When the Honda CX500 model hit South African shores in the late 1970s, she was obviously not going to win any beauty pageants. She wasn’t ugly, just unusual in an unpleasant sort of way.This was Honda’s first ever production V twin and she had water cooling and shaft drive. Like the Moto Guzzis, the CX500 has a transverse V twin motor, with the cylinder heads protruding out from under the tank on the left and right side of the petrol tank. The difference was that on the Guzzis the engine was an integral part of the machines styling, as seen on the sexy 850 Le Mans of that time. Honda seemed to build the CX500 over the engine making her V twin motor very prominent and exposed. In my twisted mind if the Guzzi was a seductive stripper then the CX was the brash porn star… I will keep on taking my medication.
More seriously, I have clear memories of when my attitude to the CX500 was changed. The first memory is of being at a Rhino Rally in the early 1980s and hearing the most wonderful exhaust note breaking the Sunday morning silence. I went to investigate expecting to find some rare performance exotic making this soul stirring sound. It turned out to be a stock standard CX500 with a 2 into 1 exhaust. From that moment on, when I see a CX, I automatically listen out in the hopes that it is running with open pipes. The second memory is far more recent. I was on the Google Machine and came across pictures of brat-style CX500’s and cafe racers. What a revelation! I could not believe my eyes. The machines were stunning. Unusual in a very pleasant way.
Our feature CX500 belongs to Chris from Chris Munton Photography. All the photos seen on Retro Write Up, (excluding the DJ pics which were snapped by yours truly), are taken by Marnitz. Chris, being a professional,supplied the great shots of his beaut bike. Bobbers by definition are supposed to be minimalist. A CX500 Custom tank and a very bobbed rear fender are the only remaining tinware. Everything has been blacked out except the motor which, as in the original, remains the prominent feature of the bike. Inverted motocross bars, a small headlight and an extremely low profile seat complete the look. Open exhausts complete the feel.
Motorcycles of the 1980s were destined to be forever forgotten when the aluminium box frame superbikes were launched but the whole cafe racer and bobber building movement has changed all that. Motorcycles like Chris’s CX500 prove that life for some bikes only begins at 30.
For more of Christopher’s photos visit www.chrismunton.co.za