Kingston Customs CXL500
By Ian Heartfield - 03 Mar 14
CX500 customs are popping up all over the place at the moment, but the vast majority of them tend to be head down, bum up, cafe racers. In fact, Dirk and his crew at Kingston Customs in Germany have already blown us away with one such CX earlier in the year. So, when a customer approached Kingston with the brief that he needed an ultra reliable, everyday bike that he could ride off road, the CXL 500 idea was born. Now, we have no idea if the story behind the origins of this project is true or not, but what the heck we like it, so we'll tell it. The owner of this bike has horses. In the summer, he used to ride down to the stables on a cafe racer and the horses used to become restless in the paddock. One day a horse whisperer told him that it was the aggressive riding position on the bike that made the horses edgy and fearful. And so the brief for an upright, off-road, less horse aggravating bike was born. Apparently. As Honda had built a CX 500 and an XL 500, it was obvious to Dirk that he needed to build a Honda CXL 500 Scrambler. So a '79 model bike was stripped completely and the frame was glass bead blasted and modified, before being painted. Kingston themselves then handmade the seat, the battery box, the front and rear aluminium mudguards, the radiator grill and the 2 into 1 exhaust manifold. They also treated the engine to some thermo-sensitive coating, fitted some K&N's, and married up a Speed Products exhaust pipe to the aforementioned manifolds. The result is a perfectly decent, and totally useable 50hp. The luxurious looking paintwork was clearly influenced by old Honda Enduro bikes from the seventies. In fact, the level of finish on this build is so damn good that the bike itself looks like it could have been in the official Honda line up in 1979. But we've come to expect that from Kingston. Great, original ideas, executed flawlessly. We wouldn't be surprised if this particular build divides opinion. But then we also wouldn't be surprised if Dirk and his gang deliberately build bikes that challenge conventional thinking and cause a little controversy. And anyway, the horses obviously like it, so who cares. Thanks to Dennis Zetlitz for the great photos, and thanks to Dirk for once again sharing his jaw dropping (and horse calming) work with us in The Shed.