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“Morning Wood” - CX500 Cafe Racer
Just realised that I hadn’t featured one of our latest builds. The Bike Shed and Moto Mucci have featured it and Iron and Air and Return of the Cafe Racers shared it on their facebook pages but I forgot to feature it on our little blog. Back to blog school for me!
We’d just like to say thanks to
who took on the build for us and made the customers dreams a reality.
Ridiculously good photography by Scott G Trenorden (who is having his CB500 transformed by HMVK as we speak)
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I love this bike but it also frustrated the hell out of me last year.
I love it because the workmanship is absolutely second to none AND it nails the cafe racer look. Undoubtably one of the very best custom CX’s ever made.
How did it frustrate me?
Back in July last year I had been following the build thread on a CX forum and emailed Larry asking if I could feature it. As you’ll see below, Larry is a champion and answered all my questions and sent me the links to these pics. Unfortunately Larry also sent them to Andrew at Pipeburn and they of course featured it with positive comments all round.
I shook my fist at Andrew and Larry all damn day. The “interview” below has been sitting in my inbox ever since. I was always going to post it but wanted to wait until I’d calmed down. I figure 7 months or so is long enough.
Q: The rear tyre choice is unusual considering the tyre on the front. What is the reasoning behind that?
A: Honestly it was a cost issue. The bike came with the rear tire that’s on it now. In the future it’ll get a lower tire that fits the profile better. But since this one was new, it’s getting some mile put on it first.
Q: The paint scheme looks fantastic. Is it satin white, matte black and gloss red pinstriping? Whose idea was that?
A: The colors were mulled over for months during the build. We even did photo shop color changes to get an idea of what it would look like with different colors. At first straight white was rejected. But when we came up with the idea of Pearl white it just seemed to fit the retro style we were trying to obtain. Pearls were used a lot back in the day. The satin black strip was used to blend the scheme together with the motor and wheels. The gloss red pinstripping was my way of adding a bit of class to the strips. It would have looked like decal tape for strips without it. As I told Greg during the build, the difference is in the details. Even if it takes longer it’s worth it. The strip patterns were chosen after several designs were laid out. The “bike” didn’t seem happy with any of them until the current one was laid on. It was happy with it, so that’s what it got. :-)
Q: How often will the bike be ridden?
A: I’m sure Greg will have a hard time not riding it when he gets it home. He’s not planning on letting it sit collecting dust. But it does have it’s own room in the house designated for it’s arrival. :-)
Q: What are the plans for the next project?
A: Well, that’s been a secret for a while now. But it’s going to be based on a CX500, maybe a 650, and the inspiration for the build is The Ranard GT. I’m not sure I want to let that out until it’s under way though if you don’t mind. But I will tell you that the bike I’m starting from has already been chosen and is sitting on the lift right now so I can start the creative imagination flowing. This one will have a ton of hand crafting involved including the body panels that I’ll be making out of aluminum.
Q: How many hours do you estimate this build took?
A: 3 months into the build I stopped keeping track of hours. I’m retired and live where I work. So spending day after day working from morning till midnight or later was common. The only days I wasn’t working on it were the times I had carburetor rebuilds to do for someone around the world. That keeps me pretty busy in itself ever since I released a book on how to rebuild them. But I would be very conservative if I told you there was a couple thousand hours in it. Hand crafting and correcting sub par work takes time.
Q: Could you provide the info and link re the bike show that the bike won. Please feel free to add any info or anything else that you think is important or people would like to know about.
The link to all the pictures that the CJMC show listed are HERE. There are a lot of pages to it, but on pg. 19 you can see the bike.
Pg. 28, the two center pics are Greg deceiving his awards.
Pg. 29 sitting on All Business for the award picture.
As you can see there was a big turn out and some pretty stiff competition. So it did itself proud by being voted best Cafe Racer by the viewing public and builders that entered the show. The link to the build and to Choppercharles.com is HERE.
I’d like people to know that building these projects is a labor of the heart. I love being creative and seeing what I can do that’s different, creative and isn’t just a part that’s thrown on because it looks cool. Most of what I do is built out of scrap parts or metal that’s laying around. I’ve always felt that if I need something that someone else has produced, why not get the tools and learn how to do it myself. It’s more rewarding that way.
Also I want them to know that there was a reward that came out of the show that’s just as big as the awards that we got for the bikes. There was 9 of us there with CX bikes at the show. You can see some of them on page 11. Were all sitting on our bikes except for the cafe and my GL650I that were under the tent in the show. The people from CJMC had noticed the large turn out that was put together in only 3 weeks before the event. A lot of people walking around could be heard remarking that they had noticed how popular these bike had become and that they were seeing a lot of them out on the roads. So part way through the show they approached me and told me they had decided to make the Honda CX/GL/Turbo model bikes the center theme of next years event. Since this is the largest all Japanese bike swap/show on the west coast I was elated and walking on clouds for the rest of the day. I feel it’s a great honor that we as a group were able to bring these bikes up to the level of recognition that they have deserved for many years. They were ahead of their time when they were released and still can hold their own today.
So with great enthusiasm I’m inviting everyone to make plans to attend the show next year with or without a CX bike. I’d like to see this be the largest theme bike turn out that the CJMC association has ever had.
I thank you for doing what you have done with bringing the CX to your site and listing our bike in the top 10 listing. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be part of it. And thank you for all your kind words.
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Opened facebook and saw a message from Adam with a pic of his bike. Loved it so asked for more pics and whammo…here is another take on the underappreciated Honda CX500.
Here is my 1982 CX500. I bought the bike the week after Thanksgiving weekend 2012 after my brother talked me into it after seeing an ad on craigslist. After reading the ad, it was an easy sell…running and driving, and no mechanical problems, and cheap. But a Cx500? I wasn’t convinced that this was the bike for me, but after my brother showed me the Wrenchmonkees build, I emailed the seller right away. I picked up the bike that night and brought it home to tear down. Without really knowing what I wanted it to look like, I did the typical motorcycle tear down, chopped the rear, re-wired the bike and hid all of the electronics. I stripped the tank, made a seatpan, threw on some moto bars and it was “done” the next weekend.
I put about 700 miles on the bike with a tweak here and there but I knew it wasnt the end for this bike, it needed more. I lowered the forks 2” to the stance the Wrenchmonkees build had, but my springs were too weak to hold up the bike over big bumps. I discovered Ty’s Motorcycle Salvage in Longmont, Co and spent the next several Sundays freezing my butt of walking through this awesome salvage yard and digging through parts. One day I found the GSXR-1000 legs and bought them, knowing I just opened a can of worms.
Over the next couple weeks I started to piece together parts to bolt the front end onto my CX. I ended up with 01 GSXR 1000 legss, 93 GSXR 650 Trees, Clip ons from who knows what year GSXR, Wheel from a 06 GSXR, Brakes from a 02 GSXR 750, and rotors from some year GSXR. The Legs, Clip ons, and rotors were picked up from Ty’s for an amazing $50. The front end more or less bolted right up with little machine work, which I did all myself.
The bike started to really come together. I originally wanted Firestones for it, but finding a tire combo with a 17” front and 16” is tough. I went with Duro Median dual sport tires because I wanted something argressive and this bike would for sure see lots of gravel. All of the custom parts on the bike are hand fabricated myself…Fairing, seat pan, headlight mounts, battery holder (underneath swingarm), rear brake brace, Tecate air “filters” etc.
This just goes to show you can build a pretty awesome custom bike on a budget. Total, including registration and all, I have about $1600 into the bike, even including purchase. This bike will always be a work in progress and will be a daily driver in Boulder, Co.
Sorry for the lack of good photos, not a photographer!
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We’ve finished our CX500 Cafe Racer “Morning Wood”. The photo shoot has been done and the pics will be seen shortly.
In the meantime we wanted to find out if Firestones smoked.
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Met with Irwan last week to chat about the prospect of us building him a CX500 Cafe Racer similar to this concept drawing. I like it (a lot) but what would you do different?
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Why is this guy wearing a three piece suit riding a bike?
Because Shaz participated in what many are saying was the most memorable motorcycle event of 2012 - Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.
I noticed Shaz’s CX500 cafe racer on instagram and asked him for pics of his lightly modified Honda CX500. The customisation restrictions in Singapore are ..um…restrictive, so Shazlee has made minor changes that turn the ugly duckling CX into something that is very easy on the eye while also looking as if it came straight from the factory.
Some great pics of Shaz’s CX and DGR on Instagram. Search for “shzlee” and watch out for the cat!
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When I posted a single pic of this bike a couple of weeks ago, I asked if anyone knew anymore about it. Of course somebody did and they posted the link to the build thread on Do The Ton.
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Saw this bike floating around facebook and thought I’d hunt it down (and by that I mean I clicked on the source. Thanks for the tip RetroWrench)
If you’ve been following this crappy excuse for a blog for more than 6 months then you’d know I have an illness that won’t go away. No not crabs. I have an interest in maggots, plastic ones. It’s the “affectionate” name given to Honda CX500’s by their detractors.
What grabbed me about Jerry’s bike was the spoked wheels. CX’s come with creaking comstar wheels. Some people like them, most hate them. Not much you can do when it is a shaft drive though. Jerry has worked out a way to fit a spoked wheel conversion kit using the stock hubs. Sa-weet!
I sent an email off to Ian at CRK and asked him if he knew anything about them and what do you know, he makes them. He’ll even sell you a pair.
I’ve gone way off track, I intended to ask you what you thought of the bike. Obviously the build quality is second to none but do you think it works “as a whole?”
You can see the whole build thread here.
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Back in June I aquired a CX500 that we were going to turn into a cafe racer. My research started and I came across a brilliant website selling DIY Cafe Racers kits for CX’s.
We wanted to go in a different direction but I couldn’t help be impressed with what I saw. The workmanship of the finished bikes, the easy to understand instructions on the website and the amazingly detailed module parts list (see blow)
From the website…
We’ve solved all the headaches so that you can have more fun building your bike and know that you will get a good result.
There is still plenty of opportunity for you to personalise the bike and make it yours.
Because we’ve built it before you can have confidence in the parts you buy.
The kit is made up of ‘modules’ so you can buy the complete kit or buy modules as you progress with your project.”
Of course a “Kit” is not going to be for everyone but the advantages of using a kit are going to suit a lot of people.
If you give Ian a call, tell him Rex at Garage Project Motorcycles sent you.
Tel: 07854 098088 (from the UK)
Tel: +44 7854 098088 (from outside the UK)
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Custom CB750 with a CX500 tank = GORGEOUS
[saves into inspiration bank for later]
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