Motobuilds Pilipinas Bike Feature: Paolo Abrera’s 1976 Honda CB550f Cafe Racer




We could only count down weeks before the most anticipated Philippine Custom Motorbike Show in Manila, the MotoBuilds Pilipinas!

Last year was a spark that united all custom bike-nuts to pull off the covers and reveal each and everyone’s prized custom motorcycles on show. It was truly an eye-popping experience, while drooling over a staredown with the displayed rolling works of art, to boast that there is, truly world-class talent in the custom culture well adapted worldwide. Themed Music x Motos, presented by Radio Republic and Go! Experience, this will be another event that will shake the motorcycle scene.


Classics never go out of style, and it will never fade, touching generations old and new. A look back at the good ol’ days of classic moto riding. If you love classic bikes, then this is an event you can’t miss.

Read more about last year’s MotoBuilds Pilipinas Biker Build Off here [Moto Builds Pilipinas Moto Show and Biker Build Off: The Spark that Ignited the Custom Bike Culture in the Philippines]


June 11-12, 2016 marks the date of the Biker Build Off in Tiendesitas, Pasig City, this year participated by heavy contenders, I’d say would raise the bar of Philippine Custom Classic Moto Builds. While the world anticipates the best of the best our country has to offer, we will be there in celebration and camaraderie. Where friends and families gather, engaging people and spread the passion for two wheels that we all share.


Blood Sweat And Tears


Let’s take a good look at last year’s awarded Best Cafe Racer, Paolo Abrera’s Honda CB550f. He shared that he went through all the challenges, as we are all familiar with working on vintage motorcycles, the project bike had to sit down for years before it was raised up from the grave, before it made heads turn, shining in its’ own glory.


“..I took home a total basket case of a 1976 CB550f. Not only was it an old bike (we all know the challenges of working with vintage) but it had been torn down by the previous owner with plans for a rebuild that never happened. So it sat in pieces for years, out in the open so it was in a pretty sorry state. I took the parts home in separate boxes and like a jigsaw puzzle started to try and build it back up better than it ever was…”




“..I literally dug something out of the graveyard, and like Dr. Frakenstein spent countless hours bringing something that was dead and buried back to life…”


Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero


“..I went over every nut and bolt, changed out all bearings and bushings. Engine-wise, I ended up with a totally refurbished top end. Built up with a 3mm overbore and a big bore kit sitting in there. Pamco electronic ignition, rebuilt harness and a oil cooling system added on to the air-cooled engine. I wanted to embrace the true idea of a cafe racer and build a bike that actually performed as well as looked good…”


Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero


Asked about his inspirations towards the bike, Paolo shared that he picked up certain aesthetic styles from the movie ‘Real Steel’ where flaws are evident, with raw finishes. It’s a little bit of everything, “..a cb550 base, Kawasaki KZ wheels,disks, GPZ rear brakes and a few bits and pieces from a later model nighthawk 650…”


“..The custom/cafe vibe has always been around but never been as strong as it now. I admit I’m a little late into the game and am really just forming my taste. I’ll be the first to say there’s noting really new with my build. Raw metal and brown upholstery’s all been done before but I wanted people to look at the bike and see its history as see the hard work that went into getting a piece of junk cleaned up and back on the road…”


Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero


“..The rusty old ‘bot that was a champ under the rust and dents. The bikes not mecha in terms of look but it has that honest vibe where it’s flaws are seen and made a highlight rather than hidden under “masilya” and paint. Of course, in the end its still a 40-year old bike. No matter how well you rebuilt it, it needs constant care, maintenance and modification to keep it on the road. So it’s a constant work-in-progress…”


Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero


“..Though this was pretty much a DIY garage build, Todee Teodoro of Kratos Custom Cycles was a big help to me putting up with my constant questions. They helped me with the metal-work fab work for the seat/cowl and hooked me up with a killer exhaust system…”


Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero
Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero
Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero
Photo Credits: Johngil Perez (c) MotoBuilds Pilipinas/Zach Lucero


“..Plus working with Kratos on the stuff that was out of my league meant we could also call in some favours with his network of experts like electrical whiz Miguel Flores…”



Like the Bike? Ask more about it.

Visit Paolo Abrera’s Facebook Page



Words by Maki Aganon