By Ross Sharp - 05 Nov 14
Sometimes cosmetic upgrades have a place and synthesise with the subject seamlessly to create a more beautiful or perhaps less aesthetically challenging version of what went before. Other times the process can go awry, think Silvester Stallone's mum and some of the British bike brand reinventions revealed in the last few days; if the polish won't yield a result, then glitter sure as hell won't. Honda's CX500 is one such subject, but with customising enthusiasm for the model showing no sign of waning here's another fine example. Mário Araújo from Maia, Portugal likes a challenge and wanted to prove the cynics wrong and show in his interpretation that the "Plastic Maggot" can be a catwalk model; just as long you consult the right surgeon. Fuelled by an appreciation of Café Racer Dreams and their work, combined with some assistance from mates Joel Tiago and João Ferreira at Bike Studio, Mário set to work on a German import 1981 Honda CX500, confident in the bombproof mechanicals as a base for his designs. Keen to try and make the existing fuel tank work visually, rather than fit one from the US-targeted Custom model, Mário chose a BMW dark blue paint colour that would be slimming where possible. The line from the base runs congruently through to the rear subframe top tube and up to the loop which draws the eye around the side panel and back towards the engine. This may sound slightly artsy-fartsy but with a CX one needs to maintain a fair degree of artistic licence. Blue paint, with a Honda badge and brown upholstery; that rings some bells. The colour scheme I chose for my own Honda build a couple of years ago, for me it worked and I think in this case the same can be said. A slim but not pile-inducing seat is covered in brown vinyl and is capable of proper two-up trips, hence leaving the pillion foot pegs in situ. Wrapped headers lead into a shortish pair of polished reverse cone mufflers, standard fare these days but for good reason. Bars are a café racer style utilising the existing bar clamps, saving the need for expensive and potentially wrist-aching clipons. Levers and switchgear are stock, with brown vintage style grips tying the controls to the seat visually. Amber headlight paint is gaining traction in the customisers repertoire, and against dark blue paint works well. Mário was keen for form to follow function a wanted a bike that would actually ride well rather than look handsome parked up so shied away from Firestone vintage rubber and opted for Avon Roadriders, modern grip with a retro look. Mag wheel centres are painted black with polished rims; and fact of the day, the Honda CX was the first mass produced motorcycle to feature tubeless rims. Overall Mário is very pleased with the result of his and Bike Studio's endeavours, the bike rides well, sounds good and satisfies when the call comes from the open road. There are plans for a second bike but in the meantime this CX ill stretch its legs along the Portuguese coast. Keep an eye on Bike Studio over on their Facebook page.