This built was a collaboration project with our greek friends of The Real Intellectuals and Caferacercult.gr and this idea born after the custom motorcycles Athens show The Wheel to Build last May.
Niko told me that he wanted to built a flat tracker bike for racing next year at the Dirt Quake and other EU events and wanted us to built it, was a big surprise for us because there are a lot of good builders in Greece but Niko loves our style and wanted us to be the builders, and of course we appreciated that so much.
So we started to seek a donor bike, the budget was limited and after two months, Leo from Caferacercult.gr offered us a junk Honda CB400T that he had somewhere in his shed, the bike was dissasembly and the engine was burnt but it was complete…. that was… we go to Athens at the end of June to pick up the iron, was a funny weekend with Leo and Niko trying to define how we could build a flat tracker bike with such a junk, haha, but I said them we will do it (not very sure at that momment but I was drunk…)
When arrived at our Bucharest cave we start to analyze the situation, we’ve got a junk CB400T without fuctional engine, we’ve got a CB400N engine at the shop that I already had rebuilt and tuned for other project, and no fucking idea about how to build a flat teracker bike, I never built one before… So we start to investigate, as Romania has a strong tradition of speedway racing with that old Jawas that run with ethanol and in some aspects speedway seems like flat tracker we heared some advices from speedway pilots that let us know how a speedway bike mus be raced and what is important for sideways….
A lot of info comming also from Gary Inman from Sideburn that helped us with tyre issues and other technical tips… but when we putted on the table all that we conclude that we would need to build a complete new bike… almost nothing from the CB frame was good for that… so I became angry and when that happens is better me to being far from the grinder… in this case the grider was beside me… so y cut everything from the CB frame, keeping just the central stamped column…. I posted some pics and Niko entered in panic… haha!!
So the situation was: we’ve got the central column of the CB, a CB400N full overhauled engine and a nice tank from a Kawasaki g7ss „stolen” from the Niko’s store!… a good begining!!
Ok, understanding that we have no issues with the engine, we could focus on the frame design, my wife Mihaela spent several nights checking flat tracker bikes and trying to design a frame shape for this built… and after one week we’ve got an idea… the Mihaela’s design meant that we must rennounce to the twin shock rear suspension and build a monoshock one… no so bad because anyway the CB was too short for our proposes and we would need to long it a little bit, so we designed an old style monoshock rear fork and we start to build and weld every elements… after the work the bike began to be something close that what we wanted.
A problem was the tail, mi wife hates the traditional flat tracker tails so she designed something different but…. how tha fuck I would do that if I have no idea of working on fiberglass?… the alluminium was the answer, I shaped the tail in alluminium… I usually do that just with fenders but I tryed… after two sheets of alluminium junked I got the shape designed and… surprise!! also fitted on the frame!!
Ok, we’ve got the frame, the rear fork, the body elements, the engine…. we would need wheels!!! I start to seek for 19 wheels noticing that no one standard fitted our bike… shit!! we needed to build them!! after seeking for components we observe that hubs are so expensive, spokes are so expensive, rims are so expensive… we needed to do something that don’t drive us neither Niko to the bankruptcy… so we start to look for rims and I could find 2 good KTM 36 spoke 19×2.15 rims, we needed then to find 36 spoke proper hubs, for the rear after a lot of tests I couldn’t find a 36 spokes hub that allowed us to align the transmission chain and the wheel in a proper way with the fork I built… after a period of despair, one morning I saw a hub in a box at the shop, was an old Gilera 36 spokes hub that fitted perfect!! and also had a good brake rotor, we only needed the rear sproket that finally we needed to custom built for that because was impossible to find 520 or 525 sprocket for that hub, but we built it!! For the front we used a DR600 hub.
At suspension level we used a fully setable YSS rear shock and a Yamaha SR500 front fork with progressive springs.
The paint pattern was designed by Niko but done but our local painter that I want to say done a really fine work, the frame elements was powdercoated in a high resistance texturized gunblack color, we complete the elements with a vintage handlebar that I got years ago from an old 70’s Husqvarna that went to the junk and from what I took some parts before, I always loved that handlebar but just now on this project I found the proper place for it.
Ok, the bike was almost built but… I didn’t want batteries or complicate electrics on it and the CB400N engine I got was an 85 not kickstarter model, so the last step was to take the kickstarter assy from the 80 CB400T donated by Leo and put it on the 85 engine… seems easy but on fact we discover that our 85 was a 6 gears model and the 80 was a 5 gears model… the kickstarter pinion is not the same… shit again!!! we was one week something to The Rotten Race and we couldn’t wait for the part comming from our provider in Germany… so we went to the turner again and made a custom one…
Solved! the bike was mounted, electrics was simply just ignition, I kept the relay on the back in case that in the future Niko want to add some lights but that’s all, the bike cranks, sounds fine, everything seemed to be working fine, three days for The Rotten Race, let’s test the bike!!! we was almost three days without going out from the shop and when we opened the door for take the bike out… shit again!! it rained as fucking hell!! we couldn’t test the bike in that condition!!! but day before we leaved to Athens the gods give us a sunny day that allowed us to test the iron a little bit… and was a really funny day, the bike runs really good is light is fast has a good response for being an Honda engine, I couldn’t go down from it and continued about three hours riding it as a demon trhough our neighbourhood… runaway from the cops included for finishing the tests hahaha!!
Ok If you got patient enought for reading this congratulations!! hope you enjoyed.
Photo credits: Mihaela López Photography