You may have limitless vision, but without the skills to execute your ideas they will never see the light of day. We've all experienced those times of hopelessness when throwing your hands in the air in frustration is all that's left to do. Building custom motorcycles is no walk in the park and not everyone has the skills to do it properly. That's why custom workshops like the 'Wrench Kings' exist. Bram and his team at the Wrench Kings workshop in the Netherlands pride themselves in turning other people's visions into rolling works of art. When they were approached by Lex, an advertising agency owner from Holland with an unfinished 1977 Honda CB750 project they happily accepted the challenge and delivered an exceptional result.
"Lex was very specific about his wishes." says Bran. "As the owner of an advertisement company, he had a very clear picture of how this bike should look." Along with his cafe racer design brief Lex also made it clear to the Kings that the bike should be reliable, as he planned to ride it as regularly as he could. So the Honda's engine was given a thorough overhaul to ensure it could continue to run strong for decades more. Good mechanics are nothing without solid electrics so the guys also constructed a custom wiring loom from scratch and tucked everything away out of sight.
The Wrench Kings first challenge to create the "visually stunning" CB750 Lex was after was to figure out a way to give the bike a less cluttered look, despite it running an external oil tank. The solution came after some "trial, error, sweat, pain and the assistance of Marcel van der Stelt, an expert in custom aluminum solutions" says Bram. Rather than leaving the oil tank hanging in the cradle of the frame they devised a custom seat that housed the engines oil in the rear hump, leaving the frame open and uncluttered and creating a unique solution to their problem.
Once the tail was complete the next challenge was delivering the oil to and from the engine. "We had some good times with the guys making hydraulic hoses!" joked Bram. The company he approached to help construct the hoses (Velis Scholten Utrecht B.V. ) were accustomed to working on larger construction vehicles, so Bram's request for small, flexible, easy to hide lines proved a difficult challenge. However after a fair amount of head scratching a solution was found that allowed the oil lines to be hidden completely from sight, running beneath the seat and behind the tubes of the frame.
With the bike in pieces its frame, wheels and miscellaneous brackets were treated to a fresh layer of gloss black powdercoat. The rims were then wrapped in chunky Firestone rubber and the custom seat upholstered by 'Toni’s Custom Works' using waterproof, tan leather to complement the proposed candy red and white paint scheme. Before delivering the bike to the Wrench Kings, Lex had accumulated a few special parts for the build including a clean polished top clamp and yellow lens headlight. The Kings fit these to the bike along with a full gamut of LED lighting that's been tactfully hidden from sight. Wanting to keep the cockpit as clean as possible the factory ignition was replaced by an RFID keyless unit that is also been discreetly relocated.
For performance improvements the CB's four carbs were rejetted and fitted with DNA power filters. A 4-into-1 exhaust system vents through a free flowing reverse megaphone style muffler and stopping power has been upgraded by fitting twin discs to the front end. The tired old rubber brake lines have also been swapped for stainless units.
"Lex is a tall guy"says Bram, so this bike has been designed especially to suit his 1.9m stature. To do this they positioned the Tarozzi footpegs farther back, dropping Lex's knees down to keep him comfortable on longer rides. By fitting taller rear shocks and sliding the triple clamps down the fork tubes an inch the bike also sits slightly higher and has a leveled out stance.
As with most things it's the small touches on this Honda that really make the difference. The polished top clamp, custom grips that match the seat leather, hugger style number plate holder and polished cylinder heads add a level of finish that demonstrate the Wrench Kings high standards. As one of the only workshops we've seen out of the Netherlands it's easy to say that the Kings are the countries top builders, but if they keep improving at this rate they'll soon be up there with Europe's best.
Photography by Bas Duijs
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