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