mardi 15 mars 2016


When faced with a Honda CX500 in the shop, the first thing most builders do is ‘fix’ the frame. It looks awkward and droopy, and the usual solution is to either trick the eye, or get out the welding gear.

But Auto Fabrica decided to go with the flow. Once they’d stripped the bike down to the frame to map out their design, they fell in love with its unique stance.

“The surprise lay in the frame being such an organic form,” explains co-founder Bujar Muharremi, “with a really awesome side profile.”

“We played around with the idea of reworking it, but it became a bit of a guilty pleasure. We decided to challenge ourselves to make it look purposeful and aesthetically pleasing.”

So the lads simply cleaned up the controversial frame before figuring out a complementary bodywork profile. A hand-beaten, aluminum tank did the trick; a slender unit that flows seamlessly into a stubby perch.
The bodywork is impressive, almost liquid in form. There are shades of the ‘Type 6’ Yamaha XS650 that made it onto the cover of The Ride: 2nd Gear.

“The Type 6 was an exercise in metal shaping, and pushing our design skills and engineering to another level,” says creative director Bujar Muharremi.

The ‘Type 8’ CX500 has a similar treatment, and once again, it’s the little details that drive the point home.

The gas cap is a flush, pop-and-twist affair. And the seat’s a real masterpiece. It’s covered in dark, perforated leather, with a logo plaque and eyelets revealing discreet tan leather highlights.

The Honda’s stance has been massaged further, by shortening the forks and treating them to Maxton springs. Hagon shocks do duty out back, and the CX500’s ungainly Comstar wheels have been ditched for a set of spokes.

The front’s a 19-inch unit from a CB450 TLS, and the rear’s a 16-inch rim laced to a Honda hub. They’re both shod in Shinko rubber.

Under the hood, the engine has been rebuilt with gas flowed heads for extra performance. The carbs have been reconditioned and rejetted, and now run foam filters. The elegant exhaust system is a one-off—hand bent from 316 stainless steel.

“It was a part of the bike which we felt like we could go wild on,” says Bujar, “so we opted for a twist high rise design. The key was to avoid any straight lines, which became a great challenge—but it worked well.”

In typical Auto Fabrica fashion, everything’s been nipped or tucked in some way. The taillight’s a discreet, hand-made LED unit, hiding near the right hand side shock.
Up front, the top triple clamp has been shaved clean, with a tiny digital Motogadget speedo mounted ahead of it. The clip-ons are custom stainless steel numbers, with integrated switches.

Both the Type 8 and Type 6 are currently in Geneva, as part of an exhibition celebrating mechanical art in the gallery of the watchmaker MB&F.

Given that Swiss horologists know a few things about intricate metalwork, that’s high praise indeed.

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