AUGUST 29TH 2020 was a special day in Poland.
Krisbiker premiered their latest project; a Honda CB 750 RC42.
Cloaked in a striking black and yellow colour scheme the bike jumps at you as soon as you lay eyes on it.
Born Krzysztof Rogalinski, our Polish friend is aptly nicknamed KrisBiker. He runs a (“non-commercial” as he puts it) motorcycle garage where he works on all sorts of different bikes and proudly shares the results on his YouTube channel.
Kris is a self-taught mechanic developing his skills ever since he was a teenager. It was his deeply rooted passion for motorcycles that got him to service and renovate bikes for his friends. However, he came to realize that just motorcycle renovations was limiting his creativity and he needed a project to fulfill his personal visions and ideas. This started him off on a caféracer project.
Like many others before him he expected the build to be a walk in the park. Admitting: “I was wrong because my aim was to overcome all the most common mistakes that are present in 90% of caféracer projects. I have seen tons of different projects and almost all of them have at least one element that makes you say or at least think “it’s a great motorcycle, but…”.
Can I make a caféracer and try to avoid that one single “but” that is impacting the overall feeling?”
As he had trouble finding the right answer to his question Kris called in the help of his good friend Radek.
A new dawn
Looking back on the enterprise, both men are quite adamant about the way things developed. Explaining: “If we could build this motorcycle again, we wouldn’t change a single thing. It took us 5 months to design and build The Spider. This could be faster as COVID-19 slowed down some parts delivery but on the other hand – we were not in a hurry with this project. Time was less important. The key was to follow ideal geometry, design, and performance balance with top quality manufacturing.”
“After desk researching hundreds of We took Honda CB750 RC42 as a base for this project. Then we have study hundreds of caféracer projects online we started to develop a clear picture of how the Spider should fit in our web hahaha!” Kris laughs out loud when we speak to him during a video call.
Continuing: “The main questions we asked ourselves were: do we want to develop another black café racer? Or go for a retro design? “Racer” – historically that was the main mission of the cafe racers so how about playing around with a true sporty design? That insight signified the moment we said goodbye to a) the Honda’s most natural colour – red and b) the original Honda Seven Fifty tank. The latter decision was made as we wanted to keep a 100% straight line between the seat and the tank.
About the tank
The team set out to keep the design a clean and straight as possible. It took them quite some time to find the right tank to match their view. Once they had found a 1976 Honda CB 550F in perfect condition, they were satisfied with the strait and clear bottom lines they had in mind.
Next the colour. Imagine two guys discussing “yellow”? You will have the range between lemon and orange and both will mean yellow. “We seemed to be arguing forever before settling the yellow which brought a smile to both our faces” Radek says. “We have no idea if there is even a name for shade we came up with. It’s a custom made mix which lands somewhere between the colour used on Ducati’s, the ‘Bumblebee Camaro’ shade and the paint used on the Honda S600.”. Now there’s a challenge for any builder trying to explain this to their painting partners!
The engine is of course Honda CB Seven Fifty but it was completely restored by our builders. Main surgery consisting of new OEM piston rings, cylinder head full-service including surface grinding, cylinder honing, valves service, piston clearance verification, engine starter renovation, carburettor ultrasonic cleaning and balance check.
The outside of the bikes heart was also treated with love as it was given a mix design of satin cylinders and wrinkle engine covers and body.
OEM installation modification. Battery hidden in swing arm. Digital speedometer, integrated rear and front (position and turn signal lights). Rear tail lights electricity hidden in the modified frame. Ignition key transferred form top tree to engine area. Digital speedometer with full range of options (RPM, Oil sensor, Lights, etc).
Wheels and Tyres
Together with the tough decision on the colour scheme, choosing the right rims for the bike proved to be biggest challenge. Spoked wheels ware the first thing our Polish friends looked at, but after spending a month on research and development they concluded there are no accessory spoked wheels available on the market for Honda Seven Fifty especially as they converted the front suspension.
They decided on 17″ Excel rims that ware incorporated on modified hubs form Honda Comstar wheels. The wheels ware custom developed by their friend Nazar form Gazzz Garage in Kiev (Ukraine). Thanks to his great effort the wheels are now a major contribution to great look of the Honda. They also had to meet GSXR front forks conversion requirements, hubs wide, front brake disks size, and rear OEM swing arm. All of that was not an easy exercise the boys admit.
The wheels are supported with ‘Supersprox rear sprocket (aluminum with steel teeth) +4 teeth that required a stronger and longer chain (DID 525 VX3). Front tire Pirelli Night Dragon 130/80R, rear tire Pirelli Night Dragon 160/70R with custom-developed side letters.
Riding fast is cool, but coming to a sudden halt if needed is a must. For this reason GSXR 1000 front brake calipers with new Brembo brake pads are installed. New (impressive!) 318mm Italian braking disks (floating) required small adapters with longer bolts as the builders had to align to wheel hub.
Front Hell steel hoses and custom made steel hose for the rear calipers added extra pressure to further improve stopping power. The rear brake calliper is a restored Honda CBX750 RC17 piece with wheel and frame mount equipped with a new Braking disc. Rear OEM brakes pump was replaced with a new “slim design” pump with an integrated brake fluid reservoir.
Accel clip-on handlebars with Barracuda grips, custom mirrors, and KOSO digital speedometer (db-01rn) all brand new. 4in1 exhaust manifold with new G.P.R silencer (M3 E4 homologation) custom-designed rear sets and new battery. According to Kris the energy source is so well hidden they often forgot where they put it when working on the bike.
It is nice to build a good looking bike, but you want it to perform in line with the way it looks.
After the surgery in the workshop the Honda came out much lighter. The factory dry weight of 215kg was reduced to 194kg. The 44 teeth rear sprocket instead of 40 OEM had quite a positive effect on the gear ratio. It increased torque and provides +3,1% acceleration. Polished carb air intake improved airflow. Sport silencer and improved exhaust heat flow provides approximately an additional+2-3hp or ‘Spider Power’ as the team prefers to refer to it.
All that combined with reducing the weight by 21kg there should be a significant increase in the performance. Unfortunately the exact figures are not available as of yet.
It is clear that the Eastern European builders are quickly catching up with their peers in the rest of the world. Their craftsmanship and passion brings a sparkle to this niche market. The BikeBrewers team is ready to ride East and try out all those fantastic machines as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
The Honda Spider is a prime example of the wonderful ideas streaming out of Poland and neighbouring countries. “Keep them coming!” is all we can say.
Photo credits: Lukasz Widziszowski