Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
Cliff Meyer is a pediatric ICU nurse during the day and builds motorcycles during his spare time. Inspired by watching motorcycle reality shows, Cliff taught himself how to weld and fabricate metal. From there he worked part time at a a small racing and fabrication shop until he started Meyerbuilt Metalworks about four years ago.

His mentor through all of this has been his great-uncle Jerry Schwarz—one of Carroll Shelby’s chief mechanics and fabricators.

Cliff is based in Indiana, so I asked him if the state’s motorsport heritage influences his builds. “The racing culture affects my designs in that I don’t really put much on the bike that doesn’t need to be there. I prefer to just make a bike for what it is … riding.”

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
For this build, a 1974 Honda CB550, he took inspiration from aircraft design, since his client is in the United States Coast Guard. “This is where the rivets and polished aluminum accents come in,” Cliff noted.

The gas tank, fairing, tail section, and sub-frame are all handmade with a brushed finish. Graphics were done by Pete at Freelance Graphics in Indianapolis with the owner’s direction. The sub-frame was then polished to show some contrast to the frame and tins.

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
Other custom fabricated items include the rear swingarm. The main structure is stock CB550, but bracing and mounts were added to the monoshock.

There is a small “cockpit” plate on the top triple clamp that holds the ignition and a bicycle speedometer. There’s also a smartphone mount that Cliff customized to fit in the steering stem. A USB charging port is conveniently located under the seat, so his client’s smartphone can be plugged in for GPS navigation.

The turn signals are all Cliff’s original design, using LEDs and custom housings up front and attached to custom headlight mounts. The rear signals are frenched into the sub-frame, and the tail light is frenched into a housing in the tail.

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
The battery and fuses are inside the tail too, with the regulator/rectifier mounted under the sub-frame. All wiring is hidden under a plate mounted under sub-frame.

The seat was upholstered by Kent Upholstery in Indianapolis. “Kevin Kent is a great guy and his work speaks for itself. He’s done three previous seats for me … and is getting a fourth soon!”

The Honda engine had a top-end going through by Cliff’s good friend Rob Lemon. “Rob did my last bike engine, and it hasn’t needed to be touched in over a year.”

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
The exhaust is a complete custom 2-2 stainless system. This was an added “option” that the owner and Cliff talked about. Together they decided that the CB550 would look great with a brushed stainless exhaust and went with it.

Mufflers are from Cone Engineering, the wheels are Harley-Davidson, front end is from a 2004 GSX-R600 and the front rotors are from a Hayabusa. Tires are Shinkos and brakes are GSX-R front and rear.

The frame was powder-“flawlessly”-coated satin black by KeCo Coatings in Indianapolis.

Honda CB550 cafe racer by Meyerbuilt Metalworks
All the Honda parts came from Dime City Cycles. “I want to thank them for being so helpful and quick with the shipping,” says Cliff. “I’ll be turning to them again on my next project.”

Recently, Cliff got the owner’s permission to ride the bike to a local show. “It got some really nice feedback from the observers. It was great to hear all the positive comments on the bike.”

Cliff thoroughly tests all his bikes before hand-off. “Riding the bike was great, and I’ve put 100 miles on her. She handles great, and has very good response. I know Mike (the owner) is gonna love it. I can’t wait to deliver it to him.”

Wes Garcia is the chief editor of Megadeluxe, an online magazine covering the world of speed, sport and design. Images by Kyle Stevenson.

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