What? Another Honda cafe racer? It seems I hear this almost every day now. It doesn't take more than a millisecond to realize this one is different. Especially when you realize it is truly a garage-built, spare-time build. It all started as it did with many of us as mid-westerner Cliff Meyer was watching men bend and shape metal to their wishes on TV shows showcasing motorcycle and custom car builds. It fascinated him to the point where he pondered the possibility of doing the same thing some day.
Cliff was lucky enough to have an uncle who was a famous fabricator from the great racing era of the 70's and 80's. Jerry Schwarz was one of Carroll Shelby's first fabricators and crew chiefs. Cliff went to visit him over spring break one year and asked if he could teach him to weld something. “He threw me on an Oxy-Acetylene torch and showed me what to do. It wasn't long before I could run a bead that day. He said I had a knack for it.”
While attending school, a fresh stack of books on fabrication and countless hours of study helped Cliff produce his first creation from his small bedroom - a cold air intake box for his Ford Focus. Soon after graduation, Cliff picked up an apartment and began the journey of acquiring more and more tools, culminating in Uncle Jerry giving him a torch. He began to weld scrap like crazy, sending his uncle pictures to be critiqued over the phone or via email. “It wasn't long before Cliff was gas welding better than me!” said Jerry.
At the time, Cliff was paying the bills as a golf course superintendent. “I began to figure out that the golf course life wasn't for me and started to look for something else to do. I bought a TIG welder and used that for a while and then decided to enroll into the local welding school. The instructor told me on the first day I didn't really need the class and I should work for either the race or aerospace industry as a welder. I started to realize that welding might be my thing, so I went to some local race shops looking for work.”
Cliff then went to work part-time for a fellow named Don Basala building everything from hot rod chassis, Indy car bits, even welding up experimental aircraft parts. Cliff was also introduced to the possibility of a nursing career at the same time. Back to school and increasing his hours for Don over the next couple of years gave Cliff enough experience to finally strike out on his own.
Currently paying the mortgage as a ICU nurse, Cliff's real love is his newfound, part-time company he named Meyerbuilt Metalworks. Meyerbuilt now wields metals like those he caught on the tube years earlier, providing handcrafted aluminum motorcycle gas tanks, cafe tails and detail components to complete frames and custom builds. It just so happens some of those Honda cafe racers you've seen lately floating around trendy internet blogs have custom bits handcrafted by Meyerbuilt.
“It's something I love to do and it helps me step back from the things I have to see in the PICU. I hope to continue to grow to the point where I can cut to nursing part-time or jump into Meyerbuilt full-time.”
We hope so too Cliff. Enjoy a few more pics and build details below.
- 1976 CB550K purchased stock and in pretty rough shape
- Meyerbuilt aluminum gas tank
- Meyerbuilt aluminum tail/seat
- Meyerbuilt rear subframe and swingarm bracing
- Meyerbuilt mono-shock conversion
- Meyerbuilt front and rear turn signals...rears frenched into frame
- Meyerbuilt headlight mounts
- 2002 GSXR600 Front end
- Hayabusa front rotors
- Harley Narrow Glide front wheel
- Meyerbuilt front axle and adapter hubs for rotors
- Harley rear wheel
- Harley rear rotor
- 2004 GSXR rear caliper
- Meyerbuilt rear caliper mount
- Meyerbuilt rear axle
- Sprocket Specialist's rear sprocket...stock tooth number
- Meyerbuilt foot controls
- Meyerbuilt exhaust collectors
- Cone Engineering mufflers
- Meyerbuilt wiring harness
Photo credits: The Wilkinson Brothers of GoodSpark Garage, www.goodsparkgarage.com.