Bol d’Or CB900 Cafe Racer
The Honda CB900 Bol d’Or does not, and probably never will appear on a list of the “Top 10 Best Looking Motorcycles Ever Made”. In fact, I don’t think it would even have a place in the top 50. Honda conceived the bike during a period in motorcycle design history when their Comstar wheels and naked sports bike styling were all the rage and neither of them did much to improve the look of the Bol d’Or.
My gripes about the bike’s appearance aside it was a great performer and the Japanese manufacturer received well-earned praise for their work on the CB900. The Bold Dor was the predecessor to Honda’s legendary CB750 lineage, created to oppose other manufacturers who were producing motorcycles that were outperforming the aging CB750s.
Fast forward several decades and the Bol d’Or has become a relatively affordable alternative to the now, highly collectable and sought after CB750. On the Spanish island of Mallorca 29 year old painter Andreu Nevado was attracted to the platform because of it’s larger capacity engine and retro styling. After acquiring a neglected 1979 Bol d’Or he set about applying his vision of how the Bol d’Or should have looked.
“The first stage of the facelift was to remove all of the junk Honda plastic bodywork.” says Andreu who spent 12 months rebuilding the bike with his friend Berny. “I wanted to get a very straight line along the length of the bike, from the headlight to the cowl, so we modified the subframe to match the height of the gas tank.” With the help of a welder in the shop next to his work, Andreu modified the frame and learnt the basics of welding so he could complete some of the fabrication jobs himself. From there the two began using bits of scrap metal they could find to create the bikes new fenders, footrests, headlight brackets, battery box and seat base. They even managed to constructing a new exhaust system by Frankensteining 2 dead ones together.
The rear cowl has been constructed from epoxy resin which Andreu shaped to match the ridge along the top of the original Bol d’Or fuel tank. The tanks tunnel was also modified to sit more level on the frame and the air box removed to free up space around the bikes bulky engine. “I wanted a strong, powerful looking front end” Andreu explains, and he found the solution in a pair of late model inverted forks.
Next the outdated Comstar rims were discarded to make way for more classically styled, spoked rims with the hope of adapting an 18 inch front and rear combo. The solution for the front wheel presented itself quickly in the form of a BMW GS1100R spoked rim, however the rear proved much harder to aquire. While many would consider living on an island off the coast of Spain to be a dream come true, it certainly didn’t make life any easier for Andreu. After scouring eBay for weeks he was starting to think his chances of finding a rim with a drum hub sat somewhere between zero and none when he stumbled across a Suzuki Savage wheel that could me massaged to fit the Honda swingarm and the bike was rolling once again.
To enable the Honda’s engine to function to its full potential, it’s now wearing a custom exhaust and power filters and its carburettors were rebuilt using a Dynojet kit and a few changes were made to the electrical system. With the bike running again it was then time for Andreu to do what he does best and paint the thing. “After blasting the engine, chassis and metal components we powdercoated using a pearl candy Porsche color. For the body they used a worn metallic grey with an aluminium effect and the remaining pieces finished in black satin, black matte and brushed aluminium with polished stainless steel screws. Lastly as a final nob to Honda’s heritage a classic logo from their colourful past was applied.
- Front wheel-18” BMW GS 1000R (tubeless)
- Rear wheel- 18” rim manufactured in aluminium with stainless spokes and Suzuki savage Hub
- Headlight, rear light, speedo and grips from the Wrenchmonkees
- Domino racing throttle
- R6 front brake lever and reservoir
- Ducati monster Brembo calipers
- Original gas tank cut and shut
- Rear cowl manufactured in epoxy fiberglass
- Home made aluminium and stainless footpegs
- Modified exhaust from two old exhausts.
- Two fenders from one big classic fender
- Custom aluminium battery box
- Metallic effect painting
Read more like this
By the late seventies, Honda had become a household name in the United States and they were eager to achieve a similar level of popularity around the world. Due to their successes…Continue Reading
I’ve seen plenty of personal builds that have been inspired by professional ones. It’s not often they stack up to be as good as the pro builds though. Today I think it…Continue Reading