By guest writer Phil Guy.
Cypriot Alexandros Hadjicostas got the itch for bikes while tinkering on his humble Honda Chaly in his early teens. It wasn’t until years later though, after he saw Henrik Hansen’s short film on Shinya Kimura, that Alexandros caught the full-blown café racer bug. One problem though: “One thing I had to deal with was that whenever I said the name ‘café racer’ in Cyprus nobody had the slightest idea what I was talking about” he says. Not one to be deterred, he cast around for a build candidate. It took him a year, but eventually he found the right bike. A 1969 Honda CB750. The bike that last year Motor Cyclist magazine named ‘Motor Cycle of the Century’. He didn’t exactly snag a mint example, though. “When I found the bike it was in a terrible condition after being unused for more than 10 years and missing most of its parts. I had the chassis, engine, carburettors, exhaust and wheels…and that’s all I needed. I bought the bike for 500 euro and had a budget of 2000 euro to work with.”
Alexandros’ vision for the bike was realised by mechanic Adonis Syrimis at Deranged Motorworks. “He was just starting out and wanted to show off his skills using this project,” Alexandros explains. “I couldn’t have found a better person to translate my ideas”. Although he spent six months prior to the build tinkering on the design, a few things he was sure of from the get-go. “The colour for the tank and the rear end was clear from the start—I wanted a silver matte paint that would match with the light brown leather of the seat and the Brooks handles.“
With Cyprus hardly being the hub of café racer culture, Alexandros had to scour the web for the right hardware. “I couldn’t find parts easily in Cyprus so I sourced most of them online from about ten different countries. The parts I added to the bike came from Dime City Cycles in the US, as well as Firestone Champion Deluxe tires, Brooks grips, Motolana headlight brackets & engine covers, and a headlight with speedometer from Nostalgia Speed & Cycles. The only parts I managed to source in Cyprus were the indicators.”
“The final design has changed a lot from my initial ideas, but with my design and Adonis’ mechanical skills we manage to create this gorgeous Honda CB750 café racer that we named ‘El Gato’.” The sobriquet fits: It’s a poised, serene creature that’s not hard to picture purring through the narrow streets of Cyprus.
Photograghs by Alexandros Hadjicostas