Honda Motor Europe showed half a dozen customised machines at the recent unique Wheels and Waves festival of motorcycling, music, surfing and skateboarding in Biarritz.
Three of the motorcycles on display were created by passionate dealer partners, based on models from the 70s and 80s.
The first, a 1977 CB500 re-worked by Honda’s 3C dealer in Bayonne and Ben Rameix, the lead designer of a premium French surfboard manufacturer. The pair completely disassembled the machine to re-create it is a full retro-style café racer, with modified frame, new exhaust, and a combination of chrome parts and blacked-out details, LED lights, Firestone tyres and solid front disk brake. The side fairing and tail section cover – hand-made by M. Rameix – were inspired by the lines of a surfboard, making it the embodiment of Wheels and Waves culture.
The ultra-practical CX500 twin cylinder machine was fully transformed by Honda’s Kick Moto dealer into a unique Flat Track racer, with modified frame, tank and seat, with gold anodized 18” wheels, forks from the XLR600, aluminium handlebar, Öhlins rear suspension and LED lights. The red, white and blue ‘HRC’ colour scheme is adorned with the number 69 in tribute to the sorely missed Nicky Hayden.
The third customised machine was based on the incredible in-line 6 cylinder 1047cc CBX. Created by a combination of Honda’s Boulmich Moto dealer in Paris, and the Bad Seeds motorcycle club, the re-imagined CBX has turned from a sports tourer to a muscular ‘Road Bomber’ with strong dragster influences. Bodwork is minimal, with a total focus on weight reduction and ‘the need for speed’. The multitude of customised features include a new subframe to fit twin Öhlins rear shock, six-into-one exhaust, hand-built number board and headlight, and Bridgestone BattleAxe tyres.
Alongside the three re-created legends were three customisations based on Honda’s current line-up.
The first was the ultra-modern, urban ‘scrambler’ version of the 500cc A2 licence-friendly Rebel. Designed and built by one of the world’s most prominent tattooists, Dan Gold, and Russ Brown of Sussex-based custom house, RB Kustoms, the Rebel is fitted with big-block tyres, oversized brake discs and handmade ‘lobster’ welded bespoke exhaust. The new look – first seen at the Bike Shed in London in May – is embellished by references to BMX and skateboard culture (complete with skateboard holder located on the left-hand side) and moto-cross influences.
Two versions of the neo-retro classic CB1100 rounded out Honda’s presence at Wheels and Waves. The first is the CB1100TR concept created entirely in-house by Honda’s Rome-based R&D design team to convey the emotion and excitement of USA flat track culture. It was developed as the ‘King of Urban Flat Track Circuits’, as a counterpoint to the off-road oval circuit look of the traditional flat tracker, with a street-orientated design familiar to European customers.
The second, a fully blacked-out version of the current CB1100 EX made in collaboration with Milan-based customisers, South Garage. Using the ripe-for-customisation platform of the CB1100, the result is an elegant, dark creation that mixes café racer and bobber styles. The matt-black tank, blacked-out engine, clutch covers and wheels create the mood; the low-slung clip-on bars, radial master cylinder and short tail section give it the café racer edge. Touches like miniature LED indicators, new headlight and matching diamond-patterned leather seat and tyre tread give an elegance in keeping with the appeal of the CB1100 EX. The new, distinctive style and look illustrates how readily the CB1100 platform lends itself to re-imagining and individualization.
The six machines on display represented a powerful, eclectic mix of influences and individuality that showcase the work of enthusiasts united by the desire to place their own imprint on their Honda machines, and the imagination and know-how to make that possible.