Honda CB550F cafe racer

Honda CB550F
While browsing the addictive SOHC Forum, I stumbled across some images of this beautiful Honda CB550F Super Sport cafe racer. It’s owned by Larry Pearson, who was happy to provide a little background.

“I picked the CB550F up as a rolling chassis from a very talented machinist, who was turning it into a vintage road racer,” says Larry. “It sat unfinished and perfectly stored for 12 years before I got it. He had already made many one-off aluminum pieces like the rear sets, the points cover, fork brace, clip ons, rear brake holder, muffler mount, and redesigned left-side engine covers. Other than the pipe and the modified air box, the engine is stock, with only 23,000 miles on it, and runs beautifully. It’s a total loss system—no starter/alternator—and will run on battery power for about six hours before a re-charge.”

Larry hand-made the tail section out of fiberglass before frenching the taillight into it; he also made the seat, and another machinist friend helped with the fairing and gauge mounts. “The sub-fender is a front fender from a Yamaha, widened one inch and turned around,” he reveals. “The bike has a period-correct Kerker exhaust, shaved rear footpegs, and Boge Mulholland rear shocks laid forward two inches. I finished it by painting it black and cream two-tone, with a gold pinstripe separating the two colors.”

This CB550F is no trailer queen, though: Larry will take it out for a blast on a sunny day through the twisties, and reports that it “handles, runs, and sounds great”. The bike came second in its class at the 2008 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance, and leaves me wondering what came first.

  • a little shiny for my personal taste, but a beautiful bike non-the-less, stunningly classic and not even close to being over the top.

    it looks like a lot of fun too! although i think that i’d wince every time i heard a rock skip off something or splashed through a puddly haha.

  • Jim

    I think the first prize went to this: . I like the above more.

  • will

    I have a 76′ 550k2 sitting in my garage in pieces right now, awaiting a new top end, engine repaint, and mechanical restoration. It’s been sitting there for about 6 months, suffering from my extreme case of bike project ADHD, while my clattery ex500 gets all the attention. (I’m convinced the ex can be a sport touring machine, if I keep throwing parts at it, lol.) Thanks for the motivation, sometimes I forget how great of a bike it was (and will be again) when it’s in a good state of tune.

  • Matt

    I think this took third, unless Dan Bockmier has another 72 Norton cammando. Maybe the judges were confused?