The new ICON Airflite MIPS Demo helmet

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.