Meet Billie, a Honda CB400F restomod dream bike…
We have been in love with Katie Abdilla‘s Honda CB400F, “Billie,” since the first time we saw her flowing chrome headers and Varnish Blue paint. In a world of radical customs, Billie is the perfect balance of stock and custom — a Honda CB restomod built to fit her rider like a glove.
We caught up with Katie for details. What follows is one of our favorite features ever: the story of a girl and her dream bike, an accident on the highway, and the journey to rebuild the bike she loves.
“Billie” CB400 Restomod: In the Owner’s Words
(Words by Katie Abdilla. Highlights by us.)
My name is Katie Abdilla and I live in a relatively small town here in Hobart, Tasmania. I have had a rather long love for motorcycles, growing up on a farm in the North of Tasmania I had plenty of space for riding motos and horses. I have always had that yearning for wanting to go fast, whether it was on a horse or a motorcycle or bombing a hill on my push bike. When I’m not at work I generally spend my free time exploring Tassie’s Southern country roads, riding track at Baskerville Raceway, working on the Bucket Racer (1968 Honda CL175) and making parts with my good friend and mentor, Roger.
It was the Ross Motorcycle Rally of 2014 where I had first met Billie, a 1976 Honda CB400F Super Sport. She was a tidy stock restoration build and it was the flowing chrome headers that caught my eye. I was completely swooning over this bike and to my luck she was up for sale. A few months had past and with bit more luck thrown my way and some insurance money from a previous bike of mine, I soon owned my dream motorcycle, a CB400f.
Billie’s Café look came about purely by accident. Right after a top end rebuild we had a spill up on the East Coast in 2016 with the front end of the bike suffering pretty hard after we collided with the Armco railing and literally my bike was tumbling down the road. After getting out of Hospital I had contacted a wizard named Bob Sellers who specializes in motorcycle crash repairs. This is where Billie took shape.
I had an overall end goal of what I envisioned Billie to look like. As much as I love the stripped down minimalistic and customized look a lot of Café builds have going for them, I had planned for a clean balance of stock and custom, as if Honda intended her to come out of the factory looking that way.
I didn’t want to be rid of the front fender, so Bob had repaired it by cutting off the crumpled front end and welding on part of an old CB350’s fender. He straightened out the forks, later then fabricated a side mount license plate bracket, and modified the original head lamp’s bracket to house the new larger head lamp. He made an elbow piece out of an old fork leg for the new Cone Engineering muffler to slip onto. Bob had also welded up some extension mounts onto the swing arm so that my little 11” Ikon shocks wouldn’t bottom out into the new seat cowl.
Justin from Pop Bang Classics based Brisbane, Australia built a fiberglass seat cowl that follows the lines and shape of the CB400 tank beautifully. He also custom made a new top tree unit with fitted Moto Gadget instruments. I think this piece has to be my favorite feature of the bike, aside from the headers of course.
Later on, Adrian from Antisocial Engineering bogged up and repainted the tank, front fender and seat cowl, staying true to her stock colour, Varnish Blue. My friend Jackson helped me with the cushion for the seat cowl. I really like the double stitched diamond pattern as it looks more boxy to match with the rest of the bike’s shape.
Overall I love how this bike looks aesthetically. I’d say she’s a real tidy little restomod. She feels so smooth to ride and fits me like a glove. Her four into one pipe gives her such a unique note, but when opened up on the freeway, she screams like a Siren.
Follow Katie on Instagram: @katieabdilla