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).

Old bikes were more transparent than new ones.

Old bikes were more transparent than new ones.

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.”

Brakes consist of Brembo calipers, levers and master cylinder; Galfer rotors und Spiegler lines.

Brakes consist of Brembo calipers, levers and master cylinder; Galfer rotors und Spiegler lines.

Meanwhile in the cockpit of this 73,111-kilometer CB, we find RC51 switchgear on an LSL handlebar.

Meanwhile in the cockpit of this 73,111-kilometer CB, we find RC51 switchgear on an LSL handlebar.

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.”

JayGui Exhausts, in the Netherlands, supplied the swell four-into-one.

JayGui Exhausts, in the Netherlands, supplied the swell four-into-one.

Nitro rearsets.

Nitro rearsets.

Should make someone a fine little commuter…

Should make someone a fine little commuter…


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.

Darren Begg, Proprietor
Db Customs
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
On Facebook

  • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander


  • SRMark

    There is some serious talent in that effort.

  • Gabriel Owens

    Real cool man.

  • Old MOron

    “Should make someone a fine little commuter.”
    Yes, and then some!

  • Starmag

    Schwing! Of course I’m biased owning a 82′ CB900F in the same colors.

  • JMDonald

    This bike is tits. I need one. I mean two. Bikes.

  • Dootin

    I love this craze, I get to see all the bikes I grew up with all modded out.

  • Jay

    Why can’t the big 4 give us something like this?

  • Craig Hoffman

    Wow. That thing is bad ass!

    Here is my contribution. There is a lively 2 stroke resto scene out there. A friend of mine in SoCal has a fab shop and makes the cool box section anodized swingarms. Ring a ding ding ding!!!



  • Douglas

    OK….the Honda is street legal, yes? But the header sez “GB1100F” but the side covers……is this to make it a Q Ship? (I mean, even if not an 1100, it’s still likely to hold its own in street shenanigans).

  • Auphliam

    1984, just out of boot camp and stationed at The Stumps. My buddy shows up at the base with an ’82 CB750F SS he just bought…in that exact paint scheme if I recall correctly. He could barely contain himself when he told me “you gotta take this thing for a ride”. Previous to that, the largest/fastest bike I’d ridden was my old Yamaha 360 Enduro back home. I’d never experienced anything so frightening and exhilarating at the same time.

    Light the corners of my mind
    Misty water-colored memories
    Of the way we were

  • Luke

    Whoa. This is some super work. Any clue what something like this would go for – cause WANT.

  • LolaRent

    Whoa! This is amazing work! I have Honda CB1100, probably I can follow you and spend a long winter time, doing a shopping on eBay or Parts.fo and making some magic in the garage.