A fortnight ago we brought you the preview, as Queensland’s Purpose Built Moto teamed up with Shannons Insurance to take you behind the scenes of a ‘Dream Bike Build’ for one very lucky customer. The six-part YouTube series captured every moment, from the concept and securing a barn find Honda, to the complete overhaul of the motorcycle from top to bottom and everything in between. Over the weekend the last episode went to air and now we can reveal to you the first stunning photos of the final product, as the beautiful bike made its modelling debut in the studio. Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve seen it looking its worst and now can revel in its best, a vintage-styled and hard-charging 1972 Honda CB500 for an ecstatic client.
It was evident from the opening moments of the series that PBM owner Tom Gilroy had gained a strong understanding of what his client Scott was after in a bike. But these days, finding classic donor motorcycles is becoming increasingly hard, especially with popular models like the Honda CB500. It was in the messy but gem packed shed of collector ‘Honest Dave’ that Tom found what he was looking for, a relatively complete example of the middleweight Honda from the ’70s. Yes, the CB500 four is fifty years old now and so you can’t expect to find one in perfect condition unless you’re prepared to pay an absurd amount of money.
With the bike back at PBM HQ, the team got to stripping it down and it was in the engine room that mechanic Jesse found some serious problems that would put the build in jeopardy, especially given they were shooting to a production schedule. At the bottom of the motor were metal shavings, water and even some blue paint, and let’s just say that’s not ideal. So doing the maths, Tom gave Scott a call, and all agreed that rather than rebuild this engine, they’d swap in a good condition CB550 motor that Tom had in the shop; who can say no to a free 50cc.
This engine would get all of the goodies to make sure it was not only reliable but a hell of a lot of fun to ride. Jesse treated her to a new set of pistons before replacing all of the bearings, seals and gaskets throughout. The top end benefits from a full port and polish on the intake, and has been kitted out with new valves and valve springs.
A new timing chain and clutch adds to the reliability and the ignition has been switched to electronic Dynatek ignition and coils. On the intake side of things, Mikuni RS carbs draw air through a bank of four DNA filters and the whole thing barks out of a custom made stainless steel exhaust, which is simply a thing of beauty.
As Jesse was working his magic in the engine room, Tom and Donny were taking care of the fabrication and it’s the little details that really deliver on the end result, “Starting with the frame chop and tail hoop. We’ve taken a bit of time to de-tab and smooth out some of the rough factory welds and mig spatter that seems to be regularly present on these bikes. We’re chasing some fine finishes with this project so a bit of refining time now will pay dividends later.” The factory peg mounts are cut off to be replaced by rearsets, a set of off-set clip-ons for the tall client and the seat base and electrics tray are finished up.
“The front fender was crafted using our DIY fender kit. Some smoothed out stainless steel rod shaped into a few sweeping bends and welded to a set of fabrication bungs that hold the aluminium front fender,” Tom explains. Another clever piece of fab work is Donny’s change to the lower leg of a front fork, welding in a mount so that a modern SV650 caliper can be used to drastically improve the braking. To take care of the paintwork it was left to Nathan at Livin Loco to give the bike the full treatment and he too spends considerable time smoothing everything out after a coat of etch primer has been sprayed down.
After endless sanding, it’s time to lay down the colour, and Nathan always mixes his own. But unlike most PBM builds, the decision was made to spray the colour not only over all of the tins but on the frame too. The look with that 2k paint on the chassis and swingarm really helps to give the bike a smooth vintage vibe.
The classic Honda tank gets something even more special, with Nathan adding hand-laid silver leaf and simple black pinstriping and graphics for a stunning finish. To match the look, the whole bike in its painted glory went over to Jammo at Timeless Auto Trim to find the perfect leather colour and woven insert for the seat, which with the removable cowl can be ridden two-up.
Having completed all of the ‘big’ jobs, the final assembly is an insight into what a well-oiled machine PBM is. From having the ability to make their own bearings to fit the swingarm to their full suite of electronics and lighting gear, the bike comes together with a factory-level finish. When you’re paying good money for a full custom build, knowing that everything will work as it should is a big draw for clients.
The final step is for absolutely everything to be checked over on the bike before the engine is tuned from idle to full rpm and the whole thing is taken out for a number of shake-down test runs. Now Scott could finally see his bike, “It is insane, it’s next level!” And not only did he love the look and the way she rides, but the guys also presented him with a custom Bell helmet, the perfect end to his dream bike build.