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Jonathan Rea #65 – CB Custom

World Superbike ace Jonathan Rea had been looking around at custom bikes for a while before he saw the Dominatrix built by us for his race team’s PR and communications manager in 2013.

He was clearly impressed with the look and build quality of the Honda NX650-based Dominatrix and placed an order with us to build his own dream bike. Something a little less focused and more sedate than his usual weekend ride.

Jonathan had spotted a beautiful custom machine designed and built by South African Louis Nel and asked us to create something along the same lines. After sourcing an extremely tidy 1975 CB550K, we spent some time going through some of the detailing with Jonathan and set about turning his vision into reality.

The bike had been imported from Colorado and showed hardly any signs of corrosion despite being nearly 40 years old. Once completely stripped, we chopped the rear before fabricating and welding a new, shorter subframe to the main frame.

We trimmed off any unwanted brackets and stays from the frame and swingarm and, with the modifications complete, we shipped all the components that needed powder-coating to Redditch Shotblasters for blasting and coating in a high-gloss black finish.


We also included every nut, bolt, and fastening to be given a fresh new coat of bright zinc plating. While everything was away, we gave the engine a coat of silver engine paint and polished the casings, valve caps, forks, carbs, and bell mouths, which were once fitted to a British Touring Car!

The tank and panel preparation, and pearl white base coat paint, were taken care of by ‘Spidey’, and once that was complete, ‘Purple Fayz’ worked her special airbrush magic to ghost Jonathan’s personal JR logo all over the top of the tank, as well as adding his 65 race number to the side panels.

With the frame back from the powder-coaters, we set about rebuilding the CB, dropping the front wheel from 19″ to 18″ and lacing the gloss black rims and hubs with stainless spokes before fitting a pair of vintage Firestones. The original rear shocks were replaced with new black units, and the original chrome bars swapped for satin black Renthal 758s.

A stack of other new parts were also fitted including a new headlight, bullet indicators, LED tail light, and stainless speedo. Next, we shipped the whole thing over to Cobuilt in Oxford who were responsible for marrying the existing exhaust downpipes to twin, stainless MotoGP silencers.

The final task fell to Steve Adams, who created a brand new seat in matt faux leather highlighted with white stitching. The finishing touches included new engine side-case covers and a pair of brand new, genuine Honda tank badges.

The initial handover to Jonathan was made when the World Superbike circus arrived at Donington Park in the UK, after which we delivered his new ride to his home on the Isle of Man. He has already been putting the CB500K through its paces there by taking part in the parade lap around the famous Mountain Course during the Classic TT!