It’s too bad there aren’t any “before” pictures of this 1972 Honda CB 450, since the way it looks today, you’d never know it was 47 years old. I hope the custom cafe trend continues unabated. These builds seem to keep getting better: cleaner, more understated, really pro results. This one from German outfit Crooked Motorcycles is no exception.
The story is, two friends named Jakob and Dominikus founded a custom motorcycle shop without meaning to–-they both enjoyed customizing motorcycles, but didn’t set out to form a business. You know how it goes, you build something, and someone likes it enough to buy it, so you build another one. These two found this very old CB 450 in a friend’s garage, and thought it might be worthy of restoration.
It hadn’t run in at least eight years, and wasn’t stored very well: everything about it needed refinishing. Bless Soichiro Honda’s heart, they changed out all the fluids and filters, fitted a new battery, and that old engine started right up. That’s usually the first test when gauging whether a bike is worth restoring, and it passed with flying colors.
They dubbed the build “From Beast to Beauty” and having seen plenty of unloved old UJMs, I believe the “beast” part. They stripped the bike down to the frame, repainted or refinished everything, de-tabbed the frame and bobbed its rear end. The tiny new lithium-ion battery is stuffed into the custom tail section, and the airbox replaced with pods which leaves the rest of the bike with a clean, simple look. That little 450cc parallel twin engine sits like a shiny black jewel in a shiny black setting.
Because no cafe build is complete without wrapped headers, it seems, they wrapped and mounted up a 2-into-2 Hattech exhaust to replace the stocker. If nothing else, the system adds to the blacked-out look of the bike and probably lends one heck of a singing voice.
The original handlebars have been stripped in favor of clip-ons and, we hope, once the bike is on the road, some bar-end mirrors. Since we all know about the wiring situation on very old Japanese motorcycles, the team at Crooked rebuilt the harness and replaced the original dash, taillight and turn signals in favor of small, clean, modern units all by Motogadget.
This CB 450 is now a thing of rare beauty but also, even at its advanced age, puts out 45hp, so on its new YSS suspension and Coker classic Diamond tires it’s definitely no slouch. Are you inspired yet? We sure are.
Source: Return of the Cafe Racers, Kaferacers, Crooked Motorcycles, Facebook, Instagram