By Anthony van Someren - 16 Dec 13
We all dream of fully designed, digitally rendered, professionally built custom made wonders, they are glorious machines, but.... Will they ever give the owner the sense of pride, the newfound skill sets and the respect of a shed build? Built, not bought. At the Bike Shed we love the achievements of men in sheds and celebrate them alongside the pro builds. One of the joys of our custom scene is that the owner of a Shinya Kimura masterpiece can park up next to a shabby homemade 125 brat bobber and share a common bond. Not that there is anything remotely shabby about this shed build, a lovely CX 500 from Sampo Bergstrom in Sweden.
After hibernating in an unheated shed through a freezing Swedish winter this 1981 CX500 emerged fully formed, thanks to the hard graft of Sampo, to greet the first rays of summer. A love of the old Italian machines of Guzzi and Ducati steered the choice of bike and direction of this build, a transverse V-twin held in a bright red cafe racer. The CX is proving a surprisingly versatile platform for shed dwellers to imprint their visions on and so it was for Sampo that his Italian dreamed steed became a reality. "I wanted to build a unique reliable bike with a touch of Cafe to it. A similar bike you do not run in to around the next corner." For starters he travelled the well trod path of removing the superfluous bulk; seat, side covers, air box and rear mudguard were binned and the battery was relocated in the new seat unit. The rear frame was chopped and a replacement bolt on section fabricated, bolt on due to Sampo's lack of welding equipment. Improvising and utilising the tools and skills you have is the epitome of a shed build, problem solving, working it out and not being defeated at the first hurdle. Sampo we salute you. "I had some kind of picture in my head how the bike would look like but without proper tools and no welder I was unsure how much I would be able to modify. The winter was cold in Sweden and my garage did not have any heat. The temperature inside were between 0 and +4 celcius the whole time I worked on the bike. Extra layer clothes, a lot of hot coffee, and I tried to work as many hours every time I was at the garage was my plan. My girl friend was sometimes thinking that I was about to go crazy.. Getting home late night all greased in oil." Swedish road legality laws are much stricter than the U.K when it comes to the customising of motorcycles so Sampo had to tread a fine line to keep his machine roadworthy. He found new clip on handlebars on ebay and sourced a headlight from a heinous Yamaha Wildstar 1600 (so they were useful for something then?). The oversized headlight adds presence and character to the bike.
His parents sewing skills helped with the seat upholstery and ever controversial pipe wrap adds texture and colour on the headers as they lead to upswept vintage pipes. A low slung mirror reveals what flounders in Sampo's tyre-smoking wake. Sampo got creative with the space vacated by his relocated ignition key and fitted a vintage clock to the cockpit along with minimal instrumentation. The original comstar wheels were painted black and the CX was ready to go. It just shows what can be achieved by one man in his shed over a winter with a modest budget from the humble beginnings of an old commuter bike. The many wonderful reimaginings of the beleaguered Honda CX have us wandering what the next donor craze maybe.... Kawasaki GT550 anyone? Posted by Gareth@TheBikeShed