'm sure most people wouldn't think to take a stock bike and turn it into another stock bike but in a friendly build off that's exactly what Keith Carlson of Indiana did with his 1978 CB550. He had a long time love affair with the CR500's and the 1986 model caught his eye more than any other so he wanted to know what a Honda street bike would look like transformed as a tribute and this beautiful restomod build was born. We caught up with Keith at a local bike night and took his bike aside to get a better look at some of the neat elements of this CB turned CR.
We recently met up with Brett Johnson of Northbilt Customs in the heart of the racing capitol of the world, Indianapolis, Indiana where he has a shop on the famous "Gasoline Alley" home to some of the finest machine shops and racing specialists the city has to offer. We were actually visiting one such shop right there recently to have some XS650 valve work done when the shop owner told us about Brett and his incredible Honda scrambler project he was just finishing up, built from a CB350F. We said, well that sounds amazing but couldn't be possible since the CB350F was notoriously an inline four and scramblers are always two cylinders.
I recently got a chance to meet up with Paul Riccioli, Jr. at his shop, RPM Resto and Custom, in Hillsborough, NJ to see his 1976 Honda CB750K. We were lucky enough to be able to roll the bike out of the shop on a very unusually warm January day to shoot some photos and ask him a few questions about himself and his bike.
In the era of late 1970’s to early 80’s superbikes Honda was leading the way by continuing to improve on their innovative designs. In 1980 Honda released the CB900F using a race inspired 901cc DOHC engine (which was a step above the previously released dohc CB750F) with its longer stroke and hotter cams which made 84BHP @ 8500RPM, offered in the USA only in 1981-1982. Then in 1983 Honda released the bike to trump both of the previous models, the CB1100F. Using hotter cams, larger pistons, and redesigned combustion the CB1100F produced 108BHP @ 8500RPM. Honda also increased the rake and added a 1/4 fairing for a bit of wind deflection and style. These 1100F were the pinnacle of the Honda motors company at the time and the only other bike to really rival it in that era in terms of notability and impressive looks would have certainly been the just slightly slower but larger than life Honda CBX.
For many of us we all have a certain bike we owned that got away, but imagine if you built a bike in the pinnacle of the seventies chopper revolution and it never got away. Imagine if you kept it preserved for over 45 years and continued riding it all that time. That's what Keith Schupp did ever since the day he got his motor back from the now famous Russ Collins of RC Engineering.