I am slowly making progress with the dismantling of the wrecked 2007 Bonneville that I bought from Marnitz. There are no shortcuts available and everything has to be stripped down before the fun and creativity of building a desert sled can begin. This is the first modern generation motorcycle that I have undertaken to rebuild and although it is just a carb fed parallel twin, there is a senseless amount of wiring going to sensors and little black boxes all over the motorcycle. I am carefully stripping the complete harness off the Bonnie, labelling every connection as I go and trying to keep as many of the electrical components connected to the harness as possible. I know that when I reinstall the harness, any connection or component incorrectly wired or omitted will result in hours and hours of frustration with a motorcycle which will not run. The temptation is there to say that most of these sensors are unnecessary, but this would not be true. Modern motorcycles depend on these sensors to make them efficient, reliable and safe. I do however wish for the simplicity of the pre 1990s wiring harness now that I am having to perform surgery on the Triumph.


Our featured Honda CB750 café racer is a good example of a 1980s motorcycle which had a minimal amount of wiring. In fact, now that Tiago from One One Customs in Germiston has hidden all the electrics under the tank and installed the small battery under the seat, the Honda appears to not have a wiring harness at all. This DOHC 750cc motorcycle belongs to Mike. He and his friend Terence are building two very similar café racers although Terence’s Honda is a 650cc. Both of their motorcycles have similar paint work with their 76 logo. The TM in the logo is not an abbreviation for trademark, rather for Terence and Mike.


As is the current trend internationally, this Honda retains only the functional elements required to make it run and be barely street legal. Most of the original cosmetics and even the mudguards have been left off. The original shocks have been replaced with a set of pricey British Hagon units. Tiago bought them from someone in the classic racing fraternity. I would love these shocks for the Triumph.


Germiston Upholsterers upholstered the ironing board thin seat. The tail light and tiny indicators add to the minimalist look. K&N type air filters are fitted to the four carbs. Tiago fabricated the low exhaust pipe and wrapped the 4 into 1 headers.


The front of the Honda has been lowered on the shock tubes. The clip on handlebars have Honda VFR switches and levers installed, hence the small brake fluid reservoir compared to the original container. Biltwell grips, supplied by Old Skool Trading and a bar-end mirror are fitted. I am a fan of the smaller headlight. This headlight is tiny and I doubt its ability at night, but hey, its all about the looks and not about the seeing! If practicality was always the required goal, then there would be no custom motorcycles, only restored originals.