Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

‘78 Honda CX500 – Utopian Customs

Posted on June 2, 2014 by Scott in Brat, Other. 39 comments


When it comes to designing a custom bike, everyone has their own way of working. Some like to sketch, others like to use Photoshop, and a brave few will just build from a picture in their head. When Pablo Luzzi from Buenos Aires recently started Utopian Customs he wanted to approach each build in a similar fashion as he does in his day job as an advertising art director. “I prepare a creative brief to serve as a guideline and start developing a concept in accordance to that.” says Pablo. “That’s how I initiated this first project, spending hours making thumbnails and messing with Photoshop until I came up with a comp of the final bike.” Once Pablo had created his perfect ‘comp’ of the finished design, he then had to find the right donor bike to suit the concept – which was made harder by living in Argentina.


Pablo wanted an older bike but finding a decent donor in Argentina can be tricky because for many years spare parts were almost impossible to get due to import restrictions. So most of the older bikes are in bad condition or made using dodgy parts because when things went wrong with them it was hard to replace the parts. He eventually discovered a 1978 CX500, which he decided would be perfect for his first build. “It was a running bike with 50k miles and in good mechanical condition” he says. CX’s aren’t very common in Argentina so it was even rarer to find one in decent condition.


Pablo’s original idea was to create something reminiscence of early salt racer bikes. “I’ve always liked the shape of the CX’s engine and we thought that replacing the huge original gas tank with these small stainless steels custom tanks would make the 500cc motor look more prominent and would also give us some of that racy look that we were after.”


To help with the fabricating Pablo enlisted the help of Marcelo Giuliodori who is a stainless steel guru. “He started helping me with the exhaust pipes and ended up fabricating many other parts including the gas tanks. His ability and dedication to the project ended up making a huge difference.” Marcelo also made the foot pegs, the brake lever, the shifter and the housing for the temperature gauge.


Another aspect that Pablo really focused on was the symmetry between the engine cylinders and the gas tanks, and he then extended that to the gauges and the exhaust. The beautiful old brass headlight was salvaged from a vintage car. “Old motorcycles and cars inspire us and we share a deep appreciation of early industrial design, where the results were as functional as they were aesthetic.”


The beautiful seat unit was actually made out of sheet metal and painted in a bronze color with a satin finish by a local painter called Tanaka. The seat was then upholstered in black leather and matching bronze stitching by a car interior shop called Los Mellizos.


With so many CX’s being built recently from all over the world, it’s great to see Pablo and his team have created a unique take on this model. The build has so many lovely details but the standout has to be those twin gas tanks. If this is Utopian Customs first build, then we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

You can also check out the ‘making of gallery’ here.




[Photos by Alejo Pichot]

  • tim

    It makes me sad when I see build like this. I love making my own custom bikes, but not of them will ever be as clean or well sorted as this. I guess you get out what you put in. Great looking bike.

    • Davidabl2

      Well, yes. As far as “getting out what you put in” a multiple of times the value of the donor bike was spent on getting it to the place where it is now.. Plus the skills of a number of pros. it’s really not comparable to something that could be done by a single individual. Except for handful of people in the entire world.

  • Fantome_NR

    It makes me sad when I see such goofy tires put on an otherwise nice build.

    • Tstop

      the tires are adequate enough for this type of motorcycle, if you want to drag your knee, you’ll get your Batlax and a 600 screeming rocket 🙂

      • Generally that’s the response of a person who doesn’t ride fast motorcycles…ever. And goes hand in hand with a love for fat tired, flatseat, pipewrapped, no inner fenders to save the engine from a lack air cleaners, low bars, rust, mis-routed cables and the “You just don’t get it”, open faced helmet crowd. Gradually this trend will pass and highly functional build-ups will replace minimally functional build-ups.

        You can make a fast bike go slow, but you can’t make a slow, dangerously assembled bike go fast. Not that you would ever want to.

        • Davidabl2

          As somebody who has found himself riding thru the occasional cloud of dust (or sand!) I find it hard to believe that anybody actually rides with velocity stacks on open roads, and they’re not just on there for pictures.Or at bike shows…

        • Lewn

          I like CX500s. Please just someone just tastefully resto mod (a turbo) one (Mule ;-). By that I mean just improve the bikes original tires, brakes, suspension and remove some clutter. This silly bike with open torque robbing scrambler pipes right under your ass will induce a horrible migraine, why not some normal position and supertrapps or something like the originals. Why do people feel the need to guffaw over the appearance, have they no imagination on what this heap would be like to ride? No the custom bike isn’t ‘an open sheet for your imagination to run wild’ it has to be ridden and not just for a mile or two, but for thousands. But then again people build big wheel baggers…..missed why that was cool too.

          The only question about the tires needs to be how will they feel when you are grinding the pegs? If they suck ditch them, if they are OK no problem, at least they aren’t those freaking square ones. Me I go for Pirelli, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Michelin etc don’t really care what year the bike was built, best brakes and tires no second best please.

          • catalyst385

            Why don’t you two disgruntled old turds go build one and show us how it’s done? It’s always the same couple of people whining about rider position, fenders, and tires. We get it – it’s not practical. It’s probably not any closer to going away than the streetrod/lowrider scenes in classic cars, though. Not everything is built for performance and comfort. Either get over or build your own.

          • arnold

            Pardon me catylast, which old turds are you refering to? There are a dozen or so that I know about……………including only three of me on good days.ald

          • Lewn

            I’m not old 🙂
            Seriously dude, Mule is one of the best in the business, were you referring to him?

            Why are you such a fascist? Am I not allowed to dislike a bike if it will suck to ride? WTF?

          • How about this one “Turd”?

          • catalyst385

            Ahhhh crap… Ok, you win lol

        • Flathead

          And no front fender …

        • Joechoes

          We all make compromises and have different priorities when building or purchasing anything. If you weren’t compromising some level of comfort for whatever bike you like you would probably be riding a decked out Goldwing. Maybe your priority is speed and you choose to give up comfort for the fastest supert bike. To tell somebody else that their preferences are wrong just because they arent the same preferences you have is quite ignorant. We dont all do roadtrips on our bikes. Some of us just like things that look cool and will only ride a couple of miles at a time regardless of what bike we own. Practicality does not always have to be a top priority. Bikes are not at all practical when it comes to safety but of you ride a bike you are compromising safety for ….?

    • Flathead

      The Firestones gives an important contribution to the whole profile of this interesting bike.

      • Davidabl2

        Whatever else they may be, at this point Firestones are overused.
        I haven’t ridden on them, but i have removed ASAP the similar Dunlop
        “Slidemasters” from several bikes that i’ve had that came with them.

        • Flathead

          Many custom tricks are overused. Within the “new wave custom/bratt style/cafe racers” featured on these pages, it’s wire wheels, thin flat seats, small lights/tanks/handlebars/mufflers and fenders, matt paint, pipe wrap and Firestones. Builders could stop using these, but then it would no longer be the “new wave custom/bratt style/cafe racers” any more.

          • Davidabl2

            Yeah, it’s all about style/fashion but by definition style/fashion
            changes over time… and with ‘FStones I’d say that it’s time to move on,already 🙂

          • And side stands that are way too short.

          • Davidabl2

            I often wonder about that. Actually. i guess,people seem to like the dramatic look bikes have when they’re way leaned over on the stand, but they don’t photograph very well that way. Hence the bricks etc. under the side stands for the pix…

  • bjax

    The CX500 is such a weird and homely bike that I almost always love what builders do with them. One of the most challenging things is that round subframe. I love how the exhaust is visually integrated in it. Great build!

  • arnold

    If it runs well, it is a 9.875 out of 10.000 to me.ald

    • Fantome_NR

      LOF = lack of fender? I like it!

      • arnold

        Thanks, I propose it, taking a cue from the ROFL youngsters to convey an informed opinion without wasting a lot of hunten pecker typing.

        ‘Stones, mentioned below is another one, open to shortening the point of view to three short capital letters. ald

        • arnold

          Personally. the Firestones look good here and with this horsepower are more than capable

  • This build shows a lot of technical expertise that I wish I had, slacker that I am. I give props to anybody who can beat out sheet metal into beautiful shapes. The seat is fantastic. A very unique take on an ugly duckling CX.

  • Davidabl2

    There’s a pretty basic CX parked down the street from me at this very moment,and looking at it i can tell you that there’s way too much raw aluminum showing on these bikes..and that painting some of it the same color as the frame would reduce the visual bulk of the transmission and engine bottom end. Which is a principal problem with CX
    customs, as it is with custom BMW’s.

    The Utopia bike is a really extraordinary bike. And i was surprised to see so much of the power plant left in what looks like stock finish. Like on the kid down the street’s CX ;-(

    • arnold

      You are correct in your thoughts, the lump in the middle cannot be ignored. Not that I am in any way serious, but it is the main feature of the CX. Maybe a hundert hours of beads and polish’n would do it?

      • Davidabl2

        There are many ways to skin a cat (unless you consult the cat!)
        anodize, paint,polish, powdercoat..but something needs doing.
        Stator cover and oil filter covers black…and some of the extrusions on the cases would look like frame members at a distance if they were black as well. The one that visually matches the line of the driveshaft is another candidate, and might de-emphasize the driveshaft if it matched.

  • Ben newman

    How much & can I buy one ?

  • Andy

    It makes me sad when I see keihin CV carbs on anything.

  • Steve

    A stock CX would out perform this one in the real world in pretty much every way. It wouldn’t look as cool but that’s about it. I’d love to see a builder create a CX of this quality that was faster than stock, stopped better than stock and handled better than stock rather than going the other way and making it all about the look.

  • Super classic!

  • Lewn

    Freaking awful.

  • Julian Martinez

    Espectacular ¡¡¡ solo pensar lo que les costo hacer eso acá se me pone la piel de gallina ¡¡ me encantaría ver nuevos proyectos de ustedes, esto esta creciendo dia a dia¡¡ atte. julian un motoadicto de villa adelina…

  • You’d think somebody that could do all this fabulous fabrication work, could figure out how to lengthen a freakin’ sidestand. Or is that part of the new build style?

    • It’s to make sure the bike is as close to vertical as possible for the shoot. It looks better that way. That, or they were just so damn lazy, they couldn’t be bothered moving that one little piece of wood in the studio…

  • Thomas Nilsson

    i find i sad this bike is in to good shape to be used thas a problem i ceep seeing on this page :/ stil amazing bike but would be a shame to get it dirty.

  • John_Tangeraas

    It`s different, well done and I like it.