The last push I needed to start with BikeBrewers.com two years ago was this amazing Honda CX500 Cafe Racer by Sacha Lakic. I think it would be a great achievement to equal a build like this, and I’ve always have a slight preference over custom CX500’s. The bike you see right here is built by Will Nicholson, an industrial designer from New Zealand. It’s the result of combining his three passions: designing, creating and motorcycles.
Back in 2015, Will participated in a public auction and he started bidding on a 1978 Honda CX500 which was disassembled and offered in boxes. The previous owner was an older gentleman who wanted to build a cafe racer, but didn’t found the time to finish it due to a busy job and a family with young kids. The engine hadn’t been running for 30 years and the overall shape was pretty bad.
It had suffered years of neglect and had obviously had a hard life when it was running. Rust, rotten electrics, dents, cracks, missing parts, you name it. But Will saw the potential. With a tight budget and the eagerness to learn new skills, he was the perfect new owner of this project bike. He wanted to build a clean looking machine with a focus on the unique V-twin engine. Equipped with a workshop manual and a set of tools, he started to tear down the bike in order to get his desired machine on the road.
With his background as industrial designer, he made a digital render and designed most of the custom parts himself. Since he didn’t had the room to work on the bike at his own place, he went over to friends or to his parents shed. But he also used his own living room to create this cool Honda CX500 Bratstyle. Over one and a half year he cleaned, rebuilt, and repainted it down to every nut, bolt and washer entirely by himself.
The result is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, Will moved over to the UK temporarily, so the bike is now waiting in storage for it’s creator to return. Will: “Before leaving I managed to get a couple of rides on the bike which I will never forget. There’s nothing quite like riding a bike you’ve invested money, hard work, time, and above all passion to bring life back to an old machine.”
Honda CX500 Bratstyle Mods
- Custom designed, fabricated and certified rear subframe.
- 3D printed, flush mount LED tail light with indicators.
- Engine tuned, full fluid change, rebuilt where needed, and seals/gaskets were replaced. Chemically cleaned and painted the engine with bake-on high temp enamel with a mix of satin and gloss. All hardware was replaced.
- Cooling system was fully rebuilt.
- Custom built radiator overflow reservoir relocated to clear space for electronics.
- Carbs were fully rebuilt and re-jetted to run the K&N pod filters and high flow exhaust.
- Stainless steel reverse cone ‘shorty’ exhausts with heat wrapped headers.
- Handmade wiring loom to accommodate the new electronics and replace the rotten OEM loom. New gauges, headlight, LED indicators, tail light, digital coolant temp gauge (mounted under tank), horn, charging system with MOSFET regulator/rectifier, starter solenoid, blade style fuses and hidden lithium-ion battery.
- Front end fully rebuilt and stiffened.
- Trimmed front mudguard
- Rebuilt front brake with stainless steel braided line and new master cylinder.
- Rebuilt rear brakes with stiffer stainless steel brace and new pads.
- Custom built Hagon rear shocks, straight from the UK factory.
- Custom built composite seat with leather upholstery.
- Gas tank was repainted in a cream white from a 70’s VW Beetle colour code. Internally treated and sealed. Gas tank was relocated rearwards and raised in the rear to straighten the lines of the bike.
- Custom designed and built rear sets to provide a ‘cafe racer’ riding position on the bike. Made from aluminium, carbon fibre and steel. Stainless steel linkages.
- Clip-on bars with bar-end mirrors and rebuilt OEM switch gear.
- Handmade leather lever grips.
- Aluminum license plate bracket with discrete LED lights.