A young airline pilot builds a sweet CB175…
The Honda CB175 came to the U.S. market in 1969, an air-cooled twin that offered 20 hp at 10,000 rpm, a top speed of 86 mph, and fuel economy of 60 mpg. While it was no hot rod, this small-bore CB was a hugely popular bike that looked the business, revved to the moon, and wouldn’t leave you stranded:
“Almost bombproof the engine, both then and now, really only required basic servicing allied to the obligatory oil changes.” —Old Bike Mart
Enter our new friend Chris Harter, a 30-year-old airline pilot out of Westfield, Indiana, who grew up with a fascination for mechanical things and the desire to modify them. His father was and remains an avid motorcyclist, and the two of them worked on cars when he was younger.
“The real interest to customize came in college when my roommate Jimmy had a Honda Ruckus that I helped him modify with engine work and lowering and stretching the frame.”
While grounded a bit during the C-19 crisis, Chris says one of his buddies “sort of tricked him” into getting a bike — our kind of friend, ha! Soon, Chris’s cafe racer dream was born.
In these days of everything digital, Chris found a lot of the information he needed for the build online, but nothing beats a bit of neighborly advice:
“Mostly I found information and assistance on YouTube and online, but I met one of my neighbors Andy Neustifter, who had build several amazing bikes and has restored his fair share of vintage bikes. Andy has been a huge help in the build.”
Last year, we featured Andy’s custom Honda GL1000 Goldwing, which was showcased in Cincinnati’s Garage Brewed Moto Show. It’s awesome to hear about one builder helping another, and Chris says the folks at Common Motor were a wealth of help and information as well — that’s what it’s all about!
Below, we get the full details on Chris’s CB175 — “Holly Honda” — and more shots from photographer Jon Kansteiner (@jonkan7).
Honda CB175 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history withmotorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Chris Harter, 30 years old, from Westfield, Indiana. I’m an airline pilot by profession. As a kid I had a few dirt bikes but my father had several motorcycles and still does to this day. Growing up I’ve always been fascinated by mechanical things and had the desire to work on them. From working with my dad on cars to building and modifying things of my own. The real interest to customize came in college when my roommate Jimmy had a Honda Ruckus that I helped him modify with engine work and lowering and stretching the frame. During COVID, my friend Vincent sort of tricked me into getting a bike and the cafe racer dream was born. Mostly I found information and assistance on YouTube and online, but I met one of my neighbors Andy Neustifter, who had build several amazing bikes and has restored his fair share of vintage bikes. Andy has been a huge help in the build.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1972 Honda CB175.
• Why was this bike built?
This was a personal project.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Really just a traditional cafe style bike is what I was going for.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Custom build wire harness with lithium battery, LED lights, custom painted to match seat, exhaust, rear sets, frame work and handmade cafe hoop/loop. The tank is the original paint.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s as raw of a motorcycle feel when riding it as I’ve ever experienced. 65mph never felt so fast, LOL.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Just the over all look of the bike really — it’s exactly what I envisioned.
- Photographer and friend Jon Kansteiner: @jonkan7
- Powder coated by Pro-Kote Indy
- Tons of information and help from the folks at Common Motor: @commonmotor
- Advice and guidance from Andy Neustifter
Follow the Builder @cjpoppin