We like staring slack-jawed at the big money pro builds as much as anyone, but there’s nothing quite so special as the connection between a garage builder and his first build. Enter Mark Guevara of the Philippines, who works as a property manager for the family business and designs bamboo and carbon fiber skateboards for his company Contach Longboards.
Mark picked up this 1974 CB750 for around $1000 — it was rusted and rotted, with spiders crawling everywhere as he loaded it up on the truck. From there, Mark spent over a year resurrecting the machine, using the help of Youtube videos, various forums, and old-fashioned grit. With shipping so expensive for US-sourced parts, he had them shipped to an aunt in California who brought them over when she came to visit — a truly family affair! In the end, he completely rebuilt the engine, shaped the fiberglass tail, and hand-painted the tank himself.
Mark nicknamed the bike “Kali,” which is short for kalawang (“rust”), as well as the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. Below, we get the full story on this garage-built CB750 cafe racer.
Contact Motorcycles CB750 Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
I’m Mark Guevara from the Philippines. I work as a property manager for our family’s real estate business, and I also make and design bamboo and carbon fiber longboard skateboards for my skateboard company, Contach Longboards.
My bike’s a 1974 CB750 nicknamed “Kali”, short for kalawang (rust in our native tongue) and also Kali, which is a Filipino martial art. The bike was a “barn find” (we don’t have barns here), and I got it for around 53,227 PHP ($1,000). The bike has been owned by a total of five different persons, including me. I’ve met the 2nd owner (an old hippie) and he told me that he got it from a commercial jet pilot. He then sold it to this guy who he works with before, and has then sold it to the wife of a Japanese guy that used to live here in the Philippines. I then purchased the bike from their son.
It took me more than a year to finish my CB750 — this was my first ever build. When I got this bike, it was completely neglected by the previous owner. Tires were rotted, rims and spokes were eaten up by rust. The brake and turn lights were cracked and busted, the ignition coil was missing and the seat was all ripped up. The frame had some rust, but just a few, and most of the wheel bearings were seized up. The top triple tree clamp was also busted. The bike was covered in spider webs, and when we loaded it up on the truck, spiders were crawling everywhere!
I had no prior experience doing mechanical work on bikes, so before I started stripping the bike I watched a ton of youtube videos and joined a lot of forums.
After doing all my research, I started troubleshooting, looking for parts that I could salvage, and try to find parts that I needed to replace. Most of the parts that I needed were hard to find here in the Philippines, and had to source from the US.
Ordering the parts was easy, but having them shipped here was very costly — good thing one of my aunts was coming over to visit, so I had to have parts shipped to either my mom’s house in Oakland or my aunt’s in Napa Valley CA.
First thing I did with the bike was tracing and redoing all the wiring and at the same time installing an ultimate pamco kit. Next was put on some new tires and replace the wheel and steering bearings with All Balls bearings. I had it running by then, but after a month of riding it around the neighborhood, there was a loud rattling sound coming from the inside of the valve cover. Turns out the bolt holes for the rocker arm tower were stripped. I pulled out the engine and using my youtube video tutorial knowledge, started rebuilding the engine. I also rebuilt and rejetted the carburetor for pod filters.
I fabricated a cafe racer seat made of fiber glass, and I had a friend do the welding for the seat hoop. I then sent the frame, rims and other parts out for powder coating. I stripped the original paint of the tank, and hand-painted the rust look on it, and the cafe racer seat cowl. Using an old projector light with halo lights, I custom made a rear brake/turn light combo to replace the busted ones.
I installed a mini tach and speedometer that really looks clean and nice on a CNC billet aluminum top yoke.