Cognito Moto CB550
By Anthony van Someren - 23 Jan 14
If you're ever looking around for a custom motorcycle that completely captures the modern-retro, new-wave, cafe/custom/whateva scene, you might just agree with us at The Bike Shed that this bike pretty much nails it. Retro donor? Tick. Classic lines? Tick. Simple, air-cooled compact engine & frame? Tick. Timeless shapes? Tick. Classic understated paint? Tick... all topped of with top-end modern running gear, brakes, suspension and wheels? Big tick. If you're a classic/resto enthusiast, this bike breaks every rule. If you're a power-mad speed freak, it's too slow, but if you just want a ride that is cool as fuck, and can handle the twisties or the city streets, this is the bike. It's posterboy for modern cafe culture. I'll get off my soap box now. ...We like this bike. The donor for this build was a $260 CB550 which has been re-creafted by Devin Henriques, of Cognito Moto in Fishersville, Virginia. They build bikes and make and sell custom bike parts. Devin picks up the story... "When I bought the bike it had been sitting for at least 15 years. It was a good base for my build, since it didn’t have an oil tank and allowed me to really simplify the bike’s appearance. The back half of the frame was removed and recreated to create the lines I was looking for. After a number of tanks, I settled on a tank from a CB500T." The forks were donated by a 2007 GSXR1000 attached via a Cognito Moto retro-style triple clamp & nut. The guys designed and built a hub so they could lace a set of 17 inch Harely Davidson wire wheels in to work with the radial brakes set-up. The rim width up front is 2.75" and it wears a 110/10/17. The rear wheel is also a 17 incher at a full 4.5 inches wide to accommodate modern sticky rubber, running a 160/60/17. The sprockets had to be offset to make some room, and the swingarm is stock. The headlight is a Bates 5.75" unit which had the indicators integrated into it, before being painted to match the tank's retro black & red colour scheme with gold pinstripe. All the electrics are hidden under the sculpted cafe racer seat and the starter motor has been removed - leaving the bike kickstart only. Proper man stuff. "The frame and miscellaneous parts were powder coated a textured black to give it an OEM appearance. We designed a plate, then laser cut it with the Honda logo to keep dirt off the carbs. Custom brackets were made to adapt the Tarozzi rearsets to the frame, and to relocate the rear brake lever. The engine and carbs were completely rebuilt and powder coated." The exhaust is from Carpy and the shorty end can from Dime City Cycles. The rest of the parts you see on this bike are available at Cognito Moto. ...I can't think of a better advert for using them than this build. You can see more detail of the build at Do the Ton, and of course you can head over to Cognito Moto's own Website or Facebook pages. We also hope to have more of their builds on The Bike Shed. Thanks to Sera Petras for the photos.