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Honda CX500 – RGK Street Trail

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Scott in Brat, Tracker. 51 comments

Without sounding like Captain Obvious, we see loads of bikes here at Pipeburn and there seems to be a couple of trends. The first being street trackers are becoming a vastly popular style of bike. We’re guessing many builders are moving away from the more common cafe racers and bobbers that have been so dominant in the scene for the past couple of years. The other trend is the humble and usually ugly CX500 or ‘Japanese Guzzi’ as we like to call it, has become a new favourite donor bike. And why not. They are more reliable than a Guzzi or BMW, not as common as the CB750, and they look great when done right. The guys at French shop Rive Gauche Kustoms (which translate to Left Bank Kustoms in English) love the CX and is why they’ve chosen it again for their latest project. Their stunning last bike spread around the internet faster than an Old Spice commercial. Working from their workshop in Paris it looks like they’ve been busy creating this bike they call the ‘Street Trail’…

The concept behind the build was similar to their first build. “The idea was to make the bike lighter, more easy to ride in the city streets, but still with a dark military style and skateboarding touch” says Julien from RGK. If you’re wondering what the “skateboard touch” is, take a closer look at the tail light and headlight. The head light has been mounted on a skateboard truck while the tail light is sitting perfectly on an Independent skateboard truck base.

“The idea was to make the bike lighter, more easy to ride in the city streets,
but still with a dark military style and skateboarding touch”

The original frame has been cut, welded and then epoxy painted. The wheels have been painted in black, also a nice pair of Dunlop trail tires have been added for that quintessential street tracker look. The stock Honda tank has been given the same black paint treatment. The seat has been hand made by the guys at RGK. “The most beautiful part of the bike (the motor) has been painted in shiny Grey to make it most visible as possible… the swingarm too” says Julien.

Some other features include shorter muffler with black high temperature paint, drilled disc brake, Tomaseli Bars and if you’re looking for the battery, yes it’s been moved under the frame in a stainless steel box.

There’s only one way an old school skateboarder like myself can describe this sweet little street tracker with skateboard influences and that’s simply as… RAD. We look forward to seeing RGK’s next build – we have a feeling these young Parisians are only showing us a small glimspe of what’s to come.

Pictures by: Julien Rouvelou

  • nice… i saw pics of this build on instagram, The reverse cone shorties look good in matte black, I relay like this bike

  • sickfab

    My word.. What a great bike. Best use of an ugly duckling. Yet.

    • chris

      what about cooking it and making crispy duck?

  • Neil Fenton

    Fantastic looking.

  • Have been following this bike for a while. Some very nice touches. I really like what they do with the engines on the CX. Their previous build was an “out there” gold that was amazing. Really like this colour on the engine.

    Inspirational stuff.

  • Jaime

    I was recently wondering how you could mount one of those truck offroad lights with the bottom bolt. Looks like I now have a solution. I also like the grip tape on the rear fender.

    • revdub

      Looks like the grip tape is on the front too. Nice.

  • revdub

    Oh man, I love this. And I will most definitely steal that skateboard truck as taillight base idea!!

  • lolo

    I love the details of the ” skateboard touch”, very nice and smart details! The whole bike is well balanced and looks so light, it actualy seems to be a 500cc!

  • Ur Momma

    I was expecting a bit more of a skaters touch… One Indy truck does not constitute “parts”in my opinion.

    • Hammina

      I think the light sitting on grip tape. A last resort for when your girl goes sliding back.

  • Dave Mucci

    Fantastic looking bike! Totally a step in the right direction from the last build. It’s amazing how light and nimble they can make a 500lbs CX look.

  • I have a love/hate thing going with CXs. I’ve known pals who have bought them cheap and then rode the devil out of them. Ugly in stock form but when you peel back all the layers of factory stuff you can wind up with a nice, light looking bike. Good job.

  • Chester

    The contrast of the Grey engine paint really sets this bike off and gives you a nice focus point on the thing. Very clever.

  • $20707106

    And the seat actually looks comfortable!
    A pleasant transformation.

  • that tail light is such an awesome touch!!!!

  • Ken Lindsay

    Wow. This bike, while small, speaks to me in volume! Love it! Very classy and still has its edge.

  • ecosse

    to describe the cx as ugly in its stock form is a bit harsh. maybe nondescript is more accurate.

    this one turned out pretty nicely as well.

    • I’ve heard it referred to as the “plastic maggot.”

    • You’re right – not ugly but won’t win any beauty contests. The tank, though, is really good looking and has been used on other builds as a cafe tank.

  • JD

    thats great, they have really done an excellent job of it!

  • There’s a CX500 Custom I’m getting for $300. All original and was running when parked (about 400 years ago.) I’m looking forward to turning it into something…uh, cool or not remains to be seen.

  • gawker

    Always a fan of contractions, I like “Japanuzzi” or maybe “Japuzzi” whatever its called – I like it.

  • davmo

    Very nice.

  • This is such a great looking bike, does anyone know what model Dunlops they are?

    • Oldnbroken

      Pirelli Scorpion A/T on the back, I can’t read what’s on the front though.

  • Oldnbroken

    A 360 flip on a Honda, now that would be something. Perhaps though this bike is more suited to a dark slide(Rodney would be impressed). Also I reckon the men who designed the early Honda scramblers like the CL would be impressed that the look they used all those years ago is back in fashion. Sure, they were more concerned with keeping mud off riders as well as the pipe out of the way of rocks and logs but call it what you like, whenever I see bikes like this, I think scrambler. Inventive use of that Indy truck to rubber mount the brake light.


  • “they are more reliable than a Guzzi or BMW” Didn’t spend much time in Honda service departments when these came out did you?

    • So you think they are less reliable than european bikes of the same vintage? The first models did have issues with the cam chain tensioner but Honda redesigned it quickly.

      • Ugh

        A friend of mine ran one of these for over 100km with a tablespoon of oil in it. We drained it, refilled it – it still goes. That’s pretty reliable.

      • Glenn

        Sorry man.. It took a lot longer than that before it was resolved, and other problems arose. I worked in for an Honda dealership in the early 80’s.

        It was initially a low km cam chain tensioner issue (endemic to many Honda’s at the time). Honda initially did a crap warranty replacement using up all standard inventory
        A re-design happened…and they used all of those before a further redesign. By this time, the water pump seals began to fail. 20-30k was about the usual before the pump seals started leaking.
        Typically….30-50k was a death sentence for re sale on these bikes.
        Great concept…

        • Ugh

          I had an ’80 and it had no cam chain tensioner issues. The seal on the pump costs $6 to replace, if you use a standard, off the shelf Davy seal it lasts longer than than the bike. As for 30-50k resale value, mine had 130,000km when I sold it after replacing the seal and the stator and is still going.
          Compare that to my K750, which had to have the clutch and the starter clutch replaced at 30k, the CBX650 that had a cracked piston head and self-adjusting valves that were ruined at 50k, the CB250 that blew the head gasket at 35k and the two CB250s that had carb issues that required an OEM replacement, I’d say the CX is a piece of engineering genius, especially when you consider I commuted 200km a day on it for a year when it was 29 years old.

          • Glenn

            So first hand knowledge means nothing.

          • Ugh

            If I counter your first hand knowledge with my own examples gained from my first hand knowledge then first hand knowledge means nothing.
            How does your brain work?

          • I’d say owning one for 130000K trumps working on them sometimes in a shop.

    • Tim Pykett

      The oil pump failed on mine on the motorway and wrecked the crank way back in 82

  • Ugh

    A really hard bike to make smart looking – the giant hoop in the frame, the humpback on the seat, the gigantic engine block sticking out like a gimboid’s ears. This is a good effort, though.

  • Bibo

    Love it. Still can’t get behind the white-painted engine, though.

  • what is the price of this monster?!?!

  • Bryan Kerswill

    Very nice. I love it when there are gaps through the frame. Makes the bike look so much lighter and sets off the engine.

  • jon

    the front signal lights on a truck is awesome!

  • Guzzi’s don’t get enough respect for being bulletproof. I’ve never had an issue with any old Italian iron… well engineering (simplicity) and overbuilt to a high degree. Most of my time in the garage is helping friends with old Hondas. Complicated old things they are.

  • How come we haven’t commented on the fact it has dual front brakes yet? Would LOVE to have duals on mine!

  • NotAFanboy

    “They are more reliable than a Guzzi or BMW”
    Credibility Lost.

  • Cx robin

    Where’s the number plate s’posed to go? Don’t tell me it will need a cheating Harley side mount?

  • Nathan Pablo

    anyone know specifically what tires they have on this bike? they look fantastic.

  • R. Fanarph

    The white cylinders and heads look just like Star Wars Storm Troopers.

    Use the FORCE.!

  • Joker

    Looks pretty good