As the saying goes, life wasn’t meant to be easy. It’s the same reason that diamonds and gold are buried deep underground and not just rolling around in the gutter outside your house. All the best things in life take hard work to achieve. Take, for instance, the bike you just picked up off of a complete stranger for a song. If you brought it home and it customised itself, that’d be no fun now would it? No, it’s the challenges that make it all worth while. And trust us when we say that the challenge Doug Devine from Modern Metals faced after he peered inside the engine of this innocuous little Honda would be enough to test anyone.


“Nothing feels better than being able to help out a friend, says Louisville, Kentucky local Doug. “I just so happened to have an abundance of extra space at my shop when Bryan, a buddy of mine, needed some space for his cars. After watching me work on a few builds, he decided to hunt down a bike for himself. He returned from a short road trip with a ‘74 Honda CL360. I thought his find was pretty nice until we couldn’t remove the spark plugs…”


An engine teardown revealed a horror show that had been hiding inside the engine for years; a dropped valve had been left to fester until… well, you’ll see. “Unfazed by the disaster, we discussed what Bryan envisioned for his bike over coffee. Within a few days, I received an invitation for PDX’s The One Motorcycle Show. Knowing that I would only have 40 days to complete this build in time for the event, I asked Bryan if we could get started.”

After stripping down the bike and detabbing the frame, Doug modified the rear seat stays so they were pointing skywards for the seat he imagined in his head. And for the tires he imagined, he ordered a pair of Firestone ANS boots. “I just so happened to have a Honda CB450 tank that fit perfectly with the look of the tires.” David ‘Matchstick’ Brooks expertly applied some gold leafing and stripes along with the black aluminium trim pieces which Doug added for more width.


After fabricating at least four different seat pans and cowls trying to determine the direction he wanted to move in, Doug settled on what you see here and left the upholstering to Ginger at New Church Moto. She really came through for Doug when she produced some old oxblood-dyed horse hide for the seat.

“I searched long and hard for the frame color which is ‘Lincoln Ginger Ale’ metallic over a black base coat. I had to source a new engine because the original was clearly beyond repair. I wanted to keep the high pipes but wanted to cut off some old megaphones with an angle to induce a more speedy look. Ben “Bender” Boyle of Benderwerks saved the day when he offered to do the headlight work after dropping by. Thanks also to Kim Boyle of BCM for the tail light, See See Motorcycles for the micro handlebar switches, and Farmers Racer for the orange pack bag.”


Unfortunately, this story doesn’t finish with a first place at the One Show. But gladly it wasn’t through a lack of trying. “We finished the bike just in time and I attempted the cross-country trip to the show, but I was snowed in once I reached Iowa.”


Doug returned home and then called in a few favours from his extended family. “My brother-in-law owns Headliner’s Music Hall, a historic building that houses one of the best music venues in the city. He graciously allowed us to shoot the bike in front of the turn-of-the century artwork.”

Adding new meaning to the term ‘valve grind’

[Photography by Seth Schikler]