The Honda CB350 is one of the most beloved small twins of all time, a 36-hp scrapper that recalled the old adage: “It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” While Honda’s small fours may get more of the attention, this bulletproof 325cc OHC parallel-twin sold some half a million units in North America, and the bikes continue to be popular in vintage racing. According to one racer:
“The 350 Hondas also represent one of the most reliable bikes, even referred to as ‘bulletproof’ by those who have owned and race them in vintage motorcycle racing.”
Enter 26-year-old Kevin Bergeron of Bergnco — a firefighter, heavy-duty mechanic, and high-end bicycle builder out of Calgary, Canada, who began building custom motorcycles after riding a buddy’s enduro in the mountains. Says Kevin:
“When I took interest in motorcycles again, I started building on a KLR250 and things have evolved naturally from there. I do nearly everything in-house, which allows me to create real relationships with the folks who have chosen me to build a bike for them and I am very proud for that.”
We recently featured Kevin’s Suzuki DR200 “Johnny Lightning” street scrambler, built as a dirt-happy commuter, and his recent KLR250 build was featured at the 2019 One Moto Show. Today, we’re thrilled to feature this Honda CB350 cafe racer, built for correctional officer who needed a getaway from work — “a classic bike that wouldn’t break the bank.”
While Kevin is quick to point out that CB350 cafe racers have been done many times in the past, we can’t help but think this is one of the most well-balanced, elegant, downright perfect small commuters we’re seen. Says Kevin:
“I really believe we hit the mark on this one, keeping it classic all while making it feel like home for a first time bike owner. We weren’t out to re-invent the wheel, but simply to provide a good set to a better guy.”
Amen, Kevin. Below, we get the full story on the build, along with photos from @benjaminallan23.
Honda CB350 Brat / Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
– A bit about me:
I am a 26 year old firefighter here in Canada with a background in heavy-duty mechanics. I got my first “real” motorcycle when I was 18. It was a Buell XB9 Firebolt. When I sold the bike, I swore I would never get another one and would simply stick with the human-powered wheels, so I began building high-end bicycles and have been for the better part of eight years out of my small shop here in Calgary. When I took interest in motorcycles again, I started building on a KLR250 and things have evolved naturally from there. I do nearly everything in-house, which allows me to create real relationships with the folks who have chosen me to build a bike for them and I am very proud for that.
– Make and model of the bike:
This is a 1973 Honda CB350.
– Why was it built:
This bike was built for a friend, more specifically a correctional officer at a jail up here in Canada. Like the rest of us (if not more), he needed a getaway from work once in a while. This year he decided his getaway would also be his first motorcycle. We discussed options for some time and settled on a classic bike that wouldn’t break the bank. So we designed what I think is the perfect small displacement commuter for him.
– Custom work
As per usual, the engine is a top down re-build with no real tricks. Standard stoke. Standard bore. It breathes through a set of ram-air filters and coughs through a 2-into-1 exhaust made up by Merlin Cycleworks (big shout out to Mark down there). The rear section of the frame was removed, rebuilt and was fitted with a new battery box, fender as well as a custom seat. We sleeved the forks and added a few personal touches.
-Influences and overall design
It’s no lie that the CB platform has been done and redone numerous times in the past. That being said, I do believe it is for a good reason. The CB provides a reliable platform with access to inexpensive parts and a seemingly endless resource of information (good and bad). Although not an uncommon bike, I really believe we hit the mark on this one, keeping it classic all while making it feel like home for a first time bike owner. We weren’t out to re-invent the wheel, but simply to provide a good set to a better guy.
Follow the Builder @bergnco