Made in Vietnam

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Shed Builds | 8 Comments

TrungNT CX650 1

At first glance, if it wasn’t for those telltale cylinder heads, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a modified Ducati Sport Classic 1000. The shape of the tank and seat, flat black reverse cone pipes, the upside down front end with clipons and twin black clocks, but then the penny drops. Jesus. A Honda CX?!

Trung

What’s even more astonishing is that it was built in Hochiminh City in Vietnam by TrungNT – also known on many forums as VietHorse. With the cafe/custom world being so focussed around Japan and the West we see very little from Asia that isn’t built by an ex-pat so this build is refreshing in every respect.

TrungNT CX650 2

We first saw the build many months ago, and we ran a few grainy shots in a Facebook album, but we decided to wait to do a proper feature on the Bike Shed main site until we had some higher resolution photos, and we’re glad we did, as now you can see the bike in all it’s glory – and read’s Trung’s story.

TrungNT CX650 Cafe

“I am an Engineer, working in the oil & gas industry but in my own time I like to work with bikes. I have owned various type of bikes from Cruiser, naked, sport, touring, and adventure. I started looking for a bike to build into a café racer in early 2012. I wanted a bike which would be reliable with a robust-looking engine and simple chassis with simple electrics and controls.”

TrungNT CX650 8

“The Moto Guzzi is my favorite bike, however, there are almost no mechanics in Vietnam who can take care of them. I also like Ducatis, but they’re a bit pricey. Then I realized that the Honda CX was the best fit for my needs. I found a CX650 for sale in California back in February 2012. There were some issues with the shipping, and I had to wait a few months for delivery.”

TrungNT CX650 7

“While I was waiting I searched the internet, asking on the forums about mods, as well as updating my AutoCAD sketches. I also started buying parts. The most important elements were the inverted front forks, which were sent to me from a forum friend, Timmy,in Maryland, US. The bike finally arrived in  August 2012 and the modifications began.”

TrungNT CX650 10

It’s a 1983 CX650 with a little over 10,000 miles on it. Trung replaced the front-end of the bike, except for the front wheel and installed dual-discs brakes. The headlight and clocks remained from the original – keeping the mileage.

TrungNT CX650 5

Trung really loved the Ducati Sport Classic bodywork and set about building his own tank and seat unit. Considering how many SC owners are looking for replacement tanks and are struggling to get them made, we have some idea how difficult that must have been. What was equally unexpected is how good it looks sitting over the CX engine.

Tank 1

Seat 1

The rear shocks and supports were removed and replaced by a monoshock setup taken from a 1098 which required the back end of the frame to be rebuilt. The home built Ducati style seat hump hides all the ugly electrics, and like the later Ducati Sport Classic bipsto the hump is removeable to allow for a pillion ride.

TrungNT CX650 4

The battery box is hidden under the chassis. The exhaust headers are original but mated to home-built steel and aluminium end cans, which TrungNT tells us sound awesome. The original radiator was refurbished and reused, but the original coolant reservoir was replaced with a steel tube, set parallel with the radiator.

TrungNT CX650 6

“I chose to paint the bike orange to make it looks a bit different from other café racer bike. And it is also my favorite color as my car and my BMW 1200GS are also orange. I painted the front brake calipers and rear shock spring in red as the highlights of a sporty Café Racer bike.”

TrungNT CX650 9

The bike was ready for it’s first test ride in late April 2013. “It was unforgettable feeling. After more than a year, I can really feel the bike, my own brainchild, how it sounds, how it pushes me on the street… It’s really great machine, smooth and powerful, especially with the new exhaust system.”

TrungNT CX650 12

According to Trung this is the first properly prepared, designed and reported cafe racer built in Vietnam, but the end result looks like the work of a seasoned pro. We’re extremely impressed and very grateful to Trung for sharing with us all, and going the extra mile to get quality photos.

8 Comments

  1. Mike in Ireland
    09/08/2013

    That is sweet.

    Original and very well put together. Love the shock arrangement.

    Reply
  2. Godffery
    10/08/2013

    VERY well done.
    Impressive work with the Tank & Seat!

    Reply
  3. Andy Bell
    11/08/2013

    What a great bike. Great colour too. Can’t wait to see this guys next project.

    Reply
  4. John Beesley
    11/08/2013

    Magnificent! That gent is in the wrong line of work.

    Reply
  5. Roman JURIS
    18/08/2013

    CX has never been so nice.

    Reply
  6. jinya
    17/09/2013

    A rear suspension, a shift pedal, fuel tank It is all wonderful!

    Reply
  7. Buzz
    30/10/2013

    Wow, what great work. Would love to know if what forks and what mods he needed to fit them. The bodywork is also amazing. Very skillful and clean!

    Reply
  8. SoyBoySigh
    29/11/2013

    Somebody’s gotta get this dude some sheet Aluminum, some aerobraze rod and some fiberglas – looking at how well he works in steel I’m sure he’d excel with the other materials – And they’d be that much better for custom parts. If he were working in alloy I’m sure he’d be flooded with requests for custom one-off parts etc. I’d love to see more of the bike scene in Vietnam – I was well aware of how popular bikes are over there – back in the ’90s I was riding a C70 Passport and working at a job combining building bathroom sized custom aquariums, breeding discus, & landing all sorts of aquatics from all over the world – SO this book I came across “Asian Discus” was amazing enough to the fish-geek side of me but then I flipped to the section on Vietnam and there were these sweeping vistas of downtown street scenes where the ONLY type of vehicle on the road were Honda Cubs Passports etc – So all these years Vietnam has loomed on the horizon as destination ONE for all things Honda Cub etc – I would only assume they’re getting into more and bigger motorcycles now, pulling their older bikes out of hiding etc – Still a top destination on my world tour via “Passport” – which has been a dream for 20 years. Let’s see MORE of what they’re doing over there! And let’s help stimulate their café scene by snapping up the cool custom parts people are making over there.

    Reply

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