The Nightcrawler: A Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
If you’ve ever looked at the Honda CL500 and thought it resembled a small cruiser that’s been crudely massaged into the shape of a scrambler, you’d be right. Honda’s middleweight soft-roader borrows its main frame (and some of its style) from the Japanese firm’s awkward-looking Rebel 500 cruiser. But it’s a cute whip nonetheless—and its 471 cc parallel-twin mill is easy to get along with.

This Honda CL500 scrambler from MOTOISM proves that the plucky 500 enjoys a little tweaking, too. The Munich-based workshop collaborated with Honda Germany on the project, using the opportunity to create a small plug-and-play kit for the CL500 in the process.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
Bolt-on mods are nothing new for MOTOISM. The crew made their bones with full-on custom builds but soon realized that there’s a market for parts that create maximum visual impact with minimum effort. It’s an approach that suits their contemporary modular aesthetic well.

The kit for this particular Honda CL500 scrambler comprises just five pieces, all of which attach directly to the base bike without needing to break out an angle grinder. It’s your typical nip-and-tuck affair; a quick way to ditch the bulky OEM accoutrements to create something slicker and more cohesive. Accompanying the kit parts is a smorgasbord of well-judged upgrades—plus a radical livery.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
The changes start up front, where a sculpted headlight nacelle wraps around the Honda’s stock LED headlight. MOTOISM’s mods retain the original speedo, but the new shroud’s been designed to complement rather than hide it.

Flanking the headlight is a pair of fork sleeves with integrated LED turn signals. Each sleeve uses a two-piece design that clamps around the fork leg—so there’s no need to drop the forks to install them. A stubby front fender sits lower down, mounted on laser-cut brackets.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
Out back, the Honda CL500’s chunky taillight cluster is replaced by a series of tidy MOTOISM parts. A small taillight and turn signal assembly sits atop the rear fender, sporting a molded style that echoes that of the headlight nacelle. It’s the only part in the kit that requires a power tool, since you need to drill two small holes to install it.

You don’t need to fiddle with wiring though, since the team has designed the unit to plug straight into the Honda’s wiring harness. A laser-cut and CNC-folded license plate holder finishes off the tail, complete with a blank-off plate that covers the holes left by the original taillight.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
That the parts combine to create such a cohesive look is no accident. MOTOISM’s founder, Ben Ott, explains that each item was designed using 3D software, based on a 3D scan of the donor bike. The final parts were then 3D-printed using production-ready materials.

The steel bits that accompany the 3D-printed bits were all laser-cut and then powder-coated black. MOTOISM took it a step further on this prototype build, by breaking down several smaller parts and Cerakoting them black to match.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
The Honda CL500 scrambler wears more than just MOTOISM’s kit though. The team also installed a set of TRW Lucas enduro handlebars, fitted with a vintage-style Tecnosel Honda crossbar pad and LSL bar-end mirrors. And yes, that is a cup holder mounted to the handlebars.

“I’ve never seen one on a bike, and it would be one of the features one would miss in a car if it wasn’t there,” explains Ben. “But why have it? Maybe simply because we can, and I love giving bikes some artistic touches. It’s the cherry on top of the cake, the fun, the ‘take it easy’ approach.”

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
The cup holder carries a bottle of Ramune—a highly popular Japanese soft drink, and a nod to the bike’s Japan-inspired graphics. MOTOISM enlisted the help of graphic designer Andy Werner, adorning the bike in red, white, and black, and dubbing it ‘The Nightcrawler.’

Finishing touches on this Honda scrambler include a bespoke seat cover, and a black-Cerakoted Arrow exhaust with a carbon fiber heat shield. Dirt-ready Metzeler Karoo 4 tires add to the fun.

Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM
The Honda CL500’s goofy stance isn’t about to win it any beauty contests, but MOTOISM’s subtle mods are enough to prove that there’s potential there. More CL500 customs, anyone?

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Honda CL500 scrambler by MOTOISM

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