The new ICON 1000 Brigand Collection

Chopper Rescue: A classic Honda restoration by HB-Custom

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
With clean lines and timeless styling, the Honda CB500 Four is one of the most fetching machines the Japanese marque has ever produced. If you had one on the bench, you might be tempted to restore rather than modify it. Unless it’s already been converted into a hideous chopper—in which case, all bets are off and you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Holger Breuer of HB-Custom found himself in that boat when he got his hands on an original AME Honda chopper. AME is a German parts and customization company that turned CB500s into TÜV-friendly choppers in the 80s.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
The really surprising part is that Holger wasn’t asked to customize the chopped CB: he chose the bike himself. “I saw the Honda on the internet at a very attractive price,” he tells us. “The bike looked strange but I saw big potential in it.”

“So I convinced my neighbor to become the customer for this project!”

An original AME Honda CB500 chopper from the 90s, sold in Germany
In his workshop in the colorful maritime town of Husum, Germany, Holger’s first job was to convert the CB500 from chopper [above] to standard. The AME style would have been hot property in Germany the 80s, but the raked-out stance and orange paint (with yellow flames) hasn’t dated well, to put it mildly.

Luckily, AME raked out the CB500 front end with a clever mod that offset the yokes, rather than grinding away at the metalwork. So Holger reversed it, then shortened the forks to bring things back in line. A set of YSS shocks were installed at the back to even the bike’s stance out more.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
The CB500 also came with a set of 16” AME wheels—but these suited Holger’s intentions just fine. So he stripped them, had the hoops powder coated black, and rebuilt them with new spokes. They’re now wrapped in chunky 5.00×16 retro treads from Shinko.

Moving to the frame, Holger shortened the rear end and added a new loop in. There’s a slim tuck and roll seat up top, with a taillight hiding away underneath.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
The fuel tank isn’t an original CB500 Four tank, nor is it the AME peanut tank that the bike was sold with—it’s actually from a CB550. To attach it, Holger had to add new tabs to the frame.

Not one inch of the bike’s cockpit was usable. It all worked, but it just didn’t look good, so Holger swapped everything out. A new pair of risers now holds a set of tapered Magura handlebars, with new grips to match.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
The bar-end turn signals and tiny digital speedo are from Motogadget, the throttle’s from Domino and the levers are Magura items.

The CB500 has been rewired and now runs off a small Lithium-ion battery. Other upgrades include new and minimal switchgear, an LED headlight, and a single bar-end mirror from Highsider. And there’s a pair of new Tarozzi rearsets too.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
The motor’s also had its fair share of attention; it’s been rebuilt, and cleaned up to look brand spanking new. Holger upgraded it with a programmable ignition, and a stack of Mikuni’s brand new TM40-6 flatslide carbs. (He reckons he’s the first guy to get his mitts on these in Germany).

The exhaust is a classic four-into-one arrangement from Delkevic. With those mods and some fine-tuning on a dyno, power has been boosted by ten PS.

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell
There’s nothing out of the left field here—just a clean and simple retro standard, with perfect proportions and tasteful enhancements. And that tasty blue, black and white livery hits the sweet spot too.

It’s a far cry from the 80s chopper that first rolled into the HB-Custom workshop. If we were Holger’s neighbor, we’d be stoked.

H-B Custom | Instagram | Images by Emayat Wahab

Classic Honda restoration: A CB500 rescued from chopper hell

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
3K Shares
READ NEXT