This beautifully finished CB500 with a fifties vibe is owned by Mike McFadden of Kentucky, and he’s just finished building it himself in his garage. The story started a year ago, when Mike stumbled across “Brat Style” bikes for the first time. ‘The look and cheap building price of the bikes just blew me away. After many nights of scanning websites, I determined I wanted a XS650—but in my area, only one 650 was to be found. And the guy wanted way too much for it.’ Then a colleague tipped Mike off about a 1972 Honda CB500 K1, parked in the kitchen of an acquaintance. ‘The bike hadn’t been started since ‘94 and the seller had no clue what was wrong with it. After a few minutes of checking it over, I offered two hundred dollars—and took it.’
Mike wanted to create a café style bike with the look of something built with basic tools in the 50s. (‘I wanted the bike to look like it would be ridden by the likes of Brando or James Dean in a movie.’) The first job was to clean up the frame and fabricate the tail section; Mike then reshaped and fitted a CB750 tank, and added clip-on bars. The muffler was next: ‘I know I will get my ass ripped for having the pipe wrap and the Avon vintage-look tires in the comments, but honestly, it was needed for the look I wanted.’
Using a drill press, Mike then began to drill ‘anything that would unbolt’ to lighten the bike. He cleaned the motor and rebuilt the carburetors, and installed Dyna coils and ignition. And now the bike is back on the road, where it belongs. ‘One thing that has amazed me is the fun I have had cutting through the country roads on this bike. I’ve owned several bikes over the years, and the CB500 just blows them away for the fun factor.’ Mike’s next project is a 1980 XS650: it was given to him by a Yamaha rep at last year’s Indy MotoGP race. We’ll be keeping an eye out for that one when it’s finished.