Vintage Racer #27
Growing up near the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum, it comes as no surprise that Anthony Scott has always been intrigued by motorcycles. But it wasn’t until his later years that his passion became uncontrollable, and he had to dive in headfirst. “I returned to the US after being overseas for seven years. Truthfully, times were pretty hard, and so was my cash flow. Sometimes I tell people motorcycles saved my life,” Anthony explains.
“After so many years overseas and countless deployments down range, it was civilian life that almost put an end to me. Then one day, a guy rode past me on his café racer. “I had never seen one in person, and I literally just stared for the entire ten minutes he was pumping gas,” Anthony laughs.
“From that moment forward I had to find one. And I did: A beyond-repairable Honda CB550, rusted and brittle to the touch.”
Unfortunately, the bike was vandalized and stripped down to a rolling frame just a few weeks after he purchased it. So it took Anthony almost four years to finally live his CB550 café racer dream.
Meantime, he decided to start Enginethusiast, a company catering to people passionate about vintage cars and motorcycles.
He began traveling across the US taking photographs of cool engines, and helping builders and owners to get their work showcased in magazines and media outlets.
It’s done at no charge. “I see it as enriching the passion. You never know what picture or article might encourage someone to go after their own dreams.
“I think we are all ‘enginethusiasts’ at heart—emotionally attached and greatly affected by how a machine makes us feel,” says Anthony.
Anthony knew he wanted Little Horse Cycles to complete his CB550. Based in Portland, Oregon, Little Horse has fast become one of the best builders of custom motorcycles in the Pacific Northwest.
Anthony’s request was to make the bike “look fast, but retain the vintage feel.”
When the 1977 Honda CB550 arrived at the shop, it already had one foot in the grave and the other slowly creeping in. However, during tear down, the team found that the CB550 was a low-mile bike.
After freshening up the standard pistons, it was a quick and easy top end job. The tappets were replaced, and an eye catching clear point cover was added. The carbs were rebuilt, and the motor was power washed and painted with a satin black finish.
Velocity stacks with mesh screens were the last item to finish off the motor, which was now sporting 4 into 1 Mac exhaust headers with a reverse cone muffler.
“Due to the fact that we had plenty of other bikes to work on, we figured we would get the toughest work out of the way before we let it sit,” Andrew told us.
The swing arm was taken out and rebuilt using NOS parts, and although the brass bushings are great, you can’t go wrong building a swing arm back to original spec.
This ensured that a wandering rear wheel wouldn’t be a problem for this racer. To lower it closer to the ground, the bike also received a fork drop of 1.5 inches.
As they moved along, the team realized the stock tank had seen better days. “I wanted to bring it more in line with the race look, so I decided on a Benelli Mojave replica race tank”, says Anthony.
Old school Honda badges adorn each side of the tank, making the build a nod to the original with a little extra flair.
Andrew made sure his metal work was nice and clean before sending it off for paint and bodywork by Daniel Kelley. The same treatment was given to the full fairing, purchased from Glass From the Past in Oregon City.
Custom decals were created by Jerry Spears of Ashland, Oregon—giving the fairing a unique look that stands out.
The seat pan was custom made by Little Horse, and wanting to follow the lines of the traditional hump, was sent off to Ginger McCabe at New Church Moto for the full treatment, getting covered in a gorgeous brown leather.
Feeling that something was missing, Anthony decided on a custom seat cowl to overlay the seat. This required a professional’s touch, and luckily his good friend Miguel Padilla was willing to drink a few brews and knock it out in record time.
The rear hoop has a slight up kick that enhances the look of speed. From here, they finished things off with a bullet style taillight implemented slightly under the frame.
With such detailed work going into the rear end, the front is kept just as clean and simple. There’s a custom-machined top triple tree housed directly above the tank within the cockpit of the fairing, giving the bike a smooth look. The start button and turn signals are small to the point of being invisible.
The new levers and classic grips give all the functionality you need, while a single speedometer instrument and small headlight shines the way.
The forks were rebuilt with progressive springs and the lowers were put through the painstaking polish and shine routine, done by Chedda at Little Horse.
Further traditional but admirable qualities in the design process are evident in the foot pegs, utilizing Tarozzi rearsets.
The original wheels have stayed, but with the rims and hubs refreshed and finished in black powder coat. A little urban touch is added with the fitment of Coker rubber.
“I wanted a tire that wouldn’t be too racy, but at the same time not too square. ‘Why not Avons?’ I can hear a lot of readers say, but I figured I might as well spice it up a little,” Anthony told us.
With the exception of the rearsets and the speedometer, Enginethusiast’s racer could have been built entirely with parts available in the ’70s. Yet it still draws on a wealth of knowledge and the influence of decades of custom builds, to create a neo-classic that will truly stand the test of time.
It’s simple and understated in a world where far too many can be tempted by the parts and crazy colors that are at their disposal.
“We have always set out to build bikes we want to ride”, says Andrew.