There are a lot of “bolt-on” cafe racers these days. We have nothing against that — there is an art to sourcing the right components for a build, and few parts bolt on without some fiddling, grinding, cursing, and blood.
That said, a bike sporting hand-made, scratch-built parts always stands out from the pack — and this 1975 Honda CB550 cafe racer, built by the Salvo brothers, has them in spades. Below, we get the full story on the build from brother Giancarlo Salvo.
Honda CB550F Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
(Words by Giancarlo Salvo. Highlights by us.)
We are three brothers that grew up with a strong passion for motorcycles. We live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and have completed several builds in our shop and exhibited our bikes at several local events.
We started this particular build in early 2015, and entered the Dania Beach Vintage Bike Show in January 2016, earning 2nd place in the café category. This Honda has a very large number of hand-built and customized parts that Oscar Salvo (oldest brother) created from “scratch.”
Oscar has invested 1,000+ hours of hard, passionate work in this machine. The modifications are countless, but the real challenge is always to have every part that is not original, working as it should…for each new item you introduce into the design it requires adaptation to change and functionality.
For these type of builds although some may say are not “true” to a brand or an era, we believe it captures the essence of a real “café racer” due to its outer simplicity and racy stance.
Some of the introduced parts:
- Headlight bucket with speedo/tachometer integrated (speedo adapted to rear wheel)
- Aluminum Tank and seat pan
- Handmade leather seat and tank belt
- Handmade tail light
- Hand built oil radiator and gauge
- Keihin CR racing carburetors
- Joker rear sets pegs
- Ballistic cell battery
- Customized electrical system
- Rizoma mirrors
- Rear shocks and steering damper by Ohlin’s
- Vintage Honda Motors tank badge
- Front & Rear GP racing Drum Brakes and wheels
Oscar, Hernan & Giancarlo Salvo