Honda’s Moto Guzzi-Esque CX500 has been enjoying a huge resurgence in the custom scene. It seems that ever since the Wrenchmonkees unveiled their custom CX500 in 2011 the CX’s popularity has skyrocketed. So much so that here in Australia getting your hands on a well priced, clean example has become quite a challenge. This CX500 Cafe Racer styled beast is the work of Max Hughes of Double Barrel Garage in Sydney. I hit Max up after stumbling across his bike on the gram…that’s what the kids are calling it these days…and he shared the story of its build with me.
When I found the bike 3 years ago it was a non-running, fairly standard example of a ’81 CX500 Shadow. It had done a lot of riding & the previous owner said the 70,000km on the clock was the second time he had seen that number! Since then it has been fully stripped & rebuilt. I mixed & matched parts from a number of model variations of the CX500 to get the look & function I was after. I was after a bike I could get into some adventures with. I wasn’t particularly concerned with sticking to a brief or an ideal, retro looking & fun was what it came down to. Spike (as in the bulldog from Tom & Jerry) is the name it was given by a good friend because of it’s skinny rear end & broad shoulders.
The bike now has a single disc front end from a ’78 with the rotor from a Euro CX500 and caliper from a CB900. The frame is still the original 81 model, but the motor is an ’83 converted to run a CDI ignition. The wheels are from an ’82 CX500 Custom and its tank was taken from a 1980 model CX500. The build was time consuming as most of the original parts of the bike were worn out! In a funny way that actually helped with the build, it gave me the opportunity to acquire parts from a variety of sources that I though suited my vision for the bike. There were a number of big hurdles and a lot of trial and error. Trying to get parts from so many different donor bikes to work cohesively together was a headache at times and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the wider motorcycling community. Most of the work on the bike was done in my 1 car garage, at night or after work. The exhaust and the candy paint job are the only exceptions.
The custom components include the hand-made polished stainless 2 into 1 exhaust, huge 9 inch headlight, indicators & tail light. The battery was relocated under the back of the motor & the air box was given the flick. When it came to the front fender I just cut down the stock unit, but the rear I had to make out of a blank and fit to the frame. In the end I think it is the smaller details that I like the most, all the little touches, the hand drilled wheels, the LED idiot lights I built into the headlight bucket and the wiring loom that I routed through the frame and handle bars. When it comes to the soul of the bike that Honda V twin rumble is hard to beat!!