Tribute To The Legendary 1966 CB Black Bomber By Fred Krugger

kruggerjapan1kruggerjapan2kruggerjapan3kruggerjapan4kruggerjapan05kruggerjapan6kruggerjapan04Until 1965, Japanese bikes were lightweight small capacity commuter bikes. Then Honda launched the CB450, dispelling any lingering doubts about Japan’s ability to manufacture very fast, jewel-like, extremely reliable bikes. Known affectionately as the ‘Black Bomber’ after its black finish, the CB450 was Honda’s largest model when launched: it was was the first 444 cc double overhead cam engine in a street bike, producing 43-45 horsepower (more than 100 HP per liter.) This engine would rev up to 10,000 rpm, an engine speed that would easily surpass the British bikes of the time (less puddle of oil.) The CB450 became one of the most desirable bikes you could buy. Then the Black Bomber was considered too old in its styling and in 1968 was changed to a more modern look, Collectors and builders, of course, want to acquire the “ugly” Black Bomber…

kruggerjapan7kruggerjapan9kruggerjapan10kruggerjapan11Belgium custom builder told me that the now iconic CB450, the first Japanese model to really succeed both in the USA & Europe, is the bike that triggered his passion and interest for motorcycles. So, he decided to build what is his own vision and rendering of the legendary 66 Honda “Black Bomber” while at the same time paying tribute to all his Japanese friends. “With this creation I wanted to express and prove that my heart and mind are in Japan…”

kruggerjapan8Fred Krugger gave the derelict Honda CB450 a second chance to life, and a very beautiful one, I must say. He designed the rims, taking inspiration from Halibrand Saltflat and asking Renegade Wheels to cut them. Brakes were sourced at Beringer, the very slim inboard model for narrow forks. For very nice visual effects, notice that the engine heads have been turned to have the carbs looking forward (an air cleaner is being added for protection during road use) and to have the exhaust going directly through the rear end. Upholstery by Italian Wildhog and paint job by Daddygraph France. Total labor: 600 hours! Grip the tank tightly with your knees, crack the throttle open and let others hear the distinct exhaust note as you pass them all… .



34 Responses to “Tribute To The Legendary 1966 CB Black Bomber By Fred Krugger”

  1. 1 rebel Jan 28th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    interesting wheel, has a transparent look at first. NICE !

  2. 2 Rodent Jan 28th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    That’s what killed the British bike industry.

  3. 3 Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:10 am


  4. 4 Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Cyril, Cyril, Cyril. It’s 2013. Books have been written about the Japanese motorcycle industry, in English even. Google Didier Ganneau’s excellent ‘A Century of Japanese Motorcycles’, to discover the deep ignorance of the statement, “Until 1965, Japanese bikes were lightweight small capacity commuter bikes”… and Then Came Honda. DId the Honda PR unit send you this info?

    The Japanese motorcycle industry was born in the 1920s, and companies we recognize today – like Mazda – were building real motorcycles in the 1930s. Bikes of 500cc and 750cc were commonly produced in Japan before WW2, long before you met ‘the nicest people’ in 1959.

    A case in point; the Hosk DB of 1958 was an OHC vertical twin of 500cc, which was good for 108mph – pretty close to the spec of the Honda CB450. It wasn’t a ‘carbon copy’ of a European or American bike, but an original and excellent design, and it predated the CB450 by 7 YEARS.

    We didn’t get them in the USA though; it took much larger companies like Honda to arrange distribution and slowly start importing bikes – small bikes at first – in the late 1950s. The US market never saw the most interesting pre-1960 Japanese bikes, which is a shame, but we can still read about them, and check out the mind-boggling number of Real Motorcycles produced in Japan.

  5. 5 Shifter Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Vintagent. Yes, but these Jap bikes were unknown in America & Europe. Reason why.

  6. 6 roscoe Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    It’s been awhile since Cryril has put up a bike that I like. What is the overall height?

  7. 7 BC Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Always find Kruggers stuff interesting, innovative builder!

  8. 8 richard Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I had a CB450 and needless to say, it did not look like this….I liked it but the crankshaft had to be replaced at something like 30K miles. It started knocking on the way home from sturgis. I was told that crankshaft problems with the 450 were not uncommon.

  9. 9 Walt Lumpkin Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Ditto Richard’s opening sentence. My first bike and I rode it like the wind for thousands of miles.

  10. 10 Bruce Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Must be tough to be a custom builder in Belgium. But Fred is succeeding at it.

  11. 11 Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:32 am

    As usual another beautiful piece.of Art by Fred.

  12. 12 izadore007 Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Love the Bike & Love the Name “Freddy Kruger”!

  13. 13 Jan 28th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    It’s hard to imagine where the motorcycle industry would be wthout the genius of Soichiro Honda. In my opinion Fred is a genius as well. His work is so original & performs as well as it looks. We enjoyed watching this bike build via Face Book. The attention to detail is exceptional as one would expect from Fred. We look forward to seeing this bike in person. Thanks for the article Cyril.

  14. 14 GuitarSlinger Jan 28th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    The bikes a winner …. PdO ( aka The Vintagent ) is right ….. and I for one haven’t got a clue why we in the US weren’t more aware of the Japanese performance machines available back then . Why most of us don’t know about Japanese M/C’s past now being a matter of not taking the time to read up on it a bit

  15. 15 Jan 28th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Fred is such a great builder, always outside the box and one of the nicest guys to talk with, humble, genuine, passionate. Keep it up Freddy hope to see you in Mainz Germany in March.

  16. 16 GuitarSlinger Jan 28th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Great bike ! And in Cyril’s defense ( Vintagent comment ) those books mentioned are pretty obscure as well as not commonly known

  17. 17 Jan 28th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Respect for Belgian’s best Custom builder!

    Automotive Fan.

  18. 18 Danny Rad Jan 28th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Cyril is right. The perception that Jap bikes were only small displacement motorcycles was unanimous because nothing else was available.

  19. 19 richard Jan 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    My comments above did not include my first thought about this bike….It’s beautiful”!

  20. 20 nicker Jan 28th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Great look, nice presentation…..
    But the reversed head idea, not so much…..

    “.. CB450, the first Japanese model to really succeed both in the USA & Europe…”
    Not so sure about that…..

    The Black Bombers were not all that reliable.
    While smoth when wound-up, they did vibrated at low speeds and the wide ratio 4speed, light flywheel made-em “snatchy.” 305 super hawks were way smoother. In NorCal, as i recall, CB77s (many taken out to 350cc) were more plentiful. Certainly more reliable.

    Early on, there was some issue with cam-drive noise and ware. That didn’t help their reputation.
    Did see one run at Carlsbad raceway, at the last AMA points race of the 67(?) season. It didn’t seem to handle all that well. Watched the guy unload it in front of my camera (might even have a picture of it some place).

    It did set the stage of DOHC…….


  21. 21 Lightnin`Larry Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Way back in the early 70’s I had a CB450 chopper. 14′ over stock springer front-end and a hardtail frame. Big sissy bar and straight pipes. Thing ran great and had lots of power, lots of people mistook it for a Triumph at first. Only complaint was it was not too reliable on the top end, ate up a couple of camshafts and never did figure out why.

  22. 22 Jan 29th, 2013 at 2:37 am

    A piece of art! very very cool!

  23. 23 baddad Jan 29th, 2013 at 3:28 am


  24. 24 Jan 29th, 2013 at 5:17 am

    One of the finest builders on the planet…..

    Congratulations …….

    Bad Ass hot rod………

  25. 25 Jan 29th, 2013 at 5:20 am

    first time I met fred was at AMD 2009….he told me he likes to leave the engines stock, because it leaves him more energy for the bike itself. I was disappointed to hear such a brilliant mind felt that way, but am glad to see you mixing it up a little with this one…..pushing on into new territory and forcing ourselves to learn new skills, thats what its about for me……..awesome job as usual Fred!

  26. 26 nicker Jan 29th, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    “…14′ over stock springer front-end…”

    Is-zat anything like a “suicide shift”…… ???


  27. 27 Dale Jan 29th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Great bike. The craftsmanship is out of this world.

  28. 28 Sharrack Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Hot bike……too bad ya gotta be 5’5 and 120 lbs to ride it……

  29. 29 RUB Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:43 am

    5′ 5″ 120 lbs ? so its a girls bike …………………….

  30. 30 Jan 30th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Thanks all for your kind words!!

    This bike has been a “peacefull” works!

    I start ,now, a huge prototype…. a request from a major company!!!

    Thanks Cyril for this great article!!! See you in Germany around a fresh beer!!!

  31. 31 Jan 30th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Very nice bike Freddie! “Peaceful” is good……and rare!. peace

  32. 32 Mar 10th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    great lines, smooth design , excellent look , now if only I were a midget ……

  33. 33 Mar 10th, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    seriously though , it really reminds me of my Honda Hawk 450sc twin , man that bike sings …

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