Custom Components

THE BIKINI PROJECT

THE BIKINI PROJECT

This motorcycle is the antithesis of the LOTUS C-01.  Conceptually, of course. It’s like a “skeleton watch“.  Or, if you prefer this different analogy, it’s like a tall, skinny, platinum-blond fashion model scantily clad in sky-blue bikini.  Where everything is in full view except the little that is hidden and subject to the imagination. The project…

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DUAL DISC CONVERSION

DUAL DISC CONVERSION

This post is intended as a nothing-goes-unexplained, no-steps-skipped approach to converting a HONDA CB550 or CB500 from a single-disc to a dual-disc front brake set-up in the hope that it would help HONDA aficionados and cafe racer enthusiasts. Much has been written about such dual-disc conversions and the available opinions range from “it’s fairly simple” to “it most definitely wasn’t” with…

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BETTER EXHAUST CLAMPS

BETTER EXHAUST CLAMPS

Exhaust clamps.  Those seemingly easily “customizable” components, which nobody ever customizes.  Why? Is it because the original HONDA exhaust clamps are so good that no improvement is possible or desirable? Virtually all of the hundreds of custom HONDA CB550 I have looked at, in which the builders have retained the originals, seem to imply that such…

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THROTTLE ASSEMBLY

THROTTLE ASSEMBLY

Well, I failed.  NO PLASTIC was one of the design principles I followed.  And in my enthusiasm, I failed to appreciate that a battery’s case is made of plastic and no other material is available.  How could I not realize that?  What was I thinking when I declared NO PLASTIC? Was I blind?  No.  The battery…

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CHAIN ADJUSTER

CHAIN ADJUSTER

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  • On 12th April 2015

A custom motorcycle is a work in progress. It really never ends. Just when you think it’s all done, something else catches your eye and you go, “How about making that a custom part?” The chain adjuster screw was one of those parts in my case. Once the decision is made, another question comes up….

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IGNITION SWITCH

IGNITION SWITCH

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  • On 7th April 2015

One of the many challenges in building a custom motorcycle comes, surprisingly, from the freedom the builder has, which, in most cases, is probably restricted only by imagination and  financial resources (and, in the case of some professional builders, by time as well).  Having decided on a component, the builder then has to choose a…

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TALES ABOUT TAILLIGHTS

TALES ABOUT TAILLIGHTS

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  • On 5th April 2015

Don’t make the mistake I made in thinking that you can buy a couple of vintage taillights, put new dual-filament light bulbs in them and they’ll fit perfectly. They won’t. And don’t make the mistake I made assuming that all lenses are the same “standard” size. They aren’t. Equipping your custom bike with custom “period looking” taillights…

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ONE, TWO, THREE… FOUR!

ONE, TWO, THREE… FOUR!

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  • On 9th March 2015

Many experienced custom motorcycle builders can probably start with an idea of the finished motorcycle already in mind and then build the bike in a single assembly step by just putting all the finished components together.  Like Mozart, who, legend has it, could hear an entire symphony in his head and then just simply write down the…

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STAINLESS STEEL HEADERS

STAINLESS STEEL HEADERS

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  • On 2nd March 2015

Don’t make the mistake I did (driven by enthusiasm and ignorance) in buying a set of CB750 header pipes and thinking they would fit your CB550 engine.  They won’t.  Header pipes for the CB750 are much wider in diameter (and probably different in shape and length).  The CB550 header pipes are 1 and 1/4” O.D. …

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CUSTOM FOOT PEGS, BRAKE PEDAL & GEAR SHIFTER

CUSTOM FOOT PEGS, BRAKE PEDAL & GEAR SHIFTER

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  • On 1st March 2015

During this entire project, I never stopped marveling at HONDA’s designers’ ingenuity, style and sense of balance and proportion.  Everything looked and felt as close to perfect as it could be under the circumstances in the 1970’s particularly considering the limitations imposed by competitive pressures and the need to minimize cost.  Every time I thought…

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MAKING A CUSTOM SEAT

MAKING A CUSTOM SEAT

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  • On 26th February 2015

Making a custom seat is a reality all bobber or café racer builders will have to face eventually.   The original HONDA CB550 seats are durable, good-looking and very comfortable.  But, a dual seat goes against the bobber principle and so it must go.  In addition, a new seat utilizing an aluminum seat pan, superlight ½”…

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BLACKSQUARE’S COMPONENTS: what’s custom and what’s not

BLACKSQUARE’S COMPONENTS: what’s custom and what’s not

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  • On 24th February 2015

Building a custom motorcycle is a lot of fun. But, it is a long process.  It took me more than 2 years to build this custom HONDA CB550 motorcycle.  Below is a list of most components used in the making of BLACKSQUARE.  I hope this is of some help to fellow aficionados and cafe racer builders. BLACKSQUARE’S COMPONENTS: FRAME:…

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