Honda CB450 bobber

Honda CB450 custom
Every now and then a bike comes out of left field, and this one was spotted by designer Luca Bar. When I saw the images, I immediately tagged it as the product of one of the big Japanese workshops, but no—it’s a backyard build from a US enthusiast. This machine is a 1971 CB450 that gained a new lease of life when current owner Scott Halbleib got his hands on it. He stripped it down to the frame and motor, and turned it into a bobber-style custom. Scott was inspired by the Japanese Gravel Crew style, and used a tank and exhaust system from Benjie’s Café Racer to get the aesthetics right. According to Scott, “The project took ten months and quite a bit of $$$. It was done the night before the Mods vs. Rockers show—it won Best Rocker and Best in Show—and took home the Best Jap Bike from the Beatersville show the following day.”

Honda CB450 custom
Honda CB450 custom
Honda CB450 custom
Honda CB450 bobber

  • Now, this I like.

  • johnrdupree

    After seeing what he started with I kinda want to kick him in the the nuts. There are plenty of beater CB’s in the world and he destroys a low mileage survivor. WTF?

  • David Enfield

    A great job , and I really don’t like to criticise but those footrests , got to do something about them . Every thing else , sweet as a nut .

  • el vencejo

    Tidy strip-down job, everything fits as it should :)
    But I can’t see where the big money went.

  • rocky0

    I really like the treatment done to the gas tank and the turnouts on the is a cool little buzz bomb and is probably a blast to ride.(the whole point right?)

  • Paul

    I have to agree with johnrdupree. Regardless of the outcome what a travesty to chop up the original bike!!

  • Snapper33

    I agree with johnrdupree. ‘Nuff said.

  • Ken

    I like it, except for the rack to sit on and the pipes. I am turning into an old fart over this topic but I object to open exhausts – not only are they anti-social but they show no creativity – to incorporate a muffler and not make it look like a tumor takes real talent.

  • Ethan

    Yeah, I mean they only sold 73,000 CB 450s, what a shame to hack one up.

    Relax people. I like almost everything about this bike but the broom stick bars.

  • Sportster Cafe

    My only complaint is, why does every one insist on lowering their bikes? The whole reason for motorcycles is cornering! And, I don’t mean, get your knee down tell its all bloody.

  • KIK

    add a rear fender and ill be glad to borrow it for the weekend..

  • I agree about the rear fender though – leave the back of it chopped off but I would not want the tire kicking up everything into the carbs. Maybe a little mini hugger fender in the front – its never fun to wipe the puddle off of your face.

  • The Bike is nice but i’ll have to agree with johnrdupree.

  • Ken

    I just saw the original too – I want a go at his nuts next!

  • Adam

    Great looking machine. Tank has hints of a BMW R35. Sure, the original bike was nice and all, but the result is amazing, good work.

  • Tanner

    Love that tank!

  • charlie

    lot of Japanese customers are only your mimicry, and shape is very ? or more. It seems to be interested in the thing that money moves.

    Moreover, it doesn’t start noticing at all though you teach the how to make things enjoyable and exciting with much trouble based on a Japanese car and it exists.

    In this, one country of the worlds is a very shameful thing.

    However, this CB is wonderful.

  • Pamberjack

    @Charlie My thoughts exactly!

  • Thanks for the comments regardless of good or bad. I was well aware that I would get some grief over modifying a pristine CB. The truth of it is that my initial intention was to build a custom and I didn’t want to have to go through the engine, carbs, brakes, etc. With only 3000 miles on the clock, once the customization was done, it was assemble and go. And the only thing that couldn’t be undone are the passenger peg brackets – if that keeps any of you away from my nuts.

    As for the $$$ most of it was spent on the one off tank, exhaust and paint. And there’s almost $2k in tires/wheels as well.

  • joe momma

    …four fitty with dog squashers……??….like one of those movies that leaves you hanging…….WTPh…….??….scrambler with low pipes…..

  • fiddy1hundone

    All I can say is SWEET DUDE! very nice. You’re definitely not the person who deserves to be kicked in the nuts.

  • Deviant83

    If you don’t like custom motorbikes don’t go to a custom motorbike site. Simple.

  • Kerry

    It’s a very nice bike but it’s also a very interesting bike.

    You almost look at it and think there should be a Sporty motor in it. It’s also a big departure from anything I’ve seen Benji doing for parts so maybe he’ll be adding some more product to his line. Both he and the bike move outside of the almost natural progression from stock bike to café.

    I understand the comment about the money, I’m building a bike with BCR parts now.

    I’m not wild about the tank. It seems to take lines from Cole Foster’s tanks and I don’t know that having them split is the choice I’d make. The extra two exhaust ports are a nice touch though.

    This one comes out of left field and I like that. Happy riding.

  • Ben-bot

    It looks cool. I personally like the original better.

    Why go from a disc brake in the front to a drum? I bet this, along with the seat, bars and fat front tire have made it a lot less rideable.

    But, it’s a tigght clean build and if looks are more important to the builder than function, mission accomplished.

  • One of the first times I have opened up the site and found my jaw hitting the floor.
    Amazing bike, truly love the quality of the build and the overall design.
    I would not have gone this route myself, which makes me appreciate that someone else has done it even more.
    Of all the bikes that I might be considered about a ‘low mileage survivor’ a ’71 CB450 is not one of em.
    Bravo, well done!

  • Paul Y

    I really like the look of this but I definitely would not want to ride it more than to the local hangout. Car tires are always a bad idea, and the open exhaust is a “hey look at me” which leads to the $108 ticket for the sideways plate.

  • Scott Brough

    Who cares about getting tickets, stopping quickly and a comfortable ride when you are creating art? Art is all about how the thing looks and this bike looks really, really neato. Anyhow, I love as much excitement as I can get when I ride and this bike, as dangerous and uncomfortable as it may be, will probably not disappoint. Good job on this bike!

  • Chesterson Remy DelPlacnhe IIII

    I just want to know where he got those rear indicators from, those are a might lovely.
    And I’m forever amazed that on custom bike sites there are folks who hassle builders for not keeping intact bikes encased in half-inch plexiglass cases with Don’t Touch signage.

  • Lew

    Nice cute build, a great job in terms of quality of work. Love the paint and exhaust.

    However the style is totally at odds with what I like. Turning a late 70’s Honda in to a Harley Sportster bobber styled thing with squared-off tires is kind of makes me feel nauseous. Maybe I just have too much love for 70s and 80s Hondas.

  • Jack Straw from Wichita

    Scott, I have to agree with the prior post, those indicators are the business.
    If you tell us where you got those we promise not to steal any other ideas from you. Great bike, a class act.

  • Lew

    It’s cool to customize old Hondas, but if you’re gonna do this style why not mod an 80’s CMX450 instead?

    Seems a waste to do this to a CB450 which would be nicer as a resto-mod or cafe racer.

  • Time to change the name to “”. The reason people can cut up Hondas so remorselessly is because they are plentiful and mediocre. It’s like modifying your vintage Levi’s: nobody gives a flying crap about them anymore. In fact -and this is especially true of an engineering abortion such as the CB450- you can actually increase the value of the bike by modifying it. Having said that, I do appreciate the bike, and I like the departure from standard custom themes that many bikes here have; this bike being a fine example of that. A Z1 or Water Buffalo? Save them!

  • Cleavon Little

    Lew, perhaps he’ll have the decency and foresight to consult with you prior to future builds.

  • Lew

    Cleavon Little, sorry for putting a constructive opinion in a comments section, how inappropriate.

    Would you custom bob a ’77 Ducati GTV350 like this too?

  • el vencejo

    to JohnDupree et al….
    He hasn’t DESTROYED a bike, he has just changed it to suit himself, if he has set up the motor/carbs and improved the suspension (the OEM rear shocks were bouncy, underdamped ) then it may even be an improvement on the original. :)
    I’ve never owned a bike or car that has remained unmodified.

  • el vencejo

    @ Scott.. just checking… drum brake = 1970, disc = ’71+ ?

  • Ethan


    Just a question. How many GTV350s did Ducati produce in 1977? How many are still around? Now how many of the Hondas were sold in the US in 1971?

    The numbers are pretty easy to find.

    Second: so what if he modified an original? Are we supposed to keep them crated up? I say ride it, chop it, hack it, paint it, then when it breaks fix it.

    It’s a Honda CB450 not the Mona Lisa.

  • Matty

    I dig this. The bike itself is beautiful, but love the craftsmanship of anyone who can pull off the white wall. The black-on-white wall really adds touch!

  • Eric

    Great work on the bike! It’s not your average ‘cafe’ Honda with only some Ace bars and a bump-stop seat. In my opinion, the pieces and parts work well together and the overall aesthetic is well thought-through.

    In terms of finding out how many cb450’s were built – where are you guys finding those numbers? I’ve looked but can’t find any definitive information. Honda has historically kept their sales numbers close to their chest…

  • s

    Beautifull, beautifull bike, love the wheels and tank (that paint ♥)…

    What a shame i’ll never be able to ride anything like it here in France, here cops will not only fine you for the exhaust, plate, lights, etc., they’ll just take your bike (if you’re even lucky enough to get it trough the service that gives number plates registration AND have your insurance go for it), that and the 100hp limit, not what i would call a rider friendly country…

  • scott (owner)

    thanks again for the comments.

    Chesterson & Jack Straw – there are no indicators. if you’re referring to the taillight on the left it’s from an old Ford. Can’t remember what site I found it on.

    vencejo & ben-bot – disc was the OEM set up. however when switching to a 16″ wheel it would no longer fit. had to source a drum (69 I believe) and rebuild the wheel. I also like the look of the drum much better.

    to address some of the other comments. I’m not a big fan of CBs in stock form. never have been. I rode it in its original condition for a couple months and it was a decent little bike. but my intention was always to make it into something else. as for comfort, handling, etc – it’s a 40 year old 450. I have modern bikes for speed and agility. the CB wasn’t sporty before and so it doesn’t matter that it still isn’t. I enjoy the ride more now. Took something a bit vanilla and made it more of a hot rod. plan accomplished. glad most of you appreciate it.

  • The Phantom

    Oh my god it’s perfect.

    I wouldn’t change a thing.

    I think a lot of the comments are pretty funny. Deviant83 said it best ; )

    I know a guy with three of these in stock untouched condition and they are collectively worth less than his daily hack…

  • Bo_nos

    Schweeeeet!!! Love the tank. This is WAY cooler than a 71 CB ever thought of being…and a 71 450 is notable ONLY for being old and clean! (and a I bet there’s now a bunch of spare available for somebody else’s CB)…Well done!!!

  • James

    Just got a CB350
    Working on turning it into cafe
    Dumb Question!!!
    with a bike like this, where is the battery?? it certainly isn’t in its stock location under the seatpan or hidden behind it…

    I’m gathering ideas, this bike is gorgeous – way to think outside the box with a usual cafe-mod

  • scott

    hey james, it’s been converted to kick only, so we were able to run a very small battery and wedged it in the toolbox. pretty cool solution. my buddy doug figured out how much juice we’d need and helped me rewire. if you’re building a cafe tho most guys just move the battery inside the “hump”/tail. then you can keep the electric start if u wish.

  • el vencejo

    @ s: “What a shame i’ll never be able to ride anything like it here in France”

    Bad technical rules here in Spain (somehow noisy HD’s get ignored).
    Wheel and tyre sizes have to be as the original bike etc etc (following German TÜV rules)… so I just find the smallest discrete E-marked lights, indicators etcfit those permanantly, and swap back the stock wheels and quiet exhaust for the test… the cops on the road are generally cool or lazy, in fact there are no traffic cops within 15 miles of my mountain village:)

    Nice job Scott, put some modern tyres on and send it to me ;)