The Rescue: A Honda CX500 cafe racer from Buenos Aires

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Against all odds, the eternally goofy Honda CX500 has become a popular choice for custom projects. But it’s hard to get ‘right,’ as bike builder Patricio Germano now realizes. When it arrived in his workshop, this CX500 had already been worked over—but it was in dire need of a makeover.

Patricio runs the Invader Cycle Company workshop out of San Martín, in the greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area of Argentina. Invader is mostly a one-man-show, but Patricio had some help on this project from his friend, Martin Neme.

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Patricio’s forte is choppers and bobbers, but he’s stoked to work on any style of build—even slick cafe racers like this one. Why? “Well, because it has two wheels,” he explains. “And when a customer gives me the liberty to do what I want, that’s when the best results show. Because the bike ends up looking like a ‘whole’.”

This 1979-model CX500 was booked in for some light rescue work, but the job soon snowballed. “The bike had been modified previously,” he says, “and the client wanted to fix some mechanical issues, and change the subframe and seat. But then he decided he wanted to redo the whole thing.”

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Patricio prefers building bikes from scratch, but the client wanted to retain at least some of the stock CX500. So Patricio decided to focus his energy on more subtle changes.

“I wanted to build something classic,” he says, “but with some tech flavor. So I used the Motogadget stuff that is very subtle, and doesn’t pop out from the bike when you look at it. So when you see the bike you see something classic, but when you start to pay attention to the details, you notice the tech stuff.”

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Patricio did indeed build something classic, thanks to some clever nipping and tucking. He kept the stock tank at the client’s request, but lifted it slightly at the rear to level it out. Then he built an all-new subframe, with a hand-shaped rear cowl to round it off.

The seat unit pops off to reveal a custom-made electrics box, and can be swapped for a passenger-friendly seat, along with bolt-on pillion pegs. The license plate holder looks like an off-the-shelf part, but it’s actually custom—it’s made from laser-cut parts, and designed so that it can be folded away.

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
This Honda not only cuts a classic silhouette, but also has a flawless stance. Patricio installed a set of Suzuki Hayabusa forks and yokes, after shaving the casting marks off the lower triple and powder coating the set black. A pair of Öhlins piggyback shocks keeps things propped up out back.

The wheels are 16” units from a Harley-Davidson, with the rear heavily modded to work with the Honda’s shaft drive. The front Tokico brake calipers are from the ‘Busa too, but they were stripped, painted black, and reassembled with stainless steel hardware and new lines. The rear brake’s a vintage NOS Brembo setup, and the rotors at both ends are custom.

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Sticking to his original plan, Patricio rewired the Honda around a smörgåsbord of Motogadget goodies. He picked their Bluetooth-enabled mo.unit controller, and installed a new Li-Po battery and a Mosfet voltage regulator along with it.

Up in the cockpit are a Motogadget speedo, keyless ignition, grips, switches and bar-end mirrors. Patricio made his own clip-ons off the Hayabusa clamps, so that he could run internal wiring. The headlight’s a J.W. Speaker unit from Cognito Moto, and there’s a set of Motogadget turn signal and taillight combo LEDs at the back.

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Other custom touches include a new aluminum radiator cover, with a honeycomb screen, fabricated by Hidden Custom. The exhaust mufflers are classic reverse cones from GD Motocicletas, and the airbox has been swapped for a pair of K&N filters. Buenos Aires Choppers took care of tuning duties, to make sure all the changes played nice together.

With everything in place, the CX500 was stripped so that its frame could be blasted and powder coated. Patricio had the smaller parts done in a satin black, and replaced all the hardware with stainless steel items.

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company
Kustom Planet handled the luscious black paint job, while Only Custom Seat tackled the upholstery.

There’s not a hair out of place—and there’s no one part screaming for attention either. This CX500 is simply a perfectly proportioned cafe racer with a killer stance, and a well judged parts list. Not bad for a rescue job.

Invader Cycle Company Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Alejo Pichot

Honda CX500 cafe racer by Invader Cycle Company

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