The Sabbatical: Taking a break to build a CB750 cafe racer

When Brent Becker

planned a 45-day sabbatical from his high-stress CEO position, he had no clue it would end up stretching out to six months. And he had even less of an idea that he'd spend that time building a custom motorcycle: a Honda CB750 cafe racer .

Brent originally bought his 1973 CB750K, already partially modified, from Flying Tiger Motorcycles in Maplewood, Missouri. His career prevented him from investing the necessary time to keep a vintage bike running smoothly, so he became a regular customer at Flying Tiger. A CEO took a sabbatical to build this Honda CB750 cafe racer motorbike/

When Brent resigned from his job, the idea was to take some time to decompress. So he approached Flying Tiger's owners Eric and Teresa with an idea straight out of the left field: "I wanted to see if I could come to the shop," he says, "and help them out with whatever they needed---sweeping floors, inventory, cleaning bikes... just a chance to be around the shop to learn some practical things about motorcycles."

"I don't think they knew what to make of me, but as Eric pointed out, they knew at least that I was 'not an asshole,' and we planned for me to come in the following Tuesday after my last day with my company. My journey and time as an 'intern' began."

Brent gradually went from assisting the Flying Tiger mechanics, to taking on small tasks like cleaning carbs or changing tires. As the end of his internship approached, Brent had another idea. "I discussed with Eric the opportunity to work on my bike," he says.

"We knew that with the time I had, the resources of the shop and their guidance, doing a full restoration and modification would be an opportunity I might not get again. Just like that, with the support of my family, my planned six week break was adjusted to six months."

Brent soon went from basic tasks to learning how to cut, grind, weld and work a lathe. It was a steep learning curve, and he was at the shop six days a week, from 9 am to 6 pm each day. "An often-recurring theme while working on the build," he tells us, "was I would show Eric something I did, and he almost always said: 'that is a good start ..!'"

Brent's commitment shows. His CB750 is not only one of the cleanest around, but it's also sporting some well-judged upgrades.

The work started inside, with an 836 cc big bore kit, a Web Racing cam, and a full porting and tuning job. The motor breathes out via a set of Keihin CR31 race carbs with velocity stacks. It's been done up in a mix of black and polished finishes, and capped off with a four-into-two exhaust system.

There's also a mod we don't see a lot of---a wet sump conversion from Sump Thing, designed to ditch the auxiliary oil tank and hoses. Brent installed it so that he could clean out the triangle under the seat completely.

Up top is a custom subframe, seat and tail hump. Everything's been rewired around Motogadget components, with the wiring running through the frame itself. The tail light and rear turn signals are a series of LEDs, individually sunken into the frame rail.

There's a CB400 Super Sport fuel tank up front, with the battery, coils and key electronics all hiding under it.

Brent upgraded the CB's running gear too. The forks and twin front brakes are from a Suzuki GSX-R, installed using a conversion kit from Cognito Moto, which includes new triple trees and a front hub. A pair of Öhlins shocks does duty at the back.

Black 19F/18R rims were laced up with stainless steel spokes. The rear brake disc setup is stock, but Brent did some restoration work on it with contrasting finishes and red mesh accents. Road-biased Avon tires round out the package.

Up top are a set of clip-ons, a Motogadget speedo, grips, switches and bar-end turn signals, and upgraded levers. The headlight arrangement features three projectors, parked inside a custom-made nacelle.

Brent's last hurdle was figuring out a livery for the CB. "Throughout the process I was constantly searching, reading, and studying cafe builds and designs," Brent tells us. "I was looking both inside the motorcycle industry and outside at graphic design and art to find inspiration."

"I kept coming back to several Bauhaus inspired pieces. As I did more research on the Bauhaus movement, I found why it was so intriguing to me: Bauhaus bridges the gap between art and industry; design and functionality."

Brent also wanted to incorporate his three daughters into the build, so he designed a logo for his new moniker: Three Daughter Moto. Appropriately, the graphics also include Japanese characters that read 'attack life.'

Slipstream Creations laid down the black and silver paint, accented with gold and red touches. Rich Phillips Leather handled the seat upholstery, including a neat integration of the new Three Daughter Moto logo.

Brent eventually got another job after the project, but life looks different now. "While I have had to focus a lot of time in the new venture," he explains, "I have prioritized things in my life differently in a way that I would not have had the awareness to do, without my internship and meeting the gang at Flying Tiger."

He still spends every Saturday helping out in the shop, and is already in the middle of his next build.

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