The Cobra Scrambler is based on the CL77 Scrambler 305. The project was headed up by Denny Berg, who worked hard to recreate the bend and tuck of the original pipes and included iconic cues like the rubber tank side pads and the seat’s grab rail.
The cat is out of the bag. Cobra USA has been enticing us for months as to which two Honda RS750 projects the company would develop from the five concept drawings it proposed. This weekend, Cobra unveiled its RS750 Scrambler and the RS750 Tracker at the Honda booth during the Long Beach IMS. Built by Cobra’s Special Projects Division headed by chief fabricator Denny Berg, the bikes created quite a buzz at the show and are a fresh interpretation of motorcycles that helped shape Honda’s past.
Based on the 2010 Honda RS750, Berg created a variation of the Scrambler that looks like it came straight out of the ‘60s and a Flat Tracker similar to the ones that wreaked havoc on the dirt oval in the ‘80s. He started by stripping them down to the chassis, saving the engines and stock wheels and developing the concepts from there. Throw out the drawing board, Berg followed his gut for these two bikes. He drew upon his familiarity with the Scrambler 305 which happened to be his first project bike in high school after his brother wadded one into the back of a pickup.
Berg’s design impetus was “If Honda built a Scrambler today, how would they do it?”
He recreated the CL77 Scrambler 305 by modifying the rear end and swingarm to tuck in everything closer. This allowed him to move the shock mounts in about an inch to accommodate the twin Progressive Suspension #14s he used on the rear. To capture the Scrambler look on the front, Berg covered the sliders with fork boots and painted the lower legs red like the chassis. He dropped the placement of the speedo a tad and found a small, round headlight that suited the build perfectly. He mimicked the iconic look of the gas tank by adding a seam to the top of the tank. He then found a couple of GV250 Honda knee pads from Japan for the rubber tank side pads and small Honda “Wing” emblems to complete the transformation. He made some beautiful twin chrome up-pipes built with distinctive slotted heat shields from bin parts and matched the bend and tuck of the old Scramblers. With the rear tucked in tighter, he was able to go with a vintage-style Scrambler seat complete with a grab rail. The seat, padding and upholstery were done by Kevin Lehan from LeMans Seats while Scott “Chivo” Harrington from Lead Sled Customs gets credited with applying the trademark red paint to the frame, fork, swingarm and trim.
For the Cobra Street Tracker, he drew inspiration from the flat track bikes Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert rode to numerous victories in the 1980s. He kicked off the second project by chopping up the back end, cutting everything off the frame behind the swingarm. He did away with the dual shocks, reinforced the swingam with a brace and mounted a Progressive monoshock under the seat. Berg jacked up the back about 1.5-inches and lowered the front fork by an inch to give it a dirt tracker stance and steepen up the fork angle. To give it more go, a high-performance, forward facing air filter is mounted to the right side of the stock mill. Working for Cobra, you’d expect the exhaust to be top-notch and Berg outdid himself with the custom ceramic-coated pipes he crafted for the Tracker. Just like the Scrambler, they were built from bins and welded together. He muted the sound with two 24-inch perforated core bafflers but the bike still rumbles with plenty of character. To add to its racing pedigree, he fashioned up a metal front numberplate with two small holes cut out for twin projector-beam headlamps. He used the stock RS tank but smoothed out the seams and grafted on an aircraft-type filler. In true dirt tracker fashion, the foot pegs are offset, with the left side raised up a bit over the right. The final piece to the puzzle is its NS750 Flat Tracker seat, with a few customizations by Kevin Lehan thrown in for good measure. “Chivo” again provided the paint to capture the period-correct look.
The Cobra Special Projects Division did an outstanding job demonstrating the customization potential of the base Honda RS750. If we see a revitalization of the Scrambler or a factory Tracker coming out of Honda plants in the near future, we can thank Cobra USA and Denny Berg.