Year: 1976 | Built by: MONNOM Customs
Ever wondered how a furniture designer might rework a classic motorcycle? Wonder no more. At first glance this is a black and grey Honda CB550. On closer examination it's a total transformation of Honda's 1970s workhorse into a one-off minimalist thoroughbred; a form-follows-function masterpiece, from Iowa-based custom builders MONNOM Customs.
Mike Gustafson, the furniture designer concerned, is no stranger to applying lateral thought to mass produced machinery. His wood-framed CB350, while not wildly practical, drew widespread attention. Several builds later comes this impeccable machine, for a client who wanted a unique classic bike – and one that was both usable and comfortable. A CB550, discovered not entirely whole in a series of boxes in the Iowa countryside, provided the beginnings.
Every part of the bike – those not already in pieces, that is – was taken apart and assessed. Honda's venerable four cylinder air cooled engine was stripped down. Pistons, rings and gaskets were replaced and a Dyna electronic ignition system installed. Gustafson spent many hours hand polishing the aluminium engine cases to a sheen that's better than factory-fresh.
There's an entirely new frame in mild steel, again hand-made. Minimalist detailing abounds. The Motogadget speedometer is set into the fuel tank, so there's no clutter on the handlebars. Matte black contrasts with perforated leather on the bespoke saddle by Iowan designer Duane Utech. An understated pinstripe fades from light to dark grey along the sides of the matte black tank by Walker’s Way Custom Paint of Des Moines, Iowa.
Add a new custom exhaust designed by Canadian specialists Ripple Rock Racers, forks off a 1976 Honda Gold Wing and a rare aluminium rear rim by DID and the result is sheer perfection. As comfortable as your sofa, just a bit faster.
Like the MONNOM Customs Honda CB550? Discover more custom builds that are works of art.