Dave Solomon of Butchered Classics is our favorite mad Englishman, a shed-builder who’s earned an “evil reputation” for building high-powered Frankenbikes that send purists drooling and raving to the madhouse. In 2019 alone, we featured his Kawasaki “GPz1157,” his Kawasaki Z1000H, and his Spondon turbo — all powered by air-cooled Bandit 1200 engines! This time around, when Dave purchased a 1981 Honda CB900F chassis, he decided to really take the purists and naysayers for a ride:
“Whilst everyone are busy recreating Freddie Spencer race replicas, I decided to venture down a different route, creating a motorcycle on everyone’s ‘pet peeves’ and let’s just see if all them negatives can create a positively nice machine?”
Per his research, pet peeves included a yellow base color, white wheels, an array of cheap Chinese parts, and most importantly, a Bandit 1200 engine:
“Now I have no issues using the stock motor if a good-running version was available at relatively low money, but that just isn’t going to happen here in the UK, so the first pet peeve was in place — the Suzuki powerplant and running gear.”
The result is a bike that looks pretty darn good, goes like a train, and is an absolute hoot to ride:
“All in in all a bike built from a lot of negatives, wrong engine, wrong colour, wrong country to get parts from etc, etc…completely wrong then?”
What’s more, the bike was purchased, built, and finished for under £2k! Below, we get the full story on the build from Dave himself!
Honda CB900F Frankenbike: In the Builder’s Words
So, I’ve assembled a few of these Bandit-powered “Butchered Classics” now. They are fun to build, can be created on a relatively cheap budget, most people make positive comments — however, there are “folk” out there who can be quite negative about such sacrilege. Of course, I take all these comments on board and will never build any more. (Yeah right!)
I started to think that I’ve built a few based on bikes I like and colours I prefer, but could you build a nice bike based on the negatives of others. I had recently purchased a 1981 Honda CB900F chassis c/w bodywork, and whilst everyone are busy recreating Freddie Spencer race replicas, I decided to venture down a different route, creating a motorcycle on everyone’s “pet peeves” and let’s just see if all them negatives can create a positively nice machine?
The first item on my agenda was to source a cheap donor Suzuki 1200 Bandit. A quick search on Ebay a week prior to Christmas (always a good time to buy a motorcycle), and a relatively minor damaged bike was found at a bike dismantlers in Egham near London. That arrived the first week in January 2020 and the build had begun. Now I have no issues using the stock motor if a good-running version was available at relatively low money, but that just isn’t going to happen here in the UK, so the first pet peeve was in place — the Suzuki powerplant and running gear.
A few posts later on various facebook pages revealed Yellow as the least popular colour for ANY vehicle. Though some did love the colour, the majority said they would never buy a motorcycle let alone paint one yellow…so that was my main colour sorted. All the body panels were dispatched to garden shed paint guru Chris Davison to apply the glossy gleaming colour and paint the pinstripes like he does so well.
Apparently, white wheels are a big no also — “pain in the arse to keep clean” and “only fags paint their wheels white” were just a few of the negative comments — so Chris was told to paint them also…white ?
Tim Dudley of TD Trimmings was contacted to re-shape and recover the seat, which he did fantastically as he always does for relatively cheap money.
Whilst all that was going on, I recruited the help of bike-building magician James Rogers to weld in the frame inserts I’d had fabricated to slot into the holes I’d drilled to fit the mighty Suzuki powerplant into the 80’s Honda frame. With that done and the motor in, I needed to source some rearsets and an end can to match the altered Delkovic exhaust that came with the damaged bike.
A quick check on some forums I found Gilles rearsets were fetching ten times more than the Chinese ones I eventually ended up purchasing, mainly because of everyone who warned me off buying from China, not one person had actual experience purchasing from any Asian supplier, saying their “friends said this” or “I know a bloke who said this about them” — but no actual first hand knowledge. But they are faultless for under £50.00 delivered, so they were bought and are perfect, along with the headlight (£10.00) and end can (£40). I will never have any issues recommending Chinese parts…if you are on a budget.
All in in all a bike built from a lot of negatives, wrong engine, wrong colour, wrong country to get parts from etc, etc…completely wrong then?
Purchased, built, and finished for under £2k, and created within a three month timeline.
There’s a saying that “Haters are always gonna hate”…or are they?