It is worth almost floating on my Harley for 50km in torrential rain to see the beautiful café racers and customs at a CROSA gathering. It was the first outing, or with the amount of rain we faced on the way home that  should perhaps read maiden voyage, of some newly built motorcycles. Our featured Honda CB750F café racer is one of these brand new creations making its debut with a total of only 160 km on the clock since its metamorphosis.


After ten highly successful years as the original Japanese four stroke four cylinder motorcycle for the masses, the Honda CB750’s SOHC engine performance and looks had been matched and beaten by their Japanese rivals in what had become known as the UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) market. So, in 1979 Honda again proved that they were market leaders by introducing their fresh looking, improved handling and braking  DOHC 750cc model known as the CB750F. Although many of the Japanese transverse four cylinder engine layout models could easily out perform the Italian V twin Ducatis in a straight line, this layout was not generally considered to be ideal for the twists and turns of a racetrack and the Ducatis were still the motorcycle of choice.for road racing. The Honda CB750F put an end to this theory once and for all. In comparative road tests of the time against the Ducati 900SS, the CB750F proved more stable and equal in handling when both models were ridden at their limit. With 72hp on tap the CB750F was good for just under 200km/h.


On the top of Anthonie from Pretoria’s CB750F café racer’s fuel tank he has the words “Built Not Bought”, he could have also added “By Myself”. Almost all the customisation and modifications including the excellent paint job are Anthonie’s handiwork. He installed a CB750K fuel tank instead of the original because the K model has the raised section running  along the top instead of the original flat surface on the F’s fuel tank. The original front mudguard has been shortened. The instrument cluster has been replaced by a simple single speedometer gauge. Pieter from Perry’s Motorcycles in Pretoria CBD, the nicest and most knowledgeable mechanic you are ever likely to have help you with older Hondas, provided Anthonie with the CB900F upper triple trees which meant that the original one piece handlebar of the CB750F could be replaced with the separate units off the CB900F. He has mounted them upside down, with bar-end mirrors, to provide the lower riding position. The shock stanchions had to be pushed through to mount the bars which lowers the front end slightly and always makes a café racer look more aggressive.


The original tailpiece has been narrowed and now flows smoothly off what remains of the shortened subframe. The lines of the central ridge of the K’s tank have also been added to the top of the tailpiece, enhancing the overall lines of this motorcycle.The LED taillight comes off a Honda CBR. The indicators and headlight are all aftermarket parts.The very narrow seat is covered in leather, with the suede surface to the outside. Upholstering the seat is one of the few elements which were outsourced to a professional. A set of period correct Marzocchi shocks were given to Anthonie and he has restored them back to new condition.The number 63 is the year back in the 1900s when Anthonie was born.


Another interesting Anthonie fabricated feature are the exhaust headers with the crossed over central headers. I have previously mentioned that Harley should supply their motorcycles without silencers as they always wind up in a dumpster before their motorcycles leave the showroom floor anyway. A pair of brand new but gutted Harley silencers have avoided the recyclers and look great on this café racer. The carburettors have tubes fitted without filters. A close-up of the detabbed frame and the mounting of the electrics are evidence of the overall standard of this personal creation.

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Every custom build has something special to absorb and enjoy. For me, this motorcycle retains all the elements which make it easily identifiable as a CB750F, yet it is a truly custom café racer with some novel and unique features. Not easy to pull off and in this case, exceptionally well done.