Black Magic: A stealthy Honda NX650 from the Baltics

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
It’s always good to discover a new name on the custom scene, and this week we happened across Differs—a garage from the Baltic state of Lithuania. It’s headquartered in the capital of Vilnius, a beautiful city that can trace its history back to the 13th century.

There’s absolutely nothing old fashioned about Differs’ custom builds, though: they like to keep their style fresh and modern. “We prefer the present day over the past,” says founder Povilas Vaisiauskas. And this crisp, sharp-edged Honda NX650 is proof that his philosophy works.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
The NX650 is the first time Differs has tackled a dual sport bike, even though they’ve been operating for four years now. Also known as the Dominator, the air-cooled single was Honda’s first foray into a market blown wide open by BMW’s R80 G/S in the 1980s.

The NX was always more of an urban-friendly trail bike though, and that’s the aspect of its personality that Differs have chosen to amplify. Povilas and his right-hand man, engineer Paulius Taraškevičius, wanted to build “a beautiful off-road style motorcycle with an urban twist on its looks.”

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
They started by dismantling and completely rebuilding the tough four-valve motor, and added a custom-built exhaust system with two header pipes and an aftermarket SuperTrapp-style muffler.

After cleaning up and refinishing the frame, the suspension was next to get a refurb. The stock setup is pretty good: despite having non-adjustable forks, the stanchions are a sizeable 41mm and give plenty of travel.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
Differs have trimmed a couple of inches off the forks to level the stance and edge the NX650 more towards street tracker territory.

The wheels are new: lightweight Akront rims, finished in black to match the rest of the bike. (“Not difficult to install,” Povilas reports.) They’re shod with new Continental TKC80 rubber that works well both on- and off-road.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
The bodywork is all new, and completely transforms the NX650. Mechanically, the Dominator has always been a paragon of Honda reliability and usability, but its plastics have not dated well.

It’s ironic that the new tank is from another 1980s Honda relic—the MTX125—but it’s somehow helped shift the NX into the 21st century. It’s sleek and compact, unlike the original, and took a fair bit of massaging to fit.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
“We had re-arrange the attachment system,” says Povilas. “We removed the old tabs and added new ones to the front and back of the tank. We also had to adjust the bottom of the tank to make it fit to the frame.”

Differs have topped it off with a stainless steel fuel cap, as an upgrade over the flimsy plastic original.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
Right behind the tank is a modified solo seat, much shorter than the original, and an aftermarket off-road fender tweaked to fit the NX650’s subframe. Angular new side covers complete the look, crafted from aluminum and bolted on.

Differs raided the best of the European aftermarket parts catalogs for ancillaries, installing LSL flat track bars and Ariete grips, plus glassless m.view spy mirrors and a Motoscope Mini speedo from Motogadget.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
The wiring is new, hooked up to LEDs for the turn signals and taillight. An aftermarket headlight mask holds LED headlights with separate low- and high-beam units.

Put it all together, and it’s a very smart update for one of Honda’s best-ever bikes. The new paint is suitably discreet; adding just a sophisticated flash of red to the monochrome finishes elsewhere.

Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania
Best of all, this NX650 is one of those customs that promises years of fun, and is massively usable too. And that’s exactly how Povilas and Paulius like it.

“Our style is minimal-yet-edgy, but it’s still a practical bike, rather than one to ‘look at’ only,” says Povilas.

Custom fans in central and eastern Europe, take note.

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Honda NX650 Dominator by Differs of Lithuania