I spent some time with a friend of mine today who I had not seen for several years. We both started our love affair with motorcycles in the mid 1970s but he has his interest rooted in standard production motorcycles, of which he owns some pristine examples. He was unaware of the upswell of interest in the customisation of the motorcycles of our youth and young adulthood. His amazement was obvious when I mentioned that Yamaha SR500 and XS650 models were in such high demand. He responded. “But nobody wanted them when they were new!”
His amazement turned to amusement when I told him what was being done to the Honda CX500s by illustrious customisers. This response is completely acceptable from someone who lived and rode motorcycles in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the CX500 was a current model. Although advanced in its engineering, with its transverse, asymmetrical 80 degree watercooled v twin engine and shaft drive, the CX500’s looks were awkward. The “biker” fraternity, of which we all aspired to be part, ignored the CX500 in favour of the more powerful, more acceptable transverse four cylinder 750cc and 1000cc models. The CX500 was relegated to the ranks of being a bulletproof commuter. I am sure that when he now has a look at our website, he, as I did, will realise that the true potential of those awkward and undesirable motorcycles of our youth is only now being unlocked by young and imaginative people.
Our featured CX500 is Tiago from OneOne Customs personal commuter. He built this café racer several years ago from a CX500 which had done service as a traffic police motorcycle in Germiston. He built it initially to resell, but upon realising how smooth and reliable this motorcycle is, it became a keeper. Colour is a fascinating element. The motorcycle’s paint colour splits between blue and white, with the frame being blue. The colour split gives the motorcycle two distinct appearances , depending on which side you are standing. I like the white. Notably, Tiago has also installed the electronic gauges from a later model superbike. All of his seats are one of a kind creations. Many of the standard parts, like the tank and Comstar wheels have been retained but longer rear shocks, a lowered front end, general tidying up of the wiring harness and lighting units and those wrapped headers and pit bike silencers unleash the beast.
The reason it took so long for motorcycles like the CX500 to achieve street credibility is probably that they had to wait for younger, unbiased eyes to look at them. Eyes that were kinder and that were unconcerned or unaware of these motorcycle’s original history. Stereotypes only last until someone changes them.