Honda CB650 custom

1979 Honda CB650 custom motorcycle
You don’t see many Honda CB650s around. They were based on the tooling of the CB550/4, and even though the engine is only a little smaller than the famed CB750, it’s the bigger bike that got all the sales—and now headlines the custom scene. Yet Ralph Miller has shown what’s possible with a CB650, even though he ended up building this bike by accident.

“I got stuck with a 1979 CB650 and wasn’t sure what the hell to do with it, as it was a friend’s project,” he says. “After a few beers and a lot of thinkin’, a plan was hatched. What you see here is my idea of what a cafe styled racer should look like: clean lines and an integrated flow of design and ergonomics.”

Ralph runs a North Carolina-based design and apparel company called Rusty Knuckles and although he’s been wrenching on bikes for years, this is his first ground-up custom. The engine is just about the only stock item on this machine: the original $300 ebay bike turned out to be heavily damaged, so the (modified and lowered) frame came from a donor.

Despite the troubled gestation, the end result looks terrific to our eyes. It’s low and mean, and that little fairing at the front is a very neat touch.