This little street tracker I built with parts and help from friends turned a couple heads when I took it on its maiden voyage at the Biltwell Bash in the spring of 2009. That glory stomp was short-lived, however, as fuel and electrical woes have plagued my green machine since day one. After commissioning Tony Dunn at Classic Cycles in Orange, CA, to install an electronic ignition and tune the twin Mikuni carbs, my '72 CB450 lived to breathe another day.
After a couple thrilling assaults on mountain roads in SoCal, my CB's original battery proved woefully underpowered for its new electronic ignition. By that time, however, another project had landed in my lap, so I parked the finnicky Honda. That was in the fall of 2009. Since then, editors at several chopper rags have flattered me by asking for photos and backstory on my hand-built dust collector. Even I have principles, however, so I told them the Street Tracker wasn't worthy of a feature until I could find the day to build a new, larger battery tray and install a fresh juice box. Well, as anyone who's followed the never-ending saga of my SpartanKiller project can tell you, there are many who believed that day would never come.
This fall trumpets in the two-year mark on my SpartanKiller project, and the first anniversary of the Street Tracker's last ride. To celebrate my complete worthlessness, I did what any shiftless grease monkey might do: I bought a running Hinckley Triumph chopper from Wayne at Acme. I don't deserve and can scarcely afford such a sweet British custom, but I've loved modern Triumphs since Billdozer rode his Bonneville the long way through Mexico on EDR III in 2008. When Bill sold his Bonne to Kyle at Lowbrow, I secretly promised myself to get another Triumph in our collective stable.
Last month during yet another speedbump on the SpartanKiller's lengthy journey, I finally made the time to build a larger battery box for my CB450. The bigger battery is more than sufficient to give my dominutive but high-strung twin some spark, but of course the floats on the Mikunis are so gummed up the bike still didn't run. After fussing with the fuel system a bit, my Street Tracker finally did sputter to life the week before Halloween. Not with enough gumption to haul my lazy ass across the parking lot, mind you, but enough to convince me my little Honda was finally ready for its 15 minutes of fame.
Of course, there's still plenty of work to be done. However, given the state of my other dumb motorcycles, this is the bike I vow to finish before the David Mann Chopper Fest in Ventura next December.
Finally, I can officially thank all the friends who helped me get my Street Tracker on two wheels. Rob Warren is an old buddy who works with Kim Boyle at BCM, and it was he who donated the original basket case. Kutty Noteboom did the dirty work on the CB750 swingarm I grafted to the frame. Alex Cordone was the mastermind behind the complex original wiring. Thanks to Uncle Bitchin' for the fiberglass work and '70s CR250 Elsinore paint. And last but not least, thanks to Duane Ballard for crafting the Evel Knievel-inspired snap-on seat.
Frame: 1972 Honda CB450, original subframe chopped and narrowed to fit GP Glassworks pillion; miscellaneous other tweaks and mods to accommodate various custom crap (fuel tank mount, under-seat diode and electrical tray mounting tabs, etc.) The mid-'70s CB750 swingarm was narrowed 1.5" perpendicular to the pivot to fit between the swingarm mounts on the CB450 frame
Engine: 1972 race-prepped CB450 twin; electric starter removed and case blanked at mounting point; crazy fire-breathing cam and "cross-cut" tranny gears of unknown origin; full motor and transmission assembled from best scraps and parts available by Dennis Trudelle of Hemet, CA
Fork: '99 H-D Sportster; shortened 3.5", CB450 steer tube lengthened and grafted to the bored, trimmed and polished lower tree
Front wheel: 40-spoke 19" x 3.25" Sun shoulderless alloy rim, black powdercoated; laced to H-D Narrowglide hub with stainless-steel Buchannan's spokes. The front hub disk flange and caliper mounts on right fork slider were each shaved 2mm to provide 4mm total additional clearance between the fork leg and the aftermarket brake rotor. This was necessary because I mistakenly built the front wheel with a Narrowglide—not a Sportster—front hub. Without the shaving described, the brake rotor would have rubbed the fork leg
Rear wheel: 36-spoke 18" x 3.5" Sun shoulderless alloy rim; black powdercoated 1975 Honda CR250 Elsinore disk brake hub with drilled and Scotchbrited backing plate
Tires: Dunlop DOT-approved dirt track knobbies; 110/90-19 front/130/90-18 rear
Carbs: Twin Mikuni round slide carbs, 24mm (or are they 26mm? I can never remember) with cheesy Uni Foam filters
Bodywork: Generic dirt track tank seat/fender pillion combo from GP Glassworks of Montana (or is it Idaho? It's been so long I don't remember)
Handlebars and controls: 7/8" chrome-plated steel generic dirt track bars; Universal MX billet alloy clutch lever; front brake master cylinder off a Banshee ATV; minibike headlight/kill switch button
Foot controls: eBay dirt bike pegs grafted onto stock CB450 brackets; stock CB450 brake lever modified/customized to actuate the cable-driven rear CR250 drum hub