Bike Of The Week: Tidy Honda CB550K

Bike Of The Week -


1978 Honda CB550K By Bob Ranew

From a dim barn to the light of day, a shed builder cranks out a tidy five fifty.  A soon to be regular, weekly event for RIdeApart is Bike of the Week.  This week we present a build built in a shed that we found in another shed, the 

1978 Honda CB550K By Bob Ranew
1978 Honda CB550K

Bike: 1978 Honda CB550K

Builder: Bob Ranew

There are many types of bikes and builders rebuilding them. RideApart simply can’t help but share what we think are the best builds from all kinds of categories. Each week we will feature a different built bike, and maybe some unbuilt. This week our feature is this shoestring budget cafe’ Honda CB550K. Some folks shouldn’t do it themselves and there are certain things I am not willing to do myself, but clearly for Bob Ranew, of Garner, NC is doing just fine.

Bob bought the donor for his lightweight creation from some dark pit located through Craigslist. He did the normal refresh; new boots, valve seals, rebuilt the carburetors, adjusted the cam chain and timing. “Little as possible”, as he puts it. One of the joys of these sewing machines is that they don’t need very much.

1978 Honda Cb550K By Bob Ranew
Front fender shortened, frame de-tabbed and hoop added.

Bob ordered a box of parts from DimeCity Cycles and handled most of the hands-on work. He even shaped the seat himself! Not content to let all the dough go to the pros, he made the keen economic decision of a rattle can array. Why put the notes on the tank, when you can paint them in it? We see here most important are sensibilities of color and graphic application.

1978 Honda Cb550K  By Bob Ranew
Custom seat pan, foam shaped and upholstery set out with very detailed drawing.

There’s just something about the four into four…

Do you know the feeling of joy when things are easy?  Or the sense of accomplishment when things are difficult? Bob says every bike is a learning experience. This 1978 Honda CB550K is Bob’s youngest of three.

Bob claims he learned some valuable lessons about paint this time around. “I think the tank came out just grand for a rattle can.”  He says “a build isn’t done until it feels right”, and I would say this five-fifty feels just right.

See more of Bob’s bike and more just like it, and many more not like it at all, at the

1978 Honda Cb550K By Bob Ranew

Check out Mr. Ranew on his FB page – Redeemed Cycles.

  • Mr. White

    That is a beautiful thing. So clean and slick. It’d make a nice city bike.

    • Michael Howard

      I especially like how, unlike most builds of this type that cripple the suspension and have ironing boards for seats, this one actually looks comfortable enough to be ridden.

      • Gerection Gerection

        Same here!!! It looks great and I LOVE the fact he kept the front fender (somewhat) and DIDN’T put clip ons on this bike. Looks like a comfy commuter.

  • Zack

    I’m right down the road in Raleigh, hope to see this one out on the back roads!

    • runnermatt

      And I’m over in Wilson! Cool to see something featured that is right in our back yard.

  • Jim Keane

    My ’76 550 K tops the list of ones I should never have sold.

  • William Connor

    Very nice bike and well done. Love working on old iron myself and have several projects of friends in various stages in my shop.

  • JGM

    Thank you for not using knobbies. Looks great

    • Kr Tong

      Most of which have the front tire on backwards… SMH…
      Or those god-awful firestone champion deluxe crapperonis.
      This one looks like they’ve lowered the rear a bit too much.
      “Stanced out” cars are just terrible, but on a bike it’s unridable.

      I like old bikes, but I like actually riding a lot more.

  • zion

    Well done!

  • ChainsawCharlie


  • Ayabe

    Man, that color scheme looks amazing.

  • Gail

    Ya know, I have 7 sewing machines (and a serger), and none of them sound like any of my Hondas.

  • chris ordanez

    What a classy build! Really digging it. I like how it eschews many of the stereotypical cafe race staples — superbike bars instead of clip-ons; side covers and stock air box have been retained; 4-2 exhaust (with no pipe wrap even!); stock foot pegs and shoes this steed can actually run with! The color scheme is great as well.

    Bravo to Ride Apart on showing some love for the vintage bikes as well. Looking forward to future articles in this series.

    PS – I miss the This Week In Motorcycle History feature you folks used to run.

  • Davidabl2

    The BOTW feature is a good idea to liven things up a bit at HFL but with all your contributors I hope you’ll be able to scout out your own bikes rather than just repost

    • Nolan Zandi

      Well do that too, but the Bikeshed guys are friends of ours and we’ve wanted to swap content for a while

  • srghyc

    Yes! I love that they used a real “tracker” style handlebar. I hate clip-ons and love me some real handle bars.

  • Michael Howard

    The funny thing with the majority of “retro-cafe” builds that are currently so popular is that they’re built almost entirely for looks — while the original cafe bikes were the exact opposite, being built for function (to be ridden fast).