Ten years ago, Honda CB cafe racers were a huge part of the custom renaissance. Low slung CBs were everywhere, ‘brat cafe’ became a phrase, and for vendors of pipewrap and Firestone tires, it was like all their Christmases had come at once.
There’s still a lot of love for the classic CB conversion, especially amongst shed builders and the Instagram crowd. But not many people venture beyond the minor dress-up, and that’s why we like this 1973 CB550 from Dresden-based Hookie Co.—a stealthy ‘urban racer’ called Black Mamba.
Hookie are pitching this CB550 as a reaction against the ‘style over substance’ ethos that afflicts some corners of today’s custom world—‘pretty’ bikes with anemic performance.
“We wanted to build a small cafe racer with power,” says Nico.…