The Honda CX500 was built in big numbers and used widely as a trusty work horse all around the world, and not least by London’s couriers, back in the day before emails and online bank transfers. The City was full of scruffy looking guys in filthy Gortex on GT550s and CXs. I was one of them, and to me, the slug-like CX made my GT550 look positively pretty.
Now the CX is back in force. Sometimes called the poor-man’s Moto Guzzi due to the V twin engine shape, they get a lot of stick, especially from Brits, but there’s no denying that some of these bikes look really good – and this is one of them. Built by Sven and his crew from Cafe2Ride this was the follow-up build to their CB750 Tracker.
The donor was a rather rusty 1982 model and had been sitting in someone’s back yard for a couple of years, being rained-on and generally neglected, but it was cheap, and it worked. But this wasn’t to be any old build, it was more personal than that. This CX was owned by one of Cafe2Ride’s three founders, Thomas, and it was his goal to turn the rusty slug into “a sexy and sleek-looking cafe racer”. Right. Time to get the spanners out, and possibly some magic pixie dust too.
All the ugly bits were removed, boxed up and sold, leaving the frame bare to be cut back to fit the rather tasteful custom cafe racer seat. It was then sent off to the powder-coaters to be finished in satin black, along with the swing arm, engine brackets and other bits and pieces of metal that needed to be refreshed. Meanwhile, the engine, forks, drivetrain and rear drum brakes were cleaned up, removing 30-odd years of dirt, rust and grime. These parts were then finely sanded so they didn’t look too new.
The original triple clamps were replaced with yokes from a Honda CM400T to get rid of the handlebar risers so the clip-ons would look like they were meant to be there. The CX lamp was replaced with the one they took off the CB750 build, making the front end look a lot tidier.
The big ugly clocks were binned and replaced by a small speedo from Shinyo which had all the warning lights incorporated, while the tank, seat and sidecovers (taken from a prettier CX500C) were all sent off to the painter to get their gloss black, double cream and gold colour scheme.
While they waited for the paint the guys got down to business with fully servicing the engine, building a new front fender and sorting out the electrics. The final element to sort was the seat, which they built themselves with two layers of foam upholstered in imitation leather.
Now reassembled, the bike is finished and ready to be used as Thomas’s daily ride, and whether you love “the slug” or not, there’s no arguing the fact that this bike has come out really well, and, as a bike to be used every day, there’s probably few better donors out there. Top work fellas, and thanks for sharing with all of us at The Bike Shed. See more from Cafe2Ride on The Bike Shed and HERE.