It does not happen that rarely when a customer comes for a bike rebuild, having an idea in his head beforehand, but after having a little talk with a couple of enthusiastic guys at the workshop completely changes his mind. In this case an enthusiastic bike builder is Chris Dekker, the customer – Coen Ruijter and the motorcycle that has undergone a fascinating transformation – this beautiful Honda CB550 “Special Alloy”.
Chris along with his sister own “Tin Can Customs” workshop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Admiring the motorcycle culture of the first half of previous century, which was blessed with such influential bikes as choppers and board track racers, Chris had this idea of reworking CB into something that would bring that spirit back – more “hardtail like” bike, something that would purely represent the bygone days of motorcycle world. So when Coen brought his CB550 the timing was just right.
The bike belonged to Coen’s father and after being stolen was returned in a little bit poorer conditions – frame straightening was required in order to properly install the front end. For this build Chris managed to get the forks that couldn’t be more suitable considering the whole concept the guys were going for. With some help from VVM Racing a set of BSA girder forks was fitted to the front.
The engine’s been refreshed and the carbs rebuilt. The exhaust pipes were handmade especialy for “Special Alloy”. Chris mounted this modified Zundapp fuel tank with mini portholes for checking fuel level. The bike was supposed to be completed with a Malaguti tank, but the guys fortunately got this one that suits this build perfectly.
As Chris admits, reworking the rear section of the frame was a real challenge. Playing with the lines and trying to make it as functional as possible gave an amazing result that both Chris and – most importanly – Coen are happy with. The guys at Silver Machine took care of the narrow seat upholstering.
The rear wheel is a stock item but the front is a combination of a CM250 hub and a BMW 36 rim. Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? Chris says, that “the ride is firm to say the least and with a ’50s girder front end, requires a degree of concentration but leaves the rider in no doubt that they are directly connected to the road”.
Looking at this CB550 “Special Alloy” it seems that every single detail was somehow reworked or at least slightly modified, furthermore the bike obviously spreads the “vintage spirit” all over the place, so I believe the guys at Tin Can Customs are truly happy with this build and they have all rights to be.
For more info on what the guys are up to visit their facebook page.