This story begins like many others: someone starts tearing a bike apart but soon enough realises that they don’t have the time to finish the project or are in way over their head. So the bike sits in a barn or garage for years, waiting for someone, anyone, to breathe life back into the ageing machine. This Honda CB750 seemed like a lost cause until Mike Gustafson from Iowa, USA came in. A furniture and bike builder by trade, Mike was more than happy to rescue this bike from its numerous parts boxes and start (and finish!) the latest project under his MONNOM Customs moniker. Introducing ‘M6’: a tough yet functional vintage tracker.

Mike’s previous builds have mainly been café racers, but this time he wanted to go a different direction — literally. Mike decided to make something more rugged, capable of doing a bit of off-the-beaten-track riding. “I wanted to keep the build looking like a vintage bike,” says Mike. “I knew I wanted to utilize a beefier 1976 Honda GL1000 front end and, with the gained length of the fork and coupled with the fresh Ohlins rear shocks, it brought the bike up an inch or so for a bit more ground clearance.”

More suitable off-road Shinko ADV knobbies were fitted to a set of black aluminum rims that finished off the aggressive stance of the build. The frame and most of the other small parts were treated with a 2K bedliner product that provides an extremely durable, textured satin black surface, which was perfect for the look MONNOM was going for.

To make the bike more practical for those adventure trips, Wolfman Luggage supplied a very nice set of their Expedition Dry Bags. Mike also added two Auxiliary LED lights by Clearwater Lights that put out a blazing 10,000 lumens of crisp, dimmable light.

A pair of Cone Engineering mufflers were added, using the stock set of 4-into-2 headers, which undoubtedly gives a beautiful bark. “To make the presence of M6 heard even more loudly, I installed a Denali Soundbomb dual tone air horn that blasts out a deafening 120 dB of sound.”

To help the engine breathe more freely, Mike added a set of K&N pod filters and re-jetted the carbs accordingly. LED bar end signals and an integrated rear tail light strip with signals from Custom Dynamics rounded out the indicator lighting. In place of a standard speedo unit, Mike partnered with Quadlock and used their standard handlebar mount with a GPS app on a smartphone, giving modern navigation to a vintage bike.

“I fabricated a custom oil tank that sits below the beautiful seat that was made by Dane Utech (plzbeseated). The tank holds a bit more oil than the stocker and helps to keep the engine running cool.” Also under the seat is a large 12 cell Antigravity lithium battery to keep the electricity flowing. Mike went with a larger capacity due to the additional lighting and the heavy cranking engine.

The tough-looking housing for the front headlight and steel side covers were all fabricated in house. “It was obvious to me that the bike should be black and I ultimately went with a gloss clear coat that contrasted nicely against the textured coating of the frame.”

A set of MONNOM badges adorn the sides of the tank in place of the original Honda logos. “I designed the custom aluminum rack that discreetly sits above the passenger seating area; it is a quick on/off removal with only three bolts. It is very strong and lightweight, being made from 3/16” CNC cut stock, and the top of the rack also accepts a 1 gallon Rotopax fuel cell.”

“The bike is a blast to rip on and it’s surprising nimble and smooth for being such a heavy beast. I’m excited to load the bags and head out for a weekend of camping soon.”

Aren’t we all.

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Studio photography by Ted Sandeen
City phtography by Aaron Graves