The Honda CX500 has always lacked the cachet of the earlier CB550 Four. Which is ironic, because the CB550 was little more than a downsized CB750; Honda was losing ground in the technological stakes to the other Japanese makers.
So Honda gave the new CX500 a water-cooled V-twin, shaft drive and tubeless tires—all quite revolutionary concepts in the late 70s. But the awkward, angular styling did not match the inspired engineering. Max, the French owner of this CX500, decided to fix that. He gave the Wrenchmonkees a call.
According to Wrenchmonkee Per, “Max rode his old CX500 from France to Copenhagen last October. The bike was in fair condition at first glance, but we needed to make repairs on the frame due to rust problems.”
“The frame uses welded metal plates in several places, and in the hollow spaces rust will eat up the frame from the inside. But the engine ran smooth so we left it untouched, with only some new gaskets, paint on the valve covers, intensive cleaning and an overall service.”
The Wrenchmonkees didn’t have a specific plan for transforming this Honda CX500, but when they stripped the bike down, they saw what could be achieved. “The wheel set-up, tank, and the original construction of the frame pulled us in the direction of a ‘chopper-racer’,” says Per.
The tank in question is the more rounded item from a CX500C, Honda’s later attempt to soften the lines of the original CX500 with a ‘custom’ look. The Wrenchmonkees then removed the rear frame, and built a custom exhaust system and new fenders.
The battery box was moved and a new seat unit fitted to complement the curvier looks of the bike. A smattering of Tomaselli and Tarozzi parts were fitted, along with the headlight and speedo from a Mini. And the whole lot was finished in a timeless metallic brown.
The result is a very stylish bike from inauspicious beginnings. And when the Wrenchmonkees entered the Honda CX500 into the Danish Forever Two Wheels custom show on a whim, it took the honors in the Open class.
No doubt Max rode his bike back to France a very happy man.
To see more Wrenchmonkees motorcycles, check our extensive coverage here.
CX 500E frame, engine
CX 500C tank, wheels
Rear frame, brackets removed
Standard engine, K&N filters
Standard swingarm, front fork (lowered)
WM one-off battery box under engine
WM one-off rear fender
WM one-off seat
19” front and 16″ rear Comstar wheels, semi-gloss black, Firestone Deluxe tires
WM one-off front fender
WM one-off steel windshield
WM one-off exhaust system
Tarozzi foot pegs
Bitubo rear shocks
New wiring and lights
Secondhand rear light
Tomaselli quick gasgrip
Brembo brake master
Drilled front discs
Steel braided brake hoses