Most creativity is born out of necessity and these creations are designed to bring about a practical improvement in an aspect or quality of our everyday life. The owner and builder of our featured motorcycle, Tim, is an Industrial Designer, who earns a living expressing this form of creative ability. His bobber does not fall under this form of creativity. It falls under that wonderfully impractical form of creativity which is purely a physical manifestation of the creator’s personal need for artistic expression. Tim also restores and has vast knowledge of the early 1960’s Hondas and so in his own words…


“I’ve been collecting Hondas for several years now and one particular model that I’ve developed a special affection for is the CB77 305cc Super Hawk, which I consider to be one of the best looking bikes Honda ever made. When it was launched in the early sixties it knocked the European manufacturers offerings into a cocked hat. Here was a little 305cc machine from the Axis Powers that gave the mid-size Brit-bikes a hiding; and the 650’s a good run for their money. Heavily over-engineered with roller bearing cranks and cams, twin carbs, twin leading shoe brakes front and rear and exceptional build quality; they became very popular and have developed a bit of a cult following during recent times. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they’ve also become quite rare and as a result have become quite valuable; but parts are also becoming incredibly hard to come by. So much so that I’ve taken to buying parts for them whenever I can. Which leads me on to the raison d’etre of the Brakpan Bobber.”


“Several months ago I was informed about a batch of CB77s that had become available. Having three in my stable already, I took a friend with to share the treasure and the expenses. The result was that he got a fairly complete bike and I got a 50% complete high-bar model which had the rare-as-hen’s-teeth Denso hooter that I had been desperately searching for to complete my restoration project. A while later a good friend of mine, Tony, asked if he could compare some of my engines to sort out a timing issue on his restoration project. He checked out the 50 percenter and announced that it had good compression and that the timing was bang on. I didn’t think much more about it for a few weeks. Then one night, as I went to sleep, an idea popped into my head and the following morning I had the insatiable desire to swing some spanners on the beast. I started by taking off the back shocks and dropping the bike as low as it would go. Then I hunted for a fuel tank in amongst all my spares. I went through a few and eventually settled on a monkey bike tank that I had lying around. It looked a bit odd, but the main idea was there. Then I messed around with the bars, trying a few different sets and finally decided the best lines came about when I flipped the original high bars. Yank the fenders off, fit the front one to the rear and suddenly things started to look pretty funky, although the tank wasn’t quite right. Then I remembered that I had seen a funky 70’s style CB100 tank at the CMC which I had hidden away for another day when I had some loot to pay for it. I eventually grabbed that tank hoping like mad that I could make it fit the CB77’s strange frame. It was like euphoria when I plonked it onto the bike; suddenly everything lined up and I knew I had a good thing going.”


“The rest of the bike kinda built itself, with bits and pieces pulled from my stash of cool stuff and hard to get stock parts. The bike took up residence in my lounge and I’d fiddle with it now and then when I had a chance. A bit of wiring here, carb rebuilding there. For the first time in ages I was having fun again building a motorcycle.”


” I decided to keep everything raw and as found, being inspired by the raw creations of Slim’s Fabrications. This guy’s got skills, but sadly a lot of people don’t get it because they can’t see past the raw metal and bare welds. That’s why I left the bike the way it is, why I used rare stock parts and novel details: I want it to piss off the finger pointers and the tyre kickers. What I really get a kick out of is the suicide shifter and clutch set up. This has people baffled, partly because it’s made of re-bar and partly because they can’t comprehend how it works. Well, it does, it just needs a little bit more brain power; sorta like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. While riding a motorcycle.”


“The finishing touches were done the night before February’s Piston Ring meeting, which included fitting some new stainless steel struts to replace the rectangular tubing that I had initially fitted; a saddle made from a piece of steel, some foam and a dish towel and fitting the tail light and license plate mount (stock CB77 parts made from unobtanium).   Annoyingly, I never got to ride it to the Piston Ring as the battery had gone flat. The next time I wanted to ride it was to the CMC, but unfortunately the clutch decided it would not disengage. I finally managed to get it all together and running just in time to take it to the CRoSA Meet Up at Harvard Cafe; and man was the agony worth it. The bike handles like a dream (helped in part by the genuine vintage Dunlop Racing tyre) and puts a serious smile on your dial. The carbs just need a little more fettling to make her run a bit better.”


“As for the name? The Brakpan Bobber. Courtesy of my good mate, while we were enjoying a few Peronis one night. He reckoned it looked like it had been found in the back of a garage somewhere in Brakpan; and the name stuck. Somehow it just fits with the bike’s persona.”