Tim's '81 CB750
By Anthony van Someren - 05 Oct 12
This lovely little custom CeeBee Seven-fiddy comes from Shed-builder Tim, who took it upon himself to put his own machine together while still doing his bike test. The last thing he wanted from his ride was mind-blowing performance and handling. What inspired him into entering into the world of two-wheeled glory was the style and charm of old school motorcycles. I think we all know what he's talking about there... Here's how his CeeBee arrived... Clean, but lacking a certain something. Since Tim wrote so eloquently on the whos, whats, wheres and whys around this build, we have another opportunity to let the builder speak for himself. Here's Tim's own story: My initial vision for the bike was born out of my interest in the 1930’s to 50’s motorsport, which I have been lucky enough to be involved with at the spanner of the sport. This era was truly inspirational where bold engineering judgement gave birth to some of the most iconic race cars and bikes ever built. This period in time also had a certain heroic charm about it. Riders and drivers alike were treated as heroes, a mixture of bravado and rebellion that I presume helped the Cafe Racer culture develop. It’s a personal view but I’m a firm believer that a Cafe Racer bike should be built by the rider, just the way it started. The bike was pretty much stripped and everything labelled up about a week after getting it in the garage. The frame has been de-tab’d and the rear seat hoop manually bent by a mate and I to match the profile of the seat molding. I modified the rear swing arm mountings with raised bosses and steel work to lift the rear of the bike. Both were powder coated signal grey by Ward Bros in Burton Upon Trent. The grey theme came from working on old Grand Prix cars that usually had space frames painted grey. Plus I had never seen this colour used on one before... The wheels I bought from a bike breaker in Stoke on Trent. They were in poor shape so I stripped them and had the rims coated matt black and the hubs grey to match the frame. They were built by Sid at Sid’s Wheels with straight gauge spokes. I rebuild the engine with new valve gear and cams, honed the barrels and had them soda blasted. Painted them rattle-can heat resistant black along with the case. The engine side covers and cam cover were again powder coated grey. Sump and oil filter housing were vibro-polished to aid heat dissipation. The tank is off a CX500 (complete with dents upon purchase). I needed a wide tank to try and span the engine with a view of making the bike look as narrow and as period as possible. Plus I liked the shape of it with the seat molding. I added some new mountings to it and closed the rear of it to keep it simple and tidy. The electrics have been relocated under the tank and seat, with the battery at the rear under the ‘bump’. The forks are the originals polished up with a simple fork brace added due to the single disc. The disc was drilled, which took a while (hummm, work hardened stainless steel!). The rear sets are my own design all stainless with ally rods and M6 rod ends (LH and RH thread of course). The pegs were some Ebay specials from china and arrived with the cheapest of faux anodising on. A brief encounter with the wire wheel soon sorted them out. These are mounted on adapters in the original pillion peg holes. The exhaust system is my own design in 1.5 inch stainless (tubes bent up by Roy at OS Exhausts). Tacked them on the bike and built a jig to weld them in. They were then soda blasted for a clean matt look that would colour nicely. The silencers were chrome so I had them stripped, mechanically shrunk the end to closely fit the system and had them coated in exhaust ‘flat black’. The system sounds awesome and more importantly makes other road users positively aware that I’m coming! The paint has been masterfully completed by Andy at R&D Motors just North of Stoke, it’s simplicity is stunning and creates the illusion of a skinny bike considering it a 750 four pot. Yes, we did agonise over the width of the lines and stripes! The bike has been dyno’d and carbs re-jetted and set up by a mate Ralph down in Northampton to suit the exhaust system. 60 hp@8000rpm at the rear wheel, not hugely powerful, but when opening it up down the road you can very clearly hear all 60 of them! I have shaved 25kg off the original weight of the bike which is noticeable I think. I wanted to get a thousand miles on it as the shake down period which I have managed to do since May, actually 1200 of them to be precise, every one ridden with a huge smile!! So far it has been received by mates and other bikers extremely well. I realise now at the age of 31 I have joined a very welcoming family – The Biker Fraternity – ...better late than never! So - Tim... You put all this together yourself, right? Well, as far as we're concerned this build goes above and beyond the average shed-build with detail that would make any pro-builder proud. Not only that, it's set apart from the average home build by a clear sense of good taste and proportion that you don't often see, and the grey finish on engine, frame, swingarm and hubs is pure class. Top work fella. Now just keep on riding it and get as many hours and miles of biking under your belt as you can.