1978 Honda CB550 Custom Cafe Racer



Date : October 26, 2022
Year : 1978
Model : cb550
Location : Manchaca, Texas, United States

It’s time. Up for grabs is my 1978 Honda Cb550 cafe racer built back in the Heartbreak Cycleworks days. I’ve owned this bike for 15 years and it no longer serves me, but what a ride it is. 

I looped the frame in the rear with a parabolic bend to match the seat curve which was hand shaped for this build and pulled from carbon fiber with a carbon fiber upholstery pan that was covered in leather by Ginger at New Church Moto. The tank is a Benelli Mojave. The front wheel is a stock Cb hub with a second rotor mod to fit with a joker machine speedo delete. The rear is a KZ750b hub and complete rear disk brake system. Both wheels are 18″ x 2.5″ Excel Aluminum rims with S11 110 Spitfire tires at both ends to give it that perfect vintage sport stance. 
The motor has been built. Pistons are 599cc with an MLS head gasket and a lightly ported head with the larger cam from an SOHC Cb650 and it breathes through early model Cb750 carburetors fitted with velocity stacks. It breaths out through a bespoke 4 into 4 stainless exhaust with unbaffled, hand rolled, contoured megaphones that are gently wrapped by the custom bespoke belly pan. The electric starter and sprag gear have been removed from the cases. The bottom end was gone through with all new bearings. New clutch. All new seals. New oil pump and a modern oil filter adapter so you can use modern spin on oil filters instead of fiddly cartridges. 
The electric system is driven by an Antigravity battery, Motogadget M unit, 30amp main relay, Dynatech ignition, Dynatech coils, modern single unit Reg/Rec from Ricks motorsports and the lighting is handled by an LED headlight and taillight with integrated turn signals at both ends.
Thats only part of it. The details continue with an ignition cover from a Cb650 that was cast instead of stamped. The triple tree was shaved and filled (so no unused upper bar clamp). The belly pan was hand made and follows the lines of the bike. The rear sets and exhaust mount were custom built. Factory tach was deleted and plugged with brass. Trailtech vapor unit is mounted but not wired in. It will run on batteries, but I never look down at it anyway. 
I built this bike myself. Ive refined it over the years. It was on display at the Handbuilt Show (year 1) in Austin texas and at the time I still lived in Detroit but was honored to be invited (Yes, that was before the days of submissions). It’s been in Iron&Air issue 5 as well as the Road to Barber recap issue. I’m the second owner and have the original issue 1978 title to prove it. I’ve put in so much time to this bike that I would qualify it in years rather than hours and it’s gotten better and better with age. Sadly, it no longer serves me. Buy it, kick it, ride it, and give it the same love that I did for years. You won’t regret it.

Cold start and walk around video

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