The Honda CX500 has always lacked the cachet of the earlier CB550 Four. Which is ironic, because the CB550
was little more than a downsized CB750
; Honda was losing ground in the technological stakes to the other Japanese makers. So Honda gave the new CX500 a water-cooled V-twin, shaft drive and tubeless tires—all quite revolutionary concepts in the late 70s. But the awkward, angular styling did not match the inspired engineering. Max, the French owner of this CX500, decided to fix that. He gave the Wrenchmonkees
According to Wrenchmonkee Per, “Max rode his old CX500 from France to Copenhagen last October. The bike was in fair condition
at first glance, but we needed to make repairs on the frame due to rust problems. The frame uses welded metal plates in several places, and in the hollow spaces rust will eat up the frame from the inside. But the engine ran smooth so we left it untouched, with only some new gaskets, paint on the valve covers, intensive cleaning and an overall service.”
The Wrenchmonkees didn’t have a specific plan for transforming this CX500, but when they stripped the bike down, they saw what could be achieved. “The wheel set-up, tank, and the original construction of the frame pulled us in the direction of a ‘chopper-racer’,” says Per. The tank in question is the more rounded item from a CX500C, Honda’s later attempt to soften the lines of the original CX500 with a ‘custom’ look. The Wrenchmonkees then removed the rear frame, and built a custom exhaust system and new fenders. The battery box was moved and a new seat unit fitted to complement the curvier looks of the bike. A smattering of Tomaselli and Tarozzi parts were fitted, along with the headlight and speedo from a Mini. And the whole lot was finished in a timeless metallic brown. The result is a very stylish bike from inauspicious beginnings, and when the Wrenchmonkees entered it into the Danish Forever Two Wheels custom show on a whim, it took the honors in the Open class. No doubt Max rode his bike back to France a very happy man.