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Return of the Cafe Racers - Honda CB550 Cafe Racer

Honda CB550 Cafe Racer

Small details. That's what separates a good build from a great build. Of course there's a whole heap of work you'll first need to do to reach the "good" stage, but once you're there a few personal touches or clever modifications can really make your bike stand out from the crowd. I've…

Small details. That’s what separates a good build from a great build. Of course there’s a whole heap of work you’ll first need to do to reach the “good” stage, but once you’re there a few personal touches or clever modifications can really make your bike stand out from the crowd. I’ve seen plenty of customised Honda CB550’s since starting this site and this one is certainly one that fits into my “great” category. While Devin of Cognito Moto’s build may not have started out how he’d planned, once he got it on track it came together beautifully…

“I bought this CB550 from a man in west va who replied to a craigslist posting I had wanting to buy a CB750 frame. He said he had the title, bike didn’t run and had sat for a number of years. We settled on $260. Months later he never found the title. Took me 9 months to find the registered owner and go through the abandon title process.”

“I cut the back half of the frame off and redid all of the tubing to create a parallel tank and seat arrangement. I adjusted the height of the rear by fitting a pair of 14” shocks in the rear. The seat came  from Dime City Cycles, but I removed about 2” from the front before having it reupholstered. The tank is from a CB500T. Rearsets are Tarrozzi mounted to a bolt-on bracket I designed and built. The GSX-R front fork was given to me at a vintage Japanese motorcycle show. I designed a front hub and had many manufactured so that it could be a straight bolt-on solution along with a triple tree top to match (I still have a few left to sell at cognitomoto.com). All of the electrical system was trashed and rewired from scratch. The motor received a complete overhaul and powdercoat. The frame, hubs and rims where powder coated as well. The wheels use 17” Harley rims so that I could run modern tires.”

As I said for me it’s all about the small details. Devin has carefully considered all the parts he’s fabricated and purchased for this custom motorcycle project. Modifying purchased parts to get the perfect fit or simply making them himself, like the front hub and rear guard with laser cut winged Honda emblem. It may look clean and simple but this build is anything but bland.

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