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.