Amateur – noun – [am-uh-choo r, -cher, -ter, am-uh-tur] – A person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit.
Today’s dose of shed built inspiration comes from Jamie Smith of Peterborough, a proud amateur. Nothing can compare to work that is simply the result of pleasure seeking. Of course many lucky professionals get paid for doing what they love, but they also pick up a pay check. The amateur is sated purely by the process and the product. We have said it before and we will say to again, Shed Builders we salute you.
To bring home his pay check Jamie works on huge machines, as a valve train engineer for Caterpillar. Working on a comparatively tiny motorcycle must be a splendid tonic to the day job.
“I’m a one man operation with mental help from my family, and a few select friends with skills (CAD & laser cutting).” Handy friends to have around…
Although Jamie has modified a lot of motorcycles in the past, he considers this machine as his first true, clean sheet build.
The bike in question is a 1974 Honda CB500/4 that Jamie procured through ebay.
“It was rusted through, noisy engine and in hindsight I should of started with something much better. I’d always wanted the cafe style of bike, but I didn’t want chrome and glitter paint. I wanted it dark, and I wanted people to see the engineering more than a glossy finish.”
“My inspiration comes from many things, my love for metal and petrol being the main one. I’m inspired by the recent resurrection of unloved, unfashionable cheap motorcycles and making them noticeable for less money than an Ohlins rear shock will cost you for a new sports bike.” We hear you Jamie.
Jamie set to work on the dilapidated Honda, the frame received the cursory de-tagging before a suitable loop was grafted on. The front end is a combination of Honda CBR600 yokes and shortened Honda Deauville forks. The front hub was modified to take a Fireblade disc, gripped by the 3 pot Deauville calliper. Jamie reports a vast improvement over the stock front end. Beautifully fashioned aluminium finned and tapered wheel spacers were machined for the front and a matching parallel one for the rear, a glorious detail.
“The engine noise turned out to be the clutch output bearing, requiring a full engine strip. All parts were blast cleaned and painted satin black. The engine covers replaced with finned items.”
Allthough time consuming and initially unwanted, the bonus of Jamie’s extra engine work has given him complete confidence with the internals. A bike as clean on the inside as it is on the outside.
The tank was debadged and lowered to improve the stance of the bike.
“The ‘Patina’ black paint job is sign written with ’74 road burner’. This is a play on a kit Dunstall sold for the 500 in the 70’s.”
The subtle colour scheme allows the raw colours of the materials to shine; greys, silver, black, brass and the odd splash of copper in a rivet or washer.
Jamie had a stock pile of jobs for his laser cutting mate including the rear set mounts and plates. Modified Bandit 600 foot controls were then sorted to fit. The pegs were turned, knurled and anodised before receiving the intriguing wooden inserts another friend had crafted. An Acewell speedo fitted to a machined housing welded to the yoke takes centre stage of the cockpit, flanked by the swan neck clip ons that were made using the original bars and Harris billet mounts.
The electrics are largely stock at the moment with most of the wires rerouted through the frame to the lithium battery under the seat, but Jamie reports he will soon upgrade to an electronic ignition. When the Road Burner does roar to life, the full stainless Yoshimura replica exhaust from Motowerx in the U.S. sounds just as lovely as it looks.
The tyres are classic Firestone deluxe, but you knew that already…
The amateur tag in this case is a badge of honour, not an excuse. The level of detailing and commitment displayed in this machine show what can be achieved without the pressure of a budget eating hourly rate, it is the result of a pursuit of pleasure. Our hats are well and truly off to you Jamie.
“I’m quite happy with the bike. It looks like it did in my head a year ago. I look forward to getting a few miles on it. My next project will be a Ducati, and I’m thinking endurace racer styling. we will see.”