Jonathan Rea's CB Tracker
By Ross Sharp - 27 Oct 14
Spending your time at full chat, knee pressed into the Tarmac of the finest racetracks on the planet is pretty exhausting stuff. Jonathan Rea is currently fourth in the World Superbike Championship standings and has every chance of making it third; if that pesky little Italian Marco Melandri doesn't get in the way. When the champagne fugg has lifted after the season finale in Qatar, Rea will no doubt be looking forward to heading home and wheeling this little beauty out of the garage for some well deserved downtime. Having seen the Pata Honda WSBK team's PR man and his IDP Moto built Honda NX650 Dominatrix, Rea fancied a custom of his own so commissioned the guys to work their magic on a 1975 CB550K. The donor had been imported from Colorado and for a 40 year old machine was in fine fettle so attentions could be turned to style and specs. Once stripped bare the subframe chopped and looped before being reunited with the frame and swingarm at Redditch Shotblasters who applied a thick and lustrous coat of black powder. Ratty and gnarled fasteners were replaced but remainder received a fresh zinc plating. When your customer is used to titanium and magnesium everything scrimping on the nuts and bolts wasn't an option. Dropping the front wheel from 19" to 18" not only looks more balanced but allows greater tyre choice; for a vintage style Rea went for Firestone Deluxe Champions. Gloss black rims and hubs with stainless spokes is the proper way of wheel building, allowing for future spoke tuning if required. The original rear shocks were replaced with new black units, and the original chrome bars swapped for satin black Renthal 758s. Exhaust perfectionists Co-Built in Oxfordshire made up the link pipes to utilise the original headers, mating them to MotoGP mufflers. At the sucking end, an old British Touring Car was liberated of its velocity stacks which now reside on the four rebuilt carbs. The engine was painted silver and cases polished which looks great against all the black. Spidey took care of the paintwork, leaving room for Purple Fayze to work her airbrush magic over the white pearl, ghosting multiple JR logos prior to plenty of coats of lacquer. Brand new Honda badges finish the job. A new speedo, headlight and bullet indicators are relatively standard fair which leaves the paint job and engine to do the talking. Steve Adams fashioned a new seat pan to sit on the new subframe, with a white stitched synthetic leather saddle to compliment the colour scheme. In case you're wondering, this is not some show pony that sits in Rea's trophy room gathering dust. It has completed a lap of the IOM TT course during a parade at the Classic TT this summer. As this is at the end of Rea's driveway don't be surprised to see a bit of retro glitz flashing past you on the mountain course at some point. IDP Moto are doing a fine job at bringing current racing superstars and worn out heroes to the custom scene with a range of smart looking machines. Watch this space as there will be more from the Silverstone based team coming soon.