Today we are thrilled to feature this incredible 1978 Honda CB750K cafe racer by Justin Webster of J.Webster Designs. Justin was recently featured on the Esquire series Wrench Against The Machine, which we highly recommend, and he has been invited to the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas.
We love seeing this attention go to a man like Justin, a self-taught builder who started his business working at night after his day job, and who credits his father with teaching him “true work ethic.” Justin can also articulate his own aesthetic philosophy, which we love:
When building bikes, I like to not have a single item stand out too prominently. All modifications should flow with one another and compliment each other, not compete.
Below, we get the full story from Justin on this oh-so-clean CB.
CB750K Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
(Highlights by us.)
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
J.Webster Designs is a small, relatively unknown, rapidly growing company that specializes in designing and manufacturing custom aftermarket motorcycle parts (for vintage Hondas as well as other brand specific parts and universal fit products), providing one-off fabrication, and doing full custom built bikes. I am located in Gainesville, Florida currently. I was recently featured on the new Motorcycle Build-off competition TV series Wrench Against The Machine. I was also an invited builder to the prestigious Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.
I grew up working on hot rods with my father and always dreamed about having my own custom shop growing up. I never let that dream fade and was determined to make it happen. I fell into the motorcycle industry when I purchased my first motorcycle (1976 CB750F) in college. I couldn’t afford to buy all the cool parts that I wanted, so I made them.
People liked what I was making and the rest is history. I worked the business at night after my day job and went full time with the business 2 years ago. I am completely self taught in all aspects. I truly have my father to thank for instilling in me the passion for all things mechanical and showing us what true work ethic looks like. He pointed me in the right directions growing up and I ran with it. He was always there to point me in another direction when I strayed from the path.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike is a 1978 Honda CB750K
• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)
This bike was built on commission for a client out of Orlando, FL. He had interest in starting to ride motorcycles and really liked the detail focused style of our builds. Being his first bike (one hell of a first motorcycle!), he did not have a donor. I found the bike in barn in Illinois. It was in a typical state for an almost 40 year old bike but was relatively unmolested and made for a prime donor for this build.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The client wanted a classic styled bike that was not overtly modernized. So we went with a style that is tried and true and will stand the test of time. We really pride ourselves on the detail oriented focus of our build and this bike is not without. There are so many items that can be found and noticed each time you revisit the bike. When building bikes, I like to not have a single item stand out too prominently. All modifications should flow with one another and compliment each other, not compete.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The bike was completely disassembled and the frame was detabbed and modified accordingly. All switch gear except for the a minimalistic turn signal switch were removed from the bars and relocated to custom made mounts on the frame below the tank.
LED tail lights were molded into the rear frame rails and LED turn signals were molded into the bottom of the gas tank to keep the bike as sleek as possible while maintaining it’s street legal compliance.
The triple trees were shaved and smoothed to remove all casting marks and a pedestal mount was added to the lower triple to mount the bates style headlight and to get rid of any headlight fork ears to reduce clutter on the front end. A floating mount was fabricated to attach the Motogadget Motoscope Tiny gauge to the shaved and smoothed upper triple tree.
The electronics have all been upgraded to modern standards with a solid state Regulator/Rectifier, Motogadget M-Unit, Motogadget M-Lock RFID ignition switch and modernized switch gear.
The motor was completely rebuilt and brought back to a better than new state with fresh internals, hand polished covers and a nice exhaust system topped off with a Cone Engineering reverse megaphone muffler. All mechanical items were gone through and updated, upgraded or replaced where necessary. I hand made the rear seat cowl to flow with the lines of the 1974 CB750K tank that I swapped onto the bike.
Custom paint and powdercoat inspired by 1950s appliances was laid down to finish it all off along with upholstery. To top it all off the bike was outfitted with a full array of J.Webster Designs parts (Valve Tappet Covers, Oil Pressure Gauge Adapter, Tach Drive Plug, and Speedometer Gear Drive Delete).
• Full list of the changes made/parts used.
– Modified original frame
– Shaved and smoothed triple trees
– Pedestal mounted Bates style headlight
– Relocated switch gear
– Modernized electronics
– Motogadget Motoscope Tiny gauge
– Motogadget M-Unit
– Motogadget M-Lock
– Ricks Motorsport Electrics Solid State Regulator/Rectifier
– LED tail lights moulded into the rear frame rails
– LED rurn signals moulded into the bottom of the gas tank
– Custom wiring harness utilizing highstrand, low resistance wire
– Rebuilt motor with fresh internals and slight upgrades
– Hand polished aluminum engine covers and other items.
– Cone Engineering reverse megaphone muffler
– Full J.Webster Designs parts lineup
– Valve Tappet Covers
– Tach Drive Plug
– Oil Pressure Gauge Adapter
– Speedometer Gear Drive Delete
– Swapped 1974 CB750K gas tank
– Handmade Seat Cowl
– Custom Paint, Upholstery and Powder Coating
– Avon Roadrider tires
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I am particularly proud of how well the bikes lines flow well and all the finishes compliment one another. I am also proud of how well our parts blend into the style of the bike and really help set it apart.
Follow the Builder
Builder: Justin Webster/J.Webster Designs:
Photography Credit: Aren Bane from Bane Digital
Video Credit: Aren Bane from Bane Digital and Travis Hull from Talking Head Studio