Many of us have had the experience of seeing a motorcycle, and noticing nothing out of the ordinary, we walk right by, but then, something makes us turn around and look again. With this bike, however, what builder Alex Zemlin calls his Honda CB-1.5, the craftsmanship is so subtle, the quality of the modifications so high, most of us wouldn’t turn around and that’s a shame, because it is a beautiful piece of work.
Alex sent me some photos he thought we would appreciate. This 1989 Honda CB-1 was originally powered by a 400cc inline four. Nice bike, lots of fun, but Alex thought it would be even nicer and more fun if he put some extra power in the light and compact frame. The engine from a ’96 CBR600F3 seemed like just the ticket, and that’s what you see here, hence the CB-1.5 designation.
He modified the frame to make room for the engine, the carbs fit nicely between the frame rails and the airbox fits perfectly under the tank. He modified the wiring harness so he could use the throttle position sensor for the F3 carbs.
Up front are 2007 CBR600RR forks with radial calipers. Gauges come from the same place. Wheels are F3 front and rear. Rear shock courtesy of a CBR900RR with an ST1300 spring.
He installed full race stainless head pipes with a Ducati 1098 muffler.
The end result is a 406 pound bike with 94 horsepower to the rear wheel, about twice what you would get from a stock CB-1.
This is the kind of work I can really appreciate, big changes and it looks completely stock and just the thing to surprise the heck out of some 600cc sport bike rider who can’t seem to shake the little CB-1. Nice work, Alex! Very nice.