Full-blown café racer custom builds are rarer these days. Scramblers and trackers are by far the most ubiquitous style. However, that might be just one of a number of reasons that with dropped-jaw you gaze on this Honda CB750 café racer – built by Fastec Racing.
HONDA CB750 CAFÉ RACER BUILD
The bike you see here started life as 1982 CB750. In a somewhat familiar manner, the build story starts with a tipsy, late-night, rose-tinted eBay purchase. Dave (owner of the spectacles of the aforementioned hue) secured a Honda CB750 on eBay late one evening, after a beverage or two.
The CB750 had already received a café racer makeover of sorts. A solid purchase, with a decent engine and good handling. Fuelling, however, was poor and brakes weak. Equally, the bike had a wrist-aching stance that needed correcting. Alongside that, a bodged tank repair needed attention.
Fastec – Previous Form
Fastec had previously built a bike for Dave, after he saw its Zepher custom at the Bike Shed Show London, 2017. Bowled over by the show bike, a mere two days later Dave purchased a ZRX 1100 donor which was then customised by the team to stunning effect.
With that in mind, he knew exactly where to take his latest purchase.
CB750 Custom Build Highlights
Approaching Danny at Fastec Racing in Newmarket, UK, a mini-project was briefed and agreed. Just a tweak to the existing bike.
However, both Dave and Danny confess that the build soon began to evolve into something grander.
Danny suggests that it’s not an uncommon scenario, given the capabilities of the ‘shop.
But one that may be tempered once the wishlist and budget are reconciled.
Nevertheless, for Fastec clients in most instances, a tweak is rarely enough.
Dave’s CB750 build was much the same.
Kawasaki Donor Parts
After the initial strip-down, the team weren’t entirely happy with the previous welding. Nor the frame, which was a hybrid café racer/tracker. So they embarked first on making that right.
At the rear end, the frame was replaced with a cleaner, simpler section. Extraneous tabs were removed and metalwork treated to a slick black paint job.
Following that, a Kawasaki ZRX1100 rear swing-arm was installed along with Fastec Racing wheels. The rear wheel was coupled with a bespoke billet hub – designed specifically to accommodate the combination of the Kawasaki swing-arm and Honda engine.
However, at the front, Fastec needed only to look to its own range of machined parts. A ZX10R billet hub from the range was superbly suited to the wheel and upgraded Brembo brakes.
With the bigger wheels, handling considerations meant the need to upgrade the front suspension. To that end, meatier forks from a 2004 Kawasaki ZX10R were added – secured with custom billet yokes. Again, made by Fastec.
Neate Racing, CB900 Engine
A functioning engine, a set of larger carbs plus a Wiseco expansion kit had been dropped off to Fastec, to be pinched and fitted. Nevertheless, after work commenced a fortuitous opportunity to acquire a Neate Racing CB900 engine arose.
Known well to Fastec, Neate Racing build high-performance engines for endurance and road racing. This particular engine had been bored out to 1000cc and road race-tuned.
It proved an opportunity too good for Dan to pass. After a quick call, the stock CB750 motor was pulled and replaced. Fastec cleaned and serviced the engine, then new Mikuni, 36mm flat side carbs with twin K&N filters were fitted. And just to keep things manageable the engine was retuned for the road.
Naturally, with the inclusion of a more powerful engine, adjustments had to made. Further frame bracing was required to handle a significant increase in horsepower. Approximately fifty more horses.
Incidentally, the bike now makes 112hp at the rear, though the team believe 130hp is possible.
The incorporation of the CB900 engine also meant the existing exhaust had to be swapped for another with a closer fit. That too in-turn was replaced with a bespoke, handbuilt Fastec exhaust then coupled with a repurposed Fastec Racing ‘FR’ header.
The combination offers a sonorous exhaust note which is absurdly delightful to the ear. An aftermarket oil cooler keeps the temps down.
Fine, Bespoke Touches
Fastec stamps uniqueness into each build, with the ingenious incorporation of numerous components from various other bikes. However, more importantly, exceptionalism for each build is achieved through its ability to make custom aluminium components in-house.
To that extent on this bike, the team also made a chain guard, engine cover, rear bobbins, footpegs and switchgear.
Neatly integrated into the top yoke, sits a minimalistic Motogadget, Motoscope Pro attached via custom mount. The two blend so incredibly well, that they appear as one. Motogadget is also the choice for the bike’s keyless ignition which is achieved through an M.Unit Blue control.
Foot controls are handled with Fastec Racing rear-sets. Additionally, Brembo 19 RCS levers and mini brake master cylinder were utilised.
There are numerous subtle touches that further accentuate the overall finish of this build. Details like a LED taillight and indicators [turn-signals], cleverly concealed in the rear hoop.
Furthermore, a multi-element LED headlamp, mounted on custom ears [brackets] that are coupled with lowkey Motogadget Blaze indicators, for signalling.
Also, adjustable, swan-neck clip-ons eliminate the (earlier mentioned) wrist-aching stance. They can be raised for laidback riding and lowered for full-on race mode, all within seconds.
Equally deft and quite unique are the front and rear cameras. Virtually hidden, the units store recordings onto a hard drive positioned beneath the seat. Despite being installed with security in mind, the bonus of having the ability to playback memorable rides, can’t be a bad thing.
Aside from the stance, rider comfort wasn’t too high on Dave’s list of priorities. As such, the custom upholstered bump seat works well enough for a ‘Sunday blast’. Touring might be less comfortable though that’s rarely a consideration for a café racer.
CB750 Finishing Touches
In the final stages of the build, Progressive Suspension shocks at the rear were swapped for a pair of fully-adjustable Öhlins shocks from a Thruxton R which happened to fit just perfectly.
With the original tank deemed beyond salvage, a replacement was sourced from the States. And with input from Dave handed to Arnie at Pro Kustom to work some magic.
Arnie’s wizardry saw the tank finished in a captivating deep maroon, punctuated with graphics. Such is the depth of colour and tone, it’s the type of finish that can only be fully appreciated in person.
The looks and the spirit of a bonafide café racer are respectively clearly present and espoused by this machine.
More so this machine embodies the essence of custom bike building. A meticulous process of solving mechanical and engineering questions, posed by aesthetic aspirations. In this instance those questions are answered beautifully.
This bike certainly ticks the two main boxes required of any custom two-wheeler – form and function. A highly rideable custom that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
What’s been the reception?
And what does Dave think of the bike? Well, what started as a ‘pickled’ eBay purchase has become the bike he’d always wanted – his dream bike.
Aside, for Danny and Fastec, bike building and machining of parts continues. A Suzuki Katana, GSX 1400 hybrid among others are currently in the works. Although it seems that another bike may be delivered to the workshop soon. An Aprilia Pegaso that Dave purchased on eBay… again under the influence!
What the pair come up with next remains to be seen. Though one thing is certain, it’s bound to be sensational.
- All images by Tony Walters