Hello, Vincenzo! Presenting an elegant Honda CB400 café racer all the way from New Jersey

The coronavirus pandemic may be slowly fading from our daily lives, but its impact can still be felt in various ways. One of those ways is seen in the story of Casita Customs, a newly-formed workshop based in Jersey City, New Jersey. The workshop’s founder, Alex Style, found himself in New Jersey after leaving Shanghai, where he was part of the renowned workshop Shanghai Customs. The pandemic forced Alex to leave his life in Shanghai behind and start anew in the United States.

In the midst of the pandemic, with plenty of time on his hands and a shed in the backyard of his new home, Alex began working on his first build under Casita Customs. He started with a Honda C90 electric conversion, using spare parts from his days at Shanghai Customs. However, as Alex started commuting into Manhattan, he soon realized that the C90 was not sufficient for his needs.

That’s when he stumbled upon a beaten-up 1978 Honda CB400T, a barn find that was in a sorry state. The bike wouldn’t start, had significant rust, and even had a damaged fuel tank. Undeterred by the challenges, Alex and his brothers-in-law, Victormanuel and Cesar, decided to take on the project.

They stripped down the bike, overhauled the engine and carbs, and showed some much-needed love to the frame. Alex cleaned up the frame, removed unnecessary tabs, and added a new rear loop while preserving the distinctive kinked line of the CB400’s frame. Keeping as many Honda parts as possible, including the carbs, controls, fender, rims, and brakes, was a priority for Alex. He even put in extensive effort to refurbish the original tank, which had multiple pinholes.

To complete the rear end, Alex reached out to a friend in China who specializes in hand-rolled aluminum work. He obtained a sleek rear cowl, which was paired with an LED taillight strip. The team then shaped a new seat pan out of fiberglass and added layers of foam for comfort. The seat was sent to a local upholsterer to create a diamond-stitched cover. Other than the rear cowl and seat cover, everything else was done in-house, including the paint job.

Inspired by the aesthetics of Patrick Godet’s 1950s Egli Vincents, Alex designed the bike with classic lines and a black-and-gold color scheme. In true fashion, he gave the bike a nickname—Vincenzo. Modern touches, such as an LED headlight, new clocks, Motogadget grips, and Highsider mirrors, were added. Alex also rewired the bike and installed a small Shorai Lithium-ion battery. The rusted exhausts were replaced with a new two-into-one system.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Alex and his team have managed to create a stunning Honda CB400 café racer. And it’s only the beginning for Casita Customs, as they already have several more projects in the pipeline. So, keep an eye out for Vincenzo as he gracefully cruises through the streets of Jersey City and Manhattan.