Mr Swallow's CX500
By Gareth Charlton - 20 Nov 14
Usually when a first time build story is submitted to the Bike Shed it comes baited with the promise of future projects now that the first born has flown the nest. But for Sebastien from Normandy, news of his freshly completed Honda CX was swiftly followed by the sentence, "Since her I’ve made a 400 cx, a 1976 Honda GL 1000 Goldwing and a 125 Suzuki Gn, I’m just an amateur but would like to make a shed in the next year…" Four builds down and you have only just got around to telling us about the first of them? His passion and dedication to shed building bikes is truly infectious. Hats off to you sir. Sebastien was given this 1981 Honda CX500 by a friend, but before we all get too carried away praying for mates like Seb has, he points out that it came to him in a terrible state of repair, good for little but the rubbish bin. Despite the condition Sebastien gleefully accepted the project and promised his generous friend that he would reinvent the trusty CX as a cafe racer. Taking inspiration from the many fine CX customs to be found on the internet Seb started the process of stripping and rebuilding. "I’ve tried to make something really homogeneous regarding the frame curves." With a CX the main area in need of modification is the rear section of the frame. The twin shocks mount high on protrusions creating an obvious dip in the frame line, Seb has built his seat to reflect this curve accentuating its presence as oppose to trying to mask it. Beyond the shock mounts the remaining frame has been cut away, seamlessly blending into the classic cafe seat hump. Sebastien was a little light on information in his email, he was probably too busy building more motorcycles, but he did mention a full rewire and that he had to source the tank from the USA after France came up short in his search for a suitable receptacle. His build choices include clip ons with bar end indicators, crash-bar mounted spotlights, pipe wrap, shortened forks, original clocks, and a vintage tail light above the side mounted numberplate. All his hard work is crowned with that lustrous retro black and orange paint job, executed to perfection. Sebastien goes by the curious nickname Mr Swallow which he intends to expand to Mr Swallow Customs as customer's start to come his way. He does not elaborate as to the reason he was bestowed this particular nickname but from certain angles it appears as if his lovely CX has in fact swallowed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its yellowed spotlights sitting astride the radiator just like the old car's headlights. "This bike isn’t a thunder but the twin is really nice to ride, flexible and player… I really take pleasure to ride with it even if the position is like riding a horse for your legs…" We already know what bikes Mr Swallow transformed for build numbers 2, 3 and 4 so what lies next in his busy production line? "My next projects are so multiple, I really want to make a GS 750 from Suzuki, maybe a CB550 four for a customer and probably a Ducati 750 SS in a few months." This CX was but the first of many. Keep feeding the addiction Mr Swallow.