Amid the army of CB 750 customs, it takes something truly bold to stand out from the crowd. “Xerxes,” built by Ben Davis of Delaware’s Legion Cycle Works, is a drastic departure from the brat-seated, pipe-wrapped, mail-ordered CBs of the last half decade. It’s a statement-making build, no doubt, and you will love the story behind it.
By day, Ben works as a carpenter, and he’s the father of four girls. He got the bug for building custom bikes after watching Cafe Racer TV, and before long he had converted his garage into a shop and started Legion Cycle Works. With this 1979 CB750 Limited Edition, he decided to really push himself.
The scene on the top triple was sketched up by a friend of his who works for DC Comics. The most striking aspect is certainly the front fairing, slightly reminiscent of something you’d see on a Harley Big Twin. Ben wanted the fairings to be all-metal, but he had no previous sheetmetal experience, so he took the brave path and simply ordered a bunch of books online and started hammering away. All the work was done by Ben except the paint, working on nights and weekends.
We’ll let him give you the full story.
“Xerxes” CB750: In The Builder’s Words
(Written by Ben Davis, with our highlights.)
I’m the father of four little girls who works commercial construction during the day as a carpenter. I grew up riding dirt bikes and sport bikes, then as an adult I saw Cafe Racer TV and I was hooked on the soul older bikes have. I got rid of my sport bike and bought my first older bike. I converted my garage into a shop and created my company, Legion Cycle Works. I worked on anyone’s bike who would let me. I didn’t know much and wasn’t worried about profit at that point, but wanted to learn.
After I started getting better and making money, I picked up a 79 CB750 Limited that was going to be my cafe racer. The original plan was to throw on clubman bars, loop the frame, and bolt up a prefabbed seat pan from Dime City Cycles, and call it good. I looped the frame and life happened and I threw it in the corner while I worked on other people’s bikes. I kept seeing these really gnarly bikes online and I decided to push myself and see what I could build. And right around that time is when my budget went to hell.
The front end is off of a 2008 GSXR 1000. I hate how sloppy the 750s front ends handle and the brakes are even worse. I really dig spoked rims, so I had a conversion hub machined to run spoke rims, using the GSXR rotors and calipers. The stock Gixxer top triple tree was too gadget-y looking for what I wanted, so a new one was made with a billet top nut. After I threw it on I kept looking at it and thought wouldn’t it be cool if… I contacted a friend of a friend who works for DC Comics, and had him sketch up an idea to fill in the new triple. The Warriors fighting is actually engraved into the triple. Then I fitted a Motogadget mini speedo to the bottom side and the front end was done.
The mono shock was the hardest part for me. All the math and geometry and stuff is never easy to figure out. After a day and a half of working on it, I stepped behind it to look down it and it looked like it would hit the chain…I had to take it off to make mock up easier. Threw a chain on and damned if I didn’t run right into what I had just spent hours working on, so I had to start from scratch. The swingarm is inverted, I didn’t want to cut the stock shock mounts out for the monoshock, so inverting the swingarm allowed me to use the shock mounts as swingarm spool mounts instead. I also welded up mounts for billet rear sets to take care of the riding position.
I always knew I wanted to build something a little more aggressive than other bikes, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do until I had the front end swap and monoshock done. I cut up some poster board and started taping it all up until I found something that fit what was in my head. I wanted it to be made of metal, but I didn’t really know how to do sheet metal work so I ordered some books and tools offline and hammered away until it came out like I wanted. The front and rear fairings are handmade of sheet metal, the grills are metal also. 2 LED light bars tucked behind the front grill light up the road.
I wanted a little umph in the motor so I threw in an 836 bore, a set of CB900 cams and some CR29s to help out. A MAC tri-Y header with Cone Engineering stainless tip helps give it the growl.
There’s a Ballistic battery under the seat, and the starter button is a hidden push button under the seat as well. I really tried to keep it as bare as possible. There is literally nothing stock left on the bike. All total, I have a little over 300 hours into it.
Photos by Ryan Cerminara of Hold the Memory Inc.