Finland’s Steel Bakery delivers one gorgeous CB…
The original Honda CB750 completely revolutionized production motorcycles. Dubbed the “Original Superbike,” it was the first mass-produced motorcycle to feature a four-cylinder engine, disc brakes, and electric starter. It had been built at the request of American Honda, and the 68-hp, 736cc engine kickstarted the superbike era:
“Some say that the sound of this engine was similar to a Ferrari, and for good reason. It had four megaphone exhaust pipes, two on each side. Honda CB750 K0 was the ultimate production motorcycle of its time.” —Drive Mag
The CB750’s engine and overall design have aged incredibly well, considering the bike debuted more than 50 years ago in 1969 — the same year as the moon landing. As with many bikes of the era, one thing that hasn’t age quite so well is the bike’s brakes, suspension, and wheel/tire combos.
That’s where the idea of the restomod comes in — a vintage machine that retains the basic style, silhouette, and charm of the original, while boasting an array of modern advancements in suspension, brakes, rubber, ignition/electronics, and engine performance.
Our new friend Henri Ikola of Finland’s Steel Bakery grew up in western Finland, where he’s been garage-building everything from go-karts to rally cars for years. The name of his shop reflects the craftsmanship that comes with making things the old-school way: by hand. While Henri has worked professionally as a machinist and mechanical designer, his current position is a bit more mundane: overseeing customer relations at a car dealership. To balance things out, he builds badass motorcycles:
“I’ve always had a thing for restomods, and I have lot of concepts in my head waiting for the right bikes to appear.”
When a ’72 CB750 basket case turned up on Marketplace, Henri knew it was the one. His vision was clear:
“This bike’s design concept was to make restomod-style bike with Honda’s own 70’s design language. Mixed with a blend of not that subtle mods, which I personally think complements the periods style. My goal was to make it in such a way that at first glance one would think it rolled out of the factory this way.”
The modifications were extensive, including a Kawasaki ZX-9R front end with internally lowered forks, braided hoses, Borrani-style alloy rims, CB550 swingarm, handmade fenders, custom loom with CDI and modern voltage regulator, rebuilt engine with hand-built stainless 4-4 exhaust, and much more.
Henri is proud of how clean the build turned out, as well as how much he did himself.
“Only a few things were done outside of my garage. The list would be cylinder head re-surfacing, valve grinding, frame powder coating, and fasteners zinc plating.”
Below, we talk to him for the full details on this gorgeous CB750 restomod, with more photos from Oskari Grönqvist.
Honda CB750 Restomod: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am Henri Ikola from the western part of Finland. Growing up there, I’ve spent a lot of time in garage building all sorts of motor related stuff from go-karts to rally cars. Currently I’m a shed builder and on the professional side, I’ve worked as a machinist and mechanical designer. Less interesting thing is that nowadays I oversee customer relations in a car dealership; however, I do get to handle all technical problems with the cars. To balance out my rather mundane job, I build motorcycles. I have built bikes now almost 15 years and Steel Bakery is the name of my garage. I’ve named my garage Steel Bakery to reflect the craftsmanship when it comes to making things by hand.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Honda CB750 1972.
• Why was this bike built?
I’ve always had a thing for restomods, and I have lot of concepts in my head waiting for the right bikes to appear. This basket case CB750 from Facebook Marketplace was suited perfectly to this concept, which was just waiting to come into life. It’s a Steel Bakery promotional / personal project.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
This bike’s design concept was to make restomod-style bike with Honda’s own 70’s design language. Mixed with a blend of not that subtle mods, which I personally think complements the periods style. My goal was to make it in such a way that at first glance one would think it rolled out this way from the factory line.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Front end: USD front forks, brake calipers, and master cylinder are from a ZX-9R. Shocks are internally lowered. Front brake rotors are from Aprilia and they have custom spacers. Braided hoses. Front rim is Borrani style aluminum and stock center hub combo. Front light is stock with hand-made aluminum brackets.
Self-made custom stem. Upper triple is modified to accept risers and Lucas handlebar. Idiot lights / handlebar mount is handmade using original Honda warning light lenses. Front fender is handmade from aluminum. Daytona speedo.
Rear end: Rear swing arm is from a CB550. Rear rim is also a stock hub and Borrani style combo. Rear fender is hand-made from aluminum. UK Honda monkey rear light with self-made holder and back plate. YSS rear shocks.
Electrics: Custom wire harness with CDI and modern voltage regulator, subtle handlebar buttons and engine start from ignition lock.
Engine: Full rebuild. Hand-made stainless 4-4 exhaust.
Paint and coatings: Frame powder-coated. Original US-style paint with orange pearl. All stock fasteners zinc-plated.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Most of my bikes have nicknames but this one does not. It’s supposed to look like CB750, so I’ve destined it to be just CB750.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Bike was completed just before winter, and here in Finland wintertime riding would require ice spikes on tires. I managed to do only 10 miles test drive, but it brought a smile to my face.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I would say that I’m most proud of how clean this bike came out. Another thing to be proud of is that the bike’s self-made rate is very high. Only a few things were done outside of my garage. The list would be cylinder head re-surfacing, valve grinding, frame powder coating, and fasteners zinc plating.