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Kenn Finn from Emerald Beach in NSW, Australia is the man behind today's build - titled the "Half Millenium Falcon":
As you can see there has been plenty done to it - a short list of mods:
7 months of Fridays and weekends (with assistance from his 17-year old son Declan) brought it a long way from where it started;
For those curious it's a 1982 CX500 (TI). Ken's day job is motorcycle custom spray painting - he owns Skin By Finn Custom Spray-painting on the North Coast of NSW and has done plenty of motorcycle paint jobs - starting all the way back in 1979. His business has been going for the last 17 years and gets work from customers all across Australia. Having restored plenty of bikes in the past he knew what he wanted when he saw the CX500 - a head-turner that showcased the "chunky but beautiful" motor while keeping the bike functional.
The modifications are fairly extensive as you can see - as soon as Ken got the bike he stripped it right down before removing the lower rear portion of the frame, ditching the twin shocks and raising the upper portion of the rear frame to accomodate the monoshock and give a more aggressive stance.
Ken found the CBR600RR front end online and wanted to keep the Reverse Comstar wheel, which he was able to do by designing some spacers which he then had water jet cut. Declan designed a template for the rear shock mounting point which Ken made into a vectored image and also had it water jet cut, welding it into position on the frame. Ken says that the CBR600RR rear shock is a good fit for a 75kg rider, but someone heavier may want a higher spring rate. A view of where he was at partway through:
The headlight, tail lights and indicators were sourced from eBay after countless hours of searching and the headlight mount came from Max Inc - a local Coffs Harbour online business. The gauges are Acewell 27xx/28xx series. The Ducati S2R seat cowl was given to Ken by Ashley Beaton from North Coast V-twins and adapted to fit the modified CX500 frame. The Honda wing and logo on the tank was done using a crystal effect trim - no decals here!
The seat and exhaust are the only things that Ken didn't feel confident in manufacturing himself and he outsourced both of those items. The seat was slimmed down and reupholstered by C&R Upholstery in Coffs Harbour, while the exhaust system came from two places - Travis from Leonard Mufflers did the exhaust headers and the Spanky Torpedo mufflers came from Purpose Built Moto on the Gold Coast. Keeping it all to Australian businesses!
Ken got some help with the electrical system from a fellow called Aaron King, who conveniently happened to need a Harley paint job at the same time that Ken was doing the re-wiring. Ken says that the brainstorming sessions involved in hiding a whole bike's worth of wiring into half of the space you started out with was one of the best parts of doing the build. One of Ken's friends - Gary Tolhurst - helped out with the practial side of what to do with the wiring loom, coolant overflow botle, battery and whatnot. The ignition switch was relocated to underneath the right hand side of the fuel tank, attached to a hole in the frame (exposed after the tank lift) with threaded rod and nylock nuts.
Ken says that the most challenging part of the build was fitting the "round pegs into square holes" - things like maintaining the visual flow of the bike without taking the focus away from the engine. That particular problem was addressed by the cutting and raising of the rear portion of the frame, followed by shifting where the fuel tank sits to change the angle at which it met the seat. Fitting the battery box between the two exhaust silencers also proved challenging. The battery of choice was an SSB Powersport dry cell type (eBay AU).
Ken's advice for someone wanting to build their own custom CX? Research which look you want it to have before you start out and double check the sizes of anything you buy online as some things simply don't fit - Photoshop can help visualise how things will look. He also suggests setting time aside each day to work on a project bike so that it doesn't get lost in day to day drudgery. Also - make sure the paint is done right, as that's the first thing that anybody is going to see on your build - and a good paint job will lift even the most basic build!
Oh, and if you're wondering what sort of paint a professional painter uses on a frame and motor...
...SEM Hotrod Black (eBay) for it's consistent gloss level. While it isn't a high temperature paint Ken says that it can be used successfully - sparingly - with the correct epoxy primer.
If you're looking for the stock CX parts that Ken took off or you're interested in buying the build in early 2017 you can contact him via email.
Wanting more Honda CX500 cafe racer inspiration? Check out the Build List.
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