Three flavors of Honda this week: A race-rep from France, a new wave cafe from Kuala Lumpur, and an insane CR500 tracker from England. Plus the latest Moto Guzzi from Germany’s Kaffeemaschine and a drop-dead gorgeous BMW R80 from Spain. Olé!
Honda CR500 by Thornton Hundred Motorcycles There’s just something about a stonking mad creation that makes me smile. And this CR500 tracker from England’s Thornton Hundred Motorcycles has me grinning like a Cheshire cat.
With barely 100 kilos to shove around and over 70 hp of grunt from its rebuilt big-bore two-stroke, keeping the front down on this bike would be tougher than wrestling a Honey Badger with a coke addiction. Of course 21-year-old builder Jody Millhouse had methods behind his madness. As he puts it, “The bike was inspired by a desire to build an absolutely barking mad machine that stands out from the crowd, something to hopefully get my foot in the door of the bike building world and to make a name for myself.”
To help rein in the terror—and cement his name in our memories—Jody has fitted a set of Triumph 955 forks to his Honda, plus a set of matching 19” Excel rims riding on Maxxis flat track rubber. The teeny-tiny tank comes courtesy of Honda XR75, and that gleaming can of bees is an FMF Gold Series feeding into a discreet silencer mounted under that nutter of a tail. [More]
Moto Guzzi Le Mans by Kaffeemaschine Over the years, we’ve been blown away by the detailing and style that Axel Budde of Kaffeemaschine brings to bear whenever a Guzzi finds its way to his Hamburg shop.
This is his latest cafe racer, Maschine 20, created for a client who wanted more oomph than he was getting from his Norton Commando. Axel sourced a Le Mans Mk III as the donor bike and gave the entire drivetrain a rebuild. In the process, the engine scored an overbore, new dual-spark heads, a racing cam, a balanced crank and a lighter flywheel. Then a new electronic ignition was fitted and the carbs were re-jetted to feed the thirstier demands of that flying-V.
Of course, as Axel is wont to do, Maschine 20 earned some show to match its new go. The frame was cleaned and shortened to fit perfectly to the alloy seat and tank. New spoked Morad rims were fitted, and a bevy of KM’s in-house componentry has been bolted up. As she sits, minus the fuel, Maschine 20 tips the scales at a scant 182kg and puts down around 90 hp, which must be a blast at speed. But honestly, I’m pretty content to just stare at her parked. [More]
Honda CB400 by Kerkus Motorworks As we’ve seen many times, the design direction and quality of bikes being built in Southeast Asia can be staggering. It’s been almost a year since we last saw something from Kuala Lumpur’s Kerkus Cycles but they’ve obviously been diligent. Their latest, this CB400 cafe racer, is yet another fine example.
When the ‘94 Honda arrived from Singapore, a teardown was immediately on the cards. Not because the bike wouldn’t run, mind you, but to strip things away and find a blank canvas. Surprisingly, chief builder Azahar decided to keep the odd shaped tank that Big Red bestowed upon this bike. Of course, it needed some serious fettling, because the stock perch didn’t sit flat enough to deliver the requisite cafe stance. But the work has paid off, as it now sits prim and proper—while also flowing directly into the new seat and tail. Of course, this is all accentuated by the fantastic paint, which is a tip o’ the hat to Winston Yeh’s work over at Rough Crafts.
Up front the cockpit received some serious spring-cleaning. The bars were binned for clip-ons and the gauges no longer exist. The forks were rebuilt and a new set of Showa piggyback shocks were fitted in the rear. One of the neatest tricks though, is Azahar’s use of a blacked out thermos to serve as this CB’s reservoir. [More]
Honda CB450 by Le Garage de Felix The CB450 is kind of the runt of the CB litter. Not so much in terms of size or performance—it churned out a respectable 45hp from its parallel twin—but it doesn’t attract the love that builders have for the other family members. In fact, over the years only ten or so CB450s have graced our pages. But man, this one is a looker.
It comes to us from a small but tidy shop in the city of Rennes, France, not too far from Le Mans, called Le Garage de Felix. With Mike Hailwood’s RC166 serving as the inspiration, the build was far from easy—but the work has certainly paid off.
Addition through subtraction was the name of the game as the CB450 was quickly stripped of everything superfluous. Special attention was paid to clearing out everything below the saddle to accentuate the lightness of this repli-racer. The seat itself is an Alcantara unit, chosen to provide extra grip and stability, and it’s followed by an expertly crafted tail that contours the kink in the new rear subframe. The bodywork up front is all original, and looks period correct. Of course, the exhaust is the giveaway. With only one cocktail shaker mounted per side, it’s obvious that this isn’t powered by that sonorous six from the sixties. Regardless, I reckon she’d be fun to take down the Mulsanne straight. [More]
BMW R80 by ROA Motorcycles ROA is a relative newcomer to the custom world, but this Spanish garage has some seriously deep roots. It was founded in 2014 by head designer Jamie Fenwick, who named his shop after his grandfather Raphael Onieva Ariza—the man behind the early 50s Madrid-based manufacturer Industrias Motorizados Onieva S.A.
In the three short years since its inception, ROA has now created 16 impressive builds. And their latest, a BMW R80, would undoubtedly make Raphael proud. Described as a mix of classic, cafe racer and scrambler styles, you’d expect something muddled—but what stands out with this bike is its overt simplicity. The bone line is near perfect, the cut-off points define symmetry, and the visual weight is impeccably balanced.
Much of that credit goes to the fine work on the newly hooped subframe. It finishes with a smooth flowing line that accentuates the foam-formed hump on the faux-suede seat. That seat serves double duty visually too, as it curls up with a well-formed fillet to lead the eye directly to the tank. The new clip-ons sit low, and the minimalist dash is highlighted by a new T&T speedo. Out back an LED brake light hovers above the new plate holder—and hopefully averts your eyes from the mounting bolts protruding through the seat pan, which we hope Jamie has taken a grinder to by now. [More]