Craquelure, (/ˈkrakˌlo͝or/): a network of fine cracks in the paint or varnish of a painting.
That’s the name of this 1970 Honda CB350 “resto brat,” built by Jason Lisica of San Francisco’s Offset Motorcycles. Jason — formerly of Black Fox Fabrication — created the new brand Offset Motorcycles to “build bikes for working people that want a legitimate vintage riding experience.”
One of his favorite methods is showcasing original patina, which we rarely see with custom bikes. Thus the one-of-a-kind tank on this CB350, which has “craquelure texture in the white stripes, gentle fading in the black stripes, and plenty of sun-faded purple ranging from grape to violet.” As Jason says, such an effect would take 45 years to replicate.
The bike has plenty of other well-thought modifications, including a 2″ extended swingarm, last generation (K4) engine to complement the first-gen frame, new electronics, and more. Below, we get the full story on the build.
Honda CB350 Retro Brat: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
The move from Blackfox Fabrication to Offset Motorcycles was mainly a way to gain more control and flexibility in the direction of the builds. I believe the custom-built-vintage market is really beginning to mature, and I look up to brands that have paved the way. Cognito Moto and Lossa Engineering are two great examples. Cognito has done a couple corporate builds, and has a nice line of carefully selected products to complement their custom built bikes. Lossa Engineering is a little different. The company differentiates itself by having a fantastic high-end branded parts business, and a busy shop here in SoCal.
Offset Moto is its own entity though. My bikes don’t intend to be show quality and never will. That’s why they’re “off set”, the Hollywood cafe-racer bikes can have the spotlight, my bikes live behind the scenes. I build bikes for working people that want a legitimate vintage riding experience. We have great terrain here, and lots of outdoor activities right nearby. I have never been a fan of the “retro” thing, so my bikes aren’t that, they’re a balance of preserved and upgraded. One of the things that Offset Moto intends to do is to showcase patina or layered/weathered paint that is original to the era. The technique has been around in the car scene for some time, but its still a new thing in bikes. If you Google Image search “patina paint”, all you see is 60’s era pickup trucks and street rods. You won’t see flames or racing stripes in that scene. Its a cool look and requires a little something more than masking tape to get right.
I think there is a sweet spot between vintage restoration and full-on custom vintage bikes, and that’s exactly where this 1970 Honda CB350 sits. The stuff that appeals to a vintage enthusiast like myself stays, and all the worn out stuff gets replaced with modern technology. The result is a bike that looks like it belongs in the window of a high end clothing store, or museum coffee shop. If you look very closely at the tank on this bike, there is a craquelure texture in the white stripes, gentle fading in the black stripes, and plenty of sun-faded purple ranging from grape to violet. Its going to be hard for me to let go of this bike because of that appreciation. It’s truly a one of a kind tank… and you can’t pay somebody to replicate it, it would take them 45 years.
The mufflers are original, they’re survivors. The drag bars, extra chrome, and twisted square-bar kickstand recall an era where the chopper scene started to bloom.
The seat is another thing that you don’t see much. The leather and diamond pattern on there was hand crafted by Mike Franzini, a guy that works full-time with his brother Don at an upholstery shop passed down from their father: www.franzinibros.com. That’s why this bike stands out, its real… not retro… not replica… not repop.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1970 Honda CB350 (K2) with 1973 Honda CB350 (K4) engine, 3000 original miles. It’s for sale right now on Craigslist in SF and in LA.
• Why was this bike built?
Sale bike, and promotion for the new brand.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Idea was to have the first generation frame with the last generation engine, best of both worlds. Low mileage, perfect performance, and original patina.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
2″ extended swingarm. Lithium battery and modern electronics with completely new wiring harness from scratch. Custom upholstery. Carburetors completely rebuilt with new vacuum diaphragms, tubes, and jets. Adjustable remote reservoir rear shocks. Steering stem bearings. Wheel bearings. Fork seals, and all the other replaceable wear items.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The best thing about this build was putting the tank, engine, and extended swingarm together in one package. The patina tank and low mileage engine were really hard to find, and the swingarm is a one off. Offset Moto has an extended swingarm “kit” soon to be released with everything you need to do that job yourself. Excited to build another CB350 using that kit. There are a handful of other builders that have used a 3″ or similar extension to make the CB350 really stand nice and long. I think it’s the key to have a cool looking modded cafe or brat. The stock CB350 was always a little snubby in the back. My kit will make it look a little badder, and a little longer.
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