Honda CB450 Café Racer from Mile Zero Racers…
Back in 2022, we shared the first build from a young builder out of Rochester, New York: Thomas Manno of Mile Zero Racers. We were highly impressed with the design and execution of his ’75 CB750 “ClubSport” — a bike that took inspiration from Porsche Clubsport editions — and we weren’t the only ones. If you’re into café racers and spend any time on social media, there’s a good chance you’ve run across the build.
While it was an auspicious first build, we were even more impressed with the (then) 22-year-old’s attitude. Thomas, who was in college at the time, had to acquire and learn to use most of the tools for the CB750 project, and he hoped his work would be an inspiration for others to pursue their bike-building dreams.
“The whole meaning of Mile Zero Racers is the idea that no matter expert or beginner, we all start at the first mile.”
Fast forward just two years, and Mile Zero Racers has grown exponentially, attracting and inspiring a community of like-minded bike lovers and gearheads who follow the MZR Garage build videos and motoring antics on their Youtube channel and other social streams. It’s particularly gratifying for us to watch a young builder whose work we featured gain such traction and make an impact in the customs world.
The build you see here is the next step in the MZR evolution, and it’s a particularly special one. That’s because Thomas’s older brother originally bought this 1974 CB450 for Thomas to ride while he was building the original CB750 ClubSport. Now Thomas has turned his hard-won skills and expertise to the 450, paying back his brother’s support.
“For his 30th birthday, I gave him back the keys to the CB450, commemorated by a photo of both of us with a framed render of the planned modifications.”
With his second full build, Thomas took the opportunity to challenge himself, not only incorporating more handmade in-house parts but learning new skills like TIG welding, wheelbuilding, carbon fiber, and even designing and developing the custom rear monoshock system. As you can readily see from the photos, it’s a top-notch bit of kit with echoes of the original ClubSport, such as the custom belly pan, distinct tail cowl material, USD forks with spoke wheels, and more.
Nicknamed the CSL (“ClubSport Light”), this CB450 makes a fitting complement to the CB750, helping to establish a signature MZR style. Even more importantly, it’s a rolling testament to brotherly love — one that’s sure to keep the Manno brothers riding and smiling for years to come.
“With the Honda CB750 ClubSport and the Honda CB450 ClubSport Light, my brother and I can ride alongside each other, grinning ear to ear in style.”
Thomas, says he’s especially thankful to the entire MZR community for supporting the build:
“Since community is the nucleus to Mile Zero, the overwhelming support has been a major driving force in the inspiration / motivation for the 450 build.”
Below, he gives us the full story and rundown of the modifications on the ClubSport Light. Well done, Thomas — we can’t wait for the next Mile Zero Racer!
Honda CB450 CSL: In the Builder’s Words…
While I was working on my Honda CB750 in 2021, my brother bought the CB450 for me to ride while the CB750 was under construction. Fast forward two years, for his 30th birthday, I gave him back the keys to the CB450, commemorated by a photo of both of us with a framed render of the planned modifications.
This marks the second build from MZR Garage, setting the bar high from our initial project. The primary goal for the CB450 build was to maintain a similar style to the CB750 but elevate the quality of craftsmanship. I aimed for fewer off-the-shelf parts, incorporating more custom handmade and in-house components.
Beyond that, I wanted to push my abilities by taking on challenging tasks like learning TIG welding, hand-lacing wheels, creating a handmade carbon cowl, modifying and fitting the belly pan, developing a fully custom rear monoshock system, crafting a custom exhaust from scratch, and designing a custom triple tree and front hub in-house with support from “The Motoworks”. Notably, no Motogadget parts were used.
Blinkers, speedo, PDM unit (the moto controller), headlight, mirrors, and rear sets all came from The Motoworks in Rochester, NY.
The engine underwent an exterior overhaul with new gaskets and paint. A thorough check ensured the engine’s health, with around 8k miles, confirming that everything was within spec.
With the Honda CB750 ClubSport and the Honda CB450 ClubSport Light, my brother and I can ride alongside each other, grinning ear to ear in style.
Since community is the nucleus to Mile Zero, the overwhelming support has been a major driving force in the inspiration / motivation for the 450 build. The whole meaning of Mile Zero Racers is the idea that no matter expert or beginner, we all start at the first mile. My aspirations to build world-class motorcycles has allowed me to use the force of visual documentation to share the passion with hopes of inspiring more to take a leap and just do it.
So the accomplishment of the CB450 build was not only for myself and my brother but most importantly for the MZR family, because together we can make what seems like an impossible thing possible through the relentless pursuit of pushing our personal abilities.
A heartfelt thank you to each sponsor; without their support, this build wouldn’t have been possible.