Two Scoops: Federal Moto’s gelato-inspired Honda CX650

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Milwaukee’s Mama Tried Show is one of the most eclectic shows on the calendar. Choppers, flat trackers and café racers all vie for attention, in a jumbled sea of custom motorcycle goodness.

To get noticed, you either need something extremely classy, or totally over the top. This Honda CX650 is a little bit of both—with tasty mods and a paint job that’s as cool as gelato on a hot day. So it didn’t take me long to sniff it out at the show earlier this year.

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
It’s the work of the Chicago shop Federal Moto, which is headquartered just 100 miles down the road from Milwaukee. As the shop’s ninth build, its official designation is ‘FED-009’—but the guys have taken to calling it ‘Two Scoops.’

The donor was a 1983-model Honda CX650 Custom—a rarity in the US. “The CX650C was only available in the States for one year, before Honda pulled the plug,” explains Federal’s lead builder, Michael Muller. “So when we stumbled upon it we knew it needed a Federal makeover.”

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
As it turns out, it needed more than just a makeover. Federal had to give it a ‘quadruple bypass’ engine overhaul to get it up to spec. That meant a full top to bottom rebuild, with new gaskets, new piston rings and some honing work.

They also upgraded the cam chain, tensioner and guide blades, the stator, the cam shaft seal and the starter clutch springs.

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Like the CX500 Custom, the CX650 Custom was Honda’s attempt at building a cruiser on the CX platform. And that was far off what Michael and his crew envisioned.

“The bike’s stance is very upright and tight now,” he says. “We wanted the rider to have full control of the bike and feel connected to the road…a funky supermoto vibe on a fat bike.”

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
It took some doing to get there. The front end is all-new, with the forks, lower triple tree and brakes from a 2006 Suzuki GSX-R600. Those were matched up to a top yoke and front wheel hub from Cognito Moto, and the fork legs were anodized black.

The rear hub was lifted from a 1988 Honda Shadow, and mated to the CX’s drive shaft. Buchanan’s laced up a new set of 17” Sun aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes. They’re wrapped in Metzeler Racetec RR rubber for max grip.

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Federal also fabricated a new subframe and a discreet electronics tray, and installed new shocks to lift the rear.

This CX’s been treated to new bodywork too, thanks to the skills of master metal shaper Craig Rodsmith. Craig’s based in nearby Grayslake, so Federal decided to spend some time with him to soak up some of his experience.

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Craig whipped up a new tank and tail section for the build, shaping them from aluminum. (And he modified the frame’s steering neck to make that front-end conversion possible.) Then back at Federal HQ, the team rolled a set of fenders and built custom brackets for them.

The Honda was also rewired from top to bottom, using components that Federal stock in their own online store. The new setup includes a Motogadget m.unit, LED lighting, Posh switches from Japan, and a digital speedo from Koso. Federal fitted Biltwell Inc. grips and footpegs too, along with ‘Superlow’ bars from Renthal,

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Other upgrades include a pair of brass-screened velocity stacks, and handmade exhaust headers that terminate in a single Cone Engineering muffler, under the tail.

As for the CX’s new color palette, Michael tells us it’s been sitting on the back burner for a while—just waiting for the right project. It very loosely draws inspiration from the Paul Smart Ducati Sport Classic, but with mint and peach, and chocolate accents via the grips and seat leather.

1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto
Peter Gamen of Kandy Van did the paintwork, and knocked it way out the park.

The coloring is borderline whacky, but also endearing. And with the tweaked stance and chassis upgrades, it should be a blast to ride too.

Or, as Michael puts it: “Grab a spoon and get a taste of Two Scoops!”

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1983 Honda CX650 custom by Federal Moto