A bike that was already iconic, respected and proven. This was the first step to choosing the perfect bike for our 001 build. Then came the drawings and research, looking at numerous good and bad examples, visiting shows, flicking through the famous Built magazine, grabbing ideas where possible. All helping to create our design.
The bike chosen was a Honda 1979 CB400f, a true sports bike of its time and now highly thought of.
So, like most purchases we started trawling the internet to find the donor. Preston was a 200 mile round trip in one evening, this was where our bike would be. On first appearance we nearly walked away, had we taken on to much or was this a true barn find? The Honda had not moved or started in years, parked neatly at the back of a dusty barn alongside many other examples. The small collection was owned by an Ex patriot (Ex Pat) who had a passion for bikes but never the time. We inspected the Honda carefully and had to turn her over by hand. Everything moved as it should, a clean engine, frame and tank. She was ours and about to start an epic 9 month restoration!
First we stripped the bike back to a rolling chassis before turning our attention to the engine which was split and dismantled. All the parts were neatly boxed and labeled ready to be inspected. Secondly, the front suspension was stripped along with the wheels and tank.
Everything else was disregarded and thrown out. The engine, wheel hubs, front suspension, frame and tank were all we needed for this build.
So the block, rocker cover, cases and carbs were all Vapour blasted and then polished. Followed by new engine components:
Pistons & Piston Rings, Bearing shells, Bearings & Seals, Gaskets, Primary Chain & Cam Chain, Chain Tensioner, Stems and Seals, Full Carb Kit, Custom hand turned Velocity Pods.
After a few hard nights in the S.S.S the engine and carbs were fully assembled, timing set and tolerances checked.
The Rolling Chassis
Starting with a complete rebuild of the front forks and new Hagon custom stainless steel rear shocks. A stunning set of polished rims, stainless steel spokes, polished hubs were added and finished off with a pair of classic look tyres. The frame was cleaned of its tags, rear pegs, indicators and brake sensor bracket.
Fresh fabrication included the following:
A custom rear loop with an integrated L.E.D strip, a Cognito Moto head unit with the Motogadget mini and replicated with a billet aluminium lower clamp, Tarozzi classic clip ons, a one off lamp bracket, hand fabricated rear cowl and seat unit, under seat electronics tray, 3 polished engine brackets.
This was finished off with billet aluminium rear set brackets to hold the quality Tarozzi race rear sets.
Off To The Painters
The frame was powder-coated in pearl essence silver and the tank wet painted in Porsche silver along with the lamp cover and seat unit. A fresh set of chrome Honda badges and a new chrome fuel cap finished the tank off superbly.
The engine installed with its new custom made alternator cover showing off our laser cut Spitfire Speed Shop logo and polished. Chrome brake and clutch levers, a chrome throttle with new neatly cut to size silver cables. A new bright silver chain and sprockets, drum brake assembled with new shoes and springs finished with a polished plate. New front disc and bolts with a single refurbished and polished caliper.
Electrics & Ignition
We took a twenty first century wiring loom to a 40 year old bike and the results were epic. A Key-less entry, full Motogadget loom with the Motogadget m-unit at the heart, this is powered by an anti gravity battery and controlled by 6 stainless steel push buttons.
The ignition is powered by 2 Dyno-tec ignition coils, matching leads and an upgraded ignition.
The Final Phase
This consisted of a fantastic custom 4 into 2 polished stainless steel exhaust with a floating bracket. Created by hand in a small shed, plenty of man hours and sweat. This really is a true piece of engineering.
A hand stitched leather seat finished off the back end and our attention to detail is shown when we fitted 9mm bullet cases to blank off the wing mirror holes and if you look carefully you will see more.
The Big Moment
After 9 months we were ready to sit back and look at what the S.S.S had created. A bike built not bought!
Always a nervous part in any bike build, will she start?
Yes, and she did so on the button! We just left her to tick over, warming up slowly before taking her through every gear. The sound was epic, the performance smooth, handling like a true cafe racer.
The first Spitfire Speed Shop bike was born, 001.
Watch this space for 002!