Sylwester Mateusiak of Eastern Spirit Garage — located 100 kilometers east of Warsaw — has been building custom bikes for nearly a decade, making quite a name for himself in Europe and across the world. A stable’s worth of his builds have been featured on Bike EXIF, and we’ve showcased his Yamaha XJ650/900 sleeper and “Rumble 400” Ducati, which was his first build of a non-Japanese, brand-new bike.
Like many builders, Sylwester was interested in bikes and motors since childhood:
“My parents told me that as a toddler I used to dismantle toys in order to assemble them again later and make them better.”
For the first seven years of business, Sylwester says he hardly ever left the garage:
“There was always something to do. All the money I earned, I invested back in the workshop.”
Fortunately, all of that hard work and dedication paid dividends, as Eastern Spirit quickly became a well-known name in the customs world.
Recently, Sylwester’s very first build — a 1977 Honda CB550 — found its way back into the garage.
“My first project sold to a client who, with a heavy heart, had to resell it. I saw it as an opportunity to give her some love now that I’m a little wiser and a lot more experienced.”
Novelists don’t get to revise their debut books; painters don’t get to retouch their early work; quarterbacks don’t get to replay their first championship games. But in this case, a master craftsman had the opportunity to rebuild his first creation, employing everything he’d learned in the interim.
“I’ve decided to keep the original cafe racer form of the frame but I‘ve rebuilt it completely from scratch to give it the perfect shape and stability (perfectionism can be a nuisance). The shape hasn’t changed but it did certainly feel like building an entirely new motorcycle from scratch.”
Below, Sylwester gives us the full details on this rebuilt CB550, along with more photos from Mateusz Stankiewicz.
Honda CB550 Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words…
That’s where it all began, the very first build by Eastern Spirit released nearly a decade ago. Honda CB550, originally built in 1977. My first project sold to a client who, with a heavy heart, had to resell it. I saw it as an opportunity to give her some love now that I’m a little wiser and a lot more experienced.
I’ve decided to keep the original cafe racer form of the frame but I‘ve rebuilt it completely from scratch to give it the perfect shape and stability (perfectionism can be a nuisance). The shape hasn’t changed but it did certainly feel like building an entirely new motorcycle from scratch. All welds and brackets were reinforced, the beauty got a new coat of paint.
I’ve replaced front suspension with floating brake discs and better clamps for best possible function. I’ve also rebuilt the fuel tank with a new filler, built a steel plate tail coated with black paint, finished with gold and black-matte pinstripes.
For better function the bike got completely new wiring.
The CB750 from that era was odd—in that it was a bitchin’ engine wrapped in tame geometry and mushy, uninspiring components.” Colin wanted his creation to ride like a modern sportbike, so he started with new suspension and brakes from the Triumph Daytona 675.
Ducati said the bike’s 73 bhp power output was the highest output per cc of any Ducati air-cooled V-twin ever produced to that date. Besides the engine, the Monster 695 remained relatively unchanged, which was a good thing, as the smallest Monster had earned a reputation as an incredible all-rounder, capable of urban commuting, backroad blasting, and even the odd track day.
The mighty CB750 also became the poster child of the ‘new wave’ custom scene during the late nineties thanks to its classic good looks and relatively affordable secondhand price. A lot has changed since then though. K series CB750’s have become hot property and decent early models are fetching some pretty hefty sums.
Are you ready to revolutionise your ride with the latest in motorcycle protective gear? Merla Moto is the first in the market to adopt Rheon™ technology as their primary source of motorcycle armour.
Even if you don’t know Chiel Nipius’ name, you’ve probably seen his work. He was part of the team at Ironwood Custom Motorcycles for a while, but he’s now branched out on his own as Nius Moto. And judging by these two Honda CB550 customs, he has the skills to pay the bills.