Inheriting family members can be akin to a game of Russian Roulette, sometimes with more than one live in the chamber. Thankfully Bob Ranew of Redeemed Cycles from North Carolina seems to have played with a mag full of blanks as his son in law Josh is not only into bikes but custom Hondas too. Bob’s a dab hand at searching out great deals and building proportionately perfect Honda four bangers and this CB750 project has followed the tried and tested recipe.
Craig and his comprehensive list came up trumps with a pair of 1979 CB 750s, both non-runners showing signs of budget MacGyvering by previous owners. Bob and Josh bit the vendor’s arm off and left him with $600, wish we got them that cheap this side of the pond.
Anyone who’s tried to make one of these things run crisply on CV carbs and pod filters will know that life is too short to be filled with such cantankerousness. Being a wise man Bob slapped a fresh set of Keihin CR flat slides onto the better of the two engines and thumbed the starter, success. Or the basis for it at least.
Bob was keen to steepen Josh’s learning curve so set him loose, saying; “OK, time to start tearing it down. I let my son in law do most of the work and showed him how and where to cut the frame. It originally had spoked wheels but he really liked the wheels that were on my ’81 build so we sourced a pair form eBay, and gave them a coat of paint.”
The spare motor was traded traded for a friend’s fabrication skills. A small box for the electrics, seat pan and a bunch of powder-coating seemed a fair barter. Whilst at it Bob persuaded him to ‘French-in’ a super bright LED tail light into the rear loop.
“Josh also wanted a brown leather seat, large enough to carry him and my daughter. I’ve previously used vinyl but remembered seeing someone at the local flea market who bought leather from the furniture market based in Highpoint, NC. She had one piece that he fell in love with. So we bought some foam, shaped it and designed some seat stiching patterns before dropping it with my upholstery guy.”
Working on these Hondas stateside is a relatively hassle free affair thanks to a healthy parts supply and with companies like Dime City Cycles offering such a huge range of upgraded components, hours spent staring at micro-fiches at the main dealer are a thing of the past. Gauges, grips, gaitors etc came from the DCC guys down in Florida. Bob had a pair of Chinese non-brand shocks left over from a previous build so these were bolted on, jacking the rear slightly.
Josh wanted a clean, stripped tank without badges. That was until the black paint chipped off one of the Honda logos revealing alluring gold beneath, he carried on to uncover a rather handsome pair of badges that matched the piggyback shocks nicely. The rest of the tank wasn’t such a simple a restoration recalls Bob, “The original tank had a small to medium sized dent which with feezing and heat we managed to get 85% of it out. But wanting it perfect I wondered what would happen if we filled the tank with air? Would it pop out the rest of the way? NEVER FILL A TANK WITH AIR from your compressor, the thing blew up like a ballon within seconds. So it was off to ebay to track down another one, crap!”
The second tank faired better, stripped raw for the most part with a black painted line at the bottom to match the gloss black frame, giving a more svelte overall look.
Combustion Cycles re-jetted the carbs to suit the Mac headers and Cone Engineering mufflers and after replacing a pair of duff coils the old girl now runs like a “scalded dog”.
“It’s simple and it’s basic, but sometimes those are the best. Most importantly Josh is over the moon about it.”