Local outfit Lions Den Motorcycles had his work cut out with this project, a Honda CB1100SF. One of the strangest choices for a custom project I’ve seen. But Lions Den founder Dan Thomas is never one to shy away from a challenge and set about turning the 20 year old naked tourer, and cousin of the infamous Blackbird, into something a little cooler.
The fuel tank was to remain bulbous and original so Dan needed to use his metalworking skills elsewhere and put the lardy Honda on a diet. A new subframe bolts to the wide aluminium box section mainframe and incorporates the battery box and the bulk of the wiring harness – plumbed by Richard Prowse. The whole tail section was mocked-up in foam before committing to annealed ally sheet, Dan’s favourite part of any build is shaping dull, flat metal into curvaceous sculpture. Thankfully owner Steve was open to the bike becoming a single seater, which really helped achieve a racier silhouette.
There was talk of fabricating small front fairing to hide some of the electronics, including the HISS system, Honda’s coded immobiliser unit. Instead Dan decided to incorporate the original ignition key but shroud it, saying “I’ve always liked having to work out a clever way to incorporate these kinds of things into a sleek design. So after hours of thinking of places to hide it under the tank or under the seat I decided to mount it up front, tucked behind an aluminium shield. It is an intricate piece that tested my aluminium welding skills but I am really happy with the result.” The housing is finished with a 3D printed Lions Den motif on the front and Motogadget Motoscope Mini alongside the OEM ignition.
A slim, clear lensed headlight from Motodemic is mounted to brackets from the UK custom scene’s go-to machinists, Fastec Racing. The front mudguard is as small as is practical, and formed from aluminium sheet, rolled into shape with Dan’s tool of choice, his English wheel.
The exhaust headers remain stock as Dan felt that for once the OEM pipework would be tricky to better from an aesthetic standpoint. A brace of linished, Spark stainless steel silencers are the only raw metal finish on the whole build. Dan is rather particular about paint and powder coat.
Amwell Blast Coat prepared new, untested textured mixes for the engine cases, rad shroud and frame to contrast the lustrous, deep gloss black, Image Design Custom paint-job. The wheels are dark graphite and after a few years of sampling Dan has found his perfect gold for the pinstripes and tank logo.
After a spirited road test Steve’s bike was meticulously prepared for it’s first public appearance – Bike Shed London 2019.
Dan is now working on something completely different, a Harley streamliner!
Images by Tom Griffiths