After nearly ten years of getting pushed aside it’s finally time to finish this Honda CB450 cafe racer project. I bought this non-running, mostly complete 1972 Honda CB450 K5 back in 2010 to give myself something to tinker on and get better acquainted with motorcycles in general. At the time I had a 2008 Suzuki SV650 and a 2008 Triumph Bonneville T100. Neither of which needed me taking them apart to see how they worked.
The tank and side covers had been painted several times, it was missing it’s original seat, and although it was a low mile bike, it had endured a hard life. I later discovered that the frame was bent which further attests to the abuse it had suffered at the hands of its previous owners. I was able to track down a titled, straight frame from a 1973 K6 on eBay to replace the bent one so technically this is now a 1973 CB450 even though the majority of the parts are from the original K5.
As many of us do with our first project bikes I immediately started ordering a slew of parts and chopping tabs and brackets off of the frame (the bent one) without having a solid plan. Ultimately I settled on a cafe racer style bike as my target. At the time I was watching Cafe Racer on Velocity and reading Cafe Racer magazine so I suppose it was inevitable. The following year I bought my 1974 CB360G and quickly lost interest in the CB450 project. Afterall, the CB360G was a complete, running bike that I could jump on and tear around the back roads with. So, the CB450 sat for several years while my collection grew and pushed the CB450 further and further back in the garage.
A few years after that I decided that I lacked the motivation to finish the bike and passed it along to my brother. We tinkered with it a bit but then it continued to sit and collect dust in his garage. Which brings us to the present. With the CB77 restoration complete, I needed a project. Ideally one that wouldn’t cost me a pile of money. So the CB450 cafe racer is back in my garage and with a little luck, and a little of my brother’s money, the kids and I are determined to complete this project and get it back on the road by next spring.
Getting ready for the 5 hour drive home.
First look after unloading it. I stuck latex gloves between the filters and carbs to keep the rain out on the drive home.
To my amazement the bike fired right up. I always drain the carb bowls when putting bikes away for any length of time and this one was no exception. We had also fogged the cylinders.
We've settled on a seat from Tuffside. Here is a quick Photoshop mockup. I have no idea what color the tank will be. We're miles away from that step.