Shaun Part, gaffer at Down & Out Cafe Racers, wanted a little bike for nipping around town, and having recently built a ’60’s Bonneville bobber he decided he quite fancied a mid-sized twin. Enter the modest Honda CB450. Pretty, punchy and with a sweet sounding engine.
Shaun has been building bikes professionally for over ten years but his interest in modifying bikes dates back two decades where he started out grafting motorcycle engines into scooters. Over the last decade Shaun moved with the times, building high-end, expensive Triumph and Harley engined choppers and bobbers, but as the custom scene has evolved so has Shaun and his attention has recently turned to the modern cafe/brat custom scene.
He certainly seems to have nailed it from the start, beginning with a Norley (Manx Norton frame with a Harley engine) and a few others before more recently building the Yamaha XV920 TR1 we featured on our Facebook pages a few weeks ago, when it popped up for sale on ebay.
Other bikes followed; a Bonnie, a T100 and then there is this lovely CB450. Shaun initially got his hands on five US imported bikes most of which he sold, keeping the best pair for his own uses.
The frame was delugged and looped at the back, with a new battery box to allow the bike to run pod-style air filters. 16 inch Harley rims were laced to the CB hubs as Shaun wanted nice fat wheels with Firestones. The rolling chassis was looking good, so, on to the bodywork.
The tank came from an unknown US dirtbike and this was joined by a pair of CB750 forks to help with the wider front tyre, and the swingarm also had to be extended to allow for the wider rear. The engine was stripped and rebuilt, and all the metal parts were either cleaned up and left raw stainless steel, powdercoated or chromed.
The horn, headlight and starter button were replaced with micro push buttons connected to hidden relays, linked to a new loom. The seat was upholstered in the finest Italian leather for looks and comfort. The tank and sidecovers were then treated to a one-off paint job by Flakey Dave in Birmingham, in 70′s retro Honda colours.
Shaun has built a lot of bikes over the years, but says this is the best so far. Having spoken to him a few times now he’s clearly passionate about building bikes of all kinds, but what he loves about the new wave custom scene is the freedom and creativity that allows him to do whatever he wants – and it turns out he has great taste. “Everything about this new scene is fluid, ever changing which is exciting and keeps the motivation high”
Shaun has also just finished an equally lovely Suzuki 400 that will debut (alongside this CB450) at the Bike Shed Event this coming weekend, plus there’s a R80 on the bench, and I spent the afternoon trying to convince him to turn his skills to a Honda Dominator too. …Looks like we’d better watch this space.
Thanks to Shaun and Simon for sharing. We look forward to featuring plenty more bikes from Down & Out Cafe Racers,