The Honda CB450DX was available from 1989-1992, a popular beginner’s bike powered by a 43-hp air-cooled parallel-twin derived from the Superdream engine. The bike was affordable, reliable, easy to handle, and offered retro 70s styling.
Enter the crew of Scotland’s JM Customs, who’ve been grinding hard since we last featured their “Flying Scotsman” Moto Guzzi back in May. It’s been a delight to watch this shop grow over the last couple years. Says owner and lead designer James Moir:
“I’m backed up everyday by a small team of hard working dudes. Every day is another challenge and we’re stoked to get after it! We have found our flow in designing and building these retro styled bikes. And with a stacked order book we get to keep doing what we love every day.”
Their service and repair shop is buzzing, and they’re in the process of building a new custom design studio and adding to their team. Recently, an existing client commissioned one very special surprise birthday present for this wife: a custom scrambler. Starting with a bone-stock ’82 CB450DX, the team created the gorgeous little street scrambler you see here, complete with thematic ties to the new owner’s Jordanian heritage and an array of square elements that give the bike its name: “Squared Away.”
Below, we get the full story on the build along with some gorgeous photos from Oliver Young taken at Cultybraggan POW Camp, Comrie, Scotland.
Honda CB450 Street Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words
The Design Brief:
I wanted to create a stripped back Scrambler that had a vintage/ military appeal, blending modern components with the period parts in our usual style. Keeping all wiring to a minimum whilst dropping the ride height by almost 4 inches.
The engine was already a great running motor with low mileage, so we fully serviced it, stripped back the original paint and blasted the whole thing. We then prepped and finished the engine in matte black with a few polished accents. Very clean, and very simple. We had our mate Neil at Blastworx vapor blast the carbs and once we got them back we rebuilt and re-jetted them. As we had removed the stock air intake, we opted for power filters by DNA. These perform great and look awesome .
The original tank is a horrible shape for this style of bike, box-like and long. We had a few tanks in the workshop we played around with but eventually settled on a Honda CD125 tank. Some modification to the tank mounts were required. We also had to move the petcock so that it would not clash with the carbs. Once welded out, we sealed and lined the tank. A new polished gas cap and fuel tap added too. The tank fits this bike perfectly, compliments the overall design and looks wicked.
We chopped off a large portion of the subframe to shorten the bike both in length and height. We hammered out an aluminium seat base that sat flush over the base of the tank, to create nice lines that flowed through the bike. An electrical tray was fabricated to fit under the seat to house the majority of the components, and a custom battery box fabricated and mounted below that to house a smaller, lighter JMT lithium battery.
At the rear of the seat we machined four mounts, then fabricated a square luggage rack from 1″ tubing, which we welded in place onto these mounts. We fabricated a short mudguard that sits flush underneath this rack. We originally were going to make a tail tidy, but as we had shortened the bike so much, we opted for a side mounted number plate holder and tail light. It just made more sense to keep everything in order and neat.
To the front, we fabricated a square engine bar setup and aluminium skid pan — this offers the usual protection but visually it really enhances the Scrambler vibe. We haven’t seen anyone do that with one of these bikes before so really wanted to create something different. Another short mudguard at the front, low in profile to sit snug above the new tires.
Suspension and Brakes:
The rear shocks were replaced with a new set of Hagons, these perform great and have that vintage look too. At the front we stripped and rebuilt the original forks, powder-coating the sliders chrome. We stripped, powder-coated black, and rebuilt the calipers, fed from some performance brake lines from HEL Performance.
Cockpit and Electronics:
Up front the bars are very neat. We opted for a short, low rise scrambler bar, some vintage levers, throttle twist super comfortable opaque brown grips. We installed MotoGadget M-button switches and a Daytona Velona Speedo and light bar which is mounted above the ignition switch. Then we installed a square headlight and square chromed mirrors — these tie in perfectly with the engine bars and the rack to the rear.
We installed some retro indicators front and rear, with a prism tail light mounted to the side-mounted plate bracket. The wiring is run through an H-Box Module by Elektronic Box. All of our electronics are supplied to us by Digital Speedos. We made a custom pull choke from two cables we had in house, drilled out the original speedo mount on the yolk and installed it .
Tires and Wheels:
Heidanau K60 Scouts: We powder-coated the wheels gloss black and buffed away the edges on the alloys to create a star pattern that matches the emblem on the tank. Everything rebuilt with new bearings and seals.
Exhaust: We had some small alterations to do to the headers to have them sitting nicely on the right hand side, once done we wrapped these in titanium heat wrap which compliments the paint. And installed a new aftermarket megaphone can.
Powder Coat: The framework, wheels, brackets and boxes were powder-coated gloss black. The controls, yolks, and fork sliders were powder coated chrome.
Paint: Our client requested the same color that we used on the scrambler we built for him earlier this year, it’s a stunning Metallic British racing green. Our in-house artist Aaron De La Haye did his thing and laid out the ‘Order of Jordan’ on either side of the tank. Our client’s wife is from Jordan, and a member of her family was awarded the ‘Order of Jordan’ from the King which we are told is an extremely high honor to receive. So we wanted to make this a key feature of the bike.
Upholstery: The seat was trimmed and finished by Hurley Custom Seats, they also laser’d in our logo into the leather work. The battery box and electrical tray cover were created by Krooked Kat Upholstery. These also have our shop logo laser’d onto them.
This bike is just a cool wee bike! It runs great, sounds great, and looks beautiful. We say it each time we finish a bike that ‘”This is our favorite build,” and in truth we would happily keep them all. We are very proud of this build, in particular the time scale in which myself and my team completed the project. It’s a crazy transformation from the stock donor bike we started out with. Being able to take things we learn from our clients heritage and family history and incorporate them in to one of our motorcycles is just cool as hell.
James Moir: Owner, Lead Designer, Fabricator, and Paint Work
Graeme Findlay: Lead Mechanic
Aaron De La Haye: Air Brush Artist
John Shaw: Mechanic
Photography credit to Oliver Young
Location: Cultybraggan POW Camp, Comrie , Scotland
Follow the Builder