We all love Cafe Racer Projects and we have just received another one for y’all. It is a Honda CX500 Cafe Racer called “Betty” by M8Design. Marco Dario di Pietro of M8 does the talking from here onwards:

For what concerns Betty, the history behind this build is kinda romantic…

When I was born in ’86 my father decided to hang his helmet to be safer and to never give me the passion for motorcycles, since it was so risky and dangerous.

Obviously he never managed to do that… I’ve always been fascinated about engines, especially two wheeled ones, hence this Honda CX500 Cafe Racer idea.

During my life I had a lot of bikes, but when I asked my dad to share some kms with me he always refused saying he was too old to get back on a saddle. So I gave him a real one in the day of his 58th birthday, by building Betty during almost one year of silences and excuses to never let him enter in my garage.

I took a Honda CX500 1981 and just kept the frame, the engine, the wheels and a few other parts.

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The rest has been crafted by my hands welding, cutting, adapting and finally re-painting everything as if it was brand new. The frame has been modified to hide the battery in the tail, which has been cut to be shorter and to give a more aggressive look. The saddle has been completely modeled by me with fiberglass and aluminium.

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The forks are now improved with new progressive springs and a more dense oil, while the shocks on the back are adjustable Bitubo to better feel the bike during corners and strong braking.

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The tank comes from a Bonneville and has been modified to fit on the frame with new welded brackets (I did the same on the chassis) also the coils have been replaced for space issues. I “refreshed” the brakes with a revision kit, a Nissin radial pump and new steel hoses.

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The airbox has been removed to leave that big hole between the engine and the backwheel to assure a bull-like style concentrating the volumes to the front and to lighten the back. The exhaust is totally hand made, for this one I choose two “street legal” silencers to let her be beautiful, but not too noisy…

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Finally I studied with photoshop the best way to paint it and I did it with powdercoating for the frame,cylinder heads and other spares while the tank has been handpainted with black and gold leaving transparent spots with raw metal on the rest as you can see in the pictures of this Honda CX500 Cafe Racer.


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Anyway,i am preparing also another ride…a ’83 Honda CB900 F2… it’s called Dirty Sanchez.
It will be a strange straight 4 dirt tracker with very raw style… When i’ll finish it i will send you her pics.

Stay tuned.  – Marco.

The photographer: Simone Perna

What a fanatastic story and equally Honda CX500 Cafe Racer! Can’t wait see the CB900!

4 Responses

  1. Adrian Roup

    Wow. Loved the story of Betty and quite an amazing result after a year of work! I’m just starting to wet my appetite in the world of cafe racers, perusing eBay, Craigslist etc. It seems like getting the handling and braking up to standard on an older bike is a challenge. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the 1981 CB750 Vs the CX500 as a starting point? Also if I’m looking to buy a custom restored bike on eBay how to I know what a fair price is? Lastly, can you tell me where you sourced the rear brake and indicator LED light from on Betty?

    • CafeRacersUnited

      Dear Adrian, thank you for your comment. We guess the CX is a cheaper start, but the bike is very heavy (cb750 isn’t light as well, but the cx is HEAVY).
      The CX also doesn’t have a flat subframe (which makes it harder to mount a seat). The CB is a 4 cil, so the character of the engine is more subtle. Does rev more and goes faster. I guess you cannot go wrong with both, but CB’s are a more Cafe Racer from stock. That’s all.

      Fair prices… well, that is a hard story. We have seen CX’s for €200,- and CB’s for €5000,-. If you want to have a solid base, it is wise to research well and try to not get the cheapest and most beaten up one. A running bike is 90% a better start!

      For the parts we love to discuss all possibilities through our shop. http://www.caferacerwebshop.com. We ship all over the globe and collect those parts you need to (without extra shipping costs etc).


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