I don’t know about you, but I find most ‘show bikes’ less inspiring than a good garage build. The shows occasionally do throw up something truly original though, and this bike is a case in point. ‘Wide Boy’ appeared at the recent London Ace Cafe Motorcycle & Custom Show, and was built by Larry Houghton. It didn’t win—it came third in the Freestyle class—but it deserves a closer look.
Larry comes from the ‘extreme engineering’ school of custom bike building, and unlike most extreme customs, his bike holds together visually. It’s based on a late model 1983 6-cylinder Honda CBX, although little remains of the Honda donor. The new frame, for example, is crafted from one-inch thick aluminum sheet that Larry cut, bent and twisted into a multitude of angles—as if it were a paper origami sculpture. He designed a front end similar to BMW’s radical Telelever system, and installed a single-sided Ducati 916 swingarm at the back.
Wheels are 17” Marchesinis from a Ducati 996. The sinuous, six-into-six exhaust system is a highlight: it took Maf Welch of Expressive Engineering three weeks to build, and required seven meters of stainless steel tubing.
It’s tempting to overcook a bike like this, so the paintjob is thankfully low-key: a gunmetal black base is overlaid with dusted silver, and finished with orange pinstriping. (A color scheme coincidentally close to the colors of the original, unmolested CBX.) If I was a show judge, I’d say the result is edgy and provocative—and a welcome departure from the usual ‘Hot Wheels’ show bike look.