Five years ago, Sean Brady purchased a pretty standard 1976 Honda CB 550K. He spent the next full year and a significant amount on upgrades and parts to finish his build.
The engine's top end was rebuilt by a Honda race mechanic from the 70s to Honda factory specs. The build intent was to focus on reliability. The original carbs have been replaced with Keihin CR29 racing variety. The coils have been modernized, and electronic ignition installed.
The frame, mounting brackets, rims and fenders were powder coated, and all the nuts and bolts throughout the bike were replaced with stainless steel. After powder coat, the rims were re-spoked in stainless by Buchanan’s Wheel and Spoke in California. The brakes were all rebuilt with custom stainless German pistons was put in from Germany, and the rotors custom drilled. Sean did all the custom drilling to the case, and logged hundreds of hours hand polishing the aluminum. He refaced and painted the gauge faces.
Sean mounted a Tri-bar black dot headlight to the front. The tail section is a custom hand laid fiberglass unit with a glass flush mount tail light. The tank and the tail have an incredible silver paint with a unique texture-like characteristic sitting under what looks like a lake of clear coat. All grommets, spacers and seals were replaced with Honda Factory parts. No detail was untouched.
In 2011 Brady entered the bike in the Café Racer Magazine Bike show at the Mid Ohio Vintage Days. The bike won Best Japanese Café Racer, earning it time in their magazine, as well as the TV show.
When asked what motivated him, Brady shared," I took this project on to keep my mind off a change in my personal life, and as a way to prove to myself I could do something I had never done before."
"The Honda CB550 in my opinion lends itself to a purer looking cafe than the 750 that everyone else seems to do. I just wanted the bike to retain some of the original great lines that Honda had worked so hard to accomplish. Then put my twist on what I thought the bike should have been in my eye. I was inspired a lot by Steve Carpenter from California who builds some of the most beautiful CB750 Cafe Racers I have seen. I think you can see his influences in my design."
Considering this is only Sean's second motorcycle ever, and his first build, it seems he's done alright.