The Dennis Kirk Blog
Legendary Service... Ask Your Friends - Since 1969
A little over a week ago, we published a blog post on a trend that’s reemerging in the motorcycle industry: Cafe Racers. (If you missed our little history lesson, click here to get caught up.) In it, we mentioned that our very own Bob Behan, President here at Dennis Kirk, is in the midst of a cafe racer build himself. This week, we’re bringing you photos of Bob’s conversion so far, and in the coming weeks, we’ll show you the project as it progresses. Bob gave us the run down of how the project began (and continues)…
I have had the idea of building a Café Racer for 2 or 3 years but never got around to doing one. Last fall I was making my way home and saw a Honda CB750 for sale in a guy’s yard. It was calling my name, so to speak. So I stopped and checked it out. What I found was a 1981 Honda CB750C Custom. It had 18,000 original miles on it, ran well and was in great shape. Within minutes I had bought it for about half the price of what similar bikes were listed for on CycleTrader and eBay motors. Here is how the bike looked the day I bought it:
I decided not to make a full blown project out of it since the bike was in such good shape. (Meaning I was not going to remove the engine and running gear and more or less strip the bike down to the frame and build it back up from scratch.) My plan was to replace or modify some bolt-on items, fashion some new body work and give it new paint.
I established a budget for new parts and accessories. I did that so I wouldn’t go crazy buying things to make it “too” cool. Been down that road before and I didn’t want to go there this time. With a blank check you can easily put $2,000 to $3,000 into new parts and accessories and end up with a bike worth much less than that. My plan was to put as only as much money into the bike as what I could sell it for once the project is done.
So the next stop was my workshop where I quickly tore the bike down and went to work.
I chopped the rear fender:
I fabricated a new seat from scratch:
I rebuilt the gauges to freshen them up and fabricated a new dash for the indicator lights. I designed the new gauge faces in Adobe Illustrator and had a company in St. Paul fabricate them out of 3M vinyl. The new indicator lights came from Dennis Kirk.
Bolted on a new pipe from Dennis Kirk:
The next picture shows some of the welded in fabrication I did. The two bars welded on top of the frame are there to support the seat and to provide welded in threaded bungs by which to attach the seat pan/cowl to the bike. Then there are three support bars welded into the side of the frame to allow for the attachment of the side cover you see in the next picture.
Here is a picture of the side cover I made. I set it up with quick release fasteners like they use on race bikes. A quarter turn and they come out giving me easy access to the inside of the bike.
Next I need to get the rust out of the gas tank. I am going to do that through a combination of electrolysis and the Kreem tank coating system Dennis Kirk sells. Then it is on to powder coating and paint. I am guessing it will be about two
months before the bike hits the road. Could get it done sooner but now that the weather has broken in Minnesota it is time to get out there and ride; so my time in the shop is going to be more limited.
Check back later for more photos of Bob’s build!
Discuss: What is your latest project?
Mon-Fri: 7am - 8pm Sat & Sun: 7am - 6pm CT