The Sanitary White Honda CB450
Toby Jones and his wife recently moved from Florida to the foothills of North Georgia — one of the world’s motorcycling Valhallas. In honor of the famed nearby river, they changed the name of their shop from OtC Custom Motorcycles to Chattahoochee Skunkworks, which they like to a call a “vintage motorcycle rescue shop.” Says Toby:
“Our typical project starts with a neglected and unloved bike. Like rescuing a dog from an animal shelter, we don’t always end up with a pure bred, but we usually end up with a pretty good old dog.”
Enter this 1972 Honda CB450 — the shop’s first commissioned build. The customer wanted a two-up machine that looked mostly stock, but with a few cafe touches here and there. The result is a CB450 resto that’s damn sure clean enough to be pure bred! Below, we get the full story on the build.
Honda CB450: In the Builder’s Words
My name is Toby Jones and our hobby/shop “Chattahoochee Skunkworks” is tucked in the foothills of northern Georgia just a stone’s throw from the river of the same name. We refer to our shop as a vintage motorcycle rescue shop because our typical project starts with a neglected and unloved bike. Like rescuing a dog from an animal shelter, we don’t always end up with a pure bred, but we usually end up with a pretty good old dog.
This project started out life as a 1972 Honda CB450 that we picked up in a trade with several other bikes. Mechanically it was a low mileage bike that appeared to have been taken care of reasonably well, but cosmetically the finish and chrome looked like it had spent too much time in a Florida carport. The little twin was a new experience for our shop in that, although we usually build and sell a couple of bikes a year, this was our first commissioned build. Being used to having a free reign on all aspects of a project, I was a little apprehensive at first, but we kept the lines of communication open, listened to the customer’s input, and I think the results speak for themselves.
As for the style of the bike, my partner put it best when he said, “There ain’t really a name for the style we do.” In this case the customer wanted a two-up bike with a stock vintage look, but also wanted the flat bars and alloy rims for a bit of a café racer style.
The bike, like all our builds, was pulled apart to the bare frame. The frame was sent to Monty Turner Powder Coating for some slick white stuff, the front fender, headlight ears and exhaust pipes went out to Dan’s Polishing and Chrome for plating and the seat went to our friend Lee at G.W. Kay Company for one of his top shelf upholstery jobs.
The engine was in great shape with only 5400 miles so, aside from a thorough cleaning, valve adjustment, and polishing the cases it was left as is. Of course, the carbs were rebuilt along with the replacement of the brakes, bearings and anything else needed to make sure the customer has many trouble-free miles ahead of him. All the misc. nuts bolts, small brackets and hardware were zinc chromate plated.
New alloy rims were laced to the stock polished hubs and the bike received new performance shocks and tires. We then sprayed the ’68 CB450 tank, side covers and rear fender in custom matched pure white to match the frame.
For parts suppliers on this build we relied on our usual trusted sources. Dime City Cycles, 4 into 1 Vintage Honda Parts, David Silver Spares among a few others came through with the goodies to get the old bike running and looking good. I think everyone involved in the vintage motorcycle hobby owes the suppliers a big thanks. It wasn’t long ago that NOS, reproduction and custom parts for these old bikes were tough and often very expensive to source. I’m sure glad they’re out there workin’ hard to get the right parts in our dirty little hands.
It’s been a fun project for us and although I hate to see it go, I’m happy for the new owner and proud that our work is getting the appreciation and reputation we work so hard for.