Yesterday, on a bit of an impulse, I dove into a world I know NOTHING about. The 70s and 80s UJM restoration / customization / coolalization world. On a bit of whim (read: I’m ridiculously impulsive), I sold my beloved 2005 Suzuki Boulevard M50. It simply wasn’t seeing enough highway miles, and in the city, my KYMCO Venox 250 trumps all other motorcycles. Still, wanting something affordable, with a little more horsepower, and perhaps a little caught up in the Toronto cafe racer scene and the kustom kraze, I decided to jump on the opportunity to pick up a 1979 Honda CB650 for $800 with dreams of restoring her to her former greatness… or at least having one sweet ride!
The Honda CB650 was produced between 1979 and 1985. The CB650 was part of the influx of Universal Japanese Motorcycles (UJM) which for almost two decades set the standard for what a motorcycle would fit, feel, perform, handle, and look. Cycle magazine, in 1976 said: “In the hard world of commerce, achievers get imitated and the imitators get imitated. There is developing, after all, a kind of Universal Japanese Motorcycle…. conceived in sameness, executed with precision, and produced by the thousands.” In hindsight they should have said produced by the millions.
Though not as successful as its larger relative, the break-through CB750, the 1979 Honda CB650 remains a cult bike, popular among the retro and cafe racer fan boys. There are numerous great 1979 Honda CB650 custom builds out there which have been featured on sites such as BikeEXIF and on Asphalt and Rubber.
I’m not going for anything crazy with it. Hell, my last Honda was a heavily modified 1990 Honda Hawk NT650 GT, with various Honda and Buell pieces on the front, including a CBR-1000RR front end, Ducati parts on the rear, suspension upgrades, and some aftermarket parts thrown in for good measure. I kept it for all of a few months.
That being said, I hope to keep this one for a while. Where the Hawk, was too light, the CB seems to balance well. Where the Hawk was modified to be too aggressive, the CB just fits me nicely. Enough with the talk, here are the pics: