Eastern Spirit Garage CB550
By Ross Sharp - 11 Apr 14
Sylwester and Lukasz of Eastern Spirit Garage have hit the ground running in the world of custom building, their first effort is being used by Bikeexif as the base for the How to Build a Cafe Racer feature, no mean feat given the huge choice of subjects out there. This Polish duo have returned with this very fine 1980 CB550 K3. The guys started by tearing the bike down completely, leaving just the bare frame. Tabs, mounts and brackets that Honda thought necessary back in 1980 have been disposed off, along with any ugly welding splatter. The well proportioned tail provides a neat home for the battery and electrics leaving the seat pan free of additional duties, allowing it to be wafer thin. The stitched red leather, with matching grips, against the deep, lustrous shine of the black paint with gold pinstripe looks gorgeous and could be complimented nicely by a Ruby Pavillion helmet. While paint and powder was drying the boxes of components were cleaned, polished and buffed before being allowed anywhere near the assembly bench. The brass plates on the generator cover and rear sets compliment the pinstripe and show off Sylwester and Lukasz's fabrication skills and their passion for bikes of a bygone era. Wheels are standard, with black powder coated rims and spokes, and the tyres are from Avon. Forks too are in standard spec but with new seals and fresh oil, the rear shocks are 2mm longer with matching black springs. With plans to release a bit more welly from the motor an extra brake disc was added with a master cylinder from a more modern donor, the solid discs are cross drilled to keep things cool, in both functionality and looks. The rear drum hasn't been ignored, the ventilation duct covered by mesh and a brass plate is a nice touch. Engines of custom builds are often overlooked and in some cases just left alone as long as they run. Tight budgets, skills or available machinery can dictate this but the beating heart of a build, in my view, is as important as the visuals. With four cylinders to deal with and a pair of slim wallets, the Eastern Spirit boys were brave, but correct, to open the engine and wave their custom wands around. Once apart it was clear that the internals were in very good order and would be able to cope with an upgrade. Fifty extra CC have been liberated using new profiled pistons, with rings, bearings and gaskets to suit. The head has been ported and polished with the carbs re-jetted and balanced to match, velocity stacks improve throttle response and sound rather good too. Neat wrapping on the headers and a pair of reverse cone mufflers get rid of well burnt gases and again, look just right. As a precaution, the clutch plates were replaced and the springs upgraded to a stronger type. Up front the craftsmanship continues with a brass plate to hold the speedo and warning lights. An old Polish WSK donated its headlight and received a few coats of black paint and 15 minutes of fame in return. A great deal of time, effort and skill has gone into this build and the overall result is well worth it. Another project looms though so this CB550 (600 now) is up for grabs on Polish eBay and unless you are a currency trader or frequent visitor to the region and can work it out, have a guess at the asking price.