Dustin Kott is what you might call a builder’s builder. From his base in California he specializes in Honda CBs, turning out low-key but beautifully finished machines. Like this 1979 Honda CB750 DOHC, called ‘The Valentino.’
Kott enjoys working on vintage Hondas: The engineering tolerances are good, and they’re able to survive more neglect than most bikes. But he admits that the DOHC presented a challenge. “I had some reservations,” he says. “What could be done to balance out this machine, and create more fluid lines?” It was impossible to avoid comparisons with the iconic SOHC 750 series, and not necessarily favorable ones either.
To optimize performance, Kott completely disassembled and rebuilt the motor and transmission. He powder-coated the engine cases and applied touches of ‘black chrome’ plating to selected components on the engine and chassis. The carburetors have been modified to compensate for the removal of the clunky factory air box, and to allow fitment of K&N individual pod filters.
“Any enthusiast familiar with this particular bike will know that the frame needs heavy modification to get better lines,” says Kott. So he removed the last six inches of the frame—including the rear fender gusset—and welded in a steel battery/electrical component table.
To maintain a continuous straight line along the bottom edge of the frame, a custom steel-constructed seat was built to clear the shock towers and recapture the continuity. A new tank was installed to neatly align with the triple clamp and distract from the severity of the original tank angle.
Custom Works shocks were added to improve the handling and raise the back of the bike to a level line. The new rearsets keep the original actuation levers to maintain a vintage appeal. And because the DOHC engine is a wet sump design, the frame triangulation remains open, lightening the overall look.
Kott describes the build as looking “like an engine with handlebars,” and he’s right. “I believe we captured the essence of marrying a vintage aesthetic with new technology.”
Images by Alex Martino.