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Honda CB450 Manx Tribute

Honda CB450 'Manx tribute' cafe racer motorcycle
When is a Norton not a Norton? When it’s a Honda in disguise. Johann Keyser’s CB450 ‘Manx Tribute’ started as an attempt to build a economical cafe racer: “The bike was standing outside for 20-plus years, and even the wheels were rusted solid,” says Keyser, who had to use a forklift to load and unload the bike from his trailer. “There was green moss growing on the bike, and the once silver motor was completely green.” Keyser bought a Honda CR750-style tank and seat, but changed his mind after looking at a Norton Manx. He ordered a new tank and seat from Omar’s Dirt Track Racing, along with a fairing and a 2-into-1 exhaust system. “I decided to go flat out on a frame-up, bolt and nut restoration and do a ‘Resto Mod’. From there the whole project just ran away from me.” Keyser planned to give the CB450 motor a big bore kit, but after cleaning and stripping the engine, noticed that it was a late CB500T unit. “The motor was soda-blasted to get rid of all the green moss. Ports were cleaned and given a mild porting job, and the cams were sent to Megacycle for a rebuild with a street performance profile,” says Keyser, who also replaced every nut, washer and bolt with stainless steel, or nickel plated it himself. Omar’s supplied aluminum rims and stainless steel spokes, and Keyser laced the wheels himself. “Hundreds of loving and dedicated hours—and far too many dollars—went into this bike. But when I stand back and look at it, it was worth all the time and money. I can truly say that there is no such bike like this in the world, but mine.” Keyser’s planning to tackle a Honda CB550 Four and a CB750 SOHC next: it’ll be interesting to see what spin he puts on those two. [If you’re into autos, Keyser’s company website is worth a look: CAV America builds replicas of the iconic Ford GT40, including the only replica licenced to officially carry the full Gulf Oil livery.]

Honda CB450 'Manx tribute' cafe racer motorcycle