Kustom Research CX500
By Ross Sharp - 01 Apr 14
Honda's CX500 has seen a huge renaissance in the last few years thanks to buidlers and customisers using them as donor bikes. The quirky liquid cooled V-twin provides a cheaper alternative to BMW's Boxer engine with similar levels of bullet-proof reliability. As a result it's becoming harder to snap up cheap ones in good condition as the old courier hacks, winter commuters and abandoned projects come out of the woodwork seeking a premium price. Luckily there are still a few bargains to be had out there and Thomas Parrish of Kustom Research sourced this '78 bike from a chap who'd hit the creative, financial or talent wall with his attempt to build a Cafe Racer. Everything that could be unbolted had been, except for the tank, and the wiring loom had been spliced, diced and sliced ensuring many hours of work before the engine would run. Thomas had his work cut out as not only would he have to build something from the remains but the scrutineer would be his girlfriend Cristin, as she was training for her bike test and needed a cool ride for when she passed. No pressure then! Thomas set to with the buzz saw and chopped the rear subframe and made a new loop to support the hand fabricated steel tail and seat pan, before adding foam and upholstering it, teaching himself to sew in the process. The messy wiring loom was binned and replaced with a modified version hiding under the seat alongside a custom battery box. The indicators are machined aluminium with the fronts incorporated into the modified Harley headlight unit. The Koso digi-dash lives on a custom bracket surrounded by a mix of more modern Kawasaki ZX10 levers and switchgear, mounted to in-house-fabricated clipons and billet bar ends. The forks have been upgraded with Progressive Suspension springs and the rear shocks are new Emgo units. Avon Roadriders look crisp on the freshly refurbed 5 spoke mags. Front braking has been beefed up by using a ZX10R master cylinder and a new calliper. The exhaust is, you guessed it, fabbed by Thomas. Neat bends meet at a shorted ZX10 silencer under the engine. Either there's a crashed Kawasaki in the corner of Thomas' workshop or he has a penchant for marque inbreeding when choosing upgraded parts. Failing that the lathe, mill and knurling machine get a workout. Foot pegs, shifter and rear brake are hewn from billet ally rather than lifted from a catalogue. The fuel tank has had the badge recesses filled and a Yamaha R1 cap grafted on. The finish was raw, take a look at the Kustom Research website and you'll see it in pre-paint stage. At this point girlfriend Cristin had passed her test and was presented with the 'finished' bike and sent up the road for a shakedown ride, Thomas proudly standing back to admire 5 months of hard work. She returned with a beaming smile and a question, "So, when can we paint it?" Back to the garage it was for a long session of powder coating and painting, again, nothing was sent off, all work was carried out at Kustom Research HQ. With the CX's engine being so prominent Thomas wanted it to blend with the rest of the components so tied the colours of the tank and wheels with the crank case, transmission, cylinders and even the carbs. With paint still tacky a temporary photo studio was set up in the back of the worksop to provide the images you see here. And yup, you guessed it again, Thomas employed himself to learn photography and Photoshop 101. As a reward for all this endeavour, Cristin has decided she'd like to go faster and bought another bike! So if you'd like to buy the CX, drop Kustom Research a line. See more from Kustom Research on the Bike Shed KR page, their Website or Thomas’s Blog, or you can email him HERE.