Cafe Racers. At least 3 years that I am telling you that you are going to see more and more of them being born or re-born in the best custom shops around the world. The reason? The convergence of an affinity for the retro style with the desire to handle a very maneuverable bike both in the city and on country roads. As a matter of fact, due to the number of creations of this style present in bike shows, a couple of major custom bike competitions just started this year to create a class just for them. So, expect me to feature more and more of them. Like this one named “Rodan” (Godzilla’s nemesis and sometimes ally) by Bryan Fuller from Fuller Hot Rods that some of you also know as the co-host of the TV Show “2 Guys Garage” on Speed Channel.
The building process of “Rodan” is currently featured in the first 4 episodes of another TV show – Cafe Racer on HD Theater – and in Bryan’s new how-to book “Full-Bore Sheet Metal“. I saw this new creation in Sturgis and Bryan told me its story. “I was at the store one day on my 550 “Shogun” Honda Cafe Racer I’ve been working on since 2008 but still isn’t finished. When I came outside an older gentleman named Jack Feldman was checking it out pretty intensely. Honda CB 750’s are getting harder to find and Jack said he had one…..and he was the original owner.. and it was a first year 1969 which is the most sought after!!!! So I followed him over to his house which was only about 4 blocks away. The bike was absolutely gorgeous. $4000 cash later and it was mine. We loaded it on the trailer the next day and rode it all week at Sturgis where it performed flawlessly. I put about 3000 miles on the seat in its form as I bought it.
Then Cafe Racer TV, a cool show with lots of interesting stories featuring small shops and guys building in their garage, contacted Bryan. Of course, the 1969 Honda CB 750 was the choice to demonstrate Bryan’s skills at turning it into an improved machine of today with more speed, aggressive aesthetics while preserving easy handling associated with Cafe Racers.
Engine was replaced with a 1978 bored, ported, polished, totally decked 836cc hummer. A reputable builder in California assembled this gem and added CR Carbs good for 10 horses. Gas tank and tail were angled to match the slope of the fins and add to the aggressive stance. Frame was slightly modified with 2-degree more rake, nothing able to alter noticeably bike handling, but enough to add some attitude. A stock swingarm from Yamaha with oil tank fitted inside (as on a Buell) joined the frame via a shock from FOX.
Bryan used Beringer Brakes, originally inboard calipers conceived for the aircraft industry and now adapted to motorcycles and offered by the French company. Supposedly this set is the 3rd one out the door. Bryan’s crew had to make their own brake stays and found a way to lock the calipers off of the axle (SS dowel that tucks up into a slot in the fork leg, pretty crafty!) Ten days ago, The Rodan Cafe Racer won second place in the Performance Custom Class of the Sturgis AMD World Championship Of Bike Building. After that Bryan Fuller took it for 3 consecutive days of riding on the twisted roads of the Black Hills. He told me, extremely responsive, docile and ready to run at full throttle all the time. Tech sheet is below. Fuller Hot Rods. (photography copyright Frank Sanders & Onno “Berserk” Wieringa, courtesy to Cyril Huze)
Frame: 1969 Honda CB750 with custom rear section. Engine: 1969 Honda 750 with an 836 kit and CR Carbs. Rear Swing Arm: Yamaha Seca II modified to have oil tank in swing arm. Rear Wheel (Size): 5.50- 18″ steel rim with stainless spokes. Front Wheel (Size): 3.50-18″ steel rim with stainless spokes. Rear Shock(s): Fox shock with Hyperco. Bars: Custom made stainless clip- ons with Berringer Controls. Headlight: Custom cast housing with Buell lense and ring. Seat: Handcrafted aluminum seat pan with red leather by John Whitaker. Tank: Honda tank modified with knee cutouts with aircraft gas cap. Rear Sets: Custom made. Tail Section: Handmade Aluminum Rear with cast taillight bezel. Battery: Speedcell race battery. Brakes: Beringer inboard discs, hubs and 4 piston calipers front and rear. Tires (Sizes): Front 110/80-18. Rear 180/55-18. Exhaust: Custom stainless pipes with Cone engineering mufflers. Paint: Custom paint by JDK with stripping by Papa Studios. Plating/Polishing: Pro Plating Atlanta.