Resto-modding a vintage motorcycle, much like a vintage car, can be an enlightening process. It’s great fun to redesign an original concept and rebuild it from scratch with your own two hands. But if it doesn’t ride as good as its reborn looks, then there’s a bit left to be desired.
That, in a sense, is the attitude of friends Paul Brauchart (a designer) and Philipp Rabl (a mechanical engineer), the two halves of Austrian bike shop Vagabund Handcrafted Motorcycles, located in the city of Graz.
Brauchart and Rabl formed Vagabund out of a passion to wrench on old pieces of metal, and to build custom bikes that mixed usability with minimalist design in equal parts. This Honda CB450 is one of their first completed builds under the new banner, and we think you’ll agree—it’s quite the looker.
According to Brauchart, the build started with a 1972 Honda CB450 which was completely stripped down. With a digital render whipped up on the computer, Vagabund set about getting rid of every component that wasn’t necessary. If it did have to be there, the pair found a way to either swap it, or make it simpler. Minimalism was paramount.
As a result, Vagabund chopped the rear end of the Honda frame and cleanly integrated the bike’s taillights into the reworked backside, now housed behind the slender leather seat. A set of black RFY shocks keep everything suspended out back.
Up front, a set of bespoke clip-on handlebars replace the original units, and find themselves next to a custom built yoke, which integrates the sleek speedometer. The gas tank remains a carryover from the original CB450, but now it’s been dressed up with a brushed metal finish complemented by Moss Green paint with gold and brass accents.
After more than four decades on Austrian roads, the big Honda straight-twin needed a bit of a performance tune up. It now funnels air through a Mikuni carburetor and K&N air filter combo and snorts it back though a pair of custom exhaust pipes. Remember, it’s got to ride as good as it looks.
Overall it’s an attractive and minimalist recipe, but it’s the odd touches that set it apart. For instance, the Honda twin draws its oil from a vintage Colgate shaving cup. Brilliant.
The duo has earned lots of industry praise for a stellar BMW R100R they put together last year, and their next build looks equally promising—a BMW R80ST. Stay tuned.