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Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Custom builders often cringe at the sight of their first project. But not Craig Marleau of California’s Kick Start Garage. He still has a soft spot for the CB750 he built over ten years ago, and decided to update it for the future.

“My first custom bike was that Honda. I built it for myself and other people liked it. Ratrod culture was on the rise, and I’d always liked that look, so my build was very ratrod-like. It was pretty rude.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
With more than a decade of distance between now and his first build, Craig was itching to create a new version of his genesis—one that incorporated all of the knowledge and technical evolution he’s gained over the years, but still maintained a connection to the hotrod past.

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Hot Rod Alice, a lean, tight, heavily modded 1973 CB750K is just the answer. “I was ready to move from Rat Rod to Hot Rod. The metal flake paint and double pin whitewall just reminds me of the Hot Rods I’ve loved for the better part of my life”.

Paint and pinstripe aren’t all this Hot Rod CB has going for it. There are loads of tech advancements and performance upgrades that make Alice a lean slingshot on two wheels.

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
“I almost always start with a set of tires when I’m going to build a custom. I saw the double pin Shinko tire and knew I wanted to build a Hot Rod.”

Subtle yet time consuming mods are conservatively placed around the CB750K’s black heart. Front forks have been shod with KSG metal gaiters to give the forks a rigid look. “I had to turn the fork tubes on my lathe to accept the gators. The forks look solid, but they move like a dream.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Between the fork legs rests an aggressive looking 400/19 Firestone wrapping a stock, satin powder coated wheel. Stopping power is provided by a full Beringer brake conversion. The twin piston, leading caliper is a bolt-on affair from Beringer, as is the 12-inch floating rotor.

“Beringer just started making the kit and it’s perfect. The floating disc bolts to a stock CB hub, and the leading caliper is a perfect upgrade for custom builds. We’re one of the first builders to get the kit.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
So new to the market is the kit that Craig and his son Myles were fitting it to the fork and wheel in their hotel the night before The One Moto show in Portland, Oregon. “Beringer had to ship it from France to the hotel! It was a close call, but it fit right up.”

Moving up the forks to the clamps, Alice sports a modified bottom clamp to receive a KSG LED projector headlight conversion. “I wanted a super clean look and decided to go with a bottom mount Harley style headlamp bucket with no ears.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Topping out the clamps is a custom DC Motive top clamp utilizing a plunger style system to secure to the fork tubes. “It’s got a gentle arch and the plunger system does away with the need for slices used in pinch style clamps. It’s really clean.”

Steering is managed by a pair of one-off, board tracker inspired clip-ons fabricated by Craig and sleeved with white Biltwell grips. “I wanted something low, lean and tight with a nod to the board track feel.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Keeping things lean, Craig chose to gut the entire electrical system and replace it with a Motogadget m.unit blue setup. “This allows me to control everything with a Motone 3-button setup. Everything is handled by the three buttons. Lights, start, stop, horn—everything. It’s really slick.”

The switch to a Motogadget controller did more than reduce handlebar clutter. Craig leaned heavily into the electrical system upgrade. “This is the one area I’ve grown the most over the years. Using the m.unit simplifies the heck out of the wiring.”

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Charging is handled with a one-piece, solid state setup. Seeking to streamline the bulky electrical, Craig moved all the connections to the inside of the cases, giving the CB an almost wire-free look.

To nurse some Hot Rod punch from the powerplant, Craig bored the jugs bringing Alice up to an 836CC. Rejetting the carbs gets Alice breathing in properly through a set of pod filters and barking out the back via a Steve Carpy 4-into-1 exhaust.

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Wrinkle finish valve covers with Webster Design details, grace Alice’s top end, while the rest of the engine is bathed in a satin black finish. A MOON mini mooneyes gauge reports oil pressure for a nod to Alice’s Hot Rod inspiration.

Shifting and braking are actuated through Tarozzi rearsets mounted to a set of KSG chain drive rearset hangers. “I made a set for my first custom and have always liked the look,” Craig says.

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
Remote reservoir shocks provide smooth swingarm travel while the white, tuck-and roll leather seat offers both rider comfort and Hot Rod style. “I’ve always loved this look in Hot Rods. I do all my own upholstery so I figured it just seemed right,” Craig reports.

Finishing out the tail end is a custom cowl that nestles a discrete LED brake/running light bar.

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage
The crowning jewel is Alice’s stock tank painstakingly dressed in deep, metal flake candy blue. “That’s a 3 phase paint job that took several coats before we got the blue where we wanted it. The first coat of blue was bright turquoise. We just kept going until we got close to the stock blue.”

With a nod to future and past, Alice brings a lot to the present. If you’re looking to grab a glimpse of this Hot Rod gal, swing by the Outliers Guild Moto Show in Los Angeles, Saturday the 31st of March and Craig will introduce you.

As it turns out, Alice is available…

Kick Start Garage | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Patrick Farrell

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making, by Kick Start Garage

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