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Today's featured Honda CX500 build comes from England and when it reached the current owner Gavin Brooks it looked like this:
As of August 2016 it looks like this:
The journey began when Gavin was looking on eBay for a bike to rebuild on the cheap when he came across some CX500s. This led to discovering the inspirational Wrenchmonkees build and the ever-helpful community of the Honda CX/GL forum, the combination of which convinced him that the twisted twins were worth making a project out of. Further inspiration came from Mike's CX500RR, Jesse's CX500 and the Husqvarna 701 concept. Gavin had no previous experience modifying motorcycles, though he did get some help from a friend throughout the build process who had experience rebuilding a smaller capacity Honda.
The Honda CX500 frame has been modified at the rear with a new seat hoop welded in before it was powdercoated in gunmetal grey. The fuel tank - a stock Honda CX500 item - had the badges removed and the badge mounting area smoothed down before getting a coat of Honda Thunder Grey Metallic paint. The frame wasn't all that was powdercoated - the swingarm, center stand and rear 16" wheel have been done in satin black and the latter has been shod with a Continental Milestone CM1 tyre, and the swingarm bearings were replaced with All Balls units. The stock Keihin CV carbs have been done away with and replaced by the Mikuni VM34 kit by Murray's Carbs:
The front end is nothing like the original Honda CX500 piece:
Quite a few different bits and pieces went into making the front end the way it is:
Gavin says that the front end conversion proved to be the biggest challenge in the build as the forks were colliding with the front of the fuel tank, and moving the fuel tank rearward to compensate necessitated changes to the seat.
Also of note up the front are the waffle style grips - these particular grips are Posh Factory branded - some CNC machined front indicators and the tri-LED headlight with halo. The bars are STP Race Products branded - the stock CBR1000RR clip-ons did not have enough room for the CX500 controls:
The gauges have been replaced:
This shiny looking piece of kit is a MotoGadget Motoscope Pro unit (eBay) which has been coupled to a MotoGadget Breakout Box B (eBay), the MotoGadget Speed Sensor, Oil Pressure Sensor (eBay) and Water Temperature Sensor.
It's not just the front that has received attention - the rear has had the pillion footpegs removed and features CRK CNC machined frame plugs along with a custom made seat:
...and at the very rear a LED array for the brake light and indicators:
Speaking of the electrical system, there are several new components which you won't see - an Ignitech DC-CDI-P2 module replaces the original CDI ignition box, a Shindengen MOSFET FH020AA regulator/rectifier (eBay) replaces the original unit and the battery is now a lithium Skyrich YT9B4 battery (eBay). If you are also considering a lithium battery you will want to look into upgrading your regulator/rectifier to a MOSFET model as well - it seems to reduce the chance of premature battery failure (or fire...). The fuse box was replaced with a box from a CB250RS and relocated - the CX500 original of this model was on the handlebar clamp, which is no longer present. The loom was re-wired using splashproof Mate-n-lok connectors (eBay).
You can make out the "Hagon" sticker around the bottom of the aftermarket rear shocks (eBay).
The motor side view is a far cry from where it began, showing off the upswept midpipes - another Murray's Carbs item:
You will also notice the black exhaust wrap (eBay) and CNC exhaust flanges (eBay), but you won't see the stainless steel header pipes hidden under the wrap. As far as engine internals go the bike now has new head gaskets, EBC heavy duty clutch plates (eBay), EBC heavy duty springs (eBay) - recommended for the Mikuni carb conversion - new clutch bolts and NGK 6681 Iridium spark plugs (eBay). Oh, and there's a temperature gauge on the oil filler cap (eBay).
Gavin says his favourite part would have to be either the halo headlight, the gold forks or the Motoscope speedo - tough choice! His advice for someone considering their own CX500 cafe racer build? Go for it! He says that the availability of parts - both Honda and aftermarket - combined with the pleasure of working on the build night after night made it an extremely enjoyable hobby.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the rest of the Honda CX500 Master Build List.
Photos supplied and used with permission!
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