If you ask most bike people, they’ll tell you to be wary of picking up someone else’s half-finished project. If you’re patient, adventurous, and either already pretty knowledgeable or else good at learning new things, your mileage may vary. What if you’re a custom shop, though, and a client comes to you with a half-finished project that some other builder properly botched?
That’s exactly the situation that Purpose Built Moto found itself in with this Honda CX500 café racer build, which they refer to as a rescue. Owner Joseph had already sunk quite a bit of time and expense into having his original builder do work on it, including a USD GSX-R front end swap, monoshock rear conversion, a whole bunch of wiring, and many custom-fabricated parts.
Some mods went better than others, and Joseph had a laundry list of issues he wanted to see addressed by the time he brought it to Purpose Built Moto for help. He’s a rider, not a builder, so while he could tell PBM that it didn’t ride right, and that the seat wasn’t comfortable at all, it was up to the shop to figure out why those things were the case.
According to PBM, most of the fabrication work was pretty nice. Unfortunately, pretty much everything else the previous builder had done needed to be fixed. In the video, you’ll hear and see PBM give a brief summary of all the issues they addressed, including lots of wiring mistakes, failure to use fresh bearings in the front-end conversion (yikes), how getting rearsets right on a CX500 can be especially tricky, and more.
More than just a showcase for PBM’s stellar work on this build, it’s also a good PSA for familiarizing yourself with your chosen builder’s ethos. Aesthetics are important, but miswiring an ignition isn’t something where there’s much room for debate about right and wrong ways to do things. If you’re paying someone else to do the job, you want to make sure that you’ll get the quality of work you expect. That may require a bit of homework on your part before any work starts, but it’s well worth doing.
In the end, this CX500 café racer build is a satin bronze stunner, full of interesting shapes to draw your eye. It also sounds pretty sweet, as you can hear in the video. Here’s hoping that Joseph gets a whole lot of enjoyment out of his completed bike after going on this journey.