A couple of years back when we used to sit around the kitchen table excitedly conjuring-up ideas for how we wanted Bike Shed to be, one simple concept was a shared non-negotiable – a custom bike showroom. A place for the custom builders out in BFE to showcase their skills and for ‘Shed visitors and members to buy bikes ready to ride away. Being a shrewd chap Kev Hill from Kevils down in Paignton, Devon has been supplying us a steady stream of affordable customs since we opened our Shoreditch HQ. One of which, a street-trackered CBF250, was snapped up by a well known international fashion model. The lady in question didn’t hesitate in sharing her new toy on social media, prompting Kev’s phone to ring off the hook. The bike featured here is number five in the new Kevils Moto range, commissioned by a Chris from Surrey who wanted a reliable daily commuter with a bit more poke than a smaller capacity, off-the-shelf machine might offer.
The donor is a 2007 Honda CBF500, a parallel twin with the reliability of a Japanese train and t’s predecessor the CB500 is a firm favourite amongst motorcycle couriers. There’s even a cup race series partially backed by Honda. Not everyone wants a lairy single-pot thumper and Kev reckons the balance-shafted water-cooled twin is just the job for juggling reliability, fuel economy and fun.
As this bike needed to withstand the rigours of all-weather commuting Chris didn’t fancy remortgaging his home to fund a mega-build so instructed Kev to find a decent, low mileage CBF that would be worth customising. Once the training school/courier aesthetics had been stripped away the Kevils crew could get to work scramblerising.
The subframe was given the cut ‘n’ loop treatment and thanks to a monoshock setup there’s less clutter allowing for a neater rear end. A battery box was fabricated from steel and underslung beneath the in-house trimmed saddle, with a stubby mudguard keeping commuting grime away from Chris’ own derrière.
Trying to make the overall lines work with a stock tank was never an option so an alternative was liberated from a mid-seventies CB and given a classy, monochrome paint job. With this and the satin powder coated frame, wheels, swingarm and fork legs the CBF’s engine is given centre stage, and it’s actually not too bad to look at, Honda leaving suggestive faux cooling fins in place when moving over to water cooling.
With a mere 13,000 miles under its belt the motor was only just bedded-in so there was no need to open it up. A ceramic coating for the headers and stubby muffler look the part and add a decent soundtrack while the brace of standard flat slide carbs are jetted to run pod filters. Apparently these lumps are good for 56 hp so plenty of oomph for Chris to get to work and enjoy motorway trips when necessary.
With the wiring loom buried out of sight and the cockpit tidied a neat Koso all-in-one speedo tells Chris what he needs to know and a Bates style headlight illuminates the road ahead. Should this road become a track, quite possible with there being a few Green Lanes remaining in Surrey, the Metzeler Karroo tyres are dual purpose enough to grip in all but the boggiest of conditions.
Kev will be at Bike Shed London 2016 next week with an arsenal of new machines but to check out the extensive Kevils Speed Shop portfolio of Bike Shed Archive | Facebook | Instagram | Web