Mike McFadden of M&M Customs located in Owensboro, Kentucky has built a few notable customs and cafe racers that have captured a lot of attention, and this gorgeous 1974 CB550F is probably our favourite to date. Like many bike builds this story starts out on Craigslist looking at bikes within a 50 mile radius. I came across a bike located in Jasper, Indiana, a 74 CB550 on low miles and priced for my wallet. I called up the owner and set up a time to check out the bike. The bike was out in the rain on a hillside in front of the home. I looked the bike over and I noticed it had some mud caked to the cases and was dirty as hell but it sounded great and fired up, with only 13,000 miles on the odometer and no smoke. The owner had a 16yr old son who was using it for a dirt bike and he wanted him off of it, so I knew I could get it pretty cheap. I offered $600 and loaded the bike up. I unloaded the bike the following night and made a quick video walk around and started it up. The bike was still in its original clothing and had an awesome King and Queen seat on it. I then started to do the old draw it up on a napkin at work and run the ideas around the break room table and we all decided that a old school racer like in the 60’s would be cool but without any fairings. So began the process of cutting, hacking and redesigning the bike to its present state. The first thing to go was the original tank which I replaced with a Legendary Dunstall and a tail section. The guys at Dime City set me up with all I needed. I modified the tail section to fit up with the tank and designed a cleaner looking brake light. I like to call the new tail light my Urinal Trap lamp. Just look at it and you will see what I’m talking about. The sub frame was removed and replaced with a newer flowing style that would change the looks just enough to make a person ask why? I used milled stainless rods for supports and to take up the wide space and the reason I used the stainless was for a little flexing but also offering some rigidity. The bike’s color scheme came to me one night watching the old SX action back in the early 90’s of Jeff Stanton and the old Red and White Cr250’s I always loved the white frames on those. The only thing about the white was wearing through the sides of the frame and exposing the metal so I decided to use a industrial bed liner material to save the paint and also to break it up a bit. I also have it on the swing arm for protection from rocks and the chain hitting it. Rearsets from Loaded Gun were painted. The headers where modified at the intakes to 2 into 1. The front fender was cut from the original and cleaned up and painted. The motor is pretty much stock but the carburetors have been upgraded to CR’s and the coils and ignition are from Dyna. I did a little drilling and copper work to the motor and sprayed some color on the jugs to wake it up some and polished the rest of the stuff. Everything on the bike has been done in-house from body modifications to paintwork. The 550 was completed 8hrs. Before the Barber Vintage festival in Birmingham Alabama and we trucked down there just in time to make it into the Ace Café Corner. The bike ended up with the Best Café Custom of the weekend and the crowd response was awesome to say the least. The one thing that made the weekend so special was going out on a Builder Ride with all the companies I’ve dealt with and the coolest part was meeting and riding with Mark from Ace Cafe and Steve “Carpy” Carpenter. These guys are the originals and to lead the way and have comments of “Way to ride the shit out of that bike mate” made my day! Mike McFadden.
The "Best Cafe Custom" award at the Barber Vintage Festival says it all really. It's a stunning bike laden with some really unique details. We very much look forward to featuring more of Mike's bikes in the future.