BMW Motorrad Spezial

Honda CB350 cafe racer

Honda CB350
Zach O’Brien got his 1971 CB350 for just $400, running and titled. He’s built several bikes, but this one is a favorite: his wife, daughter and son all helped with the build. After picking up the CB, Zach took it home and “went to town, tearing it down. Cut off as many tabs and extrusions as I could.” He then sold off most of the surplus parts and got his $400 back. Just about every remaining component was repainted, powdercoated or de-chromed. Zach tossed the battery, battery box, and wiring harness, re-wired the bike and stuffed everything related under the new seat. “I love the look of absolutely nothing between the rear tire and the engine,” he says. “I wanted the headlight to flow with the tank and tail, instead of up high as seen on a lot of cafe racers. So I bought a small chopper headlight and mounted it to the triple.“ The seat is a replica item, and Zach rebuilt the forks, cutting off the ears on the fork covers and cutting down the fender to give the front end a beefier look. He ditched the speedometer, mounted a tach, and installed clubman bars with just a throttle, levers, and a kill button. The exhaust is stock: stripped of the chrome, and just chopped. (“It’s stupid loud.”) There’s no rocket science here, just a bare bones racer look. And it works. Just the essentials, and nothing more.

Honda CB350
Honda CB350
Honda CB350

  • GB400TT

    Ooooohhhhh…this looks LOUD!!! Love it. Classic track look

  • mingh

    totally unrideable! it hasn’t even heated grips, full fairing or massaging armrests! it’s an insult to true bikers!

    seriously: beatifully done. nice to see 2 very different takes on minimalized 350’s in a row.

  • mylonov

    it sends exhaust directly on the left foot?

  • lol at mingh

    great looking little bike, bet it’s a blast to ride. would love to see a couple of inches taken off the clubmans but that’s my own personal taste. good job!

  • Tony240Z

    Reminds me of classic Benelli and Aermacchi single cylinder racers from the ’60s. Great build with relatively little effort (labour and money wise).

  • vanDijken

    I love the minimal look.

  • Question: is it street legal with no mirrors, indicators, horn? I guess it is by the license plate, but…

    Weird clubman…

  • @mylonov not heated grips, but heated feet LOL

  • iRIvas

    I love those handlebars.

  • Wombat

    It’s one of those irritating little Hondas the 16 year old down the road would build and ride up and down outside your house thinking he was Mike Hailwood at the TT while you were trying to get a bead on him with your .303

  • Brad


    It’s a classic!

    It’s looks hot!

    It’s a custom that is 100% respectful to it’s pedigree!

    It doesn’t try to look like anything than what it is … a HOT LOOKING HONDA RACER!

    I’d ride this all day long with a great big smile from ear to ear!

    LOVE IT!

  • /dr.

    You win.


  • joe momma

    …i can’t believe youse guys straight pipes… megacones or baffles……must be orange county choppers or some chit like that….it would be my experiance, i would need to hear both cylinders running at once……??

  • db

    Pretty cute. Looks a little unbalanced in my opinion with the pipes just cut off but apart from that I dig the vibe.

  • badams

    Swap meet special?

  • Kerry

    It’s a great looking bike and really nice example of smaller displacement Japanese café bikes.
    If I made any changes, I might have run the pipes under the motor and possibly used a smaller and side mounted tach . . . but they are little things.
    It’s a bike really worthy of this site.
    Thanks Chris.

  • Mattjr

    Nice, simple machine. I am also building a bare bones ‘road legal’ cafe bike. I live in Victoria, Australia and wonder how others have dealt with getting around the law with this style of bike?

  • kerry

    Mattjr said:
    “Nice, simple machine. I am also building a bare bones ‘road legal’ cafe bike. I live in Victoria, Australia and wonder how others have dealt with getting around the law with this style of bike?”

    I would search some of the boards (Tonup,, etc.) and find some guys in Australia who have already done what you are doing now. There is the “law” and then there are schemes to work within it. They would know best.

  • Lew

    Cute and and simple.

    But really it would look so much more clean and hip on a stand in the coffee shop if you look off the fenders, lights, dial and that pesky seat, wastes like 200 grams with all that unnecessary padding. Grips and a front brake too? Clearly the builder of this doesn’t wear his pants below his ass, he’s way too old! ;-)

  • I live in Victoria and am restoring a CB400F. I have no idea on the exact laws around registering stripped down bikes. I do know you need indicators, brake lights, chain guard and the exhaust system has to be below a certain volume.

    Start your reading here:

    VicRoads – Summary of Registration Requirements for Motorcycles and Mopeds

    Now about the CB350. I love the straight lines of CB’s and especially the aesthetics of the small Honda’s (The Dream 50R but the seat is oversized/too wide for this tank, the chopped down fork ears look fat and with a stripped down bar, wouldn’t clip-ons and a ground down top triple tree look cleaner than the awkward clubmans?


  • Joel

    I did the exact same thing to the stock pipes on my cb650…it was ridiculous…but it was a lot of fun. This looks like a lot of fun.

  • Mattjr

    Thanks for that link Rick.. exactly what I was looking for!

  • stu

    Tame the noise and make it a real cool street legal commuter.

  • Sportster Cafe

    Is that a 50R Dream tank, who made it? Now if I could just get some more money and time so I could do this to the CJ360T my neighbor gave me! Here, we don’t have to run turn signals, and lots of the chopper guys do away with mirrors and horns even though they are supposedly required.

  • Dan

    Not really digging the clubmans twisted down at such a weird angle… otherwise it’s a clean looking bike!

    350 fours are cooler, though ;)

  • No, no no. That’s not fair. Damn, I was checking out these when they were new – as a teenager in Victoria, Oz.(on ya’ Kerry). I shoulda’ had some vision an’ done something like that. Yeah, you’re right Dan – the 4’s were way cooler but if I hadda’ been more into baby cube style this is exactly wot I woulda’ done. And by the way ‘mylonov’ – I agree about the foot, but at least BOTH feet are gettin’ a blast an’ in the the rain and the cold and that’s gotta’ be a good thing.

  • el vencejo

    Nice job. :)

    Shame about the cut off zorsts… will sap a lot of low and mid range power.

  • Great, ‘cept for the bars. the angle is all wrong for me and for a cafe racer. But then its not my bike.

  • mack-o-matik


  • mack-o-matik

    … does anyone know where to get that headlight from?

  • el vencejo

    “… does anyone know where to get that headlight from?”

    Looks like a Bates 5,75″ copy with the shell painted black..???

  • Bill W

    Sweet looking bike, and I’d love to ride it. But for me, I’d rather have mufflers. Hell, I’d rather ALL bikes had mufflers. Loud pipes lose rights, as we’re seeing with the new muffler law here in Cali.

  • kik

    A hell of lot better,it actually looks like its ridden, the god is pleased..

  • I’m bored to death of Hondas. Thankfully, I can’t stand them. This bike, however, is very well done. I love it. Why don’t people do this kind of work to good bikes, like Kawasakis, Yamahas or Suzukis?

  • Quite nice. I would have liked to hear more about that tank?

    I am a big fan of classic japanese twins, before the big brands threw all their efforts into the soulless fours. As an owner of a CL350 Twin and a CB350 Four, I can tell you that despite being one of the highest production bikes ever, the 350 Twins are still bikes that are full of character, something that the Fours never seem to have.

    Bravo to a good write up and great pictures of a terrific little build.

  • Bill W

    micah said, “Why don’t people do this kind of work to good bikes, like Kawasakis, Yamahas or Suzukis?”

    Could it be because old Hondas are easier to find, having sold in the bajillions?

  • james heath

    As a person with tinnitus and cumulative hearing loss, the pipes are beyond rude, they are a literal assault on everybody unwillingly subjected to them — these pipes would screw up my ears for the rest of the day, and cost me just a little more of the hearing that remains to me. I’d love to see this beautiful, tasteful bike parked or moving, but not to hear it.

  • D.

    I like it but i think we should all pitch in and purchase him a matching set of tires.

  • Bald Shaun

    Needs a real exhaust. But otherwise, looks sweet and hella fun!

  • derek larsen

    The stock cb350 was bloated. This build is…is great. It’s lean and light and I like the bars as they are.

  • Alex

    My CB350 is a bit jealous… What are those air filter trumpet things called and where can I get them!?

  • “I wanted the headlight to flow with the tank and tail, instead of up high as seen on a lot of cafe racers….”

    that’s my man!!!!
    that’s exactly what i think too!


    it’s so great to see my blog-header bike on bikeexif!

    i discovered it on flickr (probably through another blog)
    contacted zak
    and he of course he had no problem with me using it!

    take a look at the PS (his words):


  • SlipKid

    Correction… I think he cut of as many tabs and “protrusions” as possible.

  • Andreas

    Great looking Honda cafè! Looks fast and loud.

    Only one thing with those bellmouths, whats up with spray from the rearwheel?

  • Frank Kostek

    Fantastic! less is always more in my book. I’ve been waiting for someone to lower a headlight to line up with the tank, it’s such a clean look.