The Honda CB550 has it’s base and it’s time for some paintwork. We’re halfway through the Shannons Dream Bike Build, and if you haven’t already head over to their YouTube channel, like, subscribe and comment on the videos to let you know what you think.

The end of episode 3 revealed the bones of our Vintage Cafe Racer for the Shannons Dream Bike Build. This time around we’re taking that raw material racer and beginning to create the styling pieces, finishes and paint design for the bike. 

At this juncture of our process I usually take a few hours to look over the bike, take notes on anything we need refined or changed then list out which parts will end up in what finish. Chrome, powder coat polished or ceramic coated and any mix of all of those together.
This bike would predominantly rely on polish and chrome metal finished, with everything else being painted in one colour, frame and all. 

This is a technique used on a lot of choppers, but not often with the café racer style bikes we build. To my eye, this further simplifies your design. Rather than having a black powder coated frame over painted tine, the frame and tins are uniformly treated which removes the complexity of working with an extra colour. 

Before the bike is broken down I’ll take a few photos of the parts to be painted and sketch some ideas before I go and see the painter. With this bike, as I’ve said throughout the whole series we are keeping it classic. The colours will be a flat grey/green with some minimal design elements worked in to add some detail over the single colour scheme.I wanted to work in some filigree designs for this project, to as I was sketching up my ideas these were added on both the tank and tail. I don’t overcomplicate these sketches as I like to leave the painter a little room to add his own touches and get a little creative with the finished product. 

Enlisted for this job was Nathan from Livin Loco. He’s been doing a few jobs for us lately, he has a different style to Justin at Popbang paint that we use for a lot of our projects so we’re lucky to have a couple of great painter to choose from.The basis of this colour actually came from one of Nathans cars a 1920’s chevy in a seafoam green. I loved the colour but wanted to grey it out a little so we got to custom mixing some different variations by hand until we landed on that perfect colour for the CB550. At this point we leave the parts with Nathan to do his thing.As you see in the episode Nathan is a very analog artist, hand sketching and templating all of the design elements onto the Honda, laying down base colours and design details until its ready for the white gold leaf. We made sure to take the cameras to catch this process in detail for the Shannons dream bike build series. 

It was great to see the shapes form on the tank from a sketch, to template then having the gold leaf laid down and eventually pinstriped in before clear coat.

Heading over to pick these parts up was really exciting, I had seen how it was turning out so there was no surprises on the quality but Nathan took lead with a deep forest green/charcoal pinstripe colour I didn’t know about that works perfectly to highlight the filigree details and a few select logos the we included in the paintwork too. 

The thing I was most excited about was the fact we now had all the pieces of our puzzle in place to assemble the custom Honda CB550. Showing the guys a preview of the paint work got us all revved up to get into assembly. In episode 5 you’ll catch all of this plus the seat upholstery being finished out. 

The assembly is a long process making the finishes are perfect as the bike goes together as we run through our stringent assembly and commissioning check list before start up and test rides take place. Join us next time to see the final assembly on the Shannons YouTube channel.  

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