What, another Honda CB ‘cafe racer’? Rest assured this one is different. Apart from a nut-and-bolt mechanical overhaul, it’s sporting subtle upgrades that will drastically increase its performance.
Santa Fe-based Charles Burkhardt found this Honda CB450 K1 on Craigslist, and it looked like it hadn’t been started for 20 years. But after rebuilding the carbs, adding fresh oil and a new battery, it fired right up. “So I got to work right away,” says Charles, “and had everything off of the frame by the end of the day.”
That was the easy part: completing the build took months of working after-hours and at weekends. Charles cleaned up and lightened the frame, removing the tabs, brackets and center stand. He added new rearsets from a Yamaha R6 (for a more aggressive riding position) and a new seat and pad from Legendary Cycles.
The engine has been thoroughly rebuilt. That included getting the cylinders honed, and fitting new piston rings and a new cam chain tensioner. Charles has also installed a 15-tooth front sprocket for the best top-end performance without sacrificing low-end torque. The gold O-ring chain fits over a new rear sprocket and all the gaskets and seals have been renewed throughout the bike. (“No leaks from this baby!” Charles reports.)
After a light polish for the cases and head, the engine was put back together with all bolts and screws replaced by polished stainless steel allen-head bolts. The carbs were re-jetted and treated to aluminum velocity stacks. There’s a custom 2-into-1 exhaust, terminated with a chrome reverse megaphone muffler with a removable baffle. The fuel tank has been cleaned and painted and fitted with new kneepad rubbers, a new OEM petcock and new inline fuel filters.
The biggest change is at the front, which now sports a reworked CB750 front end with a single disc brake, plus a new master cylinder with an integrated brake light switch. New Shinko rubber rolls on overhauled wheels, and new fork gaiters and seals keep out the dust and debris.
The electrics have been upgraded too, and power is now supplied by an 8-cell Ballistic battery. (“Super light and compact, and has a 3-year warranty.”) There’s a new mini speedo and an even smaller mini tach. The grips have a ‘tire tread’ pattern and are attached to clubman-style bars.
This Honda CB450 K1 weighs in at a svelte 357 lbs wet, so you can bet that performance will be much stronger than the original. It’s the perfect mix of original style and subtle upgrades, and I’d take it in a heartbeat. Head over to Charles’ website for more images and details.