A Brazilian Custom Motorcycle of the Year!
The Honda CBX750F, launched in 1983, was an evolution of the “original superbike” — the beloved CB750. The air-cooled 16-valve DOHC engine produced 91 bhp, capable of propelling the 500-lb CBX through the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds at 111 mph. The engine boasted hydraulic tappets, lightweight valves, and the front frame tubes doubled as oil reservoirs, allowing the shallow-sump motor to be mounted very low in the frame:
“The CBX is genuinely flickable, largely because of its low frontal area and careful weight distribution (48.6/ 51.4 front and rear).”
Enter our new friend Georgios Kiriakopoulos (@gregoscustoms), a Greek-born builder who moved from his home island of Crete to Brazil five years ago:
“When I first came to Brazil I bought a motorcycle (also a CBX750F) for myself and started customizing it for fun. Without speaking the language and having no one to guide or help me it was not an easy task, so it took me like a year to finish my project.”
In hopes of connecting with the Brazilian custom scene, he entered his CBX cafe racer in the annual customization competition hosted by MotoCultura, where it won the 2018 award for “Moto Customizada do Ano” — Custom Motorcycle of the Year! Grego made a ton of like-minded friends through the contest, as well as potential customers:
“Some people started asking me to build bikes for them, so my hobby became a profession. Because my name is difficult to pronounce here, everybody calls me Grego, which means “the Greek” in Portuguese, so I named my work shop @gregoscustoms.”
Grego works alone in his shop, the “old school way,” doing every aspect of each build himself: metal-shaping, mechanics, electrics, paint, etc. For 2019, Grego decided to build another CBX750F — this time pursuing a different style altogether.
“I always wanted to build a bike without using any colors on the parts. As I had plenty of scrap metal around, I decided to build a bike all made out of metal, so I could then just brush everything and varnish it.”
The completed street tracker, inspired by 80s enduro bikes, would be aptly dubbed the “Full Metal Beast,” and it’s simply loaded with hand-fabricated parts: subframe, front fairing, exhaust, mirrors, side panels, license plate bracket, footpegs, bars, fenders, instrument panel, side stand, and more. The most striking and distinctive feature has to be Grego’s handmade exhaust, which follows the lines of the frame, subframe, and ends up right underneath the seat.
We’re thrilled to say that Grego’s “Full Metal Beast” earned him a second Custom Motorcycle Award of the Year at the 2019 competition! Below, we get the full story on this CBX.
Honda CBX750 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Georgios Kiriakopoulos and I am a Greek citizen from the island of Crete living in Brazil for the last 5 years. I used to restore and customize mostly vintage motorcycles in Greece for a few years in the early nineties. When I first came to Brazil I bought a motorcycle (also a CBX750F) for myself and started customizing it for fun. Without speaking the language and having no one to guide or help me it was not an easy task, so it took me like a year to finish my project.
I decided to participate in a contest for the “Custom Motorcycle of the Year” that I found out about on the internet in order to get connected with the Brazilian custom scene. I won first place, got to know a lot of people, and made many friends that liked custom bikes.
Some started asking me to build bikes for them, so my hobby became a profession. Because my name is difficult to pronounce here, everybody calls me Grego, which means “the Greek” in Portuguese, so I named my work shop GREGO’S CUSTOMS.
It’s a small work shop in which I work alone doing all the tasks (metal shaping, soldering, mechanics, electrics, painting, etc) on my own, the old school way.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike is a Honda CBX750F produced in 1990 here in Brazil. Production in Japan stopped in 1986 but in Brazil they kept producing it until 1994.
• Why was this bike built?
The bike was built for me to participate again in the Custom Motorcycle of the Year competition in which I won first place for the second time in a row.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I always wanted to build a bike without using any colors on the parts. As I had plenty of scrap metal around, I decided to build a bike all made out of metal, so I could then just brush everything and varnish it.
Because it is not common to see a big four cylinder engine be used in a kind of street tracker / scrambler project I decided to give it a try. The influence came mostly from the off-road enduro bikes of the eighties.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The sub frame, front mask, exhaust, mirrors, side panels, license plate bracket, foot pegs, bars, front and rear fender, instrument panel, seat, rear suspension case and side stand were all made from scratch.
The main frame, the swing arm, and the tank were also modified.
The seat’s upholstery is made of rawhide leather in which I carved the logo, colored it, and hand stitched it. Even the plates of the speedo and tachometer were handmade.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Full Metal Beast.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Because of the huge tires the bike is using (both wheels are size 18), riding at low speed, under 30 kmh, is a little bit noisy, but as you gain speed (the brakes and suspension are upgraded), it is really fun.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The exhaust system that follows the frame, sub frame, and ends up under the seat I think is one of the most unique characteristics of the project. But also the front mask with the indicators embedded in it.