Bob’s CB550

Posted by on Apr 26, 2014 in Shed Builds | 5 Comments

Bobs CB550 1

Bob Ranew is a self confessed day dreamer, but his fantasies do not simply drift off into the ether, he captures them in metal, Bob is a serial shed builder. He caught the custom bug early when he recruited Classified Moto to create him one of their stellar builds, but not content with the joy he took from the work of the Professionals, Bob chose to dirty his own creative hands. Bob’s first appearance on The Bike Shed was with his home brewed Kz 650. Next he exhibited his advancing skill set with his CB750. Now he has finished this lovely Honda CB550, its story comes chock full of advice, warning and inspiration for aspiring shed builders.

Bobs CB550 2

After reading an article extolling the virtues of Honda’s soft overlooked middleweight CB Bob smelled a project. When a down on his luck mate needed of a cheap ride coincided with a good looking 78′ CB55o appearing on Craigslist for $775 the build was on. Excited at the prospect Bob headed straight out to buy the bike, “Three things I learned from this build. 1. Never buy a bike in the dark.’ A dimly lit barn concealed plenty of the old CB’s woes, and she ran with little provocation. Bob handed over the readies.

Bobs CB550 3

“2. Just because it cranks and “runs” doesn’t mean no work required.” This second revelation came to Bob when he had the bike back in the bright light of day. The first indication all was not as it seemed was the Choke cable that was held open by a stack of thirteen zip ties. The prophetic unlucky number… The bike struggled to life then raced at idle, the exhaust was full of holes, the clutch lever held on with duct tape, the tank secured by further zip ties, the battery precariously wedged against the frame using the awol rubber tank mounts, the badges were held on with silicone caulk, the list went on. Bob, crest fallen, discovered what the night had concealed “This thing is a POS.”

Bobs CB550 4

“I found a used set of exhausts and had a mechanic look at the bike. Things missing, bolted on backwards, amazing it would even crank. Meanwhile, my buddy drops off the face of the planet. Still don’t know where that guy is.” Which brings us to the last of Bobs lessons learned “3. Friends will let you down.” Over-invested but undeterred Bob pushed on. He rendered a photoshop mock up as a guideline and set about chopping and de-tagging the frame, after reshaping the seat Bob had the outline of his mock up and started on the visuals.

Bobs CB550 5

“I decided to try my hand at painting. I continued the black from the seat across the bottom of the tank. I added a simple Copper stripe to add a pop of color and then decided on a clean white as the overall color. I kept the side covers but wanted to jazz them up a bit with new graphics pulling in the new color scheme.” The beautiful vintage palette also features the chosen name of Bob’s bike building enterprise, Redeemed Cycles. Redeemed indeed.

Bobs CB550 6

‘With just some simple mods and paint I think she turned out quit nice.” Understates the man himself. We couldn’t agree more, classic elegance and proportions given the paint design they deserve.

Bobs CB550 7

“I made a ton of mistakes along the way, but in the end, Im very happy my buddy disappeared and I was forced to build this thing.” Highly likely that if the wandering friend ever stumbles across these images of his abandoned build he will strongly regret that disappearing act.

Bobs CB550 8

Bob can I be your friend please?


  1. Dave Coetzee

    Bob THE Builder!

  2. Eddie Jenks

    Not exactly chock full of advice.
    No info on what was done on the engine, rear subframe, speedo and rev counter, mudguards, seat, etc, etc, etc
    Very poor

    • Dutch

      We can only pass on the info we’re given Eddie. You can see most of what you ask about in the photos. 60mm ebay gauges like these are everywhere, subframe work is self evident, seat is very similar to a Nitroheads unit but looks home made – so; make seat pan, add foam and then get a pro to upholsterer. Engine needed an overhaul… The story here is the human one.

      • Bob Ranew

        Thanks for the feature Dutch. Sorry I didnt give you the info some of your readers wanted. As far as mods you are spot on. Front fender shortened, frame de-tabbed and hoop added. Airbox lowered to accommodate custom seat. Custom seat pan, foam shaped and upholstery set out with very detailed drawing.
        Speedo and tach from DimeCity Cycles, also bought theIr gauge bracket, super fit. Replaced all rubber boots. Carbs rebuilt, cam chain adjusted and timing fixed and replaced valve seals. thats about it. Tired to do as little as possible.

  3. sbaugz

    not sure what it is about this bike, but I absolutely love it. Its simple, yet unique. Probably the 4-into-4 pipes have something to do with why I like it so much. Very nice work. Would love to own this bike!


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