1973 Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

For Sale: Cool custom cafe racer with a high price tag

I was hunting down options for a good Two-Wheel Tuesday post when I happened across this listing. The bike is a custom 1973 Honda CB750 that’s been given the cafe racer treatment. And it’s very well done. The overall style here is great, especially with the matte black chassis bits, white tank, and tartan seat. Oh, and the gold chain kicks ass. I’m a sucker for gold chains that stand out from black swingarm and shocks. But the asking price for this old Honda is a bit on the high side.

1973 Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

The seller is asking for $16,999.

Here’s the ad:

1973 Honda cb750 cafe racer. Build is an homage to the iconic 1980’s Porsche 911 ‘Vanilla Sundae.’ Hand built in Los Angeles.

Website: www.formula750.com

If you had to that site (link here https://formula750.com/) you’ll find more lovely builds. And I’ve also found a video that was clearly shot during the photoshoot for the images on Craigslist and the website.

This bike is super rad. I’m not sure it’s $17,000 rad though, but I don’t have a lot of knowledge of the vintage custom bike market at the moment. What do you think? Overpriced, overstyled toy or clean machine worthy of the asking price… sound off below.

1973 Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

5 Comments

  1. So I’ll just go ahead and stumble on the low threshhold for stupid questions: What makes a bike a “cafe racer”? No mudguards and simulated racing bits, but, instead of racing, you’ll just hang out in front of a cafe and try to chat up the girls? This bike really looks super cool, but I’d probably meet up to real life two wheel tuesday on a bicycle, so no proper knowledge here.

    1. A cafe racer in its original sense was a road bike outfitted by the owner with components that emulated a dedicated road racing motorcycle, such as clip-on or clubman handlebars, rearset pegs, full race fairings, upgraded brakes, etc.

      In a very real sense, Cafe Racers ceased to be a thing in 1984. When the first GSX-R750 was introduced, it was basically a state-of-the-art roadracer with lights and street-legal equipment. There was no custom fiddling to do to make it look or perform more like a race bike. It WAS a race bike, a winning one, right off the showroom floor.

      Today “cafe racer” is a catch-all term for nearly any quasi-retro themed custom motorcycle that has low handlebars.

  2. All right, I’ll bite, having both owned a CB 750 back in the day, and having been a Cafe Racer myself, both literally and figuratively, I feel I have some qualifications, if not expertise, to respond to your query.

    A stab at a brief definition and then some qualifications and explanations.

    A cafe-racer is a ‘street legal’ motorcycle intended for informal racing on tight and twisty mountain roads. Generally it has been lightened to a reasonable extent by the removal of unnecessary components (such as a saddle for two, fenders, and so forth). The bike will also usually by modified to allow greater lean angles, by means of using high mounted foot-pegs, usually moved rearward from stock, and thus called ‘rearsets’ and exhaust systems which will not scrape the pavement during high lean angle turns. High performance shocks, bracing, and engine modifications are common but made at the whim of the rider, his budget, and his optimism.

    First, a CAFE racer, is not a true racer per se. Yes, the Cafe Racer emulates the look of a racing motorcycle but a real race bike often makes a poor cafe bike. A true race bike emphasizes horsepower usually produced in a narrow power-band at high rpm. A cafe racer is better served with a wider power band which emphasizes torque. Both styles of bike though demand the ability to be leaned over to absurd angles in turns. In my day, we called ourselves ‘knee-draggers’ because in turns the riding position was one thigh on the saddle with the rider’s body crouched down beside the bike engine to the inside of the turn with that leg fully collapsed – foot on the rear-set foot peg behind you, heel of that foot touching your butt, and your knee forward and down, scuffing the asphalt as you rode through the cure, throttle on. Now-a-days riders use knee-protectors; in my day we used several layers of duck-tape.

    Now for the “Cafe” part of Cafe Racer. While the informal racing takes place on curving mountain roads, the general gathering point for riders will be at a roadside cafe, ideally close to a sweeping curve where one can watch the Brave Boys®️ show their stuff or crash trying. The word ‘Cafe’ is thus both descriptive of the place you will find them, as well as being slightly dismissive and derogatory in the manner of the phrase “weekend warrior”, suggesting a bit of a poseur and amateur. “He’s not a real racer, just a Cafe Racer”.

    However the competition for King of the Mountain gets quite serious, as does the equipment. Big twins, or singles are the preferred weapon for two reasons: they are both narrow allowing greater lean angles than a four, and torquier at low rpm, allowing better acceleration out of a curve. Although, I did try cafe racing a CB 750, I dumped it (both literally and figuratively). The CB 750 of the type shown is too wide and the frame is not stiff enough for serious work. It is purely a poseur’s bike, better parked at the cafe than on the road. My tool of choice (there are many better choices now) was a ‘cafed’ Yamaha XS650 vertical twin with rearsets, fork brace, swing-arm brace, and upswept “Bub” pipes. It was a stiff and stable platform with freight-train torque. Not as agile as some smaller bikes, but a good mount. As for the price of $17K? @#$&*!! nonsense. The CB750 is a wonderful smooth engined cruiser and general purpose bike. It is a lousy cafe bike, and not an especially collectible bike. For the same money they are asking you could get a very nice Ducatti.

  3. Well, the plaid seat looks nice, but I’d love to see that pattern on the tank instead – bikes that look good in white are few & far between; this ain’t one of ’em.

    I’d like the thing a whole lot more if had some modern tires instead of those played out Firestones (what is this, 2009?) and the suspension was put back to its original height – toss some cartridge emulators in the forks while you’re at it. The teeny-tiny LED turn signals need to go, too – either put something similar to the originals, or go without & just use hand signals.

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