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

  • This bike is truly amazing… great attention to detail!!!

    Great work.


  • Marcus

    That just looks wrong, sorry. The proportions are out of whack, the bodywork appears to have been made out of plastic rather than aluminium, the nosepiece/fairing is just horrendous. I’m sure loads of work went into it and I admire the guys work ethic and attention to detail, but this is completely the wrong bike to do this project on. Sorry!

  • r

    I have to agree with Marcus. It kind of looks like what Honda would make if they tried to do a Norton Replica. Just all lost in the translation. I really don’t like the way the side panel and rear section seems to be made of molded plastic.

  • Rex Havoc

    I can appreciate the effort but yet again we have another stupid silver paint scheme with red and black pin striping and a stupid logo. FFS…it’s not funny and it has been done a million times. Do what the Japanese are doing now and come up with something outside the box.

  • da

    This is a fine project and admire the effort. The problem begins when you attach the name ‘Manx’ and add silver paint with red/black pinstriping. This project would stand up much stronger on its own merit than it does with the Norton connotations….Nobody is going to buy into that…
    Neat little bike otherwise!

  • Very tasty … Swap out the tires for some replica K81’s.

  • David Enfield

    Close but no cigar , heavy looking body work .

  • John Cressy

    This is a Honda CB450. It dosen’t appear to be a copy of anything Norton except the name on the tank. Why would anyone think otherwise? The original CB had one of the ugliest fuel tanks of it’s time and this is a big improvement. If you can create something as good as this out of a rusted pile of junk, more power to you! I have Bridgestone Motorcycles myself from same time period.

  • The bike really looks well executed and you can see the builder played quite a bit of attention to the details. A very nice bike resto/mod that looks great.
    It may not be to everyone taste but then it’s a good thing we all have different tastes.
    I don’t understand people that really enjoy venting their frustrations on the net by knocking other people’s work. Probably they never executed a project of their own, if they did, they certainly would appreciate the effort that goes into ressurecting an old bike to a standard like this little Honda.

  • Buzz

    I admire a guy’s interpretation of what he sees and using what he finds “avaiable”. But this builds really nice looking GT40 replicas so I think he had a little to much of what Omar is selling of Omars ideas about how things should look. It’s to bad he doesn’t read “Classic Bike”. Manx Nortons look one way, “Tritons” look however someone wants them to.

  • Beautiful bike…don’t listen to the snobs who think they’re at a concours gathering. They’d probably die at the thought of a Triumph chopper or true Harley Bobber. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..and the guy who owns the title.

  • paolo

    complimenti ….veramente splendida…..SAMPDORIA THE BEST!!