WORDS Michael Hilton IMAGES Filip Okopny
When Tomek of Jasin Motorcycles dives into a build, he doesn’t take shortcuts. He commits to quality work and exercises meticulous attention-to-detail, and this Honda—his so-called “Barrel of Death”—is a testament to that.
Combing classified websites in his home country of Poland, Tomek came across this 1978 Honda CB400, bought it, and began disassembling the bike “right down to the very last screw.” Tomek wanted a bike with simple, clean, retro style. He stresses that one of the most important parts of a build is getting the frame worked into the proper proportions; it’s critical that the dimensions be exact, according to Tomek. When we ask him what his formula is, he answers with a wry smile: “That’s my little mystery.”
Tomek fabricated a lot of parts himself, like the seat, aluminum side fairings, short exhausts, and rear fender. He replaced the original fuel tank with a vintage motocross tank but kept the original brakes and wheels, which are now wrapped with new Shinko tires. He did all of the paintwork himself but outsourced the leatherwork, which is finished with striking red thread. The gauges, grips, and lights all speak to the vintage style Tomek strived for.
He tells us he’s very happy with how this CB400 turned out. It’s exactly what he envisioned. While the CB400 isn’t a fast bike, Tomek says it’s now much lighter than it once was, so it handles well and is a lot of fun to ride. We ask him about the bike’s ominous name, and he says that when he first saw the complete build, he thought, “It looks like a vintage barrel of death... know what I mean?” We're not sure, Tomek, but like it anyway.