A Honda CX500 headlines this week, resplendent in classic John Player Special colors. We also cover a 1957 Indian Trailblazer, a Magni MV Agusta, a Super73 e-bike destined for Burning Man, and a look back at this year’s Auerberg Klassik event.
Honda CX500 by Charlie’s Atelier For all of its shortcomings, the Honda CX500 is a very versatile motorcycle. It can make a great café racer, scrambler or tracker—and I should know, because my first bike was a CX500.
This stripped-down CX500 café racer comes from Francis Gomez of Charlie’s Atelier in the Dominican Republic. Inspired by the stunning John Player Special liveries of Formula 1, it’s a great example of the CX’s potential.
Francis grafted a Suzuki GSX-R front end to the Honda frame, complete with its forks, wheel and disc brakes. It’s finished off with an LED headlight, with a Motogadget taillight out back. The cockpit sports new clip-ons with Rizoma grips, CNC Racing levers, and Motogadget turn signals and mirrors.
The engine and frame received a healthy dose of black paint, and the stock carbs were taken off in favor of a pair of Mikuni VM34s, complete with velocity stacks. Snaking its way past the new radiator guard is a beautifully made stainless steel exhaust system.
Above the engine you’ll find a carbon fiber tank, modeled after the original. The back end received a whole lot of custom work too, including a short rear subframe and mono-shock conversion. A YSS shock, finished in black and gold, keeps the ride smooth.
The rear wheel cover is made of carbon, and the floating seat is a custom part. Hiding somewhere on the bike is an Antigravity Lithium-ion battery. Michelin Pilot Power 3 tires round out the build, with gold lettering to boot.
In stock form, the CX500 is slightly heavy and underpowered. Francis has done a great job to lighten it up, and the new Mikuni carbs surely work wonders for the engine. As the host of his city’s leg of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, I’m sure he can’t wait to lead the charge next year on this exquisite machine. [Charlie’s Atelier | Images by Ivan Mendez]
1957 Indian Trailblazer If it weren’t for the big red tank with the Indian logo emblazoned upon it, I would have thought this was a Royal Enfield. Turns out, I wasn’t far off.
This is a 1957 Indian Trailblazer, which is essentially a re-badged Royal Enfield Super Meteor. The 100 mph, 700 cc parallel twin is a far cry from the usual Indian V-Twin fare, but gosh it looks good dressed in red with its Indian accoutrements.
In 1953, Indian was in serious trouble and were bought by Brockhouse Engineering, a company based in England. Brockhouse took the Super Meteor and sent it over to the USA to be rebadged as an Indian. The 45 hp parallel twin was originally taken from the Royal Enfield Meteor, which came equipped with a sidecar.
The Trailblazer got red paint, taller handlebars and a single seat setup with a luggage rack. The front and rear guards also got the Indian treatment and a crash bar was fitted to the front of the frame.
The powerful engine, comfortable seating position and luggage options would have made this a rather nice touring bike in its time. One benefit of the Indian-Enfield partnership was that parts were easier to find. Unfortunately, this didn’t amount to much, as there aren’t many Trailblazer survivors around these days.
If you’re interested in a piece of American and English history, this bike is being offered for sale. The RM Sotheby’s anoraks reckon it will sell for between $5,000 and $10,000, which is fairly reasonable for a bike like this. [Source]
1978 Magni MV Agusta A full fairing, gold wheels, a curvy exhaust and a whole lot of Italian pizzaz. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the physical embodiment of motorcycle perfection.
Originally delivered to its first owner in Germany as an MV Agusta 750S America, this stunning classic was sent to the Magni workshop in the late 80s for some choice performance upgrades. It was then sent back in 2008, for a full conversion by Giovanni Magni himself.
In stock form, the 750S America is a pretty bike, with no bodywork to hide the stunning four-cylinder engine. Sitting beneath a bulbous tank and pushing its power through a shaft drive, you’d be happy to just leave it as is. But with a Magni fairing, extra power and a chain-drive conversion, it goes from pretty to drop dead gorgeous.
The owner of this particular example bought the bike in 2017 and is now offering it for sale through Moto Borgotaro. The current owner is a long-time Ducati and MV Agusta aficionado and as such had the engine checked over by a Magni specialist.
Only riding 3,000 miles since the rebuild, the video above proves it has the go (and soundtrack) to match the show. All I need to figure out is which body part I should sell to buy this. I’m not a big drinker, so maybe a kidney… [More]
‘Mad Max’ Super73 RX Mojave When the Burning Man festival rolls around each year, social media bursts at the seams with all kinds of wild and whacky content. It’s a flurry of giant motorized vehicles of all shapes and sizes, fire twirling, flood lights and red dust. Lots of red dust.
What better way to kick about the desert campsite than on an e-bike? They’re small, easily loaded onto (or into) a vehicle, and you can glide along without disturbing any of your fellow partygoers.
The Super73 RX Mojave ticks all these boxes and more. It has four-piston brakes, fully adjustable suspension, and chunky tires that will get you out of (or into) as much trouble as you like.
This particular RX was headed to Burning Man, for a YouTube star to peruse the desert delights at his leisure. But one does not simply bring an unmodified vehicle to Burning Man, so Super73’s in-house custom team took charge, kitted it out in a Mad Max junkyard-inspired way.
Like any true Mad Max vehicle, this e-bike wears a mix of hand-made and salvaged parts. There’s a custom lighting setup on the front forks, wrapped in para-cord in case of emergency. Just above it is a front fairing that looks like it was made from a car’s exhaust heat shield.
Hand-made fork guards were bolted on too, while an old Nebraska license plate protects the frame from stone chips. The seat was wrapped in brown vinyl and a sissy bar was bent up and bolted on.
Storage space on e-bikes is usually a bit limiting so the team installed a weathered set of Super73 molle racks. A repurposed air box (complete with an air filter) acts as a saddle bag. There’s an additional storage basket in the center of the frame, with a faux exhaust poking out the side.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what happens in the desert, stays in the desert. At least, that’s how it was before the age of social media. [Super73]
Carbon-neutral fuel at the Auerberg Klassik Once every two years, the town of Bernbeuren, at the foothills of the Alps in southern Germany, explodes in population. With the sound and smell of vintage machinery in the air, the town hosts the Auerberg Klassik—an event that pays tribute to the Auerberg race that was held every year from 1967 to 1987.
The Klassik was started by a bunch of local motorcycle enthusiasts in 2017, 30 years after the last race. The event has something for the whole family, combining historic motorsport vibes with a classic racing lifestyle.
What attracts most people is the historic hill climb. The 3.2 km course wends its way up Mount Auerberg, and hosted 215 motorcycles and sidecars, along with 15 historic racing cars, this year. This included an original 1962 Brabham BT3 Formula 1 car and a 1990 Reynard Opel Spiess—Michael Schumacher’s actual 1990 Formula 3 car.
The hill climb was a timed regularity race with Josef Traubinger crowned “King of the Mountain” on his 1932 Standard. Queen of the Mountain went to Maria Köpf and her Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. The oldest participant was 88 years old and the youngest was 23. There were a variety of prizes to be won, including awards for best dressed and for the people who travelled the furthest to attend the event.
But a big talking point of the weekend, was that over a third of the participants in the hill climb were fueling their bikes with carbon-neutral e-fuel. No, they weren’t running battery-powered vehicles—they were using synthetic petrol.
The fuel was supplied by P1 Performance Fuels in Berlin, who were brought on board to highlight how vintage cars and bikes can be run more sustainably. Interestingly it’s the same fuel that Sebastian Vettel used to power a 100-year-old Aston Martin some months ago.
By all accounts, the 3rd Auerberg Klassik was a great success, hosting 4,500 guests and putting on a great race. It was also announced that the event will run again in two years time. So it looks like I’ll be booking flights to Germany in September 2024. [Images by Sven Wedemeyer]