Whatever it is that you do, give it your all. Simple yet surprisingly difficult to follow, this. While we are constantly told to perform our tasks and fulfill our responsibilities with the most amount of effort, the truth is that we often find ourselves completely drained after one or two tasks by midday, right?
Not Chris Kent and the good people at Smith Brother’s Classic Cycles & Customs, though. In this particular case with a barn-find Honda CX500, the team weren’t building a custom motorcycle on a budget or within a time frame specified by a client. No, the aptly-named ‘Obersten Regal’ or ‘Top Shelf’ Honda CX500 build is here because they were building it for themselves.
As one can expect, no corners were cut during the build. “I have a technical slash engineering background and have always looked for ways to solve challenges outside of the proverbial box,” begins Chris. “I’m creative to a fault at times but I love designing and engineering solutions, but I’m not a mechanical genius; fortunately my childhood friends that I reconnected with for this project are considered some of the best in the Midwest.”
So when a barn find in the shape of a Honda CX500 landed on their doorstep, the brief was clear and concise – it was to be a cafe racer with updated performance bits and a dash of charisma and style. Unfortunately for them, the initial part of the build was riddled with plenty of setbacks that saw the entire project stretch into a two-year term.
On their second attempt at the build, disaster struck. “So starting again, we added some Mikuni carbs and a full set of Motogadget parts. Then, riding down the road while testing it, the horn went off for 5 seconds and the Motogadget signals lit up and then all went dead. Turns out we had a dud rectifier,” explained Chris.
“A voltage spike had gone through the Honda’s system melting the gel battery, frying the halo headlight and damaging all the Motogadget gear, too,” he added. After all the setbacks, things started to go their way with the trouble-free installation of a custom flyscreen that wraps around the speedo, Excel Warp 9 rims courtesy of Cognito Moto, the R6 forks with GSX-R dual wave rotors and a custom SS exhaust.