The CB450 was Honda’s first “big motorcycle” — a 444cc parallel twin with 43 horsepower and a top speed of 110 mph. Early models were known as the Black Bomber, though the remained in production from 1965 until 1974. As the years progressed, the models gained front disc brakes, 19-inch front wheels, and various other upgrades. The CB450 helped establish Honda’s reputation, with a bike capable of competing with the British twins of the era.
Enter the crew of Spoken Moto, who decided to reclaim a forgotten 1974 CB450 K7 for the 2017 One Moto Show. Dubbed the “Wart Hog” due to the nasty condition of the donor bike, the team grafted a set of RC51 forks, CL360 swing arm, hand-built pipes, Motogadget electronics, and much more. Below, we get the full story on this build, as well as a killer set of photos from one of our favorite and most entertaining photographers, Spoken Moto’s Troy White (@flockaburrrd).
Wart Hog CB450: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are just two guys that love bikes of all kinds and decided to create a gathering place around custom moto builds and vintage restorations. I am in my early 50s and have always tinkered with bikes, cars and aircraft. I have a soft spot for little bikes, especially two strokes. My partner owns a commercial construction company but grew up racing dirt bikes. We’ve known one another for 25 years or so.
Between the two of us we acquired a “collection” of about 75 vintage project bikes. Most are 1960s and 70s Japanese bikes, and most are barn finds. About 5 years ago, we started a small shop and when time allowed we built or restored a bike out of our inventory. We saw that people really liked hanging around the shop and decided to create a gathering place around a working moto shop.
At the time, we thought we were brilliant and the first to think of such a thing. As we know, it turns out the concept is not new. That said, there was no place like Spoken in our community. So, in 2015, we leased an abandoned industrial building and over the next year built the space into a working moto shop, a coffee house, a tap room and a music venue. Spoken Moto opened to the public in July of 2016.
We have restored or built about two dozen bikes; everything from Honda 90’s to RDs, RZs, VFRs, CBs, KZs etc… We try to do as much in-house as we are able. Typically, we only outsource really tricky fab work and paint. There are three of us working in the moto shop and about a dozen in the coffee shop/pub. The moto shop and the pub are integral to one another. The shop is open and accessible to the pub customers. Our clientele is incredibly diverse. It is pretty fun to fire off a bike with a group of soccer moms cheering.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Honda CB450, 1974.
• Why was this bike built?
We love the One Moto Show and usually try to build a bike for it. The Wart Hog was built for the 2017 show.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. We had the triple and forks from an RC51 super bike and a really rough CB450. We decided to see what the forks looked like on the 450 frame. It was more of an experiment than a planned build at that point. I mocked it up with the drum brakes, and really liked how it looked….and the Wart Hog was born.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The front end and exhaust were the most work. Making the drum brake work with the RC51 forks required modifying the triple, forks and fabricating a new axle.
The stainless pipes and muffler are hand-built and took a ton of trial and error to get right.
We wanted the bike’s stance to be low and aggressive, so we grafted a CL360 swing arm and Hagon shocks to the rear. The subframe, seat, seat pan, lighting and Motogadget harness are all custom.
We also modded the tank and LSL headlight.
Everyone thinks we named it the wart hog because of the military inspired paint but it actually got its name because of how nasty the bike was when we started. Our painter came up with the “jeep door” paint scheme after the bike was 90% finished.
• How would you classify this bike?
I guess it is a slightly different take on a café racer.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I love how the bike rides and sounds. It is an absolute blast to bomb around town on and it definitely gets attention.
Follow Spoken Moto
- Web: www.spokenmoto.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spokenmoto/
- Instagram: @spokenmoto
- Photos: Troy White (@flockaburrrd)
- Fab: Rick Vecqueray (@369customfab)