The Honda CX500 is not the prettiest of motorcycles. Launched in 1978 and produced for just five years, it attracted a wide range of uncomplimentary nicknames. Like ‘plastic pig’ or ‘flying maggot.’ But the CX500 was a tough and reliable bike—popular with couriers—and today, secondhand examples are cheap. You’ll rarely pay more than $1,500 for a mint specimen in the US.
The CX500 is gaining increasing favor with custom shops, thanks to the efforts of folks like the Wrenchmonkees and Dave Mucci. And now we have this 1982-model custom from Poland—further proof that there’s life in the old dog yet.
This bike is owned by Warsaw photographer Mateusz Stankiewicz, and he built it with the help of a local garage, Eastern Spirit. Amazingly enough, this is Mateusz’ first project: “It was a great chance to deal with the infamous CX500,” he says. “But the engine is durable, hardworking and faithful—so it made the whole concept tempting.”
The build started with the back half of the frame, which was completely redesigned, blasted and powdercoated. The stock frame, once the seat is removed, is almost as low as a traditional bobber—so Mateusz lifted the back around five inches. Not least to suit his lofty 6’2” (192 cm) stature. The tank was then sandblasted and leveled to align with the new frame and the front end was lowered to create a more aggressive but still comfortable riding position.
The CX500 engine was in good shape, so Eastern Spirit simply treated it to a fresh set of gaskets and hoses, new filters, and a thorough carb clean. The brakes were overhauled and the electrics rewired. The battery, in case you are wondering, is now hidden underneath the driveshaft.
Other upgrades include a custom exhaust system and rearsets, plus new clip-ons, gauges, turn signals and lighting. A seat cowl was hand-fabricated from 1 mm steel to match a custom seat unit.
“It’s a relatively small bike but it fits me perfectly,” says Mateusz. “And it handles great, despite the tires! I don’t use it on the track though: It’s my daily ride through the city at the moment.”
Eastern Spirit has three more custom motorcycle projects in the works, including a 1977 Honda CB550 and a 1982 Yamaha XJ650 that’s been given a 900 cc engine transplant. And yes, we’ll be keeping a close eye out for them.
Head over to the Bike EXIF Google+ page for more exclusive images of this machine.