The grit and determination of old school metalworking is alive n’ well in Cliff Meyer’s 1976 CB550K cafe racer. Cliff owns and operates Meyerbuilt Metalworks, a metal fabrication shop where an oft-used English wheel awaits its next creative assignment. This li’l Honda is a great example of the unique craftsmanship that’s coming outta this up-and-coming Hoosier garage.
When most mortal motorcyclists flip through magazines or catalogs to find the right gas tank for their custom bike project, Cliff buys sheets of aluminum and makes one. Of course, he’s not averse to sourcing great parts when he needs to, he simply likes the challenge of making metal submit to the bends, curves and shapes he’s after.
During today’s trend of cafe’d CBs, this example stands out to us as not only an extension of the builder’s skill, but of his desire to create an enjoyable, ride-able machine. It’s made up of original parts with dings and chips that have been tastefully brought back to life, new armor that sits atop re-assembled bones and custom parts and pieces made by hand.
Meyerbuilt tailpieces are becoming a popular request. In a sea of mass-produced fiberglass cafe tails, Cliff’s stand out in a crowd. Shaped, welded, sanded, and polished by hand, this aluminum pod houses a small AGM battery and a retina-burning LED taillight. A removable panel on the bum stop allows access to the electrics.
The two-sheened gas tank was also meticulously shaped to help create a more tenacious persona for the bike. The wheeled top and front portions are polished smooth while the roadrace-inspired knee indents are left finely sanded. A cool push-down-and-turn gas cap was fitted flush for a clean profile.
To add a bit of modern performance, Cliff found a GSX-R front end and mated it to the stock frame. He created a new mono-shock sub-frame, replacing the two old towers with a single sportbike shock.
Braking was upgraded in a big way with Hayabusa front rotors and a Harley rear disc. The gleaming 40-spoke wheels maintain a vintage look, but come from a late model Narrow Glide (front) and a Softail (rear). It sounds easy, but when Cliff explained the necessary adjustments required to make all these different pieces work together, he was quickly over our head. He made his own rear caliper mounts, machined new axles, and shaved thousandths off this and that to make it all come together nicely.
Other fun details are the rear LED turn signals, which are frenched-in to the new sub-frame. And the front sigs are uniquely handcrafted rods with embedded LEDs, both mounted to a custom headlight bracket. With the exception of the foot pegs, the rear sets were also strategically built and fitted.
This Honda is a great representative of Meyerbuilt’s handcrafted quality and unique style. It’s a bike that has been visually revived by an inspired hand and propelled by a capable, smooth-running ol’ 4-cylinder. We’re betting he’ll get a lot of curbside, gas pump and parking lot conversations with this thing. Keep an eye on Indianapolis-based Meyerbuilt Metalworks to see what Cliff’s English wheel will crank out next.
Stay tuned to Good Spark for more about Meyerbuilt Metalworks. There’s more we wanted to write about Cliff Meyer’s journey in metalworking that deserves a full article.