Kingston Custom's CX500 C
By Anthony van Someren - 11 Feb 14
Kingston Customs first blew us away when they shared their unique take on a BMW R75/6 boxer last year - a bike which ended up in so many top tens and favourites lists that we lost count. It was pure class and with superb attention to detail, and it became clear that proprietor Dirk is a man who expresses himself most eloquently through the quality of his builds. So, having conquered the ubiquitous R-Series beemer with a unique machine, Dirk has now taken on the runner-up to the re-imagined ugly duckling donor crown and set to work on this Honda CX500. ... By now you all know the roots of this machine as being Honda's boring and ugly workhorse, beloved of bedraggled London couriers in the 1980s, but hidden beneath the ugly plastic was always this perfectly proportioned transverse V-Twin, with it's Guzzi-esque front silhouette. One of the reasons we are seeing CXs cropping up as custom donors is the look of the beast once it's been stripped of all its original nastiness, but the other is that these old donkeys were so reliable that they will simply not die. If cockroaches do eventually inherit the earth at least they'll have plenty of bikes left to ride. In the UK we used to call the Honda CX the plastic maggot. Apparently the Germans describe them as the Slurry Pump. But this build is no maggot or sewage engine. It's clearly been given a lot of TLC and hard graft to turn it into this classy machine - and it started with the strip-down. From there, every component was painstakingly put back together. "Each screw and simply each part passes through my hands and is checked, machined, modified or newly made." But at Kingston Customs, it's not just about new for old, it's also about careful recycling and restoration. "I am committed to using the original screws with their special patina." After the rebuild there was plenty more to do in terms of parts and quality finishes. The engine has been treated with thermo-sensitive coating and the exhaust manifold is wrapped with thermal tape. The fork internals were converted to air, and the bike boasts a handmade fairing, bench-seat, battery box, fenders and foot brake lever. A Harley exhaust was modified to fit while the front fender was shortened and converted to act as the rear fender. The footrests were taken from an XT 600 Yamaha, the stubby clip-on handlebars are from Fehling and the Stahlflex brake lines are from Spiegler. The headlight is a Bates wearing a Harley cap. The chunky rear tyre is an Avon 5.00-16, while a 4.00-19 sits up front. So, although Dirk has given us a few details about the upgrades and changes to the basic components, this bike isn't really about the parts. What it demonstrates is a good sense of proportion and attention to detail that has also made Kingston Customs' previous builds stand out from the crowd. It's a honest bike, with classy paint and finish in well-chosen tones (and just check out the seat stitching) and with no more modification than was necessary. The end result of one of the nicest CX builds we've seen to date, which even manages to keep some of the character of the original bike. Thanks to Dirk for sharing with all of us at the Bike Shed. See more from Kingston Customs on The Bike Sheds pages or on their own Website. We look forward to showcasing their next build on these pages. Photos by Dennis Zetlitz.