By Gareth Charlton - 06 Jan 15
Ben Pilatti from Collie, a small mining town in the corner of Western Australia has never met David Mucci from Chicago, Illinois but he certainly catches his drift. People in far flung corners of the globe being inspired by those on completely separate continents who share but one thing in common, a passion for motorcycles. It is certainly heartwarming stuff for the January of a New Year. It was David's CX500 that proved the key source of inspiration when Ben embarked on his first bike build nearly 11000 miles away and no doubt David would be pleased to see this lovely CX his original encouraged. Last year Ben completed his design degree (majoring in architecture) and currently works in Perth in the IT sales industry, but motorcycles, more specifically transverse twin motorcycles, are in his blood. "What inspired me was my brother getting a Moto Guzzi V7 Racer back in 2012. We have a couple of Guzzis in the family so I guess that’s where the transverse v-twin fixation came from!" Eager to get cracking on his first bike Ben sourced a '78 Honda CX500 from a guy named Mario a little north of Perth. The bike belonged to Mario's father-in-law from new and they had brought the bike to Perth when they moved over from South Africa. Ben in effect became the 37 year old bikes second owner from new. It had relatively low kms for its age and was in stunning condition due to its life spent basking in the sun. Ben is an amateur when it comes to mechanics but he tackled most of the work himself in his uncle's shed. "In terms of upgrades all I really needed to do was replace the original CDI with a kick-ass aftermarket Ignitech unit. From there I replaced the bars, indicators, gauges, tail light, mirrors, headlight unit, front and rear guards, rear shock absorbers, exhaust and muffler." Ben got the majority of the parts from Modern Motorcycle Company in Melbourne. Hellbound Cycle Supply and Custom Bike Electrics, two local Perth suppliers, sorted him with the rest of the bits. "Challenges wise, replacing the water pump seal in the back of the engine in situ was a very difficult task. That, along with the constant cleaning and fine tuning of the carburettors. The inside of the tank was all flaky and rusty (as I discovered after a few awkward breakdowns…) so I had to hit it with a POR15 Tank Re-sealer kit. The first time I saw clean petrol flowing through the filter was a damn good day!" With the inside of the tank sorted Ben opted to leave the metal on the outside bare. It requires polishing every fortnight or so to keep the oxidisation at bay, but Ben finds the process therapeutic. 66 Motorcycles in O’Connor helped out with chopping the frame and making up the seat pan. The seat was then upholstered by another local Perth professional who according to Ben did an amazing job. The wheels were powder coated in satin black before being fitted with Shinko tyres. Ben uses the bike every day to get to work and to carry out errands, in the short amount of time he has had it completed the trusty CX has clocked up quite a significant amount of kilometres. "A unique feature of the bike wold have to be the sound. I work in the Perth CBD so when I roll up into my parking spot and the sound is bouncing off the high walls of King Street, it makes me smile every time.." "How does it ride? It’s quite good! I’m quite happy with the bike. The brakes are a little spongy and the front end is waaay too soft but other than that I love it. Especially with the new clubman bars! So next on the list is probably a nice set of progressive springs up front. I also have a twin-disk front end from a later model CX500 in my garage that I will get ready to put on soon." When he has finished fine tuning his CX, rather inevitably, Ben intends to get his hands on a Guzzi. Either an older Le Mans or a new V7 - "Something usable on the streets of Perth but also able to go on long runs down south to Collie and Margaret River on a whim." We look forward to seeing that Ben, and who knows where around the globe lies the next budding amateur that Guzzi may inspire?