For those who’ve had their bikes stolen, there’s a whole range of emotions you might go through. Obviously, a lot depends on how much you loved the bike in question—as well as how much work you may have put into it. A few years ago, Bike Shed Motorcycle Club staffer Harry’s custom Honda CB550 got pinched. That sucked, of course—but it also cleared the way for him to build something new. Now he has this beautiful CX500 custom café racer, built by British custom shop Jackson Motorcycles.
Harry came up with some design ideas on his own, which clearly indicated a narrow, minimalist, and decidedly uncluttered look for his dream bike. Somewhere along the way, he decided that a CX500 was the way to go. In the U.K., they’re known as a common choice for couriers—reliable workhorse, commuter-type bikes that they were. As the story goes, he and Jackson then sourced a pair of CX500s that had sat for some time, and were about the price of one. If you have the space to store them, pulling parts from two bikes to get one good bike is great, because then you may also end up with a bunch of spares if needed. Nice!
The engine was cleaned up, gone through, and all appropriate wear items replaced—but apart from that, it wasn’t mechanically changed. Instead, the bulk of the work went into the physical transformation, tidying up the lines and especially cleaning up that busy undertail area. The stock CX featured a twin rear shock setup, but Harry’s bike now has a nice little monoshock sourced from a Yamaha R3, which gives the kind of clear, uncluttered space that would probably make Marie Kondo’s heart sing.
Up front, Jackson and Harry opted to give the bike a marginally meaner stance. On went the 50mm fork from a GSX-R750, complete with a dual-disc Tokico front brake setup and a pair of 320mm discs. The dash features an integrated Motogadget gauge with LEDs, which maintains the minimalist look while also looking distinctly futuristic at the same time. Integrated Rizoma bar-end indicator lights and a tidy LED strip of a rear brake light/indicator unit keep the theme constant throughout.
Both the fuel tank and the saddle required plenty of fettling to get right, but Jackson kept going until both were where they needed to be. The battery hides under the hump at the back of the saddle, in the interest of keeping the overall look so fresh and so clean. Brushed knee cutouts and a little tinkering with a Subaru paint shade topped off with a custom-welded Monza fuel cap complete the tank’s aesthetic.
There are a bunch more tiny details that Harry and Jackson go into, so be sure to give this video a look. If you’ll be at the Bike Shed London Show in 2022, it should be on display there—so you could potentially see it in person quite soon.