We hear bike builders citing a lot of influences, but here’s a new one: vintage spacecraft. John Ryland of Classified Moto is a fan of the golden age of space travel, and there’s a distinct Interstellar vibe to this Honda CB 750.
Ryland started this project four years ago in rather odd circumstances. “We had lots of requests rolling in for a replica of our first true commission, Bob Ranew’s XV920R,” he says. “So Bob agreed to let me sell it on, and build him a new bike.”
“The process was a rolling study in how to drive yourself crazy working on custom motorcycles. It also taught us a lot about pricing bikes, estimating timelines, and things to avoid and embrace!”
For this build, Ryland wanted to minimize the Photoshop work and let the bike develop in three dimensions. “I was on a vintage spacecraft kick,” he remembers, “looking at old Apollo mission stuff and drawing some inspiration.”
“I don’t think anyone would look at the CB 750 and say, ‘Hey, vintage NASA! But once you know, you can probably see the influence.”
You can see it in the quasi-white color, and the oil tank and the struts that support it. There’s even a fuel cap from a vintage Cessna airplane. “That’s probably the most literal aircraft element—no rocket-shaped mufflers or whatnot.”
The major mods include Classified Moto’s signature front-end swap, this time from a modern Yamaha YZF-R6 R, and a single-sided swingarm from a Triumph Sprint ST. “We’re also running a Progressive Suspension 465 shock with Remote Adjustable Preload,” says Ryland. “It’s awesome and fits in with the mechanical look.”
Ryland’s also gotten rid of the stock airbox, and built a one-piece intake that tucks nicely into pretty cramped quarters. After trying a couple of big bore kits with less than stellar results, he picked a Wiseco 836 setup. (“Rock solid and fast.”)
Roy Baird upholstered the beautiful brown leather seat, but most of the details on the CB 750 only become apparent on the second or third look. Like the oil lines, covered in vintage cloth loom. Or the Shorai Lithium Ion battery mounted in a nickel-plated mesh box, under the bike.
One of the coolest details is a notched gas tank that allows the carbs to actuate fully at wide-open throttle. “We discovered this necessity a bit late in the game, but ended up loving the feature,” says Ryland.
Despite the unusual colors, the Honda is still recognizably a Classified Moto bike. It’s got that clean, ultra-naked look that Ryland’s many fans (and customers) love.
“Sometimes we hear the criticism that all our bikes look the same,” says Ryland. “We have a look, for sure. But that’s like saying all cafe racers look the same.”
We’re inclined to agree. Classified Moto has developed a signature style, one that strikes a balance between looks and performance.
And Ryland is no space cadet—he’s one of the few custom motorcycle builders able to turn his passion into a thriving, financially viable business.
Donor: 1976 Honda CB750K
Front end: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 with CM front end conversion & upper clamp
Front wheel: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6
Front brakes: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6
Swing arm: 2006 Triumph Sprint ST
Rear shock: Progressive Suspension 465 with Remote Adjustable Preload
Rear wheel: 2006 Triumph Sprint ST
Tires: Metzeler ME880 (front), Shinko Raven (rear)
Tank: Modified Honda CB500 with Cessna aircraft fuel cap
Motor: Wiseco 836cc big bore
Exhaust: Modified Vance & Hines 4-into-1 with custom stainless pipe
Intakes: CM Custom one-piece
Gauge: Acewell Digital
Seat: Custom. Upholstered in leather by Roy Baird, RVA
Battery: Shorai Lithium Ion
Chain: DID gold X-Ring