, and he’s stretched this Honda CB900 almost beyond recognition.
It’s owned by Karl Stromberg, an architect based in Duisburg, Germany, who originally asked Christian to work on a CB550. But Karl is a tall guy, so Christian suggested the Honda CB900—also an air-cooled inline four, but capable of around 12 seconds for the quarter mile and topping out at 120 mph (193 kph).
“I wanted the bike to look different to those normally seen on the internet,” says Karl. “With a long and low appearance—mean and dirty. And definitely no Harley engine.”
“Christian has magic mechanical skills, and he’s a wonderful artist as well. He made just one very simple sketch on a little piece of paper in a bar, and the project started.”
A 1980-spec Honda CB900 was lifted onto the bench. Soon, only the engine remained intact: Christian has kept the front downtubes and most of the top of the frame, but binned everything else.
He’s increased the rake, and fitted shortened Suzuki GSX600 forks to keep the front end under control. LSL bars are home to chunky, one-off aluminum brake and clutch reservoirs, and a full suite of Motogadget components—including a speedo, turn signals and controls.
The headlight is an aftermarket part with modern styling, and gives the Honda more character than a simple retro bowl would.
The seriously heavy fabrication is at the back though, with a long, straight swingarm from a Kawasaki GPz 1000 grafted on—modified to work with a new single-shock setup. The battery is hidden near the pivot point, and old school Tarozzi rearsets sit alongside.
Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes lifted off a Ducati Monster. They’re hooked up to custom-made spoked wheels.
The tank cover is a made from aluminum, grafted over a modified Suzuki fuel cell, with a waspish, leather-covered seat and tail unit behind. Originally designed as a custom part for the Yamaha SRX 600, it hides a very discreet LED taillight.
With a solid 95 horsepower on tap, there was no need for engine work. But it’s been refreshed and tuned to breathe through four separate K&N high-flow filters. And we can only imagine the sound through the short, open megaphone exhaust system …
It’s a raw and uncompromising custom, unapologetically built for looks as much as anything. It recently wowed the readers of the top German magazine Custombike, and you can count us as fans too.
Images by Ben Grna of Da Guru Photography