This 1978 Honda CX500 cafe racer belongs to Will, a young Industrial Designer from New Zealand. This build is a result of Will’s ever-longing desire to combine three of his passions; building, designing, and motorcycles… for which he was waiting for quite sometime for the right opportunity to fall in place.
It was 2015 when Will found himself participating in an auction. However, he bid and won a 1978 Honda CX500, which wasn’t to the best of its conditions. The motorcycle came as an assortment of parts inside a box. This wasn’t a bad thing as it gave Will all the creative freedom to build something of his own. The Honda V-twin hadn’t run since 1985, so there was quite a lot of work that had to go in to get it back on the street.
While Will had a tight budget to work with, the resulting build is absolutely fantastic. It is one of the cleanest Honda CX500 cafe racers ever built, just as he had imagined it to be – clean, minimal and retro-modernist. The white paint on the tank now perfectly contrasts with the transverse V-twin that pops out from either side.
Will used his industrial design know-how to create a concept render in CAD that included a new subframe. For working on the bike, he used to head over to his friend’s garages, sometimes work on his living room floor or head to his parents shed. Slowly the cafe racer started taking shape to what you see in the photos here. Unfortunately, the story of this custom Honda cafe racer ends on a bittersweet note. Soon after Will finished his build and took a couple of rides on it, he had to relocate to the UK, where he is staying currently. The 1978 Honda CX500 Cafe Racer, fully built and ready to ride had to be assigned to storage back home in New Zealand where it waits in the dark for Will’s return.
Images by Will Nicholson