Some brands are instantly recognisable, even without the heads-up of a logo or company name. Product designers and marketing departments strive tirelessly to achieve this but a look into the thriving and seriously crowded custom bike scene could offer some tips. The soft colour pallet and perfectly executed cleanliness of an Auto Fabrica creation can be spotted a mile off, and Old Empire Motorcycles subtly blend history with the right now. A couple of examples of talented guys making their mark with an individualism from the outset that achieves that distinguished semblance. Ad Hoc Cafe Racers are another outfit who are achieving this by way of super clean lines, bold but sophisticated paint schemes and donor bikes not always from an obvious stable.
OK, so this is clearly an iteration of Honda's CB rather than something exotic but the execution is sublime.
The base is a less than sexy 1993 CB750 Nighthawk which underwent a full disembowelment and restructure to produce what you see here. The frame and engine are the only major pieces that remain, the rest being fabricated or grafted from an abundant parts bin.
The subframe is all new with revised shock positioning leading to a swingarm from a later machine. This new sleek line props up a well proportioned tail section and seat, modified from a '60s Bultaco TSS racer, and covered with chocolate brown Nappa leather.
The exhaust headers are originals but blasted and coated, joined to understated reverse-cone megaphones which should sound crisp to keep in line with the aesthetic.
Standard mag-wheels were swapped for a pair from a Ducati GT1000 and the overall visual impact is all the better for it, spokes and wide rims covered in fat, modern rubber balance the sometimes lardy proportions of Honda's inline-four, leaving centre stage for the tank, seat and cockpit. Forks are GSXR 750 upsidedowners with brakes to match, wrestled into action by neat clipons.
Europlast from Italy supplied a Honda Endurance tank, a version that has yet to reach their catalog, which was treated to a sumptuous three colour paint job and crowned with a machined fuel cap. Even the breather hose looks good. Anything that needed to be black was blasted and powder coated before being allowed anywhere near the build bench, including the headlight which was liberated from a bulldozer! Speedo is by Stage6 and again, is simple yet functional.
The Ad Hoc style is much admired by us in The Shed and we hope to see more from the Barcelona-based workshop very soon.
Initially this build was to be kept by Ad Hoc's owner, David, but a customer with persuasive powers and waving chequebook now enjoys 'Ad Hoc #2 Reloaded'. A very lucky chap indeed.