1972 Honda CL350
Brat Café Racer
A mutual passion for vintage motorcycles is the glue that holds the Sallings family so close together… and love too, of course. This father-and-son build—built by Jan and his youngest son, Sean—exhibits that mutual passion at work. The two worked together in 2015 to reinvigorate Sean’s 1972 Honda CL350, which he had owned for just over ten years. The result of their efforts is this clean and mean bratstyle motorcycle, deemed Murphy.
Motorcycles have been part of my life for my entire life. My parents were married in a Harley shop and my father has been an enthusiast/builder for several decades.Sean Sallings
With a dad like Jan, Sean was essentially destined to build his own custom motorcycle one day. So it was no surprise when, in 2005, Sean bought a 1972 Honda CL350 at the age of nineteen. For over ten years, he kept it running thanks to the knowledge his dad passed down to him. “I’m very fortunate to have a father who has all of the knowledge and tools needed to teach his children the ways of motorcycle customization,” Sean says.
Over the years it went through minor customizations, then my fiancée and I decided we needed to do frame up builds on our bikes.Sean Sallings
Though he had kept the bike alive and running well, he had yet to do a thorough frame-up build. When his (at the time) fiancée elected to completely tear apart and rebuild her bike, Moxxi, after some engine troubles in the spring of 2015, the couple got to work. Over the next nine months, the two worked on their bikes in the shop together with Jan roughly ten hours every week.
Sean had always had an affinity for the sleek, speedy aesthetic of café racers—after all, Murphy had been a café racer for about ten years. But, in 2015, Sean had begun pulling inspiration from the aggressive, rugged charisma of bratstyle builds as well. As a result, Murphy took on a sort of hybrid style between the two, making for a unique build that balances strength and elegance.
The primary element that distinguishes a bratstyle motorcycle from a café racer is the ‘skateboard’ or ‘banana’ seat that all brats possess, along with the rear hoop on which the seat rests. In order to create the hoop, Sean took Murphy’s frame to his friend, Evan House, who had better equipment for bending metal tubing to the desired curvature. Once the hoop had been formed, they cut a window into it so that it could house the LED strip which Sean had fashioned into a custom brake light. After the hoop had been welded to the frame, it was sent off to Taylor at One-Up Moto Garage to be fitted with a beautiful, custom seat.
The tire clearance on the stock forks was too tight, so Jan fabricated custom trees that are slightly wider than stock.Sean Sallings
In order to develop the strong, flat foundation of a café racer, Sean knew the build would need to have same-sized front and rear wheels. However, the stock 1972 CL350 has a larger front than rear wheel. So, to create a flat line going from the front to the back of the bike, Sean decided to lace a front wheel hub into a rear wheel rim. However, once he’d laced the wheels and installed his chosen tires—the beefy Kenda K761s—he encountered a setback. Jan machined Murphy’s triple trees from billet aluminum, and Sean polished them by hand. Paired with a mean-looking tire, the wider triple trees give Murphy a much more aggressive front end than that of a stock CL350.
The custom triple trees, rear hoop, and seat aren’t the only unique details of the build. Thanks to Jan’s masterful fabrication abilities, Murphy is bedecked with a bevy of one-of-a-kind parts, including the exhaust pipes with heat shields, clip-on handlebars, electronics box, foot controls, foot pegs, and license plate mount.
While the yin and yang nature of this bratstyle and café racer hybrid definitely makes it an eye-catcher, the obvious high attention to detail on the part of its builders is what makes it a showstopper. In true Jan Sallings fashion, every component was considered prior to reassembling the motorcycle. Sean even spent tens of hours meticulously hand-polishing the majority of the bike’s polished pieces himself—a level of devotion that undeniably shows in the finished product.
- 1972 Honda CL350
- Modified clutch cover
- Stock 5-speed
- Air Filters
- Cone filters
- Custom exhaust pipes and heat shields by Jan Sallings
- Stock breaker-point ignition
- Detabbed and smoothed stock frame
- Custom rear hoop fabricated by Evan House
- Front Suspension
- Rear Suspension
- Dual progressive wound spring shocks from Dime City Cycles
- Front Wheel
- 1972 Honda CL350 rear wheel
- Hub machined to house perforated metal accent pieces
- Rear Wheel
- Front Tire
- Kenda K761
- Rear Tire
- Kenda K761
- Front Brake
- Stock drum brake
- Rear Brake
- Stock drum brake
- Stock headlight bucket modified to house ignition switch
- Custom LED taillight incorporated into rear hoop
- Fuel Tank
- Paint with gold leaf and carbon fiber accents by Sean Sallings and Jan Sallings
- Custom seat by One-Up Moto Garage
- Custom clip-on handlebars fabricated by Jan Sallings
- Foot Pegs
- Custom knurled and dimpled aluminum foot pegs fabricated by Jan Sallings
- Foot Controls
- Custom rear sets fabricated by Jan Sallings
- Custom knurled and dimpled aluminum foot pedals fabricated by Jan Sallings
- Custom triple tree fabricated by Jan Sallings
Big thanks to
- Whitworx Fine Metal Finishing, LLC
- All chrome components: head and headlight rim.
- Wayne's Powder Coating Inc.
- All powder-coated components: frame, cylinder, and spokes.
- Evan House
- Custom rear hoop which incorporates taillight.
- One-Up Moto Garage
- Custom seat.