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I bought the Honda CB 900 C in 2014 because I wanted to build a classic but also strong caferacer for myself. I was a bit afraid of this unusual construction due to the double - 10-speed gearbox. However, the year of its creation, the same as my birth, told me that it was destiny.
Just like my possibilities then, the first sketch on this basis was modest. Initially, I planned to use the original wheels and did not intend to rebuild the frame that much. At that time, I did not imagine that I would shorten the front suspension, remodel the tank and reduce the entire airbox and electrics located under the seat. But I knew and kept my promise that I would implement this project uncompromisingly and as required by art. Over 5 years may seem like too long, but I am happy that all this time I was slowly and successfully reaching my goal.
Today, only the engine, drive and frame cradle remain from the original. Every other element is either built from scratch or heavily reworked. Initially the bike was supposed to be all black. However, 6 years of working on over a hundred motorcycles, thought me that bare metal (in this case aluminum) is the most noble and timeless material. Ultimately, I wanted this bike to have as little paint as possible and to make it look retro. As a result, each element made of aluminum is hand-polished and the rest of the elements are covered with chrome. Classic Cafe Racer is, above all, light, so we got rid of everything unnecessary. What does not have to be visible is hidden under the tank, in the rear end, the battery under the swing arm’s axle, cables in the frame, etc. Thanks to these measures, the center of gravity of the motorcycle is much lower and its total weight is reduced by almost 40 kg.
In order to visually slim the motorcycle and expose the huge engine block, we cut the bottom edge of the tank by one and a half cm. Details make the difference.
Anyone who has never built original air filters will not understand why these four “trumpets” took me more than a week. Their internal mesh construction, ways of attaching micro-threads and screw holes, are all watchmaker’s precision. Details such as oil pressure drainers or a custom fuel tap were required to design.
I am extremely pleased with the steering and its minimalist look. The proprietary clip-ons are designed in such a way that the screws that fasten them are not visible. Motogadget Speedo (top-shelf electronic equipment that pretends to be analog) holder is also our work, cut from one piece of aluminum. Our custom made and chromed front lamp holders are better and lower than any available in the aftermarket. In the original Honda had very square clutch levers and a brake master cylinder, so we used the more adequate one from the Kawasaki Vulcan. Each detail is hand-polished to a mirror. An interesting fact is the cable connecting the front shock absorbers. All this is dominated by a badge waiting for a personal dedication to the future buyer of this machine.
The most time consuming was the decision that this equipment had to be placed on spoked wheels with sporty proportions (originally 16 and 19 inch cruiser wheels). The first rims purchases turned out to be inaccurate due to a narrow swingarm and other technical problems. To put up this lightweight structure, we had to design discs attached to the hubs that correlate with the holes for the nipples. In order to save material and strength, the prototype was milled in plastic – ABS and on this basis, master Jurek built the first trial construction of spokes. Despite this, no one was sure that the whole wheel would fit in a specific rocker arm with a Cardan shaft. The best Takasago rims on the market were covered with a varnish that we had to peel off to match the rest of the bike. Chrome plating the spokes, polishing the drive, chrome plating the swingarm, polishing the front calipers after disassembling the front suspension are the next steps. In the end, we have won this battle with matter and the bike stands on two 17 inch Metzeler Roadtec tires.
In order for the equipment to sound as good as it looks, we have designed two dedicated silencers, which are also finally covered with new chrome. I couldn't imagine the turn signals on this bike sticking out from the body. It took a lot of craftsmanship and time to melt them into a tail cover, but I think it was worth it. Indicators hidden in the tail give this machine a Vintage Look and remind me of American cars from the ‘50.
The only thing I liked about the original of this motorcycle was its navy blue paint - I felt it was a good noble and timeless color. After a few attempts with our painter Marcin, we have achieved a paint that has beautiful depth. The silver pinstripes was almost obvious. In this setup, I had no doubts about the natural brown leather, which I associate with an English armchair. Handgrafted grips are our trademark - they could not be missing from this project. K&N oil pressure filters, Motogadget turn signals in the tip of the steering wheel and the Biltwell throtlle are other gadgets on a long list.
This motorcycle was supposed to be ridden and useful, (not only to be the queen of the shows), so the front aluminum fender is a must for it. In addition, there is a transparent plexiglass shield that I can attach by the rear wheel so that mud and water do not fly into the filters or the engine.
The Dynojet Stage 3 helped us fine-tune four huge carburetors, so this 100 HP engine is reall fun-factory.Totally unique, dual gearbox (regular 5 plus HI and LOW setups) allows you to cruise or trim the engine in street racing.Fortunately, as one of the few in those years, this motorcycle already had two brake discs, which we left due to the retro look.During braking, the tail is illuminated by a red lamp hidden on the swing arm (along with the license plate illumination).The best thing about this project is that since I bought the machine, I registered it and paid for the insurance - because it was supposed to be ready soon!That's why recently, when we finished the production, I was able to jump on it and shout for joy.
To sum up: it was worth it! I cannot imagine a better investment of my time, attention and money. At the moment, there is no similar project in the world on this incredibly rare and already cult base which is the HONDA CB900C 1981.
|Model||CB 900 CUSTOM|
|Year of build||1981|
|Engine||air-cooled DOHC 16-valve inline four, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Max power||95 HP (70.8 KW) @ 9,000 RPM|