Honda CB750 cafe racer

Honda CB750
The motorcycles that grace these pages are usually big-ticket items that have cost thousands of dollars to build, whether in parts or labor. So it’s good to occasionally feature a sharp-looking custom that was built for a pittance—like this 1972 Honda CB750, owned by Dutch student Michiel of the BMW Cafe website. “I bought it pretty much as a wreck,” he says. “It was an ultra-low budget project that cost me about €500 (US$650), including the purchase price.”

Honda CB750
Michiel bought this CB750 last summer, after selling his previous project bike—a Suzuki SP370 that “just wasn’t big or powerful enough.” The CB was in a pretty bad way, and the previous owner had done more harm than good. The steering stem was too short, with a damaged thread and missing ball bearings, the engine ran on one cylinder, and bolts were missing from the brakes. “I started off by repairing all the damage done by the previous owner and getting the engine to fire on all four cylinders,” says Michiel. “Then I made a rear fender out of an old gas tank, a taillight, and an exhaust from an old Virago muffler. I bought clipons, repaired and adapted the wiring loom, and used the foglight from a classic car as a headlight.” (A friend built the seat in exchange for a fairing that Michiel found in his shed.)

Honda CB750
The result is a Honda CB750 that’s closer to the original spirit of the café racer than most modern concoctions. “I’m a student, so it all had to happen in my back yard for the lowest budget possible,” says Michiel. “It’s not a radical build, but I’m very happy with the result.” Michiel has also built an equally charming BMW café racer—check that one out on his Picasa page. [Spotted on Ze Craignos Monstercycles.]

Honda CB750
Honda CB750

  • Locomotiveclothing

    hmmm…yet ANOTHER CB. Wasn’t there a note in late 2010 about trying not to feature these so much? I am VERY over the CB’s being shown and I think there are WAAAYYYY too many bikes and brands out there that have been fabricated over the last 100 years to show 365 fully different bikes for every day of the year. What about more imports that were never available to North America or Australia? How about NZ…Japan…China…India…Africa…Brazil…cheap customs from around the world…makeshift bikes…recycled pieces bikes…the list goes on! Someone? Anyone care about this? How about asking your loyal fans who come here every day? :) Let’s take a poll!!!!!

    • Adrien Macera

      I mailed pics and info of my suzuki goose350 cafe racer, sold only in japan and NZ market.

      But it didn’t made it to their standards I guess…

    • http://twitter.com/bzrong Blake Z. Rong

      Uh, cool bikes are cool bikes, no matter what they start off as.

    • http://twitter.com/bzrong Blake Z. Rong

      Uh, cool bikes are cool bikes, no matter what they start off as.

    • charles

      It’s what people are building. This one is interesting, I’m glad to have seen it.

      Love to see photos of your non-CB project.

  • Spargett

    I love seeing bikes people actually ride. All heart.

  • Hank

    I’m sure its someone’s pride and joy and they spent hundreds of hours working away at it but… I don’t know, doesn’t float my boat. Beside, there are hundreds (literally) other CB’s featured here that now, only the cream of the crop won’t get people yawning.

  • Tonytiger29

    sorry everyone is so jaded. i think its awesome. built by some one who loves riding to be ridden. and i love the simplicity. everything you need to get you down the road. if i had the skills i’d do the same kind of project.

  • Ranj

    Nice.There’s a reason why there are so many of them customized. Keep the CBs comin’. Sounds like a pretty good idea for a blog Locomotive,

  • geldzuviel

    yes.

  • KIK

    Nice home made bike

  • Just Joe

    Nice, simple build. I hope to help my nephew with something similar.
    Too bad that many are so jaded.
    I guess the net will do that to you.
    I would like to see a shot from the front showing the headlight.

  • Anti

    Good to see, would love to make a bike like this, for that kind of money. There’s something about the texture and the imperfect beauty that gives it soul. Bikes like this only add to our 2 wheel culture.

    Locomotive. Maybe you should ask for a refund from Bikeexif if you’re not happy. Plus you should 100% start your own blog, I’ll check it out for sure.

    • DP CUSTOMS

      I don’t get in here often enough but it seems every time I do, there’s always someone out there that wants to judge and rip on other peoples work. Odds are, they’ve never turned a wrench themself or reached into their pocket to pay for a build they would consider ‘worthy.’ Damn shame. Regardless of the make and model of the bike, I always get a kick out of seeing the results of someone’s budget-concept.

      Cool exhaust, gas tank, tank cap, taillight and old school diamond stitching. Looks like fun Michiel, good job. And Anti, I agree – well said man.

      • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

        Agreed. Way too much negativity lately. Would be a neat feature for BikeEXIF to have a “what have you built” reference for each comment.

        • Chris

          It seems that once HFL went subscription-only to make comments, a lot of the naysayers there didn’t want to put their money where their mouth is to be able to keep bagging on stuff there.

  • Stokes

    Nice bikes, and possibly even better photographer.

  • Joel

    Fantastic bike, it’s impressive and deeply satisfying to see such good work done on a tiny budget. Gives me hope haha.

  • Mookie

    always wanted a Goose here in the USA but never got to own one.
    SDR 200 too!

  • Michiel

    Hey Bike Exif readers,

    First of all: I am very happy to see my bike on Bike Exif, that is a big, big thing for me.

    I can really understand the ‘not another CB’ sentiment. I really wasn’t looking for a CB when I bought this one either, I was looking for a twin or maybe a triple. But my budget was very limited (most of it was spend on new steering head bearings, intake rubbers, filters and ignition parts) and this bike just did it for me. So I just stepped over the ‘another CB’ thing and decided to buy and build something I like, wedder there are already millions around or not. I’m very happy with the end result.
    As mentioned in the article I also have a BMW cafe racer, I had a bit more money to buy and build that one, so it is a bit more special.

    About the photography, which is also a part of BikeExif of course: It had to be low budget again, so the body is a Canon EOS400D my girlfriend and I got second hand from her uncle. The lenses were bought online on the Dutch version of Craigslist. They are old lenses form the eighties, but with an adapter they fit the body of the Canon, the only things is that I have to focus manually (some photo’s might be just a little bit off focus because of that). The lens used in most of my photo’s above is a Karl Zeiss Sonnar 200mm F2.8.

    A big thanks to BikeExif!

    Michiel

    • chromegelatin

      I used to really dislike the look of 70/80’s Japanese bikes. Until i started getting bikeexif daily. Now there are many i really dig. To be honest. This one is one of my favorites. It’s got really clean lines, and I totally dig the seat. Doing the work by yourself and on such a small budget, only adds to the whole thing. So in short Great Job!

  • daan

    CB or not i love homebuilt budget bikes….this one is awesome! And built by a fellow dutchie which is always nice ;)…Have fun with it michiel!

  • elven

    Good to see a “shed-built” bike on here: Clearly it is designed to be ridden and not just polished and parked ouside a bar!

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on this post Michiel, well deserved if you ask me!
    Cool bike made to be ridden and built on a low budget with smart solutions for “problems” encountered.
    Seat colour was probably a gamble but a 100% win if you ask me.
    Check out his beemer too, it’s at least as good as this CB.

  • AC

    home builts are fun.
    and they are in the spirit of ‘custom’
    as for the ‘to many CBs’ – blame honda, they made to many….no a problem we have these days unless you ride a KLR some other ‘old’ dual sport.

    Michael:
    I dig the seat, how did you build that, an who stiched it? Did you cut the OE pan or make a pan….?
    I am in the process of building up an ’82 R65 and the seat is a bit unknow.
    Like you … tight budget.

    thanks!

  • Michiel

    Hey AC,

    Thanks. I only made the seat pan. The upholstery guy did all the magic. Don’t know a lot about him besides that he’s called Raymond and he lives in Purmerend, the Netherlands. I can give you his emailaddress if you’re interested though!

    Michiel

  • Jeremy Korn

    I love the budget builds. It will be the only way my wife lets me have another bike! I think the ability to create a bike such as this with limited funds is a testament to the builders creativity and ingenuity. Even if I saw a billion cafe CB’s, a cool bike is a cool bike.

    Sorrytryagain

  • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

    Great build, Michiel sounds like he had a lot of fun doing it.

    I like that the seat has a kick-up at the rear… seems to me that the dead-flat seats have to add a certain “alternate riding dynamic”, especially with the more powerful bikes (must be fun holding on without a butt-stop!).

    Michiel, can we get a front-on view to see that headlight?

  • http://www.harley-davidson-boots.net/ Carla

    Nice bike and a very lovely seat, me and my hubby is looking for a good upholstery like this, very envying.

  • Meat

    I like it. Great work Michiel and remember haters gonna hate.

  • iRivas

    Yes, very cool bike, and I love that red stitched seat. Good Job!

  • http://www.facebook.com/model3113 Derek Larsen

    I loved that bike the moment I saw it posted on ChopCult a few weeks ago. I’d rather be flush with cafe-styled CBs than all those “period” AMF-era Harleys piloted by hipsters.

    I know alot of people complain that bikes like these aren’t very custom–but I think the challenge in being a good builder is knowing when to leave something the hell alone, which is clearly demonstrated here. That’s why the OCC “chopper” trend is what it is…tacky and terrible.

    The other challenging part is finding the right bike. Yeah, there’s a metric buttload of CBs, but in my area you’re limited to ratted out husks that can’t be saved or carefully preserved and restored examples that at least deserved to be enjoyed as is.

    Furthermore, this bike is real, and accessible. It shows that you don’t need a Wrenchmonkees’ level shop or money. Just a vision and the sensibility to see it through.

  • toecutter

    I LOVE this bike. Great work. and i would agree about the ‘too many CB’ issue, if all i saw were restored CB’s. But everyone takes to their CB differently, so much that we havn’t seen the same bike on this blog twice. so what are you complaining about?

  • LPC

    locomotive…your argument is childish. why do you follow this domain if you so tired of cb750’s. They’ve been featured many a time, and will continue to be featured if i had to bet on it. They are excellent platforms for individuals with little money, skill, shop, or talent to build upon. Go create your own webpage, get a following, and then post pictures of your cheap custom from “NZ…Japan…China…India…Africa…Brazil…” and then maybe will we listen to what you have to say. Until then
    Congrats michiel, we all have the desire to build an affordable custom to our desire, and you my friend have done it.

  • Doc M

    Great bike. I love the raw look to it. I’ll bet it’s a blast to ride. Your fabricating skill is something to be proud of.

  • Doc M

    Great bike. I love the raw look to it. I’ll bet it’s a blast to ride. Your fabricating skill is something to be proud of.

  • Saginaw

    The beauty of BIKE EFIX:

    I open my email take a quick look – if it’s something I am interested in I read on and if not I close and delete.

    This time I read on…nice bike Michael – reminds me of a real motorcycle.

  • KIK

    I HATE IT !!.(because is not in my garage…)

  • BoxerFanatic

    It is a nice looking bike. I like the colors. (bare metal silver and red leather/vinyl.)

    I like his R80 BMW cafe bike better, though. A /5 Toaster tank (maybe with the toaster panels and mounts removed, and the tank just smooth) and a seat and tail light like this bike has would be nice on an R80 or R100 based cafe bike.

    Plus silver bodywork, and red interior is a classic german motorsports livery. The german equivalent to british racing green, or Italian rosso corsa.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767783791 Chris Gillham

    in the same way an average looking girl is hotter when she has a great personality the low budget home built story behind the bike is what makes this a great post, congrats to the builder

  • Harry Farquhar

    If you don’t want to see a particular bike on the website just don’t look. Also whether one could build a “better” bike is irrelevant and not a valid reason to exclude anyone’s opinion. Anyway nice build it is great to see what can be done on such an incredibly tight budget.

  • Kerry

    I think it’s a really nice build, completely comfortable looking and a pretty open, honest presentation of what it is. While some might think there might be too many CBs being done as street trackers or cafés, there’s plenty of xs650s as well that make a popular platform. I also know that there have been a number of outstanding CBs that were offered to this site and turned down, so I think the subject is being treated fairly.

    Love the tank badging.

  • http://twitter.com/maatmann Paul Maatmann

    The ultimate Bootstrap Bike! MOOIE BIKE JONGE! :) Keep up the good work Michiel!

  • Lew

    More too many CBs, lets get some CBXs and CBFs and CBRs too! Then with all the different engines, 125, 250, 360, 400, 500, 600, 650, 750 etc. Also with all the different colors and styles. If you just think ‘not another CB’ stop watching sports. ‘Just another guy kicking a ball on grass’ or ‘just another guy riding around a corner’.

  • locomotiveclothing

    wow…over 40 comments! Listen, I am HUGELY sorry if I rubbed you all in the wrong way and did not intent for me to sounds like another negative nancy who hasn’t turned a wrench (aka poser). And, if you are a regular, there was quite a bit of quarrels going on a little while back, and we don’t want to see that again :)

    I am an avid rider with a fully stock original 1985 GB400TT Special Edition (with the MK II fairing but with the double seat to carry the willing). I ride alot and show alot. I love bikes-all bikes. Alot. Every single day, I come to B.E. for amazing customs of all makes and models, funny comments and insight and inspiration. Absolutely no disrespect to Michiel (listen-it is a GORGEOUS) bike and I am not back pedalling…but you have to admit that CB’s are seen everywhere now being so fantastically inexpensive and easy to work on (as is my Honda).
    I will try not to sound so negative in the future and apologize to those who took it that way. I was also not trying to make B.E. look like they have wack choices; simply expressing that there was a note in 2010 about “yes, we feature alot of CB’s…” so I was trying to start a convo about what others think. Another thing, I realize what it takes to run a business (being a small business owner myself) and the time and effort it takes to run an online community, blog, online store and so on. So, again…no disrespect to B.E….after all it is my homepage and I look forward to starting up my laptop with a hot coffee every morning to see what is new and the chit chat of its fans :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/locomotiveclothing/5336176625/ Locomotiveclothing

    Oh, btw…here is a few mediocre photos of my bike for those who quickly judge ME and didn’t let me explain myself :) Happy riding!

    • locomotiveclothing

      flickr.com/photos/locomotiveclothing/5336176625/

      • Kerry

        You’ve been trying to sell it for now, haven’t you?

        • locomotiveclothing

          Entertaining offers but not in a hurry. A baby on the way makes wifey weary of having it…safety factor, etc. I’ve posted on CL but again didn’t put much effort into it. This bike means alot to me so i’m having trouble parting with it.

          • Steve-R-R-R

            Wifey is weary? Weary, wary, or leary? These are different words with different meanings. Or are we to understand that your wife is physically exhausted because you keep the bike?

          • Greenstreet

            This is not really the place for a grammar lesson. That said, your comment makes me weary (physically OR mentally exhausted, and/or having one’s patience or tolerance exhausted). Any of which his wife could be from him keeping this bike with a baby on the way. This is one word with different applications. Or are we to believe that a pregnant woman can’t be mentally exhausted and at the end of her patience because he’s keeping the bike?

            Great bike, by the way.

          • Steve-R-R-R

            Good job, Greenstreet… go ahead and celebrate mediocrity.

            I am so sick of everybody being afraid to say “you fail at basic English” to Americans. I am also sick of reading comments and websites that sound like 4 year olds did the writing.

            Some of these people would do better if they could type in crayon.

  • bryguy9

    Declaration: No offense to anyone intended at all from these comments.

    I love Honda’s. And I love Sportsters. Because of BikeExif, I am learning a real appreciation for everything else. I am learning to love all customs and bobbers and cafes and scramblers, Resto mod’s, period correctness, budget projects and rolling art pieces. Bring them all on! I can’t get enough.

    Happy New Year Chris! Thanks for BE.

    • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris Hunter

      Thanks for your kind words Bryan — and glad you like the site!

  • cap’n

    I think it’s beautiful. Great flat lines, nice small touches, and the backstory makes it so endearing. I’d love to have one.

  • Greyclam

    last thing I’d call that upholstery is “magical.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MA4UI7IPWBO3YLWCDBDOIWK2YM dodgsun

    you’ve done well michiel, clean lines , nothing over the top. classic look on a classic bike. love it!

    (B.E. been trying to comment for ages. (note: let third party cookies in!)

  • http://www.thefundu.com Thefundu

    The bike is not looking that much maintained and has attained the age I guess

  • Johnc199

    Guys, this looks like the south-end of a north-bound horse.

    The “Anti-Taste”.

    But if that’s what arouses your trousers, so be it.

    FrankenBike.