1968 Honda CB160 Road Racer from Cycle Sports of Houston, Texas

1968 Honda CB160 road racer built by Cycle Sports of Houston, Texas

1968 Honda CB160 road racer built by Cycle Sports of Houston, Texas

We hadn't heard from the boys down at Cycle Sports of Houston for a little while and when Ken Fontenot dropped me a note about a couple of projects they had just completed, I thought I better take a look. Their past work was top notch, so I figured these would be no different and sure enough, the work is gorgeous.

1968 Honda CB160 road racer built by Cycle Sports of Houston, Texas

1968 Honda CB160 road racer built by Cycle Sports of Houston, Texas

The bike featured here is a 1968 Honda CB160, built as a road racer for a local business owner and the attention to detail and overall look of the bike are truly impressive. It's also a great example of building a small displacement bike, something anyone can pick up cheap and turn into a motorcycle far above average if you take the time to do it right. You may not end up with a bike as nice as this one, but there's no reason not to try. I'll let Ken tell you all about it, but be sure to click on the photos to see them full size, they deserve to be seen up close.

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

Here's Ken:

What the Honda looked like before all of the work

What the Honda looked like before all of the work

A customer of ours decided he wanted to have fun doing some vintage racing. He looked at options and decided that the guys racing the Honda 160's were having the most fun of all the classes in AHMRA (American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association) so he decided to find a bike and have something built. He found a stock '68 Honda CB160 in San Diego in absolutely terrible condition, rusted badly and everything locked up. It was delivered to our shop here in Houston and we began by disassembling the entire bike and see what it needed ... it needed everything. We sandblasted the frame, cut off most of the unneeded parts, painted it gloss black and put it on a lift. From there we started either replacing, repainting, replating or refurbishing every part, nuts and bolts included as we put them back on.

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

Mark Shim owns several restaurants and when he is not riding one of the bikes in his collection or racing them he displays them in his restaurants ... Ya know, like art. So we decided this was going to be a VERY nice race bike with lots of attention to detail. We rebuilt the engine completely, put in 2mm oversize, higher compression pistons, new valve train, and replaced lots of worn out parts and did a lot more custom work that we won't discuss. We painted the engine cases satin black, covers gloss black or polished, sanded the fins down and had a nice engine to bolt back in.

Mark handed a seat/tailsection to us that he bought years ago and said this is the color scheme. We painted the tank black & yellow to match, ordered a Dunstall 1/4 fairing, painted it, made custom brackets and bolted it all up. We had Shane Davis at Graphtec make a set of tanks badges with the old dodge "Super Bee" as a guideline changed up to look like Mark with his vintage shorty helmet and goggles he likes to wear. They set the tank off really well! Thanks Shane!

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

1968 Honda CB160 road racer

We used slightly modified stock carbs, painted and polished them and got a set of really nice velocity stacks. John Easton over at Jemco Exhaust systems, down the street from us built a killer looking Exhaust system, had it nickel plated and I must say, its the best sounding 160 I have ever heard! He made a jig if anyone wants one of these systems he can build one for you. He can be reached at 713-461-3834.

We found some nice aluminum rims, powder coated them gloss black, installed stainless spokes, race spec Avon vintage tires and wheels were ready. We found a '74 TA-125 Yamaha road race front suspension, rebuilt it, made a few modifications, installed some tapered roller bearings, installed a set of Hagon rear shocks, new swingarm bushings and we had suspension. We rebuilt all the brakes, and made the hardware look as good as the rest of the bike. Marc LaNoue at Metal Cutting Specialties did all the waterjet work on the brake hubs and chainguard. Moto-Bits provided a set of rearsets that work really nice. All new handlebar controls, new cables, grips and kill switch and after about a year of messaging the rest of the parts and safety wiring everything we had a race spec '68 Honda CB160 race bike that seems to work really well on the track and looks good on display. When not at the race track it can be seen at Kpop restaurant in Houston, Texas.

Ken Fontenot & Jeff Wisenbaker
Cycle Sports Ltd of Houston
photo credits: Mike Valdez

Ken Fontenot of Cycle Sports

Ken Fontenot of Cycle Sports

Comments

  1. Randy says

    Very cute. I’ve watched the CB160′s race at Willow Springs and it’s always a fun race.

  2. todd says

    Awesome stuff. I wish the Formula 150 class made it. The idea was to use the (much more readily available) CB125 single. The CB160s are definitely sweeter than the venerable 125 (which you can still buy new) but they’re also not all that easy to find and not all that inexpensive when you do. Though, likely, it’s because of the popularity of the CB160 racing series people can charge an arm and a leg for a tatty example.

    -todd

  3. says

    First race this past weekend at 2nd CMRA race of the season….3rd place in Formula 5 ridden by Mark Shim…….Congratulations Mark, not bad for first time out!

  4. Travis Lawson says

    I have seen this bike come full circle from the concept to finished racer as I am good friends with both the owner and the builder. I know it was originally intended just for racing in the popular vintage class, but this little CB would really shine running in the pack on a classic bike night, slide the plate in your back pocket and go. So much fun to look at all the details and hard work Ken thoughtfully put into this machine. Very well done sir.

  5. Mike says

    I think if you throw enough $$$ into anybike you can come up with a nice one. With all due respect this is a beauty & done with alot of talent too. But the constant suggestion that “pigs ear to silk purse” can be done with bikes found cheap without lots of $$ is just not true. How about a disclosure of how much $$ goes into some of these builds ?. Even with lots of talent & a donor bike for free, few of us could afford to build some of these gems.

    • Paul Crowe says

      Checkbook restorations or money no object builds are easier than the same thing done with fewer resources, no doubt, but you can accomplish a lot if you are determined. Money tends to buy the work of other people so the more you can do on your own, the less money you need. Even buying parts can mean buying parts someone else has rebuilt. Do it yourself. The funny thing is, hiring others isn’t always a guarantee the work will be done right and if you do it yourself and learn, you will then have a skill you may be able to offer to others.

      Attitude is really important. If you’re convinced it’s too expensive no matter what you do, you’ll never start or you’ll quit at the first hurdle and say, “see, I knew it wouldn’t work,” when another person will take it in stride and keep pushing until it’s done. Your effort will “prove” it’s too hard and too expensive, someone else’s effort will “prove” it can be done even if you don’t have lots of money, but all it really proves is your beliefs affect what’s possible. You still have to work hard, you can’t wish the job done, but saying, “I can do that,” is more likely to lead to a successful build than saying the opposite.

    • BigPeeWee says

      Then perhaps the best thing to do is just look at the pictures, appreciate the craftsmanship and don’t get your panties in a bunch over what was or wasn’t spent. There’s a lot of stock parts included in both builds that appear to have been hand finished and repainted. That’s hours of tedius work as opposed to hours spent.

      I think both bikes looks great and it’s amazing what Ken has done with stock bikesincluding so many stock parts. Taking the time to do things right is priceless.

  6. steve w says

    For those that aren’t as savy on the old Honda’s. If you really want to scare yourself, kit a 305 with a 350 kit, turn the top baffle plate around on the engine, and bolt it right into a 160 frame. Fits perfect.