Dynamic Duo - Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

People who tinker with motorcycles are a special breed. What makes them truly unique though is their ability to bond with others who share the same obsession. No matter where they’re from, what they do for a job or even their age, a friendship can be quickly formed based entirely on rebuilding bikes.

Belgians Fre Fonteyne and Karel Willems met through a mutual mate and soon discovered their shared love of custom motorcycles. After Fre mentioned his plan to rework a mid-nineties CB750 Karel wasted no time offering to assist. “After a small talk we seemed to be on the same page,” says Fre. “The resulting cafe racer is what we achieved together. It was two years in the making and can be best described as our co-creation.”

“The idea we discussed was to make a simple, beastly motorcycle,” Fre recalls. “A clean and pure machine that was all about the essence of riding. That is why the finished bike is only black, white with a bit of leather detailing.” Achieving such simplicity necessitates removing non-essential items so the build began with a teardown that would also allow them to assess what kind of condition their donor bike was actually in.

“Stripping the bike was very revealing." Says Fre. "My '95 Honda CB750 donor was actually in much worse condition than I had originally thought” The discovery instantly added to the workload they had ahead of them, but neither of them was about to back down. The engine block checked out, but pretty much everything attached to it would need replacing. Thankfully Fre’s new best friend Karel, knew a thing or two about engines and their related running gear so he set about reworking the bikes electrical and exhaust systems and preparing the engine for its renaissance.

With the CB in pieces, the pair also worked on how to remodel the bike to possess the lines they were after. Karel eventually found the solution when he uncovered a CB550 fuel tank at a local flea market. Mounting the tank to the frame instantly gave the bike a retro appearance and with some minor tweaks laid out a new bone line. Surprisingly, the bikes rear end didn’t require any cutting so it was just a matter of finding a cafe racer styled aftermarket tail unit that matched what they had in mind.

During reassembly the factory guards, airbox and gauges were deemed non-essential and promptly discarded. Beneath the seat pan, Karel fabricated a custom box to house the electrics and the battery was placed out of sight inside the bikes new tail. Each of the four carbs was covered with free-flowing filters and Dynojet kits installed to tune them appropriately. The exhaust headers were wrapped to black out unwanted chrome trim and a pair of black reverse megaphone mufflers added to enhance the bikes retro look and to give it some additional bark and bite.

Cafe racer styling tweaks continued with the addition of clip-on handlebars wearing brown, Biltwell diamond grips that match the colour and style of the freshly upholstered seat. To keep their rear end clean a pair of dual function indicator/brake lights have been mounted using a custom made bracket and upfront the headlight has been pulled back between the forks for tighter proportions.

During the 2 year rebuild of the bike, the pair replaced every part of the Honda that needed restoring. From the shocks to the bolts on the engine cases they methodically transformed the CB750 into the simplified beast they’d set out to build. The finishing touch for this remodelled ride came in the form of the 2 badges on the tank. You won’t recognise them as being from any other Honda motorcycle as they originally appeared on an S800, a mid-sixties sports car that was Honda's first ever 100mph automobile. A fitting choice for this tightly proportioned ton up machine.

Photography by Bob Janssens

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