Return of the Cafe Racers - Baba Beruang Honda Cafe Racer

Baba Beruang Honda Cafe Racer

After visiting Indonesia 3 times in the past 12 months I’ve really started to love the attitude of it’s custom builders. Their can do approach is, in many ways, a product of the environment in which they operate and it means that there’s some incredible talent evolving. They have a real thirst for developing their personal ability and collaborating with local craftsmen in order to learn new skills is common practice. Arxaperiment is one of the new kids on the custom motorcycle block in Yogyakarta, Java. Traditionally an advertising agency they found inspiration in the custom scene and decided to add custom bike building to their list of services. This Honda CB700 is their latest work and from where I’m sitting it looks like a sign of good things to come.

Arxaperiment designer Ndikol started his first build in 2011 with some guidance from a local mechanic and metalworker. Using his Kawasaki KZ200 as a donor they put together a decent custom which sparked the idea of building bikes under the Arxa brand. Tired of solely designing projects for clients he and his team decided to apply their combined skills to custom motorcycle building. With experience in product, apparel, leather goods and furniture design they had a deep appreciation for natural materials and for unconventional ways of using them, something they always knew they would apply to their bikes.

After the sale of his KZ200 Ndikol was looking for “a bigger toy to play with”. After a bit of searching a suitable donor was eventually found nearby in the form of an ’85 Honda CB700 SC. “Basically, the motorcycle was in ok condition, but for a long time it had been left sitting abandoned” Ndikol knew this was the bike for their project and took it upon himself to resurrect the tired old Honda. “I see myself as Dr Frankenstein hoping to bring something back from the dead with a new spirit and personality”. Wanting to create a Cafe Racer that was going to stand out from the crowd Ndikol started searching for inspiration. “In Yogyakarta there are a lot of furniture and leather goods manufacturers. They gave me the idea for my special Cafe Racer.”

Modifications to the CB’s frame were limited to the tail end which received a new, shorter loop prior to powder coating in grey. To create a more aggressive stance the front end was lowered on the forks and chunky Firestone rubber added to beef things up a bit. New clip on style handlebars, a 4-into-1 exhaust with megaphone style muffler, relocated foot controls all new lighting was then bolted into place. The fuel tank is a custom unit designed by Arxa. Beaten from aluminium sheet it’s been left raw and is complimented by a matching alloy exhaust heat shield and frame plates. The engine was also freshened up with a coat of satin black powder.

The Arxa Honda Cafe Racer takes traditional Cafe styling and adds a touch of nature. Juxtaposed against raw alloy and mechanical components it’s an odd pairing that works well. The bikes brushed alloy fuel tank and greyed out frame contrasts with the tan brown of the wood and leather. The wood selected for the job was a local timber named Jati (Javanese teak), it’s strength and striking grain making it the perfect medium. Handpicked pieces of Jati were cut and shaped by hand to form the bikes triple clamp cover, fork brace and the wasp tail rear cowl and seat pan. Each piece was meticulously sanded by hand before being finished in a matte clear coat and the seat was finished using tobacco coloured cowhide leather.


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