When you think of modifying an old Honda CB, the choice for many is the CB750, but recently, we’ve seen more examples of builders using the CB450 or the CB550 as a starting point, and it makes you wonder why we haven’t seen more of them before.
Jeff Stephens operates a little business out of his garage called Godffery’s Garage building and modifying bikes for his customers. He was considering a cafe project when a customer approached looking for something special. After questioning the customer and narrowing down what he had in mind, Jeff began work on a rough CB550 and his only restrictions were a red frame and a Benjis tank. With that kind of freedom, he began building and since the bike wasn’t pristine to begin with, he had no qualms about cutting off and tossing the unnecessary bits and pieces.
Jeff says he did a lot of research along the way and went through many changes in the build process. With budget room to do it right, he focused on quality, he wanted a lot more than a set of clubman bars and a bump seat on his build, which seems to be where too many cafe projects begin and end.
Why twin shocks? Everyone is doing mono conversions. Why exterior fork springs? He liked the look. Why a hydraulic clutch conversion? He hadn’t seen one on a CB550 before. Jeff took a lot of in progress shots along the way so you can see the whole build process and it’s interesting to see the detail work and fabrication that goes into a project like this.
I think the end result is a really sharp bike. It’s also one of those smaller displacement rides everyone seems to be asking for these days, of course, when the CB550 was new, it was no small bike, more of a middleweight. Times sure have changed.
With builds like this showing up, maybe a lot more builders will begin looking at this little brother to the well known and maybe overdone CB750. There’s a lot of 550s out there just waiting to be restored or turned into projects like this. I like it.
Be sure to check out the Honda CB550 motorcycles for sale