Steve Foster's CX500
By Anthony van Someren - 06 Nov 13
We first saw this CX at the start of the year and have been waiting a long time to get decent photos and the info behind the build, but it's been well worth the wait. Yet again the humble Honda CX500 - that ugly courier bike - has been revealed in a new light, and this one is yet another take on what can be achieved with a bit of vision and hard work. The owner is Steve Foster, who grew up in the UK but was fortunate enough to follow his parents to Australia in the '80s and now enjoys a climate suitable for year-round biking. Steve is now a financial computing consultant by day, but spends his evenings and weekends dreaming up his next bike project, and if this one is anything to go by we can't wait to see it. Steve admits he's hooked; "I can’t help modifying vehicles, it's therapeutic and I’ve always liked using my hands to create things, over the years I’ve built up several cars, including a V8 Kombi, but I needed a project that was a bit smaller and wanted to get back into bikes after being off them for a few years while my youngest started to grow up. I always thought CX’s were ugly but I loved the engine and the quirkiness of them. Honda had stuffed them with everything they could think of and I thought it would make a good base for a café racer style." But Steve wasn't following any trends when he started this project. "When I bought it and started it it was before the current trend of modded CX’s really kicked in." The bike is a 1980 model, called the Shadow in Australia, and it was found on Ebay for just $400. It was registered as a daily rider but in very rough condition, so Steve and his mate, Mike, jumped in his old postal van and did the 2,000km round trip to pick it up, plus another bike for him and a rear diff for his Jeep. "We did it in a couple of days and it was a good laugh, the van had no reverse and the transmission was slipping as well so we had a real mission. It was worth it though." The plan was to turn the bike into a café racer, but to keep it cheap; however, Steve's been adding to the bike for over four years now so we'd imagine there are hundreds of hours in the bike. Cool bits include the Mikuni VM34 carb kit from a CX guru in the US (Murray), bolting on a Hyosung GT650R front end, which was picked up from a bike wreckers for about a third of the price of a CBR600RR front end. "It was a fairly simple fit with just some mixing and matching of bearings and a stainless steel sleeve made for the lower bearing/stem." The bike also has plenty of other neat touches, like the conversion to an electric fan so the mechanical one on the end of the camshaft could go, RFID ignition, so there's no key, plus the lovely replica Laverda SFC750 race fairing. There are of course lots of other little bits, like relocated electrics, homemade rear sets, spin-on oil filter, home made leather trimmed seat on roccitycafe seatbase. "The aim was a café bike that had the additional performance, so along with the carbs/intakes and exhaust the heads were also port matched to the intakes." The paint on the tank and seat was done by Mike, while the fairing finished by RENE9ADE Custom Motorcycles, and is actually Honda Repsol orange, rather than a tribute to Laverda, as you might have expected. So, how has the bike turned out? Well, Steve tells us she's a totally different bike to the stock machine; quicker, better handling, sharper brakes, and capable of picking up the front wheel. It sounds like the visual transformation has been mirrored in how the bike handles. On the menu for future upgrades are a wider rear wheel and maybe a new engine with a bit more power, plus a VF750 belly pan. Keep us posted Steve.