Aside from Kawasaki’s recent KLR 650 update, big-bore dual-sports don’t really receive the attention that they once did. Whether it’s Suzuki’s DR650 or Honda’s XR650L, most large-displacement, single-cylinder dual-sports still cling to technology implemented in the early ‘90s. Honda’s NX650 Dominator was instrumental during those days, and Slovakia-based Earth Motorcycles felt it was time to honor the model with its latest scrambler build.
Starting with a 1991 NX650, Earth Motorcycles chief builder Aleš Tomis had a vision of building “a bike with a straight line through the tank and subframe.” To achieve the minimalist look, Tomis stripped the Dominator down to the chassis. With the plastics and bodywork aside, he welded on new frame tabs and mounted a retro gas tank. Tomis then constructed a brand-new subframe to continue the lines of the new fuel cell.
Gallery: Cikula: 1991 Honda NX650 Dominator
The new subframe rails terminate in slash cut recesses that house the rear LED indicators and brake light. Up top, Tomis fabricated the drop tail seat using 3D design software and a laser cutter. Despite the high-tech tools, the builder repurposed the original seat foam and wrapped it all in perforated leather. The facelift merges modern minimalism with classic scrambler style but also svelte, new form also benefits riding performance.
“The bike is very lightweight compared to the original Dominator that I own,” noted Tomis. “It’s very easy to ride, and fun for people who want to have a ‘universal’ bike—for town and light off-road terrain.”
Under the cosmetics, the four-stroke, 644cc single received a fair share of attention. Tomis rebuilt the big thumper with new gaskets, rings, seals, and rocker arms. Similarly, the team updated the transmission and ultrasonically cleaned the carburetor. A new DNA air filter and custom two-into-one exhaust open the NX650’s airways. An Aliant battery and Motogadget controller make sure everything now runs smoothly.
To prep the Dominator for more on-road riding, Earth Motorcycles overhauled the rear shocks and lowered the front end. A 19-inch front wheel replaced the 21-inch OE unit and Tomis wrapped both wheels in Mitas E-07 semi-knob tires.
Fresh discs, pads, and braided lines improve the braking performance while a new chain and sprocket ready the NX650 for the tarmac and the trail. Big-bore dual-sports may not receive the attention they once did, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find new life in the hands of a skilled builder.