Ian at CRK builds a great cafe racer kit for the somewhat challenging to the eye Honda CX500. He has now turned his hand to building a “roadster” kit.
The quality of his work is outstanding, absolutely second to none.
Gary Sanford sent me a picture (all 4.9mb of it until I resized it) of his stunning ‘78 CX500 Cafe Racer. Looks like a very comfortable daily ride.
The ugly CX frame around the seat area has been superbly handled with seat design.
It’s running a set of Mikunis with a Mac 2 into 1, LED bar end turn signals and a rear view camera!
Welding and rear fender by Gary Woods, upholstery by Gary Tollet.
Gary is thinking of naming it 3G.
Looking for the perfect project bike? Something that has had all the hard stuff done and is a blank canvas for you to add your style to?
This CX500 in Melbourne could be the trick. There are a few minor things that need attention but the bones are strong. Go to Josh the Tinkerer’s blog and see the whole story. After you’ve done that, go and bid on it and tell him what you think it is worth.
"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)
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.
A: I didn’t fabricate the original design, but I did reshape it and add the hand formed recess on the sides. It need a lot of work and rewelding after it was all sand blasted. It had an odd hump in the top center originally, so I cut an X in it and reshaped it to what you see now.
Q: The exhausts really suit the look of the bike but aren’t they crazy loud?
A: The link to the video is HERE and HERE are the pics pf the exhaust. I did some research and ended up making my own baffles to tone down the pipes. It’s not bad at lower RPM’s but it will definitely let you know when you’re on the throttle. It has a sound like no other CX I’ve ever built.
A: I’m not really sure how it came about. But I do remember during the process of the build we started to refer to the look as all business due to the no frills attitude that it started to take on. So “All Business” stuck and seemed to describe it perfectly.
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.
A: If I were to do this again I would have started with a fresh frame. The repairs and constant let downs of the quality from the original builder took longer to correct than it would have if I started fresh from scratch. I didn’t voice it in the thread, but I really have NO respect for the guy or his work ethics. He only built this bike to look good in a picture and a quick buck.
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.