Words: Jeff Ware Photography: Peter Pap
I bought the 1972 CB350K for a few reasons, really,” says Sydney businessman Victor Guerrero. “For a start the bike was built the year I was born,” he laughs, “And it was cheap. I paid $800 for the CB and I already had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted.” Victor continues, “I’ve owned a couple of sportsbikes and sportscars as well and I was after something different. Something unique that would turn heads but also be a buzz to ride. The Café Racer was the perfect option so that’s the way the build went.”
What happened next was somewhat of a twist of fate as Ben from Extreme Creations fell into the picture. Victor explains, “At the time I bought the bike I owned a Café in St Leonards and I was there one day chatting to a mate, Liv, and we were discussing bikes. Anyway, this customer turned out to be a mate of Ben Shaw and he turned up with him a few days later – it was then that I realised that Ben and I went to school together! Small world or what?”
It wasn’t long before the bike was up at Ben’s workshop in Brookvale getting torn to bits. Victor had strong ideas for what he wanted and Ben had the skill to interpret those ideas and make them a reality – all they needed was time and patience.
“I swear I was at Extreme Creations every other day annoying the hell out of Ben. The bike was there for 10 months and I was always going in with this idea or that or the other. If I wasn’t in the workshop hassling Ben, I was looking for parts on the Internet. I was hooked!”
Victor finally got the call from Ben 10-months after the project had kicked off. “I rode it straight home from the shop. And I can tell you it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.” Admits Victor, “After all the effort and time there I was riding home on a completely custom bike. It was just fantastic”.
The finished project is, as the pictures tell, a beautiful custom CB350 Café Racer decked out in orange and black with chequered silver pin striping and more polished alloy and chrome than your average Harley Davidson.
The starting point was a stock standard, run-down 1972 Honda CB350K that was in desperate need of a rebuild and some TLC. Ben immediately stripped the bike down to nothing and started the ground-up rebuild.
The engine was disassembled, and the cylinders, head and cases were bead blasted back to bare alloy. The rocker cover, clutch cover and left-hand engine covers were all polished to a mirror finish, while the CV carburettor tops were re-chromed. Once Ben was satisfied with the cases the engine was assembled with fresh stock components.
Says Victor, “I just wanted a stock engine in the beginning but now I am considering upping the specs to classic or bucket racing levels. It just depends on how much reliability I lose as the bike is ridden quite a lot”.
The neat and great sounding underslung exhaust system was made by Ben, while at the other end he turned-up a pair of neat inlet trumpets to compliment the extra flow liberated by the exhaust. The CVs were re-jetted to suit and the ignition timing was altered.
With the engine finished and to one side Ben got to work on the chassis.
The frame was modified to accommodate the new bodywork being made by Homebush Fibreglass, then sandblasted and painted, while the original triple clamps were polished and the swingarm was also bead blasted and painted.
A set of YSS chromed shocks went on next and the forks were completely restored and re-valved. The stock drum brakes were polished and re-built, then laced up to a pair of brand new Morad rims and fresh Michelin hoops.
A set of neat footpegs were turned-up by Ben, along with a gear lever and brake lever machined out of solid billet. Victor sourced the headlight and indicators, while Extreme re-modelled the original instruments and switchgear, along with a re-shape of the original handlebars.
The front and rear guards were made by Ben and then, once Victor picked the seat unit and tank up from Homebush Fibreglass Ben coated the lot in bright orange, set-off with thick coats of clear.
Decals and pin striping was taken care of by Victor and last but not least Ben made the neat foam seat padding. The end result is a bike that stands out from the crowd, is completely individual and offers more bang for bucks than just about anything with two wheels and an engine.
But it isn’t over for Victor just yet. “I’m starting on my next project soon. I can’t say too much but it’s a big V-twin and there is nothing like it in Australia. For now, though, I’m happy with my orange coffee plunger!”
SPECIFICATIONS 1972 Honda CB350K
ENGINE: 325cc, air-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder SOHC four-stroke, two-valves per cylinder, 180-degree crankshaft, 64mm x 50.6mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression, five-speed gearbox, wet multi-plate clutch, twin Mikuni CV carburettors, direct intake – no airbox or filter, custom Extreme Creations bell mouths, Extreme Creations two-into-one underslung exhaust, stock ignition system
CHASSIS AND BODYWORK: CB350K frame modified and bead blasted, painted black, YSS shocks, re-built and re-valved forks, Extreme Creations front and rear guards, Extreme Creations re-styled handlebars, instruments and triple-clamps, polished cable-actuated 7in twin leading-shoe drum brake (f), 6in single leading shoe drum brake (r), 18in Morad rims 1.85 x 18in (f) and (r), 100 – 18in and 130 – 18in Michelin tyres, Homebush Fibreglass seat unit and tank, Extreme Creations paint, custom decals, mini-chrome indicators, custom headlight, re-styled standard instruments and switches
END RESULT The ultimate Sunday morning Café Racer