There's always something inspiring about ambition and creativity fueling a "sell most everything I own and sink or swim" start-up mentality. I'm truly a sucker for it. Burning bridges, making it happen.
And here we are, not even a few months into simplifying his life, leaving his cushy corporate job and lush apartment in downtown Tampa, and moving what little he has left into an empty garage space (with a bed), Ryan Shaw and his crew at Hangar Cycleworks have entered the worlds of entrepreneurship and custom motorcycling.
A new partnership of friends and vintage motorcycle enthusiasts with backgrounds in hot rodding and vintage Volkswagens - Ryan Shaw, William Benedict and John Benedict, along with business partners Mike Miller and Stacy Vick are making a go of it.
We're excited to show off their first build, a tastefully reimagined 1973 CB450.
The bike started as a low mile, complete and original 1973 Honda CB450 purchased from an older gentleman in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. As is the case with most of these "finds", it had sat for the previous 25 years in a waterfront carport and was aged in rust and salt.
Anyone that knows me, knows I have a penchant for classics. While I love seeing the creative efforts going into the customs scene, I spark up when I see restraint exercised and a tasteful nod to the past running through a new build. Wanting to do a cafe style, the boys decided to pick their spots and stay close to the heart and soul of the original, most obvious being the Tyrolean Green Metallic paint and graphics scheme (continued through the new rear section), while removing the extraneous, unnecessary, or just plain ugly. One has to wonder if the hyped early Honda 450s might have sold better looking like this.
After stripping her down, the frame was detabbed, smoothed and reworked and sent off to powder while the crew did a rebuild and rework of the heart and lungs - engine rebuild (seals, gaskets, cam chain) and stock carb swap (replaced with Mikuni VM32's breathing through a set of polished velocity stacks). A repaint and polish of the engine was topped off with stainless hardware.
Next up, a custom electronics pan was built into the frame to house a Ballistic 4 cell battery, reg / rec combo unit and custom wiring harness. The starter has been deleted, and a hidden ignition / kill switch with LED indicator installed.
The exhaust is certainly tasty to look at. It combines CL450 headers into their own 2-into-1 collector that runs into a high-side reverse cone muffler, wrapped in titanium pipe wrap.
Continuing in the spirit of the original, they obsessed over the rear cowl. Wanting to use the stock seat hinges and seat lock, they created the bodywork to look as if it was a factory fit. It's one of the nicer, understated and tasteful cafe cowl's I've seen recently. Utilizing a portion of the stock seat pan and some new sheet metal, it's topped off with a hand laid fiberglass seat cushion pan, wrapped in high density foam and finished in black leather.
Name of Bike: Pony Boy
Owner: Hangar Cycleworks
Year/Make/Model: 1973 CB450 K6
Fabrication: Hangar Cycleworks
Assembly: Hangar Cycleworks
Build Time: 90 Days
Engine: 450cc DOHC parallel twin
Carburetion: Mikuni VM32
Exhaust: Custom high side 2-into-1
Air Cleaner: Polished aluminum velocity stacks
Transmission: 5 Speed
Frame: stock, detabbed and smoothed
Front Wheel: 19" stock - powder coated, rebuilt with stainless steel spokes
Rear Wheel: 18" stock - powder coated, rebuilt with stainless steel spokes
Front Tire: 110/90/19 Avon Roadrider
Rear Tire: 120/80/18 Avon Roadrider
Front Brake: stock disc
Rear Brake: stock drum
Fuel Tank: stock
Headlight: vintage CEV moped headlight bucket
Taillight: 3 way led
Hand Controls: Nissin
Handgrips: Dime City Cycles
Foot Controls: Loaded Gun Customs with Hangar Cycleworks custom linkage
Footpegs: Loaded Gun Customs
Electrical: Hangar Cycleworks custom wiring loom and panel
Painter: Russell Wheeler for Hangar Cycleworks
Graphics: Russell Wheeler for Hangar Cycleworks
Polishing: Hangar Cycleworks
Seat Pan Aluminum: Custom Hangar Cycleworks metal seat pan
Upholstery: Custom Hangar Cycleworks fiberglass and leather seat pad
Other: Pro-Fab Customs powder coating
I asked Ryan what it's been like so far and the standard startup answer given by anyone who's taken a risk: "Besides the sleepless nights and anxiety about the future? In all honesty, it's a huge risk on one hand because there are so many talented, established people in the industry, and we are definitely fledgling in every sense of the word. But on the other hand, we have found that at least in our area, people are very inclusive and willing to help."
Show your support and stay in the loop with Hangar Cycleworks by following them on Facebook.
Special thanks: Dime City Cycles, Loaded Gun Customs, Brad Replogle, Pro-Fab Customs & Erik Runyon Photography
Submit your bike
Our new web site launches in early 2014. Have a build you'd like featured? Every featured build finds a home here, across our social channels and even in the pages of our bi-monthly magazine. Submission details and contact here.