Done right, hand-drawn illustrations on custom motorcycles can be seriously cool. And Maxwell Paternoster (AKA Corpses from Hell) sure knows how to do it right.
So when we saw a fuel tank adorned with Maxwell’s artwork pop up on his Instagram account, we were immediately curious. And it turns out that the rest of the bike is just as cool.
It’s based on a 95-model Honda CB 750, and it’s been put together by Robinson’s Speed Shop of Leigh on Sea in England. Proprietor Luke Robinson met Maxwell at The Bike Shed event, and they hit it off.
“I’m a massive fan of his work,” says Luke, “so it was brilliant to meet him in person.” Luke commissioned Maxwell to paint a leather jacket for his wife, and the idea of collaborating on a motorcycle followed soon after. The CB 750 was the perfect candidate.
Work began with the subframe: Luke fabricated a new one with a tighter angle and made up a new seat unit designed to also accommodate the electronics. The fuel tank’s from a Honda CB500T—it’s had a new tunnel welded in, so it fits on the wide CB 750 backbone.
But as the bike started coming together, it didn’t feel quite right. “The first dry build looked out of proportion, and like a drag bike,” says Luke. “So I ended up shortening the swingarm by 60mm.”
Luke also dropped the front suspension by 40mm to improve the stance. He’s used a custom-made top yoke, machined to fit a Motogadget Motoscope Mini instrument. (Which unfortunately didn’t arrive in time for the photo shoot.)
“Being a racer myself, I still wanted the bike to be used on track—with another tank though,” says Luke. “Handling is top of the list and still a work-in-progress. It’ll probably result in a front end swap later.”
Luke rebuilt the CB’s engine with new rings and bearings, and had the heads gas-flowed. The bike’s been thoroughly rewired too, and now runs off a small Lithium-ion battery, hidden under the swingarm.
For the exhaust, Luke’s fitted a Danmoto muffler to headers that he hand-made. They’ve been designed to hug the engine a little more, to cater for the drop in ride height.
To replace the air box, a set of air filters were made by bonding filter foam to aluminum housings. “I spent a long time getting the correct length on these—the Venturi effect sure helps iron out the flat spots you get from foam or cone filters.”
Danmoto also supplied the rear-set pegs, and Luke’s fitted clip-ons, adjustable levers and Biltwell Kung-Fu grips. The only switches left on the bars are the kill switch and start buttons. Everything else has been relocated to under the seat.
When all was said and done, the CB was wrapped in black and sent to Maxwell to apply his art—his only brief being to include the shop’s name. “I’m a strong believer that if you’re a fan of someone’s work, then let them do their thing,” says Luke.
Maxwell’s executed his typically kooky artwork beautifully, using a gold leaf technique. And even to our jaded eyes, this CB 750 wears it well.