EB118 – 1971 Honda CB450

EB118 – 1971 Honda CB450 main image

To the casual observer it seems almost all modified bikes fall into the category of either a Chopper or a Cafe Racer.

Whilst there’s much debate about what constitutes certain bike styles and genres, those with a deeper interest and understanding know there are many bike styles and cultural influences that inform those styles.

Take our latest project for example. Keith came to us with his 1971 Honda CB450 looking to address a few items of the bike he wasn’t completely happy with.

Whilst we tend to avoid the term ‘Cafe Racer’ because of its over-use, Keith’s bike is exactly that, a cafe racer… It ticked pretty much all the boxes:

  • Traditional cradle frame
  • Parallel twin
  • Clip-ons
  • Humped seat
  • Simplified features
  • Upgraded / performance carbs, suspension and brakes

Keith purchased the bike and had it sent straight to another custom bike builder to be transformed into his vision, (Ellaspede wasn’t on Keith’s radar when he commissioned the reasonably extensive build). The other custom house did a nice job on the build, there was some great custom work done including, frame mods, custom seat, aluminium tank, front end swap, custom 17″ rims, guards and brakes.

Due to distance challenges however, Keith wasn’t able to visit during the build. This meant that when he finally received his custom build there were a few items that weren’t quite to his taste.

Having since discovered Ellaspede in his home town, Keith then brought the bike in to discuss the possibilities.

Keith thought the late model Honda front end fitted was visually too tall for the bike, making for a slightly raked look. We swapped this for a CBR600 inverted unit which brought it down to a more pleasing height. 50mm clip-on handlebars replaced the previous 43mm units.

The already fitted custom rims wore 320mm discs and Brembo callipers. New custom brackets were required to mate the upside down front forks and callipers, so we designed and CNC machined some to suit.

A very snug under-tank battery was not big enough to handle starting duties, so a more powerful lithium unit was employed in a new location under the swing-arm. The electrics were simplified and terminated under the tank with only essential wiring extending forward.

A smaller 6″ headlight on a custom bottom mount replaced the deep 7″ unit. Posh Chamfer indicators were fitted to fill the side mount holes.

A Posh taillight / plate mount and Ellaspede reflector mount was used in favour of the previous guard-mounted unit.

A new bracket was fabricated to mount the Motogadget speedo.

The existing rear-sets were adjusted and spaced to better suit Keith’s riding stance and the exhaust / reverse cone mufflers were adjusted and baffled to quieten things a little.

Keith liked the more or less monochrome theme but re-covering the seat in ‘whiskey’ kangaroo leather with a matching tank strap added some subtle colouring.

Mechanically, the refurbished but ageing CB required a new clutch. The previous builder fitted Keihin CR carbs and matching filters.

The bike goes and stops very well, which along with its visual presence lends itself perfectly to the idea of a classic cafe racer.

 

Albums we listened to during the build of this bike:

1. Queen – Greatest Hits 2. Pusha T – My Name is My Name 3. alt-J – This Is All Yours

Photos and Features:

Photos by AJ Moller Photography  


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