I don’t remember how I stumbled upon the Facebook group, RestoMod Motorcycles, but I’m glad I did. The basic gist seems to be outfitting old sportbikes with modern wheels and tires, which to some is probably blasphemous. But then we’re not in church, are we? There are some pretty amazing bikes on here, and this one built by Darren Begg in the great white north (Ottawa) fairly leapt off the page (possibly because Darren’s also a professional photographer).
The “donor bike” is a 1983 Honda CB1100F breathing in through a quartet of Keihin 33mm CR smoothbore carburetors and out through a JayGui Racing exhaust with AHM replica silencer. Inside, there’s a Vince and Hyde Racing curved cam chain guide, cam chains, and AHM tensioner; ignition is a Dyna 2000 with 2.2-ohm coils.
The big question is, how do we get those Ducati 749/999 Marchesini wheels and fat Michelin Power Pilot 2CT tires to fit? Up front, the deed was accomplished with a set of AHM replica billet triple clamps by Zanzani, clamping a pair of 43mm Öhlins tubes. Out back, there’s a modified CBR900RR swingarm controlled by Öhlins HO140 rear shocks.
Other than the smoothbores, the engine is stock, and since this one’s not meant to be a track bike, Darren says he didn’t bother with bracing the frame. He did design the geometry so that with 12.5 degrees of swingarm droop, 40mm of offset in the triple clamps and 26 degrees of rake – the bike winds up with 95mm trail on its 17-inch tires. “That’s fairly close to a modern sportbike except for the longer wheelbase,” says Darren, “that makes the bike feel very balanced and still nimble in the corners.”
The main bodywork was painted by Connery Custom Paint in Toronto (that’s Canada), using decals by CB Decals, but all the small stuff Darren painted himself, “along with engine assembly, bike assembly, large battery cables, vacuum hoses and a ton of other stuff, it seems to go on and on.”
Still, the bike was done in about six months, while Darren worked his real job, his photography side one, and his three kids.
“People think I must be swamped and have no time for anything, that I work endless hours… but no, I still have a life… just a pretty efficient one.”
It all came about like this: “I built a bike a few years ago for myself, and sold it on eBay last September. People were asking who built the bike, and when I told them it was me I kept getting asked to build them something. After about the fifteenth person, I decided to start the business, built a workshop, and last November I received a contract to build this Spencer Tribute. Since posting this one, I now have five other bikes in the works; two are going to New Zealand, one to Arizona, and two to New Jersey…
“So, right now I’m working on a 1983 GS1100ES resto-mod, an ’82 CB1100RC resto-mod, a 1985 VFR750R Wayne Rainey replica, a 1982 GSX1000S Katana resto-mod – and another Freddie Spencer tribute. All high-dollar bikes with full Öhlins, Yoshimura TMRs, OZ Racing wheels, billet triples, and on and on and on… the Wayne Rainey bike will be a very close replica; we have a real HRC crate motor with zero miles on it and a bunch of other HRC goodies.”
If this one goes half as good as it looks, it’s a big success in our eyes. And I for one will be keeping both of mine peeled on Darren Begg’s pages to see what’s next.