Three years ago, Poland’s Eastern Spirit Garage exploded onto the custom scene with one of the best Honda CX500s ever built. Its immaculate lines even inspired automotive designer Charlie Trelogan to write a hugely popular guide, How To Build A Cafe Racer.
Lukas and Sylwester from Eastern Spirit are now back with another Honda CX500, and it’s even better than the first. It’s a little less raw, a little more detailed, and drop-dead gorgeous.
“I enjoy building ‘classic’ looking bikes,” Sylwester tells us, “so most of the technical elements are original, but with modern touches.”
The beautifully proportioned lines of this machine are in direct opposition to Sylwester’s background: Like Guy Martin, he’s spent much of his career working on monster Scania trucks.
But he also spent his teens tweaking Polish WSK and WFM mopeds, and building karts with Honda CBR engines. And the years of engineering experience are clear to see.
This Honda CX500 is a 1978 bike, lowered by eight centimeters. The suspension has been stiffened up with new springs and oil, but the ground clearance is still ample. “With the improved center of gravity it handles way better, and corners much faster,” says Sylwester.
New triple clamps tidy up the front end, and there’s a cleaner dashboard to match—with twin compact gauges and ‘idiot lights’ set into the front edge of the top clamp.
The tank has been reshaped and set level, removing the awkward slope from the original. It sits flush with a new rear frame: nothing fancy here, just clean lines and a classic humped seat unit with a diagonal support underneath.
If you need to carry a passenger, there’s a two-up seat that is an easy ten-minute job to switch.
The distinctive Honda CX500 central down tube remains, but it’s much less noticeable, and is now flanked by a pair of cone filters. The engine has been completely refreshed, and a new cam chain and tensioner fitted—a common wear issue with the overhead valve, liquid-cooled v-twin.
To keep the CX500 humming sweetly along, there’s also a new clutch, new brakes with metal braided hoses, and a brand new wiring loom.
The exhaust headers have been fashioned from an acid-resistant, high alloy stainless steel. They’re bent to match the original shape, but terminated with blacked-out reverse cone mufflers.
We love the simplicity of the black-and-white color scheme too. The ungainly clutter of the standard CX500 has all gone: this is truly the ugly duckling transformed into a swan.