We always welcome a Honda CB500o Cafe Racer at Cafe Racers United and this racer, called Bushido, is definitely welcome!
Bushido, literally “the way of the warrior”, is a Japanese word for the way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry. (Read more on “Bushido”at the end of the post)
The guys of Two Guys Garage have built this CB500 Cafe Racer, and turned it into the cafe warrior you see here!
Perhaps, if you are into nice techincal how to’s, you can watch their channel (also a lot on cars) or look further on our website.
In keeping with it’s Japanese name and origin, the Bushido’s bodywork and leather seat have been engraved and embossed with Japanese themed artwork.
It’s verging on being over the top but there’s something about all the detail that’s had me coming back and staring at these photos for the last few days. It’s certainly going to raise a few eyebrows and I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of time that went in to doing it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took as long to do as the building the rest bike!
If you can manage to look past the intricate engraving you’ll notice the CB has had some pretty impressive work done on it. The bike now sits on a single rear shock mounted under the seat, a fully customised swing arm and frame, custom tail and saddle and who could forget those beautiful CR carbs mounted on each cylinder.
The Honda CB500 four, is a motorcycle introduced by Honda early in the 1970s. It is similarly styled to the CB750, but smaller and lighter, with an output of 48 bhp and a manufacturer’s specified top speed of 102 mph. Like the earlier CB750 it sported a single front hydraulic disc brake, rear drum brake, electric starter, and sohc eight-valve engine. The four-into-four exhaust pipes echoed those of the CB750. It was deemed a better handling bike than the larger model, although it was still no featherweight at 201 kg (440 lb) (dry)
Unlike the earlier dry sump CB750, the smaller bike has a wet sump engine. Also, the primary drives were different, the CB750 having a duplex chain, while the CB500 had a “Hy-Vo” Morse chain. The CB500 formed the design basis for the Benelli Sei, a 750 cc six-cylinder motorcycle.
Several CB500 machines were entered in the Production TT races on the Isle of Man in the early 1970s. Bill Smith won the 1973 500 cc TT Production race (four laps) riding one, 8.2 seconds ahead of second place Stan Woods mounted on a Suzuki T500 two-stroke, twin.
Bushido, a modern term rather than a historical one, originates from the samurai moral values, most commonly stressing some combination of frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death. Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following Confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity. Bushidō developed between the 16th and 20th centuries, debated by pundits who believed they were building on a legacy dating from the 10th century, although some scholars have noted “the term bushidō itself is rarely attested in premodern literature.”
Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, some aspects of warrior values became formalized into Japanese feudal law.
The word was first used in Japan during the 17th century.It came into common usage in Japan and the West after the 1899 publication of Nitobe Inazō’s Bushido: The Soul of Japan.
In Bushido (1899), Nitobe wrote:
…Bushido, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe…. More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten…. It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career.
Nitobe was not the first person to document Japanese chivalry in this way. In his text Feudal and Modern Japan (1896), historian Arthur May Knapp wrote: “The samurai of thirty years ago had behind him a thousand years of training in the law of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice…. It was not needed to create or establish them. As a child he had but to be instructed, as indeed he was from his earliest years, in the etiquette of self-immolation.”