The Honda CB750 is one of the most beloved vintage motorcycles in existence, and possibly the most popular platform for custom builds. Introduced in 1969, the 68-hp CB’s tranverse inline four engine would become the dominant layout for legions of sport bikes to come, adding to the bike’s legacy as the “Original Superbike,” and the bike still has punch enough to thrill most modern riders. That said, the CB750 is a bike mainly designed for smooth tarmac, rarely seen off the beaten path, in the woods, or on long expeditions…
Enter Mike Gustafson of Iowa’s MONNOM Customs, who grew up riding around the fields and gravel roads of rural Iowa on a little two-stroke Yamaha GT80:
“This gave me a feeling of complete freedom at a very early age.”
About six years ago, he began building motorcycles, not just riding them. Since then, his builds have been showcased in many of the country’s best shows — Handbuilt, The OG Moto Show, and Mama Tried — as well as some of our favorite online publications like Bike EXIF, Silodrome, and Pipeburn.
For this build, Mike decided to transform the CB750 into a platform for camping, exploration, and adventure. He swapped in a beefier ’76 Goldwing front end, which increased the ride height, paired with Ohlins rear shocks and Shinko ADV tires. Most of the bike is coated in rugged 2K bedliner, and we especially love all of the lighting and luggage solutions from the likes of companies such as Wolfman Luggage, Clearwater Lights, and Custom Dynamics. The result is one burly CB750, champing at the bit for adventure:
“The bike is a blast to rip on, it’s surprising nimble and smooth for being such a heavy beast. I’m excited to load the bags and head out for a weekend of camping soon!”
Mike is even working on short production run of the utility rack on the build — so stay tuned! Below, we get the full details on the build, along with more stunning outdoor photos from Aaron Graves (@recording_light) and studio shots from Ted Sandeen (@sandeen_photography).
Honda CB750 ADV: In the Builder’s Words
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I grew up in rural Iowa riding a 1973 Yamaha GT80 around the fields and gravel roads, this gave me a feeling of complete freedom at a very early age. I’ve always ridden motorcycles and dirtbikes but didn’t start building them until about 6 years ago. My first build was a Honda CB550 that had a wooden seat, it was a beautifully polarizing bike. I do a little bit of motorcycle repair work for some friends but I primarily work on one or two complete custom builds at a time. I’ve taken my work to the Handbuilt Show in Austin, The OG Moto Show in LA, and Mama Tried in Milwaukee. My workshop is located on my property and just a stone’s throw away from my house. It is a great set up because I can be available for my two kids and the commute is great!
I am also working on a short production run of the utility rack that is featured on this build, they will be available soon to add to any vintage Honda.
• About the Bike: 1976 Honda CB750 M6
This project started as so many vintage bike builds do — someone starts tearing a bike apart and realizes that they may not be able to finish the project the way they intended, so it sits in a barn for years.
To keep the build looking like a vintage bike, I knew I wanted to utilize a beefier 1976 Honda GL1000 front end and with the gained length of the fork and coupled with the fresh Ohlins rear shocks it brought the bike up an inch or so for a bit more ground clearance. Shinko ADV knobbies were fitted to a set of black aluminum rims that finished off the aggressive stance of the build. The frame and most of the other small parts we treated with a 2K bedliner product that provides an extremely durable, textured satin black surface, it was perfect for the look I was going for.
Our friends at Wolfman Luggage supplied us with a very nice set of their Expedition Dry Bags and I used two Auxilary LED lights by Clearwater Lights that put out a blazing 10,000 lumens of crisp, dimmable light.
A pair of Cone Engineering mufflers were added a stock set of 4 into 2 headers and the bike sounds amazing. To make the presence of M6 heard even louder I installed a Denali Soundbomb dual tone air horn that blasts out a deafening 120 DB of sound.
To help the engine breathe freely I added a set of K&N pod filters and rejetted the carbs accordingly. LED bar end signals and an integrated rear taillight strip with signals from Custom Dynamics rounded out the indicator lighting. In place of a standard speedo unit I partnered with Quadlock and used their standard handlebar mount with a GPS app on a smartphone, it works brilliantly and it is very handy to have navigation at your fingertips on a vintage bike.
I fabricated a custom oil tank that sits below the beautiful seat that was made by Dane Utech (@plzbeseated), the tank holds a bit more oil than the stocker and helps to keep the engine running cool. Also under the seat is a large 12 cell Antigravity Lithium Battery to keep electrical system flowing, I went with the larger capacity battery due to the additional lighting and the heavy cranking engine.
The front headlight surround and steel side covers we all fabricated in house. It was obvious to me that the bike should be black and I ultimately went with a gloss clear coat that contrasted nicely again the textured coating on the frame. A set of MONNOM badges adorn the sides of the tank in place of the original Honda logos.
I designed the custom aluminum rack that discreetly sits above the passenger seating area, it is a quick on / off removal with only three bolts. It is very strong and lightweight being made from 3/16″ CNC cut stock, the top of the rack also accepts a 1 gallon Rotopax fuel cell.
The bike is a blast to rip on, its surprising nimble and smooth for being such a heavy beast. I’m excited to load the bags and head out for a weekend of camping soon!