Classified Moto is one of the breakthrough builders of the past couple of years. John Ryland’s stubby, purposeful aesthetic has attracted a legion of fans (plus the media attention to match) and the order book is full.
Ryland grades his bikes according to the amount of work involved, and this 1981 Honda CB400T is one of the last of his ‘Level 1’ builds—bikes with an upgrade in looks but minimal mechanical modifications.
It’s one of two CB400s commissioned by Eric Douat, who wanted a bike with a rugged look that he could ride around town but take off the hardtop if need be.
“Eric wanted something light and manageable,” says John. “Luckily we were able to jump on a pair of 1980s Hawks that fitted the bill. This one will stay with Eric in Miami, and the other will live 1,300 miles up I-95 North, in Brooklyn.”
The CB400T is not the easiest of bikes to customize. “I realized I was fighting the awkward curves of the frame, and decided to rework the back end. Financially it didn’t make a lot of sense, but it did completely change the look of the bike. Worth it, aesthetically, I’d say.”
John’s colleague Alex Heath welded up a strong and simple subframe, and then relocated the shock mounting points and fitted Progressive Suspension items. Up front, the fork tubes were shortened a little to match the stance of the back.
The wheels are stock Comstars, but now powder coated in a textured satin black to match the frame. Chunky Kenda Big Block tires help with the rugged look, and yes, those are fenders. “We rarely use them, but the owner requested them,” says John, “and I have to admit they look fine! So do the signal lights.”
The two-up seat was custom made in house and upholstered by Richmond’s Roy Baird in a textured marine vinyl. The tank is from a 1976 Honda CB360T, nickel plated with copper Classified Moto badges. The front end is very clean, with superbike bars, a Bates-style headlight, vintage “root beer” grips and a small analog gauge. A compact and powerful Shorai lithium ion battery is mounted on the swingarm.
The engine internals are stock, but the air now goes in via two UNI filters and out through a 2-into-1 exhaust with a modified silencer. A gold D.I.D X-Ring chain breaks up the black-on-black.
“This Honda will be the last Level 1 bike we offer as a made-to-order custom,” John notes. “From a design standpoint, it’s sometimes harder to come up with something both we and the customer are psyched about.”
Despite the relatively simple nature of the mods, it’s still a killer build guaranteed to stop the traffic and work well on rougher roads.
And Comstar wheels have never looked so good.