It may feel to some, as it does to me, that the café bike trend has had a resurgence of late. That since about the turn of the millennium, there has been a steady uptick of interest in the bikes, and subculture. We can certainly agree that when Triumph released the Thruxton in 2004, and a couple of years later Ducati’s Sport 1000 hit showrooms, the manufacturers believed the market for retro racers was growing.
The truth is it’s been alive and well since it started in the 1960’s. Bike companies have been trying to profit from the café scene since it became a scene. Take bikes like the Harley-Davidson XLCR form 1977, and the Honda GB500 “Tourist Trophy” from 1985 (released in the US in 1989). RideApart’s Bryan Wood did a great write up on the latter in 2015.
Now, the manufacturers weren’t the only ones doing café bikes after the 1960’s. There was still a strong grass roots custom culture. In the 60’s, the kids modifying their standard British bikes were fashioning them after the Grand Prix bikes of the time. The mix of this inspiration and the lack of money is really what gave the café bike it’s soul. This 1973 Honda was bought new by the owner to turn into a café bike. The seller states that the bike was built between ’73 and ’74, but it continued to be modified after the aesthetics were achieved. The bike started life as a CB750K2, but not much is left from the original bike. The eye-catching front fairing was bought from Paul Dunstall in England and the clip-on handlebars are from Tommaselli. The front fender is a Honda race bike piece and the back fender has been painted to match the tank. In 1977, the rear swing arm, forks, and engine were bought from a CB750F. This was done to add a rear disk brake, and double disks in the front. The engine has a Randy Carabelli 810 kit installed. The wheels are from Morris and are painted custom to match the Honda gold on the tank. The bike itself has 2,080 miles on it, and the new engine has a mere 570. This is not one of the best looking café customs I’ve ever found, but it’s also one of the earliest in terms of build date.
Find this 1973 CB750K2 Custom Café in Malvern, Pennsylvania for $7,800 here on Craigslist.