Automotive engineering is full of ideas that must have seemed great at the time but in the cold, hard light of day can tend to look a little less than inspired. Take Yamaha’s XV750 for instance. An unbreakable engine that not only goes and sounds great, but also serves as a stressed member that the rest of the bike is built on. True innovation, yes? Well hold your horses for a second, because there’s always the bike’s pneumatic suspension and that pesky starter motor to consider. Sure, they probably seemed like pretty good calls at the time, but bake them for 35 odd years and then try them on for size them and you’ll likely find something a little less than the next successful entry into the Motorcycle Engineering Hall of Fame. So you’ll understand the irony when I tell you that the very same engineers who designed that damned XV starter motor were also the ones who created this, the XJ550 SECA. Created for the original cafe racer set from the get-go, it’s turned into somewhat of an engineering classic over the years. And it’s number one fan? Here’s California’s Thirteen and Company to vie for the position. “When we first stumbled across the humble Yamaha XJ550 SECA, we didn’t think much of it,” says Thirteen’s Kyle Vara. He says his initial thought was to just get it running and maybe keep it as a great stock bike. “But once it was going, the bike was really impressive all-round. Then after a little research, we were not that surprised.” See, in 1981 Yamaha introduced their YICS induction control system, which called for an extra set of intake ports to be cast directly into the engine’s head. This allowed each cylinder to get two charges of air and fuel at the same time, making for much more efficient combustion. It also featured an all-new gearbox, completely surpassing that of its older brother the XJ650. “The XJ550 SECA is hands down one of the best 550s we have ever ridden straight out of the factory. So, understanding the potential of this little motor, we didn’t hesitate to rebuild it giving it the overall design we think it really deserves.” Kyle an his team started by stripping the bike of all unnecessary parts, leaving nothing but a rolling chassis and gas tank. From there they were able to get a better understanding of the natural lines the stock set-up offers. “It was important for us to really emphasize the awesome design of the stock gas tank and we knew we had to make a seat that would compliment it. After a couple of renders on the computer, it was clear we had to go with a non-conventional cafe seat – and something created with modern Moto GP seats in mind.” Once the seat was figured out, they moved into converting the front end. A beautiful, bright gold ZX10R front end from Kawasaki caught their eye and they knew that it would be a perfect fit for the build. With there being no off-the-shelf conversion kits for the bike, they had to make everything themselves. “We machined new head bearing races to fit the oversized stem. Then, utilizing the stock front wheel, custom wheel spacers were also machined to fit the bigger diameter axle the ZX takes. We also kept the stock ZX front break caliper.” The bigger dual piston calliper will stop on a dime, and then give you back 5 cents change. “The seat was cut from genuine Italian leather and it sits on top 1 inch of quality foam. We used the stock headlight, but we decided to make our own bottom brackets to keep the upper fork area as clean as possible. We also installed an old rock guard headlight screen we had lying around.” The frame and wheels were then given a 3-stage gloss black paint job, and the wheels were then mounted with the inimitable Firestone Vintage Deluxe, with 4.00 x 18 rears and 4.00 x 19 fronts. Kyle adds, “although we don’t plan on racing this bike anytime soon, we can assure you all that we would change them out for a decent set of slicks if we were.” Then the bike’s electrical system was completely redone. “We got rid of safety relays, safety switches and all the unnecessary wiring. In order to get the results we wanted, we made our own wiring harness. It gives us a clean, pain-free wiring solution and the ability to hide everything and anything we wanted.” Kyle then relocated the battery under the swing arm, in-between the center stand mounts. It’s held there using Thirteen’s custom-made battery box.“Coming from a racing background, most of our bikes are heavily race inspired,” says Kyle. And as this is one of the only painted bikes to come out of our shop, we’re very happy with the results. We knew that we wanted to feature some sort of race-themed graphic, hence the meatball number. As for the painting process, we started off by laying down a couple of coats of base black, then placing our graphics which were cut from a special 3M vinyl. The tank and seat were hit with 4 to 6 coats of clear, then sanded and polished to give it that glass-like finish.” And what did all this hard work create? “We are left with a bike that is a straight-up amazing ride. Its smooth power delivery from top to bottom is proof of the great engineering that went into these XJ motors.” And the modern front allows this bike to corner with perfection, soaking up all the little stuff yet stiff enough to glue the front tire to the ground. Kyle assures us that the mufflers gives off a truly sweet exhaust note that’s toffee crisp at the slightest crack of the throttle. It’s a combination that makes this XJ550 SECA an all-round brilliant bike to ride. “We love building bikes like this and it’s refreshing to get away from the Hondas now and then,” says Kyle. “From the initial concept to the first test ride, it’s the endlessly fascinating process of creating that keeps us going. The motorcycle community is as unique as the bikes it yields, however we all share a common thread; a passion for two wheels.”
As for bike specifications, It has been restored all the way down to the nuts and bolts. Aesthetically, It features a 2 part silver/clear powder coated frame and a custom subframe. The seat was handmade with reclaimed Italian leather, as well as imported Italian grips. The seat cowl was handmade to match the brushed steel tank, both were professionally clear coated and resemble dense glass-like finish. Countless hours were spent sanding, buffing, and polishing any aluminum parts included in this build. The wiring harness was made from scratch giving us a streamline wiring solution. The motor is stock displacement at 550cc. All aspects of the bike mechanically have been gone through. The carbs received a full overhaul and are accompanied by 4 stainless steel velocity stacks. Keeping it on the ground, we have mounted vintage style Coker diamond tread tires, along with new D.I.D. chrome rims and spokes. It has an all-in-one LED rear brake/taillight/turn signals integrated into the rear loop. The custom stainless steel 4-1 exhaust gives this bike noticeable sound, yet still enjoyable during any riding duration.
The goal with this build was to design a motorcycle that is approachable to any rider, and displayed a balance of maturity, elegance, and attitude.
Please contact us if you have any questions and would like to purchase.
1981 Honda CB750
Save $ -1,000,000.00
WE FOUND THIS BIKE ON THE SIDE YARD OF A HOUSE IN ORANGE, CA. THE SELLER SAID THAT HE WANTED 100 DOLLARS AND HIS WIFE NEEDED IT OUT. WE COULDN’T GET THE MONEY OUT OF OUR POCKETS FAST ENOUGH. ALTHOUGH IT WAS IN PRETTY ROUGH SHAPE ON THE OUTSIDE, THE SELLER HAD PREPARED IT FOR STORAGE ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, DRAINING ALL THE GAS FROM THE CARBS AND GIVING IT A FRESH OIL CHANGE BEFORE IT WAS RETIRED. ONCE WE GOT IT BACK TO OUR SHOP THE THING FIRED RIGHT UP WITH A FRESH BATTERY AND A SET OF NEW PLUGS. FOR THIS BUILD WE WANTED TO MAKE A SLEEK RACE INSPIRED CAFE RACER. ADDING THINGS LIKE A CUSTOM PHONE INCORPORATED SPEEDO AND NAV APP THAT WE WILL HAVE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. ALONG WITH LED TAILLIGHTS AND A CUSTOM YOSH INSPIRED EXHAUST SYSTEM. THE SEAT WAS COMPLETELY MADE BY HAND WITHOUT A ENGLISH WHEEL WITH 2MM SHEET METAL. IT TOOK US A FEW TIMES TO GET THE SHAPE TO WERE WE WANTED IT BUT IN THE END WE ARE VERY HAPPY WITH WHAT WE CAME UP WITH. AS FOR THE LED TAIL LIGHT IT IS COMPLETELY INTERGRADED INTO THE SEAT PAN. RUNNING A DUEL VOLTAGE LED STRIP LIGHT WITH THE USE OF DIODS AND RECTIFIERS TO GET OUR DESIRED BRIGHTNESS. THE BIKE HAS BEEN LOWERED ABOUT 4 1/2 INCHES ALL THE WAY AROUND WITH A NEW 385MM SHOCK SET UP IN THE REAR. IN THE REAR WE ARE RUNNING A AVON MKII 5.00 X 16 TIRE TO MAKE UP FOR THE 16INCH WHEEL AND GIVE US A MATCHING OVERALL WHEEL DIAMETER FOR THE FRONT AND BACK. THE MOTORWORK ON THIS BIKE WAS MINOR. WE DID SPEND ALOT OF TIME TUNING AND TWEAKING THE CARBS TO MAKE THEM RUN RIGHT WITH THE PODS. WE FOUND THAT RUNNING RACE GAS MAKES THESE THINGS SCREAM. THE KEY TO GETTING THESE CARBS TO WORK IS THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR. WE SPENT HOURS TRYING DIFFERENT JETTING COMBOS/ VACUUM PORT DIAMETERS AND FINALLY GOT IT TO WERE WE WANT. AT THE END OF THE DAY THE MIKUNI CR MECHANICAL CARBS ARE THE WAY TO GO AND WE PLAN ON SWITCHING TO THOSE TO SQUEEZE A LITTLE MORE POWER OUT. GOING ALONG WITH SLEEK STYLING OF THIS BIKE WE ARE RUNNING CLIP ONS WITH A FULL MOTOCROSS STYLE CONTROL SET UP, USING THE FRONT BREAK AND MASTER CYLINDER OFF A MOTOCROSS BIKE. STEEL BRAIDED BREAKLINES, A TUCKED CUSTOM MINI BATTERY AND BATTERY BOX, BILTWELL GRIPS AND CUSTOM WIRING HARNESS TO FINISH OFF. WE CAN BUILD YOU THIS BIKE.
1975 Honda CB550
Save $ -10,000.00
1975 HONDA CB550 THIRTEEN AND COMPANY
Approaching the project, we wanted to build a motorcycle that displayed simplicity, and elegance, without compromising performance and attitude, as well as maintaining a budget. We were aware the multitude of transformations the Honda CB550's are capable of, so it was a no-brainer for us to choose that as our base. The bikes initial state was terrible. It was as if it spent it's last dreadful years laid to rest at the bottom of Loch Ness hanging with Nessy, then accidentally recovered from the local State Troopers attempting to solve a murder case, only to be foolishly adopted from an overly ambitious bystander, where it was then transported to their overgrown, neglected backyard to sit untouched for another 20 years. By the time we found our way to the bike, apparently it had managed to find its way into a couple of old-soiled wooden crates, still wrapped up in the very rust cratered chain that pulled it from its murky depths. We knew we were getting ourselves in some serious sludge. Like most CB550 builds, we rid anything unnecessary to sculpt down to the bikes naked state, allowing revealence of its true character and form. From here, we sanded for weeks until every part eligible of polishing could be achieved. Stylistically, we knew we needed a color to compliment and differentiate the polished features throughout the bike, so that left us with the black wheels, triple trees, cylinder, and front brake disk being the only items powder coated/painted, besides the light grey engine enamel. The frame was cut, sanded, polished, and hand painted with a special 2 part clear uv-resistant coating that adheres to polished surfaces with a rock hard finish. The seat was made in-house from slightly aged Italian Leather for character. In the performance department we decided to utilize a 592cc big bore kit. It allowed us to gain more power without losing reliability. On top of the cylinders lays a race worthy port and polished head giving this bike the snappy throttle response and smooth power delivery making it extremely fun to rip a round town. The exhaust was custom made by the hands of Carpe in Anaheim, CA. These exhaust's are nothing less then perfection. The sound they produce will make even the oldest grumpy die hard biker dude at your local cycle swap smile.
We machine our own internal suspension components to lower the stance three inches with out losing performance and stability. The bike sits on new Firestone Vintage Deluxe tires, 4.00 x 19 in the front and 4.00 x 18 in the rear and yes we are aware that everyone hates on them but in all reality we won't be corning this bike at 120 MPH up Mulholland Canyon anytime soon. This bike was built out of a passion for motorcycles and their endless possibilities. Ultimately, we are left with a bike that reveals it's true nature, which can be appreciated from a wide range of audiences to enjoy, interpret, and ride. It can be yours! For purchasing inquires please contact Kyle@thirteenandcompany.com
1979 HONDA CB125 TRACKER
Save $ -4,500.00
Our 1979 Honda CB125 Tracker is up for sale. This thing is dialed and a perfect bike for ripping around town. Features like a genuine Italian leather seat and modern motocross suspension make it the perfect bike for whatever the road throws at you. For serious buyers please contact email@example.com. We can ship this bike anywhere in the USA. PRICE INCLUDES SHIPPING.