Caiman CX500

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Triumph must surely take the credit for kickstarting the whole retro-scrambler phenomenon when they took their modern Bonneville and added a twist of 1960’s desert sled. After a slow start in the market place, the Triumph Scrambler has carved a healthy niché in the Triumph market. Their competition have taken note and Ducati have recently launched their own version, with Moto Guzzi and other manufacturers expected to follow. Within the custom motorcycle movement we have seen a developing trend, especially over the last year, in converting 1970s and 1980s street motorcycles into rugged looking pseudo-offroaders. By no means are these supposed to be capable dirt bikes, but they are rugged looking, comfortable urban assault vehicles.

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You need to have been riding motorcycles when the Honda CX500 was still a current model to truly appreciate the metamorphosis this motorcycle has made from 1980’s ugly duckling commuter to sought after café racer donor motorcycle. Although full of technical innovation for its time, the CX500 was too strange looking and too small in capacity to attract mainstream biker money. They became destined to serve as bulletproof commuters and to eventually disappear into obscurity. That was until some enthusiast with imagination saw their hidden potential as a café racer. The humble CX has finally found the affection to go with the respect it earned as an indestructable commuter thirty years ago. We have showcased a variety of CX500 based café racers and brat bikes. Our featured motorcycle is an even more improbable version of the CX…a scrambler.

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The guys from Caiman have taken a twin shock CX500 and converted the frame and swingarm to accommodate a monoshock suspension from a Yamaha motocross bike. The single shock has been shortened and a heavier spring installed.

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Although blacked-out and stripped down, the finishes on the motorcycle are to a very high standard. The Digital speedo has many functions, minimal wiring and keeps away the clutter. Wide bars are a must for carving up suburbia’s streets.

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The brown, custom but comfortable seat stands in contrast to the overall blackness of this motorcycle. This type of. side-mount taillight and indicators are usually installed on choppers and bobbers but in this application they add to the rugged appeal of this CX.

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We know that the Honda CX500 is still not everyone’s favourite custom donor motorcycle as it is not traditional enough in its configuration. No matter your opinion, we trust that you will appreciate the creative ingenuity of this machine. After all,  if Ducati can launch a V twin powered scrambler, then anything goes.

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By | 2014-11-03T05:58:04+00:00 November 3rd, 2014|Categories: Articles|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Steve 21st November 2014 at 11:40 am

    Fair point – the Plastic Maggot’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it is a pretty bulletproof bike. I remember a few becoming choppers back in the ’90s as a cheap v-twin. You could argue that the biggest visual limiting factor for a restricted budget build are the Compstar wheels.

    In terms of traditional appearance though? That engine configuration shouts Moto Guzzi. I’m surprised that no-one’s tried a Le Mans or S7 type clubman build yet. Replace the suspension, some nipping and tucking, and add a Rickmann-type fairing or an old Guzzi one if you find one. Throw in gold rims and a tricolore paint scheme and presto! A cheap Itarian lacing motocycre.

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