Garage Project Motorcycles have been on the Australian custom scene for a while, inspired by the likes of Deus and an integral part of the Australian Cafe Racers and deeply involved in events like the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. It’s fair to say that Rex Havoc and Co definitely punch above their weight when it comes to their presence in the cafe/brat custom culture.
This Honda CX500 is their latest build, and was originally commissioned as a very low budget build by a guy from Adelaide, over 2,500kms away from their shop. After an initial consultation they ended up with a choice between a BMW R80 and the CX (which was ironic because he’d wanted something slim) for the same money. They went with the CX because it’s smaller and he wasn’t a big guy.
The guys were about to begin the build when the customer called back to say he’d lost his job and wanted to sell the bike. However, it wasn’t all over for the CX as a new customer turned up: James wanted an “industrial” bare-metal cafe racer, and he was also on a very tight budget. The guys at GPM were snowed under with other projects, so they had a chat with Brett at Hand Made Vintage Kustoms.
After a three-way chat James agreed to go with Rex’s design and Brett’s work. The donor bike was a 1982 Honda CX500 which had been recently restored to standard condition.
Rex stripped the bike the next week and designed a seat pan to fit the custom style tank. James had wanted a two-up ride, but it wasn’t possible to achieve that and get the look he wanted, so they gave up on it and Brett built the solo seat pictured instead. Brett put a in lot of work in to get the seat unit just right, and it paid off.
Chrome Dunstal Replica 27″ stainless reverse cone mufflers were initially ordered. They were swapped out for 12″ stainless reverse cones but those would have needed a totally new exhaust system made up, which the budget didn’t allow for, so Australian ingenuity stepped-in and a pair of Harley mufflers were adapted instead, and they ended up looking and sounding great, while staying within budget.
A CX500 really benefits from removing the airbox but again, the budget didn’t allow for all the work involved, so the guys painted the side covers matt black to blend them in to the rest of the bike.
The biggest dilemma faced by Brett was the rear fender. In Western Australia the police love picking on bikes that don’t have a fender which reaches to 45 degrees from the axle. The guys thought about a rear hugger, which Rex liked but Brett hated, so instead Brett fabricated a little fender that will be added later later.
When the guys removed the bikini cowl and headlight they realised there was going to be a lot of wiring that needed to be hidden, and the small triangular chopper headlight they’d chosen for the build wasn’t going to help them. In the end most of it got tucked away under the tank.
Rex had wanted the headlight the other way up to accentuate the V of the engine but Brett preferred it this way, and as it was his build Rex didn’t argue. They tell us it’s probably the part of the bike that is most polarising but either way up it’s a unique look for a modern cafe racer and we think it looks great.
James was never going to be up the front of the pack with Perth Cafe Racers so they decided Firestones were more than adequate for his abilities. Add a bit of pipewrap the bike was ready for it’s first burnout.
Gotta say, for a budget build on a modest donor, it looks superb.
Photos were taken at the local cafe meeting spot – Green & Co, Leederville by Scott G Trenorden