HONDA CB 450 S« RC 166 Hailwwod »

Behind this project was a desire to reproduce the spirit of the famous Honda RCs of the period (RC 166 – RC181, etc.), ridden by a certain Mike Hailwood, who made a name for himself by winning the 250 cc and 350 cc World Champion titles in 1966 and 1967. That was our only real guideline.

We started out with a machine that to be honest at first sight didn’t really summon up much enthusiasm – a 1987 Honda CB 450 S. The type of fairly basic bike with no fairing that was fairly common at the time in training schools. So that wasn’t really a very promising start. But just as for each of our creations, the magic ended up doing its stuff. Judge for yourself…

The major part of the work was to clear the section below the seat, strip the machine of anything at all that was superfluous, install clip-ons for a sportier riding position and fit a fairing.

The Alcantara® single seat with its low back just invites you to crouch down behind the tank and race into the mid-sixties’ speed circuits. You could almost imagine the smell of the ricin oil that used to pervade the paddocks back then.

The tank is made to look as if it has been remodelled simply by using lines and colours designed to change the visual appearance, in a sort of trompe l’œil fashion. Its black base continuing the line of the seat simply gives it quite different proportions, and the little badge containing the Honda wing reveals its authentic character.

The fairing, specially fitted and adapted by Garage de Félix and painted in period colours, not forgetting the yellow number plate, is very much the centre-piece of this project.

But though the overall effect is a success visually, we needed to give it the sound to match. This is the role of the matt black megaphone silencer we’ve added to the little 4-stroke engine. Still a long way from the sound of a Grand Prix 2-stroke, but it does accentuate the sporty character of this little bike.

It’s certainly a very light, compact bike that will suit riders with a smaller frame or a woman with a definite spirit of competition.

To this are added a few not-insignificant details, like fitting FIRESTONE Deluxe tyres, chosen for the retro touch, or the white-dial speedo by Motogadget, intended to evoke racing in bygone years.

You’ll have appreciated that this bike, originally from 1987, has gone a good twenty-odd years back in time to take us right into the mid-’60s and to some glorious exploits by Honda in association with one of the greatest British riders of all time. Its lucky owner will doubtless have an air of Mike Hailwood… as long as they wear a bowl helmet!

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