Quick Read, September 25, 2022
A Honda CX500 titles this week, resplendent in the classic colors of John Player Special. 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 Despite all its flaws, the Honda CX500 is a very versatile motorcycle. It can make a great cafe racer, scrambler, or tracker—and I should know that, because my first bike was a CX500.
This stripped-down CX500 cafe racer comes from Francis Gomez of Charlie’s Atelier in the Dominican Republic. Inspired by Formula 1’s stunning John Player Special liveries, it’s a great example of the potential of the CX.
Francis grafted a Suzuki GSX-R front end to the Honda frame, complete with forks, wheels and disc brakes. It’s finished with an LED headlight, with a Motogadget taillight to the rear. The cockpit sports new clips with Rizoma grips, CNC Racing levers and Motogadget turn signals and mirrors.
The engine and chassis received a healthy dose of black paint, and the stock carbs were stripped in favor of a pair of Mikuni VM34s, complete with speed stacks. Snaking past the new radiator guard is a beautifully crafted stainless steel exhaust system.
Above the engine you will find a carbon fiber tank, inspired by the original. The rear also received a lot of custom work, including a short rear subframe and a monoshock conversion. A YSS shock, finished in black and gold, keeps the ride smooth.
The rear wheel cover is carbon and the floating seat is a bespoke part. Hidden somewhere on the bike is an antigravity lithium-ion battery. Michelin Pilot Power 3 tires complete the build, with gold lettering to boot.
In stock form, the CX500 is slightly heavy and underpowered. Francis did a great job of lightening it up, and the new Mikuni carburetors surely do wonders for the engine. As 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]
1957 Indian pioneer If it hadn’t been for the big red tank with the Indian logo on it, I would have thought it was a Royal Enfield. Turns out I wasn’t far.
This is a 1957 Indian Trailblazer, which is basically a rebranded Royal Enfield Super Meteor. The 100mph, 700cc parallel twin is a far cry from the usual Indian V-Twin fare, but damn it looks good dressed in red with its Indian accessories.
In 1953 Indian was in serious trouble and was taken over by Brockhouse Engineering, a company based in England. Brockhouse took the Super Meteor and sent it to the United States to be renamed Indian. The 45 bhp parallel twin was originally taken from the Royal Enfield Meteor, which was fitted with a sidecar.
The Trailblazer has red paint, taller handlebars and a unique seat configuration with a 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 motor, comfortable seating position and luggage options would have made this a pretty nice touring bike in its day. One of the benefits of the Indian-Enfield partnership was that parts were easier to find. Sadly, that didn’t amount to much, as there aren’t many Trailblazer survivors these days.
If you’re interested in a piece of American and English history, this bike is up for sale. RM Sotheby’s anoraks estimate it will sell for between $5,000 and $10,000, which is pretty reasonable for a bike like this. [Source]
1978 Magni MV Agusta A full fairing, gold wheels, curved exhaust and lots of Italian pizzazz. To me, it’s the physical embodiment of motorcycling perfection.
Originally delivered to its first owner in Germany as the MV Agusta 750S America, this magnificent classic was sent to the Magni workshop in the late 80s for some choice performance upgrades. He was then fired in 2008, for a complete conversion by Giovanni Magni himself.
In stock form, the 750S America is a handsome motorcycle, with no bodywork to hide the superb four-cylinder engine. Sitting under a bulbous reservoir and pushing its power through a shaft drive, you’d be happy to leave it as is. But with a Magni fairing, extra power and chain drive conversion, it goes from pretty to gorgeous.
The owner of this particular example purchased the bike in 2017 and now offers it for sale through Moto Borgotaro. The current owner is a long-time Ducati and MV Agusta enthusiast and as such had the engine checked by a Magni specialist.
Traveling just 3,000 miles since the rebuild, the video above proves it has the green light (and soundtrack) to match the show. All I need to know is what body part I have to sell to buy this. I’m not a heavy drinker, so maybe a kidney… [More]
“Mad Max” Super73 RX Mojave When the Burning Man festival rolls around every year, social media is teeming with all kinds of wild and goofy content. It’s a flurry of giant motorized vehicles of all shapes and sizes, whirlwinds of fire, spotlights and red dust. Lots of red dust.
What’s better than an electric bike for camping fun in the desert? They’re small, easy to load onto (or into) a vehicle, and you can slide in without disturbing other partygoers.
The Super73 RX Mojave ticks all of these boxes and more. It has four-piston brakes, fully adjustable suspension, and fat tires that will get you out of (or out of) as much trouble as you want.
This particular RX was heading to Burning Man, for a YouTube star to roam the delights of the desert at will. But you don’t just bring an unmodified vehicle to Burning Man, so Super73’s in-house custom team took care of it, kitted it out in a Mad Max heist-inspired way.
Like any true Mad Max vehicle, this e-bike carries a mix of handcrafted and salvaged parts. There is a custom lighting setup on the front forks, wrapped in para-cord for emergencies. Directly above is a front fascia that looks like it was made from a car‘s exhaust heat shield.
Handmade fork guards have also been bolted on, 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 and bolted on.
Storage space on e-bikes is usually a bit limited, so the team installed a weathered set of Molle Super73 racks. A repurposed air box (with an air filter) acts as a saddle bag. There is an additional storage basket in the center of the frame, with a fake exhaust sticking out the side.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what happens in the desert stays in the desert. At least, it was like that before the era of social media. [Super73]
Carbon neutral fuel at the Auerberg Klassik Once every two years, the town of Bernbeuren, at the foot 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 homage to the Auerberg race that took place every year from 1967 to 1987.
The Klassik was launched by a group 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 the most people is the historic climb. The 3.2 km course goes up Mount Auerberg and this year hosted 215 motorcycles and sidecars, as well as 15 historic racing cars. This included an original 1962 Brabham BT3 Formula 1 car and a 1990 Reynard Opel Spiess – Michael Schumacher’s real Formula 3 car from 1990.
The hill climb was a timed regularity race with Josef Traubinger crowned ‘King of the Mountain’ on his 1932 Standard. The queen of the mountain went to Maria Köpf and her Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. The oldest participant was 88 years old and the youngest 23 years old. There were a variety of prizes up for grabs, including prizes for best dressed and for people who traveled the furthest to attend the event.
But one of the main talking points over the weekend was that more than a third of hill climb participants were fueling their bikes with carbon-neutral e-fuel. No, they weren’t using battery-powered vehicles, they were using synthetic gasoline.
The fuel was supplied by P1 Performance Fuels in Berlin, which was brought on board to show how old cars and bikes can be used more sustainably. Interestingly, it’s the same fuel that Sebastian Vettel used to power a century-old Aston Martin a few months ago.
By all accounts, the 3rd Auerberg Klassik was a great success, welcoming 4,500 guests and organizing a great race. It was also announced that the event would take place again in two years. So it looks like I will be booking flights to Germany in September 2024. [Images by Sven Wedemeyer]