At 1.3 million people the country of Estonia isn’t exactly bursting at the seams. On the Estonian tourism website their claim to fame is the lack of traffic jams, an abundance of forest (50% of the country!) and the fact that you can eat bear there…if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally, it’s not the smell of pine in the air or the Yogi rib special that gets me excited about the northern European nation, it’s a small custom workshop by the name of Renard Speed Shop that’s piecing together some of the slickest custom motorcycles in Europe.
Renard Speed Shop owner Andres Uibomäe’s latest build is this Honda CB500T named the “Kuri Kuldnokk” meaning “Wicked Starling”. The bike started out as a German import that had been in a small accident. Broken triple trees and bent forks meant it wasn’t getting on the road again without some TLC but it had very low km’s and was well looked after. Unfortunately it’s new owner quickly realised the job wasn’t for him and it went into storage. Fast forward 10 years and Andres stumbled upon it, cash traded hands and the bike was relocated to the Renard workshop.
Every nut, bolt and layer of paint was stripped away leaving a blank canvas for the custom rebuild. The engine received all new gaskets, seals and rings and was given a fresh coat of black with a touch of gold on the cylinder head. The exhaust is a custom made 2-into-1 system wrapped in black and finished with a carbon fiber reverse megaphone by Fresco Exhaust.
After trimming off all the excess junk the bikes frame underwent some minor adjustments beneath the seat and in the rear loop to allow the fitment of the custom tail and seat. It is the swing arm though that Andres is most proud of, “It was one of the most radical changes I made. It is 70 mm longer and is the key to why this bike looks much better now“. Attached to the swing arm are a set of Öhlins gas filled shocks commandeered from a Yamaha SR500. Although the front end is the original CB500 unit Andres was impressed by it’s performance and opted to simply rebuild it with a new triple tree and some height adjustments for improved riding comfort.
Cleverly placed in the original handlebar mount holes and in a custom bracket on the triple clamp is a trio of top quality Motogadget dials. The headlight was found in a market and was supposedly an old car fog light which has had its reflector and bulb replaced. LED, low profile Kellermann turn signals and stop light have been used to replace the power hungry OEM lamps and to keep them as unobtrusive as possible.
Andres paid special attention to the finish on this bike which is clearly evident in these shots. Everything that was corroded was replaced and all the paint is brand new. The wheels, which are original, were painted gold and re-laced and the tank was finished off with custom pin striping and it’s own logo. One last touch, that in many ways makes this bike a hot favourite for me, is the use of stainless allen bolts with conical heads on the entire bike. Perfection from every angle.