Nathan's Balcony-built CX500
By Anthony van Someren - 17 Dec 13
When Nathan G, AKA "701let" (...no, we didn't ask) wasn't beating panels in his day-job in Brisbane, Australia, you might have found him out on his front balcony, building this CX500 custom cafe racer over a "grueling' six months. Battered by howling winds and hungry mosquitos in limited space was a test of endurance, but it also gave rise to the bike's nickname; "Howler". Nathan adds; "I could also call it the splutter, as my carbs desperately need a tune." "I don't have a garage and I cant keep myself from modifying things. So I took all the furniture off the front balcony and started stripping down my first motorbike. You realise pretty quickly how little room you have once the bike is entirely in pieces." Nathan also wanted to have something out of the ordinary; "I could have bought an R1 just like every other man and his dog, but I wanted my first bike to be out of this world". The bike is a 1981 Honda CX500 and was found on Gumtree, wearing a sheepskin seat cover and 'rancid' high ride bars. Nathan felt he owed the bike some dignity. "My vision came from working on cars for the past 10 years, It was a cross pollination of ideas taken from different cars I had worked on. Trying to keep everything to as tight a budget as possible. I had just about searched every motorcycle on every website and had taken a lot of inspiration from vintage cars in the 50's/60's. I wanted it to look restored but still maintain some of the old rat look without making it a rat bike." After being completely stripped, every part of the bike was cleaned, sanded, painted, machined and then hacked to pieces or welded-up. The frame was cut four inches shorter under the seat. "The seat was then custom made by laying my own fibreglass seat pan and design a hook and leather strap method to hold it in place." Nathan goes on to give some good advice, learned the hard way; "...Always make your fibreglass seat pan before you paint the frame. I cant tell you how much of a pain in the ass it was to paint it a 2nd time." "The engine was finished in high temp wrinkle coat with the shaved in logo, which I had taken from the old Honda car engines. The pipes were the hardest to deal with as I wasn't certain how I wanted them to go. I have always liked the scrambler look and the CX500 is such a heavy looking bike that I felt I needed to take some weight out of the design. With the pipes up nice and high it also shows the engine and shaft drive off a bit better. The engine almost looks like a bomb or and old school jet engine or something. Hanging as low as it does." The scrambler pipes and old school leather belt are Nathan's special touches. "The belt is to signify the vintage car scene. The same way we used leather bonnet straps on the old race cars of yesteryear. There's nothing better than old leather and steel." The final paint finish is taken from a BMW 7 series car - "All Class" as Nathan wanted a "Gentleman's look". We asked how she rides, and Nathan tells us that the torque from the transverse V is immense and he loves the sideways torque reaction from the shaft drive when he pulls away, but then his last bike was a 125cc, so he admits that after that, anything will seem fast. Getting your chest and chin on the tank also helps... Nathan has now got the bike building bug, so his balcony can look forward to accommodating a CB750F Supersport and then another CX500. We can't wait to see them. Cheers for sharing with us Nathan. Thanks to Chad's Photography for the Photos.