Introduced in 1979, the Honda CB650 would become the last of the air-cooled SOHC fours. An evolution of the beloved CB550, the 650 was built on the same production line and included a nearly identical chassis mated to a 63-hp 8-valve engine. While the CB650 didn’t have quite the same charm as the 550 or the outright power of the CB750, it was a damn good motorcycle — and the perfect platform for a custom build.
Enter Mike Schroeder of Red Right Hand Motorcycles, based out of Missoula, Montana. By day, Mike is the GM of Grizzly Harley-Davidson; by night, he builds bikes out of his small home shop. Last year, we featured his “DirtyXL” Sportster, built to tackle tarmac, snow, dirt, and mud. At this year’s One Moto Show, Mike showed up with this lovely 1979 Honda CB650 built for his brother who lives in Northern California.
Dubbed “Project Jasmine,” the build started with a crusty $300 donor that Mike slowly transformed into the beauty you see here. We especially love all of the pieces made from reworked stock parts, such as the tail piece, made from a ’15 H-D fender and removable for two-up riding. There’s also a unique one-off exhaust from Missoula’s own Number 8 Wire Motorcycle, a signature red right grip, and much more.
Below, we get the full story on the build from Mike himself.
Honda CB650 Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
My brother had been asking me to build him a bike for awhile so I finally got after it. I picked up this 1979 CB650 for $300, threw it on the rack and got to work.
He wanted something a little cafe with a scrambler twist so as I went along, since he lives 1000 miles away, we texted, emailed and called to work on achieving what was developing in our heads. The plan was to have it ready for him to take home in PDX at the end of The One Moto Show… And I got her done, just in time. We dubbed it Project Jasmine.
I tend to like to spend time reworking stock parts when possible, and buying only what is necessary. I used a 2015 H-D bagger rear fender to make the rear tail piece, which is removable to switch to a two-up seat. The rear splash fender is mounted to the swing arm (it’s black so hard to see in pics) and that was a H-D Sportster 883L front fender. I made all the peg mounts to fit H-D pegs since there are a lot more peg options going that way.
I wanted it to be as clean as possible so I went with a moto gadget Munit Blue and tucked all the new electrical under the seat in the slimmest tray possible kept at the same depth as the frame. All lighting is LED with Mblaze bar end signals up front and kellerman micro lights in the rear.
The Koso speedo gave us a modern yet classic look sitting above the Speed Moto Co headlight. I always run a red grip (Red Right Hand) and used the VansXCult grips for a lil flavor.
I shaved the front fork lowers down to eliminate the weird OEM ribs that run top to bottom on them, then added an aux light of the left side.
The motor was completely powder coated by myself and I taped off all the Honda lettering and left those bare aluminum.
We wanted the pipes to be unique and one-off, so I went to my buddy Colin at Number 8 Wire Motorcycles here in Missoula and he took our idea and hit it out of the park as usual. The pipes also required relocating the kickstand (I already removed the center stand), so we kicked it way forward for perfect clearance.
Jasmine now resides in Nor Cal with it new owner.
Follow the Builder @redrighthandofmoto