FEATURE: Micah's Stretched 1974 Honda CB360

I teased about this bike a little while back, and for those of you who e-mailed me wondering where the rest of it was, behold:

1974 CB360
Detroit, MI

Photographed by Patrick Daly

I met Micah a while back, in my college days at Detroit. We were both into Volkswagens at the time and got to talking shop. Micah has been a VW head since he was able to drive, having owned and modified 5 to date. "I'd always been intrigued by motorcycles, but never thought I'd own one." A lonely 1974 CB360 sitting in a friend's shed would change all that.

"I saw the bike and asked him how much it would cost for me to take it home with me. He half-jokingly said $300, and I, not so jokingly said, "deal! "  I couldn't pass it up..."

 Micah was raised in the northern suburbs of Detroit. He previously worked at a metal fab shop for 3 years, where he learned many trades. He currently works as a facilities and maintenance tech at the College for Creative studies in Detroit, and has been doing so for the past 3 years.

"I couldn't have done this project without our [CCS] shop, and all the equipment we have there."

"Most of the fab work went on in the facilities shop at CCS, where I work during the day. I'd stay late at night, or come in on the weekends, and do some welding and grinding. We have a sandblaster that could fit a love seat, which allowed me to blast my frame and wheels before paint.

            The motor was re-ringed, received new gaskets, and was reassembled in a hotel room. Haha, my buddy Jeff Schmidt was in town from Brooklyn. He has rebuilt many an old Honda motor, so we decided to do all the work down at the Double Tree hotel on Lafayette in Detroit.
I'll never forget the look on the woman's face at the front desk when we rolled an assembled motorcycle engine out on the luggage cart.

            The final assembly of the bike, and making of the wiring harness, happened in my living room. It was February, and I don't have heat in my garage, so I decided to do it inside. Thankfully I have awesome roommates who are understanding.  It was really a nice way to do it, actually. When it was done, we just rolled it down the front steps, and away I went."

Micah's inspiration for the seat came from the aesthetic of weathered Brooks saddles. He set out to build one by hand, first mocking it up with a piece of Masonite.  Using a plasma cutter, he traced the shape in steel and sent it through a roller until he was happy with the contour. I've personally sat in this seat and can attest to the butt-hugging perfection and comfort you wouldn't expect from it's minimal appearance.

"A buddy of mine cut me a piece of the thickest cow ass he had, and I used copper rivets to attach it to the seat pan."

Putting to use all those years of fabrication training, Micah set out to build some custom bars using chopped off stock handles and the clamps from a donor lower triple tree. He also extended the swing arm out an additional 5in. The new length required him to extend the drum brake holder and actuator rod, and swap the rear suspension out for some stiffer units off a CB550. The WWII first aid box houses his battery and the stock ignition was mounted to the side.

Would you ever sell it? 

"I've asked myself that, and to be honest I'm not sure I know. On one hand, I think if someone came along and was interested enough to offer me something outrageous for it, I would.  On the other hand, it's my first bike, and my first build, so it would be kind of cool to hang on to it for awhile."

Feel like offering Micah something outrageous for it? Hit the link at the top of this article to get in touch with him. Or instead, maybe just hold out for the '72 CB550 he's wrenching away at currently.

FEATURE: Fuel Bespoke BMW R100 Tracker

1981 BMW R100 Tracker

Here's the latest to roll out of Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles door, the BMW R100 Tracker.
Using an '81 R100 RS as a donor bike, Karles applied visual cues that define a true tracker,

"light, thin and powerful motorcycles with wide handlebars and big air filters..."

The rear end of the bike got an extensive makeover. Karles, in collaboration with Vonzeti Cafe Racers Seats, designed a rear fairing and pad that embodied original tracker styling. New rear signals and lighting were also fitted to the now shortened subframe. The tank was permanently borrowed from an R90/6, a thinner brother to the stock R100 tank. 

"That gave the bike the look I wanted. I also modified the slope to the seat/tank combo to get a more aggressive line to the bike."

Tomaselli handlebars and a smaller bates style headlight where fitted to help balance out the proportions up front. The tracker also got two K&N competition filters. Exhaust pipes were handmade by shortening the original BMW units and kicking them upwards for a more race inspired look.

The suspension has been upgraded, and stock sized Dunlop K70 tires run front to back. The handmade number plates are a fresh detail, displaying the 7 through a well fitted perforated grill.

"Personally, it has been a great challenge to complete the bike and a way to improve and continue learning in this addictive world of customization. I hope you like it!" - Karles

Karles has also informed me that the bike is up for sale. You can contact him directly at karles@fuelmotorcycles.eu
Also don't forget about the highly anticipated Scram Africa! adventure Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles will be putting on. Last I heard from Karles, there are still spots available! 

PROJECT CX: The CX500 Cafe Build Gets The Full Shoot

1978 Honda CX500

Here it is, the full shoot on Project CX. Although it will likely never be done, the project has reached it's intentions. It's meant to be a bike for the city. A daily rider around the unforgiving roads of Chicago. Able to absorb rock chips, hail storms, and clueless people driving big SUV's. 

Not only was this my first build, but my first motorcycle. I learned a ton, and aimed at doing everything on my own. Anything I couldn't learn within a few weeks practice, I outsourced to those who could.
That being said, I'd like to thank these guys:

Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles, for all his fabrication and powder coating help.
And Art, at Rod's Designs, for the seat upholstery.

For all the background on the build, just click the Project CX tab at the top of the page.

Build Sheet
Chopped and fabricated new seat frame
Custom designed seat
Clubman style drop bars
Posh natural grips
Custom 8″ Cherry Bomb muffler with turn-out tip
Front and rear fenders chopped from a Goldwing / CX
Dunlop K70 tires
Tank and side covers painted warm metallic gray
Wheels, fenders, forks, headlight and headlight brackets powder coated satin black
7″ Headlight and bucket from SpeedMotoCo.
Headlight mounts and tail light from Dime City Cycles
All gauges removed
Tan DEI exhaust wrap with black plated hose clamps
New stiffer rear shocks, and 20W fork oil
Bike lowered 1″ front and rear
Carbs rebuilt and upjetted 90/120
NOS 70s black pistol grip levers from Japan
EBC brakes

FEATURE: michael paraiso's cx500 cafe

The Honda CX is somewhat of a quirky, mixed genre, model . For most vintage bike builders it's a bit too modern, what with it's electric ignition and water cooled engine. Yet it's notorious soft suspension, top heavy design, and lack of braking power cause the street fighter crowd to shy away as well. These characteristics lead to an absence of custom CX foundation bikes.

Today's featured bike was a big inspiration for me when making the decision on what model I wanted to serve as my first build. Cue Michael Paraiso's '81 CX500 cafe racer. 

Just as Michael's CX500 served as inspiration for me, Michael caught the bug after seeing Shaun Stewart's Very Red CX500.

This blog, being very "backyard build" friendly, had a very warm welcome for Michael after finding out he had to do the first half of the build in his kitchen. At the time, his residence had no garage. 

Wanting the bike to take on a "stripped, minimalist" style, he started by shaving weight. Off went over 100lbs in fairings, a windjammer, luggage bags, crash bars, and the King and Queen sofa. He also shaved the very portly, stock 2-2 exhaust system for a MAC 2-1 setup with a shorter Emgo muffler. 

The stock airbox was scrapped for some K&N pod filters, while most of the electronics would go under the seat. In the interest of reducing the CX's top heavy design, Michael relocated a smaller battery underneath the swing arm in a custom made box.

He also upgraded the CX's 33mm forks and single piston, single caliper front end with one off an '81 CB900F. The CB front end got him beefier 39mm forks, and a dual piston, dual caliper setup.

The passenger pegs, centerstand, and tail section of the frame were shaved to further the weight savings. The frame and swing arm then got a fresh spray of bronze pearl metallic. The seat is made from the original seat-pan with the cowl coming from an old Suzuki tank. The padding and upholstery is mounted to a fiberglass seat pan.

Up front, he sourced the tach and headlight from a '71 CB350. Stock bars and controls were replaced with clip-ons shipped over from Brussels. Simpler aftermarket throttle and clutch controls were used, capped off with bar end LED turn signals and mirrors.

The tank was sanded down and polished to a 2500 grit, and the stock Comstar wheels were hit with some gloss black, then wrapped in Bridgestone Battlax tires.

The final result is a direct hit. Thanks for sharing Mike.

FEATURE: budget cb750

If there's one thing this blog is about, it's making the most out of what you've got. Anybody with a ton of cash can build, or commission, a top notch bike with all the most costly parts and procedures. What a ton of money can't buy you is an eye for aesthetics and that 'big picture' vision. 

Michiel, the wrencher behind this on point CB, and I share a common belief: Minimal funding breeds creativity.

Unlike my terrible spending habbits, Michiel has a legit reason behind this needing to be an "ultra low budget" build - he's currently a student in Holland.

"I have a BMW cafe racer that I built a couple of years ago, it's a pretty hardcore racer, so it's not very suitable for bad weather/long rides/moving stuff. I wanted a bike that I could use for anything, any day and that could carry a passenger as well"

What you're looking at ran him $650 USD, including purchase price.

“I made a rear fender out of an old gas tank, a taillight, and an exhaust from an old Virago muffler. I bought clipons, repaired and adapted the wiring loom, and used the foglight from a classic car as a headlight.” And a friend built him the seat in exchange for a fender. (I need more friends like that.)

The bike that emerged from the build is one of my personal favorite to date. It's got a real 'backyard build' quality to it but spares nothing in the aesthetics department. I'd say he spent the time and money in the right places.

Be sure to check out Michiel's other builds and daily updates @ http://bmwcafe.blogspot.com/