Return of the Cafe Racers - Never Surrender- Nitrocycles Honda Bol D’or

Never Surrender- Nitrocycles Honda Bol D’or

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 at European Endurance races, they decided to produce a bike aimed specifically for the European market. Taking cues from their race bikes they developed a 900cc DOHC street bike named the CB900F Bol d’Or after the famous French 24-hour endurance race.

Honda Bol d'Or cafe racer

Although the Bol d’Or’s capacity was less than its competition the bike was very well received by motorcycling press. The air-cooled inline 4 could chew through the 1/4 mile in just a touch over 12 seconds and its sturdy twin downtube frame provided great handling.

“A thundering Super-Sports bike with devastating performance and an unwavering stamina” – Honda Motorcycles

Honda Bol d'Or cafe racer

Forty years on the Honda Bol d’Or represents great value as a donor for your next custom build and here’s the proof. This Bol d’Or is the latest work of Spanish brothers Antonio and Silvia Testillano who run the workshop Nitrocycles. Looking over their portfolio of custom builds the brothers clearly have a penchant for motorcycles of this era. Being a seventies child myself I share that obsession so you can imagine my reaction when I saw they’d turned a Bol d’Or into a stripped back cafe racer.

Honda Bol d'Or cafe racer

To complete the transformation from Bol d’Or to Rockers ride the Testillano brothers scrapped the stock rear end. In its place is a handmade subframe and one-off cafe styled rear cowl. Up front they installed clip-on handlebars with a period correct Domino throttle and they are paired with rear set foot pegs to complete the revised riding position. The fuel tank is another new addition that has been fitted with a Monza style filler cap and mounted flat on the frame for a well-balanced bone line. Lighting and electrics have been upgraded using LED blinkers and an M-Unit from Motogadget.

The rebuilt forks are the original Bol d’Or items. The machined top clamp is new though and has LED warning lights integrated into its design. Nitrocycles also chose to retain the Comstar rims and have wrapped them in modern Metzeler rubber. YSS shocks sort out any rear end stability issues while braided lines help to improve braking response. 

Honda Bol d'Or cafe racer

When it came to the engine the brothers wanted to give the Honda the additional capacity it lacked when it was first released. Already weighing in at significantly less than its former self it would have been capable of sub 12 second quarter mile passes, but why go to all this trouble and not unlock some extra horses? The Nitrocycles Bol d’Or now boasts 1000 cubic centimetres thanks to a rebore and the fitment of Wiseco pistons. The air box was eliminated leaving the frame wide open and the carbs have been tuned to suit pod filters. Finally, a 4-into-1 set of headers feed a GP Barracuda muffler.

With the words ‘never surrender’ scrawled across the fuel tank I think it’s safe to say this bike means business. 


Honda Bol d'Or cafe racer

Read more like this

Return of the Cafe Racers - Portia – Thrive Motorcycles Honda CB650

Portia – Thrive Motorcycles Honda CB650

For us, it’s often the small details that make a custom motorcycle special. Intricate details demonstrate a workshops commitment to their craft and can take a build from being good to truly…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Retro Rehash – The 2020 Honda CB-F concept

Retro Rehash – The 2020 Honda CB-F concept

Many of 2020s most significant motorcycle shows have been cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Amongst them was the 47th edition of Japan’s seminal Tokyo Motorcycle Show. This left many manufacturers…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Carbon Neutral –  Karsenbarg Hornet 600

Carbon Neutral – Karsenbarg Hornet 600

Everyone knows by now that fossil-fueled transportation is inherently bad for the environment. This, of course, includes our beloved motorcycles. Despite this it’s rare we hear sustainable practices and motorcycles mentioned in…

Continue Reading