CB450R Cafe Racer Kits Convert Honda CRF450R Dirt Bike to Street Legal Cafe Racer – Updated

CB450R cafe racer conversion from Design Cycle Inc. - It's light!

CB450R cafe racer conversion from Design Cycle Inc. - It's light!

There's been a lot of interest in converting 450cc dirt bikes into race bikes. The 450 singles are lightweight and inexpensive, making for a nice nimble entry level racer. But a question always pops up, why not a kit for the street?

Kurt Blankemeyer of Design Cycle Inc. is working on a conversion, too. He starts with a Honda CRF450R, but instead of building a track oriented race bike, you add Kurt's kit and the result is a street legal cafe racer, what he calls a CB450R.

While some guys working on an idea keep turning out endless CAD drawings, Kurt has a prototype on the ground running and a couple more in the works. As you can see from the photo, the bike is light, Kurt says it's around 240 pounds wet and with somewhere around 55 horsepower, you have a very flickable little performer with a pretty high fun factor.

CB450R cafe racer conversion from Design Cycle Inc.

CB450R cafe racer conversion from Design Cycle Inc.

Kick start and carb keeps it simple and seat height is only 30 inches. They're aiming at owners of CRF450Rs first, then, if the kits work out, they'll be doing complete custom bikes, later. Kurt is still making final tweaks to the prototype and is trying to gauge interest, so let him know what you think, he wants your feedback. Nice work, Kurt. I like it!

Specs:
• Engine: 2002 – 2007 Honda CRF450R
• Front End: Modified Honda
• Front Wheel: 17” x 3.5” wide Pro Wheel
• Rear Wheel: 17” x 5” wide Pro Wheel
• Front Tire: 120/60-17
• Rear Tire: 150/60-17
• Front Brake: Single Caliper CRF450 on oversize rotor.
• Swingarm: Modified CRF450R
• Rear Brake: Stock CRF450R
• Handlebar: LSL Aluminum
• Exhaust: Leo Vince
• Headlight: LSL
• Turn Signals: LSL LED
• Fuel Delivery: Carburetor
• Fuel Tank: 2.4 gallon
• Rear Suspension: Dual Shock (Progressive)
• Seat: Minimal
• Frame: Modified Honda
• Gauges: Garmin GPS
• Starting System: Kickstart…”light is right”

Performance:
• Horsepower: ~55HP
• Wet Weight: ~240 pounds
• Fun: Maximum

Link: Design Cycle Inc

UPDATE: Kurt just sent a few more photos to give you a better look. He also wanted to be clear that this prototype was not painted and the wiring is in rough shape. Everything will be cleaned up, this is a work in progress.

UPDATE 2: Be sure to read Kurt's comment below about getting these on the road legally, registering in your state and how it works in Florida.

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

CB450R cafe racer kit prototype

Comments

  1. JC says

    I would think an air cooled XR650 motor would “look” the part better, but certainly be some drawbacks to using that motor.

    This is very well executed and depending on price may be a big hit.

    When are the manufacturers going to realize there is a market for a 450 based street bike or track bike?

  2. steaminSteven says

    luv luv luv it, thiws is what the manufactures need to get the heads around, under 500cc, twin or single, simple and fun……great work dewd I luv it!

  3. says

    I want to thank Paul for having this great website. Great ideas and bikes on here.

    As for Design Cycle, we plan on offering kits in various forms (estimate late October availability/delivery for version 1.0; version 2.0 which will be a different style …available ~December 09):
    If you own a CRF450R, then we can sell you just the street legal chassis (title included). If you want the complete chassis (minus the engine), that will be the next level kit. Top level kit, will be a running/driving CB450R.

    Some other points, we built this kit knowing that you could run it as a street legal bike…and at the end of the day…put the CRF components back on your dirt bike that day for competition on the dirt track. Very quick to put together and apart.

    FYI: My previous background was as a Motorcycle Design Engineer for Honda R&D.

    You can contact us at (850) 656-0014 Tallahassee, FL for more details. Website does not have this bike on it, but emails come to me.

  4. says

    I’m going to put this on my blog (will link of course)!

    This is way cool. I love bikes like this, and after the concept Benelli that was on Motorcycle Daily yesterday, i told my girlfriend this is exactly what someone needs to build. This morning, here it is. Like magic! :-)

    I totally want one, but i’m not so sure there is really much of a market. Yes i’d love to have one. Realistically though, i’d only have one if I already had 2 or 3 other bikes to give me more broad capabilities. Most people don’t have the luxury of having 3+ bikes. So i don’t know that it would really be a big selller, but then again, it just might be.

    I love the style.

  5. says

    Paul / Kurt – are there more photos available? Specifically the standard side-on profile shot? The first picture is close but has a very cluttered background.

  6. Tyler says

    Very desirable, especially in areas with hella-twisty roads. Sadly not much of that here in Central FL but I could still see one in my garage just ’cause I love small displ. bikes. Build more please.

  7. Hank says

    I am a big fan of this. This looks like more fun than a barrel of monkeys! The only thing I would change would be a smaller headlamp, a slim-n-tidy front fender, an actual seat on the seatpan and maybe a beefier fuel tank from a design and functionality perspective (maybe CB200T shaped?). Just a couple things I would like to see, but overall, you have a serious winner in your hands (literally!).

  8. says

    Hey Hank,
    A fender is available and bolts on to those forks, we just prefer it without.
    Headlight is a litte big (a CB125S headlight is about the right size, but would need to be much bigger wattage), but it works for now and we are a dealer for LSL/Spiegler parts.
    As you suggest, it is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Front tire will lift off at any speed. Top speed was not an important factor, this bike is for fun short distance rides. Our goal was street-light to street-light and fun. Best description of the way it feels on the street is a “bicycle with a rocket attached”.

    We have a seat pan (foam/race type, but did not want to cover the paint work), it just was not on for the photo. Frame will be painted to match the body work next week. We just finished welding the last bracket we needed on it. Now, this one can go to be blasted, welds cleaned up and painted, while we are awaiting prototype parts for modifications on version 2.0. The tank (modified Harley) fits well for this application, but other tanks would probably be easier to mount up. Thanks for your interest. Kurt I’ll send more pictures when the rain lets up! Welcome to the Sunshine State.

  9. mark says

    Now THIS is cool.

    I’ve thought about doing the same thing with one of the air-cooled 600/650 dual sports, but it certainly wouldn’t end up this kind of power to weight ratio!

  10. The Ogre says

    Egads!

    I *must* have one. Preferably without having to sell either of my two current motos. How to convince She Who Dispenses The Cash…

  11. nobody says

    I LOVE the concept, but how well do these engines hold up ON PAVEMENT? Some info regarding speed/RPM would also be useful. How many miles have been put on this so far?

    Sorry for being negative – I’ve been told too many horror stories about these engines when they get used on pavement.

  12. Steve-o says

    FREAKING AWESOME LOOKING… I LOVE THE LOOK OF THESE CAFE RACERS… IT WILL BE THE NEXT THING I’LL BE PURCHASING!!

  13. Long Rider says

    OK I’m a displacement and full dresser fan, but I can appreciate the twisties and this would be an awesome bike for my short weekend jaunts through the Texas Hill Country. Good Work

  14. mxs says

    Great looking bike with nice power/weight ratio. I really dig it, the only question for me remains the maintenance on the engine. As far as I know, you have to look after those race tuned 450cc thumpers a lot more than any other street legal bike. I don’t see how a street legal rider will do valves and oil change after a weekend of riding …..

    I ride 36HP DRZ400 supermoto and it requires more maintenance than your average street legal bike (but not toa bad due to the detuned power output), so I can imagine CRF450R will be marginally worse given the higher stress in this engine …

  15. mxs says

    @Walt

    Good eye. my bet would be that they have not had it mounted for the photo shoot. There’s not much choice where to mount the rad …

  16. Orlando says

    I think this is genius. The greatest is that it`s not a permanent conversion, rather you get 2 bikes for the price of 1 and a bit! Bikers are usually counting pennies, so if this is reasonably priced, it will have real appeal IMHO.

  17. JR says

    Looks like the rad is under the bike.

    Beautiful bike….we’re all waiting for a ballpark price with baited breathe.

  18. Derek says

    this is exciting. like, jump up and down in my chair exciting. it’s nice to finally see someone apply all the awesome qualities of modern dirt bikes back into a street friendly package. this is the bike we’ve been waiting for.

  19. todd says

    He beat me to it. My plan is based more around the DRZ motor since it is already street legal.
    How are you able to get the EPA (or worse, CARB) approval on this motor for the street? Last time I checked the only way possible was to pull a fast one on an unsuspecting DMV employee. Of course, I’m in California. Things may be a bit more lenient in Florida – you can drive golf carts on the roads…

    As to concerns over the engine’s durability on the street I think this is a non-issue. Dirt riding is much more strenuous on a motor. Just think how often the rear wheel breaks traction and the RPMs bounce all over the place. On the street you’re mostly on even, smooth throttle application, rarely wide open… One main concern is that there is no cush drive in the rear hub or front sprocket. It will take its toll on the transmission and output shaft.

    I like it (other than the peanut tank).

    -todd

  20. JC says

    “How are you able to get the EPA (or worse, CARB) approval on this motor for the street? Last time I checked the only way possible was to pull a fast one on an unsuspecting DMV employee. Of course, I’m in California. Things may be a bit more lenient in Florida – you can drive golf carts on the roads”

    I can’t speak for FL or anywhere else, but in Texas we can dual sport four strokes. You have to add lights, DOT tires, and pay your money to the DMV for the title and they usually don’t bother to check if the tires are DOT or not. I may be missing something in this, but they certainly don’t check EPA or CARB approval.

  21. todd says

    interesting that you removed the single shock and replace it with two outboard units but left the stock swing arm. Now the swing arm is overkill since it no longer has to handle spring loading.

    Is a shorter swing arm in the works?

    -todd

  22. says

    We use a series of large inline transmission coolers underneath this CB450R to keep it’s temperature in check. Hence, no traditional radiators shown. Lots of fittings. But, we will probably be hiding a radiator in addition with these coolers when we sell kits to cool it down more. As anyone around these CRF450R/X knows, they get hot like turning on a light switch. The 450s make the 400s seem anemic.

    As far as durability, I count myself as being very hard on equipment (various people have mentioned this all my life) and we have not blown this engine (yet). The goal is to eventual get it to fail, then fix the problem(s).

    Granted, if you plan on driving cross country on this CB450R, then this bike is not for you! Initially, we are wanting current CRF450R/X owners. Is it “Goldwing reliable”, NO but who would expect it to be when the stock CRF450R acts like a grenade with the pin pulled. You can’t make that kind of power without losing some reliability.

    As for Price (not yet fully determined, but here goes):
    Level 3: Titled Primered Frame only (future versions to be mono-shock, so no welding on your CRF450 swingarm): approx. $3,500
    Assumes, buyer supplies correct year CRF450R/X, front end from appropriate year Hondas, seat, and misc other items. We can suggest what works and what doesn’t.
    Level 2: Titled Chassis with cooling system etc., minus CRF450R/X parts & customer supplied wheels/rims: Price TBD
    Includes everything but CRF450R/X parts
    Level 1: Complete titled “Barrel O’ Monkeys – Drive off Lot on Rear Tire” CB450R: starting at ~$11,000

  23. Fearnow says

    “if you have to ask how much…”

    Thats what I’m afraid of, frankly. If this is a boutique project, great, but homey ain’t in the same tax bracket as that. I ride my bike(s) daily. Don’t have the $$ to collect.

  24. Gaza Duna says

    It’s an interesting starter I must admit, but to be calling it a Cafe’? It still looks like a dirt tracker to me, regardless of the headlight, and tear-drop brake light.
    I have to give the guy credit for the design. It does look nice, and think that the product will do well as an entry level bike. I wish him the best!

  25. jp says

    This with an XR650R motor would be a dream come true… What are the chances of the big XR lump fitting in that frame?

  26. Kenny says

    I like it,but it needs a set of clubman bars instead of the dirt track style ones shown. Maybe a swoopy megaphone exhaust too.
    It’s about time someone built a replacement for my SR500.

  27. OneGoodKnee says

    Pretty nice………I had problems blowing the trany on my street legal CRF450R based supermotard. Gears would show pronounced pitting and heat damage.

    This type of bike is the most fun you could have with clothes on………..till I fragged the motor while trying to show a couple of Gixers the tail-lights.

    On the freeway I take to work the higher duty cycle of street riding would really heat up the gear box. Possible solutions were taking the gears out and getting them super finished….playing around with larger lubrication capacity and adding trans oil cooler.

    The upside down forks on the CRF are damn nice……..did you flip them on your bike to retain period correct look?

    I have a 2007 CRF450R in the garage that I was getting ready to do a “Roland Sands” type streetable 450. Now I might go your way.

  28. Schneegz says

    Looks great! I’d like it better, though, if it kept the inverted forks and monoshock of the dirt bike, like the 450 supermonos.

  29. Jon P says

    Awesome! I’ve missed having a thumper on the street for years. Very simple, very clean, VERY much wanted.

  30. Kurt Blankemeyer says

    OMMAG has a good point on the website. I am really slow about fixing that. Had a person design a new website…did not go well, then got busy on the project. Duly noted. Anyone good at websites?

    The frame is street legal because it comes with a title & VIN from Honda Motor Company (gold star when you figure out which model is the base) and we modify it heavily (gussets, brackets, cut/hack etc) to accept the CRF450 engine. As far as legal, it is legal (local police, Florida Highway Patrol & county sheriffs have seen it). As far as EPA, most bikes I see at our dealership are not EPA compliant in any way. The DMV in Florida will give you a title for a “mattress with wheels” if it has the appropriate lights, mirror, turn signals, etc. and you have receipts for all the parts. I’ve done it. Not using a mattress, but close. I don’t know much about California DMV, but the Florida title should suffice, the year of the bike will be older according to the frame VIN. The engine is actually pretty quiet with this exhaust (much quieter than the uncorked CRF450R dirt bike we use as our benchmark). The manufacturers use “air injection” to pass EPA anyways (look at 2001 – 2005 Yamaha FZ1 and Yamaha 535 Virago, etc.). If my memory is correct, you can build 20 bikes without EPA compliance.

    As far as price, when you see the end product (prototype is shown which is very rough, frame is not painted) it is worth it.

    Lots of engines were considered (XR650R, big singles, small Vee engines), but there are 10x more performance parts available for the CRF450. Engine is amazing. Even Honda abandoned the XR650R because the CRF450X was nearly as fast, lighter and just as durable. You can do certain things to prolong the engine life. http://powersports.honda.com/experience/adventure-awaits/CRF450X-winning-baja-racer.aspx

    FYI: engine will be moved forward in the frame over two inches on the final kit available, which will reduce the wheelbase. We consider this the long wheelbase model, which we may or may not make available based on interest. Dual and mono-shock available. Frames can have provisions for both or either.

    Another answer: Most modern Honda sportbike front ends will BOLT ON to this frame. A major bearing company confirmed this for us. Taking a few ques from Harley. We custom make steering locks them. So, if you don’t like this front end, any Honda sportbike front end you like will work. I personally like this front end. Inverted, CBR, VFR, VTR, etc. Which means clip-ons would be easy also. FYI: We want the kits to be easy for people to put on the road, not sit in a garage or in the yard.

    I’ve studied a few bikes closely and had very good training in frames. I can thank past employers for that. I’ve had a lot of help along the way. Thanks for all the input. It is really appreciated. We are way too small to create a focus group.

    .

  31. The Phantom says

    “Most modern Honda sportbike front ends will BOLT ON to this frame. A major bearing company confirmed this for us. Taking a few ques from Harley. We custom make steering locks them. So, if you don’t like this front end, any Honda sportbike front end you like will work. I personally like this front end. Inverted, CBR, VFR, VTR, etc. Which means clip-ons would be easy also.”

    If that’s the case, then you could use CBR929/954 or SP1 (RC51) tripleclamps and then any 50/54mm USD fork combo is possible! As well as the forks from the doro bike listed above, you could also use 2004+ R1 forks and get the radial calipers (you just need to make some spacers up as the fork centres on R1s are 210mm apart and the Honda triples space the fork centres at 214mm).

    I’d love to see one of these with an R1 front end and a single sided swingarm from a VFR400…

  32. Big B says

    The frame is street legal because it comes with a title & VIN from Honda Motor Company (gold star when you figure out which model is the base) and we modify it heavily (gussets, brackets, cut/hack etc)

    I’m guessing the frame is from a crf230m.
    Love the bike can’t wait to see the finished results.

  33. Phoebe says

    Most streetfighter builders just swap the entire front end from another bike onto whatever they’re building, using the donor triple clamps and all. Typically, they press the stem out of the old triple and put it in the new triple. Then it’s usually a matter of spacers and bearings and that’s about it. There’s plenty of really good Honda front ends out there, though, so that seems like the obvious choice, and of course you’re not going to need monster brakes to stop this thing! =)

  34. taxman says

    is it an old CB frame? like, from a CB350 or 400?

    in that Baja article that you linked to it made a comment that it’s top speed on the Baja bike was 114mph on pavement. i don’t think i would ever need that sort of top end speed. but my only concern with a bike with a smaller engine would be maintaining highway speeds and having a little extra on hand to be able to pass.

    here in northern michigan there aren’t a lot of stoplights. most of the roads are county roads with speed limits of 55mph and leisure corners. just wondering what the capabilities of this bike would be on roads like that.

    i’m seriously headed to ebay to see what i can do here.

  35. JSH says

    As you have noted, your kit / turn key motorcycle is not legal. State authorities in Florida may not care about Federal emission requirements and allow you to title and license your creation. However, on the Federal level, your bikes are in violation of noise and emission regulations. I would highly advise against selling turn-key motorcycles. With a kit the liability falls on the customer. You can always play dumb and pretend that you are selling products intended only for use off-highway. However, when you sell a turn-key product that liability is yours as a business. Having worked with the EPA and CARB to certify vehicles for a manufacturer of UTV’s and ATV’s I can tell you you don’t want that liability. The fines for selling non-conforming vehicles start at $10,000 per vehicle. You don’t want be be another Jesse James (At least when it comes to the fines for non-conforming vehicles.)

  36. Schneegz says

    Kurt Blankemeyer:

    Thank you for clearing up a lot of our questions! I love how the internet helps consumers and small manufacturers meet each others requirements! So many people claim the era of small businesses and small manufacturers is over, but they’re just dinosaurs too stuck in the past to come up with new solutions.

  37. mxs says

    Thanks for giving more details about the engine …… but when you say you have not blown up one yet, under what maintenance that is? How often oil changes (I assume you highest quality synthetic oil only …) and valve clearances adjustments?

    While I agree with you that this not a bike to take across the country, even if one uses to boot around a town, most people cannot spend the time on maintenance as much as weekend racers who do not put as many miles on the bikes.

    The engine sounds and I am sure is great, I just cannot get over the idea of using it in a street legal riding application, without paying the price somewhere. I think the hint should be a fact that Honda doesn’t use the engine or its variations in any of their dual sport street legal models … why not, is the obvious question. I think the reply readily available is that they would have to detune it, so it’s usable under maintenance of comparable street legal bikes.

    What will be the recommended maintenance for your customers?

    Don’t get me wrong I applaud your efforts …..

  38. says

    We have heard similar information as JSH stated. Hence, it will likely be a “off-road” kit with something title for ownership rights that you can do with it as you wish. Flat-tracking was one idea we had for the frame and eliminate all the electrical. As for durability, the flywheel and stator required to make the engine produce electrical power does tone down the engine nature quite a bit.

    Kurt

  39. says

    Or we could do like the automatic weapon manufacturers… We could sell everything but the engine in an “offroad frame kit”. “You supply the firing pin.” We prefer not to sell engines anyways. Honda already does that.

  40. todd says

    I’ll take a shot at the frame quiz: Is it from a CB250 NightHawk? It looks like a fairly late model one with the extra neck gusseting. You must have come across a used lot from a training clinic.

    -todd

  41. Jimmy says

    OK now that you’ve all had time to take a deep breath, keep your money in your bank acct.buy a set of 17 inch wheels to fit your CRF/ YZF/EXC or what-ever dirt bike you have get your stator rewound to run the lights, put an oil cooler on it to save the engine,and if you need it to look different like a cafe then change the tank fenders and seat. for all of you that want a large single for the street KTM makes a real nice one. Kurt you can talk all day about it but you will never get me to understand why you replaced the stock aluminum frame,as you already stated the FLA DMV would licence a mattress so that wasn’t really the point. cool looking custom though,hope you do well selling kits,just won’t be to anybody I know.

  42. Kevin McClellan says

    I’d buy the kit for less than $5k. The peanut tank is killing it though. He really needs to get ‘Benji’s Cafe Racers’ to fit one of their gorgeous carbon-fiber tanks. Then it’d be heaven, and I’d buy the kit for $6k.

  43. says

    We do this type of thing from the Yamaha SR 400s at Deus motorcycles in Australia. Its easier to do and the air cooled engines have proven reliability.

  44. Buellman says

    Count me in with the folks really excited to see this. I’ve been toying with the idea of building thumper based street bike. One thing I wanted to learn more about is bike and tire geometry, and how to get it right for the street. Can anyone point me to a good reference?

  45. todd says

    Buellman, just about every dirt bike is already ideal for tight, twisty roads. To get the best feel from your front end remove the 21″ front wheel and lace up an 18 or 17 and get some good tires front and back. This will further sharpen your steering to the point at where it feels like the bike turns for you. You can dial some of that back by lowering the rear end and pushing the front fork tubes as far down in the triple clamps that they will go. Some people dig the nervous, twitchy, quick steering and don’t bother doing all that extra stuff. Besides, you won’t need the motocross bars any more because of this and get something narrower and lower that will allow you to tuck in on longer straights to help feel that you are going real fast. Eventually you will find that your suspension is a bit too soft so dial up the rates as much as you can or start switching over to streetbike front ends and rear springs…

    Usually just the switch to the smaller front wheel is all it takes to have a real blast.

    -todd

  46. Billy B. Tso says

    wow! nice one Kurt!
    brilliant on the mechanics of it! …although, more on the cosmetic side, overall i think its nice, but a few thoughts on improving: personally would have preferred a mono shock or even completely hidden to show that nice gap between the wheel and exhaust (would be an amazing looking rear section then), the seat pad is plain ugly, plate holder looks like an after-thought (needs a more practical location), and the big one! **clip-ons are a must!**
    some of the above suggestions are personal, and may not please the masses, so for what its worth, hope it helped.
    but as i said, i think it is real nice and again a job well done Kurt!!

  47. says

    “The frame is street legal because it comes with a title & VIN from Honda Motor Company (gold star when you figure out which model is the base)”

    1975 -1977 Honda CB400F frame

    ….would look nice with a long alloy vintage cafe Honda tank! ;)

  48. says

    For those of you saying CB400F as the frame, give yourself a pat on the back. “Other” Honda frames will work also from that era.

    It is heavily modified, but it helps to have a good straight solid starting point.

    Since the neck is the right height and bearing situation, virtually all Honda sportbike front ends will mount to this frame… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    We are researching different fuel tanks, tails and lights. The stock CB400F tank looks awful IMHO.

    Back to work….Kurt

  49. Fraser Waters says

    Kurt drop me an email re: websites. I build and run websites for some of the top names in DH mountain biking and a couple of pro photographers. I’d be happy to help out.
    Drop me a line and i can send you some links.

    Oh and as far as the bike goes, it rocks, having raced MX for a few years and also riding on the road most days i definitely think you are onto something.

    Keep up the good work…Fraser

  50. Kurt Blankemeyer says

    On page 44 of the current (October 2009) issue of Cycle World, there is a CR500 stuffed in a CX500…Last paragraph of the full-page article: “Moir’s mad thirst to ride something smokin’ hot but still road legal resulted in a CR500 for the street that is a real treat. Just don’t tell The Man!”

    FYI: Design Cycle bikes will say for “off-highway use only”.
    We ruled out the CR500 as it is a two stroke (loud, etc.) and not very plentiful even though they were produced for a lot of years. In contrast, lots of people own CRF450s.

    On a side note: If Honda would have moved the radiator or made it stylish in any way on the CX500, I think it would have sold a lot better. The Buick looking radiator in front looks really awful. The CX500/GL500/650s do sound good uncorked though.

    Kurt

  51. nobody says

    If I read that article correctly, it is still a CR500 frame – with a CX500 steering head (with VIN!) attached – and with 4 degrees more rake.

    I always thought the British nickname for the CXs was spot on. I’m not going to say it………

  52. KawaFunky says

    I have a friend with an old GT650 Hawk and I can’t keep up with him in the tight stuff. I’ve been looking for something light, fast, fun, and unique. I also noticed that the road race conversions for 450 singles look like fun. Plus I have a soft spot for vintage hondas and cafe bikes in general. In short, I love it and I want one!

  53. says

    Sorry for long post.

    Design Cycle is on a first name basis with the Florida DMV. We are inspected yearly and talk to them regularly. We also know people at the Florida DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). Here is the response from two different DMV inspectors (from different cities in Florida). You can not take a Honda CRF450R or X and add lights, plate provision, horn etc. and get the State of Florida to change the title to “on-road purposes”. You CAN build something from scratch (such as a mattress with lights, brakes, etc.) and get a street-legal title for it in the State of Florida. It is called an “ASPT” title or “Assembled From Parts” title. To avoid that hassle, we tried to work with something already out there. This is the reason we took the route we took. Other states (maybe Oregon, etc.), you can take an off-road only model such as a CRF450R or CRF450X and have it inspected after adding lights, plate provision, etc. and get a street legal title. Not the case in Florida.
    After reading as many comments as possible on this and other sites, we (Design Cycle) have decided to offer later this Fall a “Basic Mount Kit” in addition to other kits so people can “build your own” so to speak. My employees would like to see more of these on the street. It is a sense of pride. Kind of like McDonald’s/Burger King philosophy – “Home of the CB450R/Have it Your way”. So to avoid the “I want mine without pickles” syndrome, we decided it was best to offer this option for people who want this kit, but want it with different or their own features (and don’t want to pay for all the extra parts you plan on not using).
    The Basic Mount Kit would be priced at $1,900 retail (plus sales tax if applicable & shipping). Pre-ordering now.
    The basic kit would be a series of engine/swingarm brackets, footpegs, sleeves, bushings, bearings & mostly stainless hardware to mount a CRF450R or CRF450X into a Honda CB350F or CB400F frame. Steering head bearings supplied by Design Cycle. CB350F/400F frame will accept newer Honda sportbike front ends.
    This kit is for those of you that want something different than what we can provide or plan for. We have two other versions coming that are specifically NOT café racers with CRF450 engines coming soon.
    Customer supplies:
    • 1972-1974 CB350F or 1975-1977 CB400F chassis. They are available in your area as Honda sold a lot of these. We can not locate all of them and shipping costs more than they are worth at this point. Check your local forest or woods or Craigslist to find one. I would rather them be back on the street than lost in the next round of Cash For Clunkers program.
    • Honda CRF450R or CRF450X engine/swingarm and other components of appropriate year.
    • Honda CB350F or CB450F front end OR Honda Sportbike front end (may require minor changes, steering lock & dust seal).
    • Lights not included in kit. Keep wattage usage to a minimum.
    • Will require mounting of rear brake master cylinder of CRF, different exhaust/muffler, change in air filter & mounting radiators (Design Cycle to assist with brackets, but various options exist to cool engine).
    • Minor welding required on some mounts & brackets. Easy to weld on, pictures provided and locations clearly marked.
    Legality and local regulations are the responsibility of the buyer/customer/owner. Customer is responsible for safety of completed vehicle. “off-highway use only” Have fun and Enjoy the Ride. Design Cycle (850) 656-0014.

  54. todd says

    This should be a good start. Just be careful that Honda doesn’t come along and sue you for using the “CB” designation.

    -todd

  55. Ricky Racer says

    If you were to start with the Husky TE dirtbike, it is already street legal and can be made into a killer flyweight canyon carver! RR

  56. Mike says

    I like this bike keep the head light off and would be close to perfect for a small dependable track bike maybe add a small windshield.

  57. Kurt Blankemeyer says

    1st video, though we have been driving it for months. I am new to Youtube. The weather was wet, so I couldn’t do anything drastic.

  58. matty k says

    thinking about buying a cafe racer, then I saw this….. would love to build my own with your kit… when will it be available??????

  59. says

    The kit for the kick and electric start is $1,900 for the brackets and hardware.
    The electric start only (long wheel base) is less. Call us at (850) 656-0014 to order.

    Design Cycle will be selling our maroon prototype on Ebay in the next 60 days. We have several other variations to work on now.

    Kurt Blankemeyer
    President
    Design Cycle Inc.

  60. Big Mike says

    I absolutely must have one! Price for road ready bike? This bike will be awesome on my mountain roads in Vermont!!!

  61. Big Mike says

    Do we have a link to view version2.0 or any more pictures of kits and what not?

  62. Mario Baroz says

    Very nice. Though I wouldn’t call it a “cafe racer”. Looks more like a streetfighter/standard. That peanut gas tank is awful and the swingarm is too long. Need fenders on it though you already know that. The headlight is out of proportion, needs to be a little smaller.

    In my mind, you could go two ways with it…go olde English standard, fit a rounder tank, some fenders, different handlbars, speedo in the headlight shell, sort of like a BSA A7 meets BMW R60/2. Or you could go real cafe racer with it and put a quarter fairing on it like the old Ducati 750SS.

    Definitely some nice craftsmanship and a great idea. The price and maintenance-intensive engine kind of relegate it to an occasional toy though. A very nice toy to be sure!!! Good luck!!!

  63. Bob Bitchen says

    I’d say it I could get an excessive speed charge in half the time it took me to get one on my street legal xr650r…twelve days.

  64. Dano says

    Very very cool!! Kinda just looks like a street legal flat tracker. Wouldn’t really call it cafe. A longer, more cafe tank would look oh so much better. Anyway, nice bike.