The team at UNIKAT are no strangers to BikeBrewers, with several builds featured in the past, the have become something of a large stakeholder to us. Thing is, we really like what comes out of their workshop. Take the recently featured Triumph Scrambler 1200XE for example. This time, the Poland based craftsmen have produced something rather unique. I know what you’re thinking, and YES, you are right: all their builds are unique! And yet, every time UNIKAT presents a newly customised bike, we are in absolute awe.
Founder and owner of UNIKAT, Grzegorz Korczak, first bought the 1981 Honda CB 900C in 2014 because he wanted to build a classic but strong café racer for himself. The fact that the bike has a dual-range transmission with a total of 10 (!) speeds was a bit intimidating, but it felt like this Honda was destined for greatness. Originally the build was supposed to be modest, keeping the original wheels, no engine rebuilds, and so on. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and quickly the notions of doing as little as possible were thrown out the window. This was going to be a piece of art. Since there were no compromises, this project took more than 5 years to complete. As a result of that, only the engine, drive and frame cradle remained from the original. Every other element got either built from scratch or heavily reworked.
Grzegorz wanted this bike to look retro. He also wanted it to have as little paint as possible. As a result, each element made of aluminum is hand-polished and the rest of the components are covered with chrome. To reduce the weight, all that was unnecessary got binned. The suspension got shortened, tank remodelled, air-box deleted and electrics moved underneath the seat. Results: a weight drop of a whopping 40kg/90lbs and a much lower centre of gravity.The modified tank allowed for better exposure of the massive engine. The four velocity stacks are all handmade and took over a week to create. Other fine details are the oil pressure nipples and fuel tap, all custom made. The clip-ons are designed in a way that the bolts that fasten them are not visible. The speedo bracket is cut from a solid piece of billet aluminum. The custom made headlight brackets are made in-house too. Each part is hand-polished to a mirror finish.
Although it looks as if this Honda came with 17” wheels from the factory, make no mistake, these are the product of a lengthy fabrication process. Originally equipped with a 16” and 19” wheel combo, the bike needed a set up that was sportier. Standard 17” wheels just didn’t fit the narrow rear swing-arm that also houses a shaft drive. Plus, anything stock wouldn’t have been lightweight. Takasago rims were sourced, and a set of custom-made hubs, spokes and nipples were mated to get the desired results. The varnish on the Takasago rims were removed in order to get to the bare metal. Chrome plating the spokes, polishing the drive, chrome plating the swing arm, polishing the front callipers after disassembling the front suspension followed suit, with jaw-dropping results.
An interesting feature on this Honda are the flush mounted indicators at the rear. It shows just how much thought has been put into this build. Combined with the tailor-made mufflers, the beautiful, timeless, navy-blue paint that has a surprising depth to it, and the silver pin striped, this Honda looks like it’s from a different era. As far as engine performance goes, the Dynojet Stage 3 helped fine-tune the four huge carburettors, resulting in a strong 100 hp, respectable figures even by today’s standards. This motorcycle is not just a show bike; it is meant to be ridden. This was the reason for having a front fender, but also a rather nifty Plexiglas shield in the rear, that acts as a removable mud guard. Smart, if you want to keep the grime out of your carbs during rides, and want to maintain a clean look during expositions.
According to Grzegorz, the best thing about this project is that since the bike was bought, it has been registered and insured, not knowing how long this project would actually take. So, when the bike was finished, he was finally able to jump on it and ride. Was it all worth it? “Hell yeah!” Grzegorz says he cannot imagine a better investment of his time, attention and money, than this project.