We’re very excited to showcase this mean green CB750 build from Racing Smith of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Believe it or not, we were seeking out the builder, Ben Smith, about featuring the bike the very same day we found a message from him in our inbox. Fate? It certainly seems that way.
Like many builders, Smith began in his home garage, working on both cars and bikes. Soon the garage no longer cut it, and Racing Smith opened for business in a space in downtown Winston-Salem, offering both vintage and modern motorcycle service, restoration, tuning, custom fabrication, and an array of t-shirts and leather goods.
This rugged CB750, built to honor a veteran of the 1st Air Cavalry, immediately caught our eye, and the story behind the build didn’t disappoint: this bike was brought to Racing Smith not having run for three decades, and the owner had ridden on it with his uncle as a wee lad!
The lines of the Honda CB series lend themselves readily to cafe builds, but Ben took a slightly alternative route, creating a burly, military-inspired machine that looks as comfortable on dirt as pavement. Without a doubt, it is a beautiful tribute to the men of the “Air Cav” who thundered over enemy lands in their helicopter gunships.
We’ll let Ben give us the specifics of the build.
CB750 Tracker: In the Builder’s Words
Our client came to use via an ad we use on Craigslist here in the Southeast. In the past, his uncle used to ride him on this CB750 when he was a wee lad. His uncle served our nation in the 1st Air Cavalry, if I remember correctly. Presently his uncle has aged and is in a retirement home being cared for.
Phillip (the nephew and now owner) wanted the bike to be something special to honor his uncle. After all, his uncle got him into riding. Phillip was very passionate about the bike as if it was a family member itself. He could still describe the sounds, smells and speed that he remembered as a kid. Phillip wanted all that to come back to life! After a couple phone conversations, he decided that we were the ones for the job!
The bike came to us after not running for over 30 years, and with a VERY tight budget! This was our true first build, so I had to make it happen to get the shop off the ground. There was tons of work to be done. It was, by far, the WORST bank of carbs Ive ever cleaned. It sported a proud windjammer fairing with uppers, lowers the original spoke wheels, an aftermarket king/queen seat and a few other period correct parts. One of which we went though great lengths to retain that period correct 4-1 exhaust by delicately sandblasting and cerakoting. It was a full frame-off build.
Phillip wanted a rugged look, with mag wheels and a military inspired paint scheme. Also, after some discussion and suggestions from me, topping out the list was a dual set of headlights and digital speedo via Trail Techs Vapor system. A pair of carefully-selected tubeless dual sport tires, designed for heavier bikes like the KLR, were utilized for safety and aesthetics.
Looking back on the build sheet we used
- Dime City Cycles Brat seat and hoop
- DCC tail light/license tag
- Biltwell Grips
- Headlight brackets
- Throttle tube
- All Balls neck and wheel bearings
- Gas line, glass fuel filter, clamps and jets for the carbs
- Trail Tech Vapor dashboard and custom bracket
- Twin side mounted headlights
- Vee Rubber dual sport tires wrapped on CB650 Comstars
- GS550 front fender
- Lots of powder coating, gaskets and love
Everything from the beginning to the end was done in-house. I outsourced the powder/cerakoting to my good friends and best in the industry hands down, Exotics paint and powder in Kernersville, NC. Side note: we now powdercoat the small bits in-house and still utilize them for frames and wheels.
The bike was a huge success in my eyes. It ran absolutely beautifully after some tuning and handled like a dream believe it or not!
Currently we are open and running at our new shop (no more building from the garage at the house) in the historic district in Downtown Winston-Salem, NC!
To accomplish all this, it took a bit of time, great friends and a few cold beers!
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Photography shot by Adam P. Rogers Photography