Seeing as flat track fever is still fresh from the weekend it seems appropriate to feature this beastly CR500 by young blood Thornton Hundred Motorcycles from Milton Keynes. 21 year old Jody Millhouse runs the business solo, building custom motorcycles and specialising in wheel building. As is so often the case, It’s Jody’s dad’s fault he’s not a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. Millhouse Snr is an accomplished spanner-hand himself, with a few Streetfighter magazine cover features to his name, so it’s no surprise to see the tinkering gene being passed on.
Rather than follow the herd and stick a loop on a yet Honda another CB, Jody went for it on his first build, saying “the bike was inspired by a desire to build an absolutely barking mad machine that stands out from the crowd, something to hopefully get my foot in the door of the bike building world and to make a name for myself.” A half litre two stroke on Maxxis race tyres is more than a step in the right direction Jody, the door is off its hinges.
A* to me, I guessed the year correctly. The rear drum brake a helpful giveaway that this CR500 is a 1986 vintage, a time just before electronics and baulky bits started finding their way onto motorcycles. And arguably the best year for Honda who swept the board in all classes across the pond in US motocross. Despite a more manageable state of tune for ’86 the thing was still a hand grenade and if you weren’t David Bailey you were in for an arm pumping hard time.
The 30 year old motor was torn down and fully rebuilt, with the addition of a big bore kit. While in there you may was well replace everything and go bigger is the correct way to approach engine building. North of 70hp and sub 100kg – sounds like a heady mix of fun and terror. And for the unititiated the magnesium cases by Boysen say Factory Racing on the side, worth at least 10 extra horsepowers.
Channelling the noise, sweet smelling smoke and the all important power is the responsibility of a Gold Series FMF ‘Gnarly’ expansion pipe, twinned with a snake of custom stainless tubing to an underseat silencer setup. One of the only two parts of the bike Jody didn’t carry out himself, preferring the neat joints from the hand of a TiG welding expert. The twin exits from the silencer are a subtle nod to the stubs that poked out of GP road racing machines back in the heyday.
The beefy conventional forks from a much later Triumph 955 were de-tabbed, smoothed and along with the frame and swingarm given a lustrous gloss black powdercoat. The stanchions have been treated to a plush PVD coating, in gold of course. The alloy radiator is a custom shape and just a single core, rather than the twin setup on the original bike. Plastic rad shrouds are certainly not de rigueur in custom circles so they were binned in favour of this super rare XR75 steel fuel tank. Braking is courtesy of a large rotor and original caliper while the aforementioned rear drum keeps the rear looking super tidy.
Rims are by go-to manufacturer Excel, 19″ front and rear to accept the Maxxis DTR-1 regulation flattrack tyre. Shame we didn’t see this screaming around Rye House last weekend. But with a daytime MOT and springtime seemingly here for good, the roads around Buckinghamshire will be alive with sound of a crackling stroker and that oh so sweet and nostalgic smell.
Images by Tom Gooderham