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Scandinavian noir: A blacked-out CB650 from Sweden

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
Honda probably felt like it was onto a sure-fire winner when it launched the CB650 at the end of the 1970s. The 650 class was the sweet spot for many riders, and Yamaha and Kawasaki had strong contenders in the XS650 and Z 650.

Those two bikes are still popular today, in both the classic and custom markets. But the CB650 failed to fire, despite illustrious brethren such as the CB750 and CB350.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
Sometimes it just takes one killer build to reignite interest in a forgotten model, and hopefully this sleek scrambler-tinged build from Black Lanes Motor will do the trick for the CB650.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Black Lanes is run by Andreas Jönsson and Håkan Boqvist. Both grew up in small towns, and both were avid skateboarders before getting into motorcycles.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
“We realized that motorcycles share many of the freedom aspects of skateboarding,” the guys tell us. “Håkan is a sucker for the old and knackered, and Andreas for the ‘shine’ and wood details.”

“We love the purity of mechanical solutions, and removing everything but the essentials necessary for a bike to run.”

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
‘Black Lane No.2’ is a 1980 Honda CB650, but it arrived in a sorry state. “Last summer, my neighbor had a CB650 in a pile of bits,” says Andreas. “He was tired of it, so I asked to buy it for 400 euros (US$480).”

“I was not ready for a positive answer, but he agreed! The bike was on the floor, with parts in boxes, and the engine looked like shit. I needed to make sure the engine would run perfectly, so I gave it a total renovation.”

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
After restoring the inline four engine, Andreas and Håkan refinished it in a high gloss powder coat — including the carbs. They’re now fed by pod filters, and the stock headers have been hooked up to aftermarket cone-type mufflers. The whole exhaust system now has a black thermal barrier coating.

Right above is a Yamaha XS400 tank, which radically transforms the look of the bike—so much so, we couldn’t identify it as a CB until we got the specs.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
“We wanted to give the bike a clean and sophisticated look,” says Andreas. “I bought the tank on eBay: I loved the squareness of it, and the lines you see when looking at it from above.”

The new seat follows the shape of tank, with leather from Sandqvist and longitudinal stitching to accentuate the straight lines. It helps give the CB650 a stretched-out look.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
Underneath is a beautifully crafted wood base, made from walnut and a nod to Andreas and Håkan’s skateboardåkare roots. It sits flush with the new rear frame loop, which hides a discreet LED light strip to handle brake and indicator duties.

Walnut is also the material of choice for the headlight surround, and smaller touches such as the bar ends. It’s discreet and luxurious, rather than flashy.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes
The stock bars, instruments and switchgear—a carryover from the CB550—are gone, replaced by custom bars handmade from one-inch steel, outfitted with Motogadget’s finest accessories. There’s an m.unit control box hidden under the seat, but the most eye-catching element is the tiny metal bird perched on the bars, made from tin.

“It’s the ‘lucky bird’ and it sits on all our builds, to bring you luck when you ride,” says Andreas.

Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes

Talking of luck, this ice-cool, super-clean CB650 will be up for sale in the new year. And if we were within shouting distance of Scandinavia, we’d be sorely tempted.

Anyone else fancy parking one of the lesser-known CBs in their garage?

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Custom Honda CB650 by Black Lanes