Custom Bikes Of The Week: 23 April, 2017

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
This week, we’ve got a sublime CB, a wild Sportster and a pair of vastly different race bikes. Oh, and someone actually built an attractive Honda Shadow. Which one would you take home?

Honda CB750 by John Green
Honda CB750 by John Green This retro-fabulous Honda CB750 is so on point, I’m finding it hard to believe that it was put together by “a normal dude, in a normal garage, in Denton, Texas.” Even more remarkably, it started out as frame, motor and a box of parts. That didn’t deter ‘normal dude’ John Green in the slightest; he’s put it back together, and he’s done so in spectacular fashion.

This CB’s a 1970 model, that had been standing since 1976. It turned out that the previous owner had some engine work done by the renowned R.C. Engineering in California—like a polished and micro-balanced crank and some light porting. John also found a NOS set of forged Venolia pistons in the box, so he had the cylinders bored, pushing the capacity to 836cc. Add to that new valves and springs, a 69 CB750 cam and Keihin CR 29 carbs, and you have one punchy Honda.

The aluminum fuel and oil tanks are custom, and the tail section is a modded Kawasaki KZ750B unit. John modified the frame to make everything fit right, and added aluminum swingarm and stainless exhaust system from MotoGPWerks. There’s a ton more to admire—but the real kicker is the paint. Inspired by a picture of an old Ascot, John laid down the paint and stripes himself—adding a pair of Speedhut gauges with custom, color-matched HRC logos as a sublime finishing touch.

Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 by JSK Moto Co.
Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 by JSK Moto Co. It’s hard to put this wiley Harley Sportster 1200 from JSK Moto Co. into a specific box, but that’s half the charm. The goal here was to take as much off the Sporty as possible, then imbue it with some tracker attitude. The result’s pretty off-the-wall, but it’s also strangely alluring.

The custom tank’s actually got two compartments—one for fuel, and one to hold the electrical bits. JSK used a bunch of Motogadget parts and a Lithium-ion battery to help keep things minimal. Then there’s the seat—a diamond-stitched, sprung saddle sitting on a custom-made support. The tank and seat—together with the headlight—were all designed to follow a geometric, triangle theme throughout.

JSK founder Samuel Kao reckons that any bikes he build must “ride better than stock,” so he’s gifted the HD a custom rear shock from Gears Racing, a Ducati 916 swingarm and Showa forks, held by CNC Racing reinforced triples. There’s also a big breather from Arlen Ness, Kineo tubeless wheels, an FCR carb, and some finishing kit from RSD and EMD. Air Runner shot the paint—a deep blue to offset the white frame and wheels. [More]

Suzuki GSX 1100 SD Katana
Suzuki GSX 1100 SD Katana 
Like many things in the 80s, the Katana is just plain weird-looking by today’s standards. But it has something of a cult following, because—let’s face it—it’s quick, outrageous and kinda cool. And it’s finally old enough to be considered a true classic, rather than just a wacky, outdated design.

This Katana belongs to Team Classic Suzuki—a special factory race team, supported by Suzuki Japan themselves. It’s downright delicious, dripping with go-fast parts and a stellar Suzuki blue livery. But it’s also a proper race bike, built to take on the Endurance Legends event at Donington Park in just a couple of weeks.

Highlights include K-Tech suspension, Dymag wheels and a custom swingarm from Sweet Fabrications. Then there’s the engine—it’s been bored to 1170cc, with higher lift cams and stainless steel valves. Team Classic Suzuki rebuilt it using genuine ‘Zuki parts from the marque’s vintage parts programme—good news for anyone wanting to revive their old Katana. (Please do.) [More]

Honda Shadow by D-I Motorsport
Honda Shadow by D-I Motorsport Yip, you’re looking at a 600cc Honda Shadow (and no, I couldn’t believe it either). It comes all the way from Malaysia, from the crazy minds and busy workbenches of the crew at D-I Motorsport. Getting a Honda Shadow to look cool ain’t easy, so the guys started by trashing the rear half of the frame, and rebuilding it with a more palatable stance.

The tank, wheels and front forks were all donated from other undisclosed Japanese bikes. There’s a custom seat out back, a new set of side covers, and a ‘Screamin’ Eagle’ air filter, just to confuse bystanders. Then there’s the exhaust: a two-into-two system that snakes up, and exits just under the seat. The coloring is simple but hits the mark; a lick of gold on the tank and wheels, and brown for the saddle and grips. [More]

1961 Norton Manx 350
1961 Norton Manx 350 With all the vintage ‘inspired’ cafe racers we feature, it’s nice to look at a true vintage racer once in a while. So how about a 61 Norton Manx 350, as raced by Eddie Byers in the Isle of Man Classic Manx Grand Prix, for 12 consecutive years in the 1990s and 2000s?

This matching numbers Manx—one of the last produced—just sold for a measly GBP18,400 (that’s a touch under 24 grand, US). All the work on it was done by well-known tuner, Reg Dearden. It’s packing upgrades like a titanium con-rod, ceramic coated cylinder bore, belt drive, Gardner carb, a six-speed box, a disc brake up front and shocks from Falcon.

It’s also an absolute stunner—from the generous race fairing to the classic Manx tank and tail, there’s a lot here to love. Since I’ll never be able to afford one of these, I think I’ll just add ‘see and hear one in the flesh’ to my moto-bucket list. [More]