Too often in the UK when we think of New York we picture New York City. Whereas NY State’s hugely diverse landscape carries a fascinating history but more importantly some great roads and scenery, particularly along the Hudson valley. Kingston lies on the Hudson about 90 miles north of downtown Manhattan and it couldn’t be more different from the concrete and glass jungle. Oddly it’s a place that’s stuck in my mind as it’s where I got my first US speeding ticket, after a fun day out on the roads around the Catskills.
Nick Cologero is a professional firefighter for Kingston FD, and in his spare time builds bikes. With a half dozen builds under his belt so far, it’s safe to say he’s well on his way to his desire to open his own shop full time. At least he’ll be well prepared for those little ‘grinding/oily rag accidents’ we have from time to time. For the moment being, this CB750 is his, and it’s clear he’s put everything he’s learnt so far into this classy build. In Nick’s own words “I built this bike to handle a bit of everything. I wanted to build a bike that I would still want to ride home after a long day at work, or take to lunch with my fiancee. I focused on quality throughout the build. I didn’t just want it to look nice; I wanted it to be ridden hard, and to last.”
A bone stock CB750k was the ideal starting point, and it was soon torn down to it’s component parts. With 47k miles on the clocks the engine was treated to a well deserved reconditioning; rehoned bores, new rings, lapped valves, and CB900 cams for added thrust. Once mechanically sorted the cases were blasted, brushed and painted before being reassembled with stainless hardware all round. It was then mated to a set of fully reworked carbs, the power unit now good and reliable for another 50k.
While a brace of pod filters can look trick they are often detrimental to the performance of an engine if the original CV carbs remain. The clue’s in the name, constant velocity, and the turbulent air created by the pods can make a multi cylinder bike hard to tune. Nick’s solution was to ditch the plastic OEM airbox and make his own, more aesthetically pleasing aluminium one. It took a fair bit of trial and error and a lot of Tig welding, but the result is commendable, a great balance of form and function. The engine breathes out through a clever reworking of the original silencers, pie cut for a GP aesthetic and with custom baffles, the engine can sing as it’s meant to.
The standard frame was tidied up, detabbed and the rear subframe reworked, using slugged joints and Tig welding to maximise strength for two-up riding. New chrome wheels, with stainless spokes and gold nipples, continue the small touches of gold throughout the bike and are carried in the reworked suspension. Progressive springs up front meant dropping the forks 1.5″ through the yokes to avoid upsetting the spring rates, and 1″ longer shocks at the rear maintained the stance of the bike. The original loom was in great condition and was modified to allow the electronics to fit under the tank, including the new Shorai Lithium battery in a custom aluminium tray.
Nick fabricated a seat pan and sculpted the foam to follow the stepped rear section. The paint and upholstery had to be outsourced, but have come out beautifully. Getting a good finish in these two areas can make or break a bike and are typically the toughest parts for the shed builder to take on. The droolworthy combination of Porsche Forrest Green and tan brown leather, not typically Honda, give the bike a classic European feel. Nick, ever the perfectionist only notices the flaws of course, and ways he can improve the bike further. But he also concedes it’s built to be ridden, and so it shall!
Nick must be applauded for his taste, particularly as he lives but 40 minutes from a certain company whose chopper builds for Corporations have resulted in some questionable bikes over the last decade. There’s no evidence that the Newburgh bike builders were a source of inspiration here, this classy green and brown CB750 is a statement of restraint. His next project, a Sportster Bobber will definitely be one to keep an eye out for.
The great photos were shot by Nick’s friend Matt Petricone. See more of his work at MatthewPetricone.com