The ’75 model came to Steve as a $60 Craigslist find from a local college student. Unsurprisingly, it was a complete mess with a badly dented tank from a CB175 and a load of parts missing. It also hadn’t turned a wheel for years. But despite the sorry state of the cosmetics, the engine had only done 2000 miles and it had great compression, so the only thing Steve had to do was clean the engine up a bit and rebuild the carbs.
In Steve’s opinion, the tank is the most important part of a build, and it took him a long time to find one that came complete with the rubber middle section and the chrome side pieces. Eventually Ebay came to the rescue, and a mint CB200T tank winged its way to Milwaukee where it was treated it to an epoxy coating, and a stunning black and gold paint job.
The frame was heavily modified, you can’t make a CB look this pretty without getting the angle grinder out. All the tabs were removed as was the rear end, and an integrated fender was welded into some new frame bracing. The rear seat pan was formed from steel sheet by a local fabricator, then the whole thing was painted black and clear coated. All electrics, including the battery, were tucked away underneath the seat, and the cafe racer stance was achieved with some vintage NOS clip ons.
The front disc brakes from the stock CB200 were shot and new calipers are impossible to find, so Steve swapped them out for a drum setup from a CB175. A step backwards in performance, but a whole load more surface area to paint gold! Without doubt the striking feature of this bike (aside from the gold paint) is the high scrambler pipes. CL200 pipes are nearly impossible to find now, so instead Steve sourced a mint CL175 set on DoTheTon. Apparently they fit right on without any modifications – why does that never happen to us??
We’re not the only ones who think this bike looks a little bit special, it features in a book entitled “How to Build a Cafe Racer” by photographer/writer Doug Mitchel, who also took the photos for this story. Steve says this bike doesn’t just look the business, he also says its a blast to ride being light, nimble and surprisingly pokey. We’ll take your word for it on the performance side of things Steve, but in all honesty, we’d be too busy checking ourselves out in shop window reflections to notice. Thanks for sharing mate, and we can’t wait to see what comes out of your shed next.