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‘78 Honda CX500 – Patrick Sauter

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Andrew in Rat. 85 comments


Despite what the movies or books may have you believe about tortured artists, the one real killer of great creative ideas is more often than not the disease of over thinking. Forget writer’s block, drugs or a clichéd battle with sanity; we’d wager that getting caught up in the details to the point where you disappear up your own exhaust pipe is more often than not the cause of art that never sees daylight. And the cure is clear. You should always create without the constrains of self-imposed perfection and intricate planning. Just let things go where they take you. That’s what Germany’s Patrick Sauter did. And the result? It’s a bike worthy of Kerouac himself.


As it took Pat nearly a year to build his first bike, this time he wanted to build something in just four weeks and all without reinventing any wheels, rebuilding and engines or cutting any frames. And naturally it would have to be nice and legal on German streets.


“Then I saw this ’78 Honda CX 500 with nearly 100,000 kilometres on the clock for 600 Euros on the internet. Undoubtedly this bike isn’t everyone’s first choice for a unique custom, but I knew that this poor man’s V2 Guzzi had the potential to be an outstanding machine and could, if done right, blow everyone’s mind. With the exception of a minor oil leak, the bike was more or less in good condition and seemed like a decent choice to start a build.”


Pat started by stripping off the bike’s fairing and removing all the ‘needless’ parts. His aim was to create nothing more than an honest hot rod bike; something you ride on a Sunday evening while shooting the shit and burning some rubber with your mates. “As I’m just about to finish my studying, there isn’t that much spare money to put the finest parts on it, but fortunately for this bike I didn’t really have to. I sealed up the oil leak, bought a pair of Avon tires and painted the wheels and forks dark grey. I mounted a new headlight, a simple speedometer and a pair of stubby handlebars.”


The fuel tank was finished with a grinding disk and sealed with clear varnish. The K&N air filters were a donation from a colleague and required Pat to spin up some plastic adapters. The base of the seat is an old skate deck on top of which he put a rolled up Persian carpet. “I borrowed it from my Grandma,” he notes. It’s held in place by a leather belt. Fussy details? Who needs ’em.


Ready for anything – as long as it’s Persian and has loose pants


“All in all, it’s a bad-ass bike that everybody stares and smiles at. You don’t have to contemplate whether the sitting position is comfy or if the rims are dirty. It just is. I didn’t want to acknowledge a specific genre like café racer or bobber with it. I just wanted a bike with loud pipes where you get on, start the engine and smile. It’s motorcycling in its original form.”


Another Sunday ride ruined by Buster’s lack of opposable thumbs

  • John in Pollock

    I love it.

    • Spyker May

      The dog or the bike..?

      It (uhmmm not the dog) features the best security system any motorcycle could ever have – go figure.

      I guess if the like of OCC can use plumbing equipment to build “motorcycles” – taking to carpentry is par for the coarse here – at least the dog felt right at home…

      • Spyker – I agree that it’s par for the “coarse” as well. Is “the best security system” the fact that it is so ugly no one will steal it ;>)

        • Spyker May

          **course** (at the risk of sounding coarse) – tx bro…

  • oldman

    Bunch of hipster bullshit.

    • AppleJuiceFlood

      Darn hipsters and their bullshit. When will they stop being hip and doing hip things? When will they just become mundane, conventional and cynical like everyone else?

      • oldman

        shit man, I wouldn’t let my old dog crap on that bike. junker.

      • oldman

        Listen here AppleJack, put down whatever craft beer you are suckling on and think about how this fool took a bike that was mediocre to begin with and made it even more crappy, nothin hip about shitty tires that dont corner low, disc brakes that will barely slow your skinny ass down, and a fucking wet blanket that smells like ass.

        • Gentile Sodomite

          oldman, just shut up. just shut the fuck up.

          • oldman

            see, look, ive done gone and hurt your feelins, im sorry cupcake.

          • Gentile Sodomite

            seriously. shut. the. fuck. up.

          • oldman

            i didnt mean no harm gentile sodomite, i can tell by your name youre a man of strong moral fiber. ill go on now since ive upset you.

          • Nick Van den Broeck

            I sense something…
            Must be sexual frustrations.
            I feel sorry for the fact you feel that you need to prove yourself dude. I seriously do.

          • oldman

            It is. very perceptive

          • oldman you are a cunt.

          • oldman

            but i love you reece pieces, you’re the bees knees

            also, i took a look at your instagram picture thing there, i like your little scooter, that sure is precious.

          • Haha I think I like you actually oldman, but don’t make your self sound silly by talking about a honda cub in that way, as real men know it is the greatest bike of all time!

          • Cowpieapex

            It’s a bit of a shock for many of us (oldmen) that while we were out riding 3 or 4 decades slipped by. You see these classic machines were new in our day and it makes us grumpy to see them as historic icons.

      • TJ Martin

        Hipsters of today are anything but …. ‘ Hip ‘ . In fact all they are is a sad pretentious pastiche of a past gone by they barely even know anything about .

        • AppleJuiceFlood

          Generalizations are pretension. Making broad assumptions about some vague, pseudo youth-culture only highlights one’s own insecurities. And in your case it seems to be a presumed lack of respect for classic motorcycle culture; I disagree with you about this particular motorcycle. It shares the one aspect important to cafe-culture and just about any youthful motorcycle build throughout history: a stock bike stripped down on a budget to race around town only to break and rebuild and break again.
          The author states, “something you ride on a Sunday evening while shooting the shit and burning some rubber with your mates.”
          And the builder states, “I just wanted a bike with loud pipes where you get on, start the engine and smile. It’s motorcycling in its original form.”
          It seems people are mostly disgruntled about the fact that a budget build is being posted on a popular moto-blog, but as far as I’ve noticed this blog is not about budget, it’s about the spirit and intention (and a good photo) of a particular motorcycle. This one has all three.
          It’s not a piece of craftsmanship, it’s a simple, artful and functional machine, meant for fun.

        • oldman

          thats right applejack, take some advise from huey lewis

      • Jeremy C

        1 They are not.
        2 They are.

  • Guest

    does this mean mine is cool enough for a feature on the page?!

    • oldman


    • Sol

      So you sit on a skateboard, hmmmm. It must be a pain in the ass

  • tried attaching a photo, not sure how that works? But have a build extremely similar and would love a feature!

    • oldman

      stop. oh wait, no front brakes. I changed my mind, hell of a build, buddy. now go give er full gas, just let that motherfucker eat, flat out.

      • Kevin

        This just in >>> Hipster crashes into independent coffee shop front window .. its reported that the custom motorcycle had no breaks and a heavy duty inner tube only for a front tire and a 75% over spec rear tire… rider is in critical condition with lacerations to his facial hair …
        bike is currently up for sale on ebay ..

        • oldman

          1 down.

  • Michael Kork.

    OMG! Chewbacca is sitting on the damn thing!

  • bjax

    I like it. If you don’t want to put a lot of money into the build, you might as well take the goofball approach and show some humor. And what better bike for a goofball build than a CX500? I bet he’ll regret the Persian rug after the first rainfall, though.

    Alluding to another recent Pipeburn feature, I like the rider shots. I like to see the machines at work. I’m not sure about this one with the dog, though. 😉

    • 911

      There you go! 😉

    • Patrick Sauter


  • Gentile Sodomite

    Blanket and belt for a saddle reminds me of the cb360 “the cowboy” that was up in the last year or so.

    • Mickey

      yeah that cowboy was sick, and this is what a street version would look like. I did the balnket thing on my ct125 bush basher/work bike for fun and it actually comes in handy every now and again. I also wrapped a piece of foam up in the blanket cause you dont wanna smash your nuts after jumping a ditch!

      • GermDog


  • Guilherme P.

    Patrick, was it easy to get the bike to work with sports airfilters with old carbs? Did u rebuild them?

    Nice job on the bike. I’m personally very attached to the ‘ratty’, improvised style..

    • Patrick Sauter

      I just put in some bigger main / pilot jets, works well. Either way, you won’t get more power out of that engine. Nice to have…

      • Elvis

        How did you get the k&n in your papers in germany? I have a similar project and would love to have some on my bike.

  • this baby is gorgeous

  • revdub

    I absolutely love his RD250. Such a classy build. I like this bike for what it is – a quick and legal customization. I would not have painted the rear tire, but that’s just a preference. It’s good looking in a punk way.

  • I like the belt.

    • revdub

      A quality belt is hard to come by.

    • it is a lovely belt

      • Blueline

        Should we consider the possibility of the launch of

        I really like what he has done with the tank, shows dedication in order to stand out. However, would carrying out a modification like affect the structural rigidity of the tank?

        And I’d like to see more pictures of the belt.

        • Blueline

          Scratch that, the tank is brushed metal. I was seeing dents in it, man I love that finish.

        • PS


  • sethasaurus

    Jesus, Andrew! No spellchecker OR proof-reading? Kinda ridiculous, mate. You need to go back to school.
    I usually read (daily) pipeburn first, then bikeexif for relief from bad copy.

    That belt doesn’t look right somehow, and I’d be weather-proofing that seat covering if I were him, but still a cool bike.

  • Brad Brasco

    “seemed like a good choice to start a build” – sorry, what build? did i miss something here..

  • misterpowerz

    I wonder what he did to get the tank to have that beaten look. I love it and the overall look of the bike. Looks low, fast and mean. The way a cool motorcycle should look.

  • Matty K

    Cool as shit. *newsflash* motorcycles aren’t ALL about performance people – it’s how they make you feel when you ride them! And I’d feel pretty rad on this machine.

  • Matty K

    And did Chewie get it on with toto?

  • Only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s not mine.

    • Davidabl2

      That could be easily & cheaply fixed. And that’s a good thing.

      • Jeremy C

        I doubt you have ever ridden a stock CX. Let alone one with no brakes, and tyres of a muffled last gasp of sliding death. ‘ rad ‘ or something.

        • Davidabl2

          Things got lost in translation, somehow. My comment was intended to simply refer to what i call “slidemaster” tires
          and you call “tires of a muffled last gasp of sliding death”

          Our opinion of these tires seems to be about the same.

  • Keith Morlen

    Punk as hell. Love because it pisses people off. If it evokes emotion, hurray!

    • oldman

      nothin but an ol turd bike with a stinky blanket.

      • P

        we got it oldman. haters gonna hate

        • oldman

          awe man, aint no dang ol hatin just telling it like it is, thats all

          • jlgace

            I don’t understand how you can tell it like it is when I’m the one that does that. I would not ride a stock CX500, but I would ride this – after fitting a proper seat. Because the blanket is impractical and ultimately appears like a lazy/cheap solution. And I’m old. Given the 4 week build time and the budget, it’s appropriate. Did something very similar when I was a broke student. And I do like what you’ve done with the tank. Having taken several objects down to bare metal and loving it, I still never had the balls to leave them that way. Good show. Some people will never be (un)lucky enough to grasp what it’s like to want something cool and interesting, yet have barely the means to susbsist.

          • oldman


          • Davidabl2

            I had hoped that you were being somewhat “ironic’
            I mean what’s really wrong with having some fun with a no-budget build? No fine motorcycle was harmed in the production

      • Gentile Sodomite

        probably smells better than your sisters nasty gash, oldman.

        • oldman

          yea it do.

  • The comments on this bike are starting to look like YouTube’s comments, and this is leading to nowhere… 🙁
    I can understand all the guys who don’t like this bike the same as the guys who like it, but we don’t have to be offensive, and start bitting each other. All we have to do is ride our wheels, our choises, and leave aside our ego for other people choises.
    This is the only authenticity I know, don’t spread the seed of segregation.

    • revdub

      I completely agree, GeoKan. I never read those comments, for a reason. I’m on Pipeburn daily, but you’ll know the bikes I don’t personally like by noticing a lack of comment from me. Something about, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” Constructive criticism is one thing and I understand it has a place. Snarky statements void of any civility or respect have no place in these discussions, in my opinion.

    • Davidabl2

      The guys who don’t like this bike need to lighten up or grow a sense of humor, whatever.

  • Bob Ratcaf

    Did ‘guitarslinger’ change his profile name to ‘oldman’? What a negative asshat. I wish old people would stay off blogs and forums, they are all so negative and haven’t yet discovered that a little restraint in the comments section goes a long way. Its like a parent discovering facebook and liking every damn thing that people post. And feel the need to comment on everything too. Right, back to my non commenting for months… Until I feel the need to point out an old person being an asshat.

    • oldman

      y’all boys over here on pipeburn sure take yourselves seriously

      • Davidabl2

        “True dat.”

  • Lewn

    Eerrm, I like the clip-ons, eer yellow light air filter and the dog. Hate the rug & belt though.

  • Davidabl2

    Going far,far beyond the usual flat-black-spraypainted rat bike.
    Except that most rat bikes don’t sport Avon slidemasters ;-(

  • Davidabl2

    A change on the tradition of just using a beat-up old leather jacket as a seat.

    Perhaps not practical though because even if it is comfortable somebody’s gonna steal the belt and blanket, if it’s ever parked anywhere near a homeless people’s encampment. Somebody will need a new belt & blanket

  • Giuliano Massimiliano Minutill

    hipster Power….. Very Good thing

    • oldman


  • This bike is rad. The hate it’s garnering is evidence of that. I haven’t seen anyone else use a rug as a seat or a skateboard as a rear fender so i’d have to argue it’s not hip, as hip infers the following of trends. This, one has to acknowledge as somewhat original even if it does make you wanna get your hate on.

    And stop wasting some much time trying to define what is and isn’t hipster, no one really gives a fuck.

  • Jeffrey Wallis Bell-Zekas

    very cool…

  • Tobias

    I have seen the bike in its flesh at Glemseck 101 last weekend and I can say it is a true headturner and i a certain way a piece of art

  • AG

    Saw you at Glemseck 101 – I ike the idea how you keep your brake fluid at a burning point – fun bike – show more

  • scheffers

    the pictures are nice, the build too easy.

  • Jeremy C

    Nobody who has ever ridden on Avon SM tyres, would think there is anything good or cool about it. If they survived, that is.

  • Lafflin

    Hipsters spend extra money for style points. If anything, this is straight grunge. Nothing ironic here. It’s a rat bike. Hipsters keep their hair prim and their clothes clean. This is a bike that represents none of the pompous traits of hipster culture. Funny the reference to kerouac, he was calling hipsters before people even knew what hipsters were. Read, On the Road.

  • Jesus Christ

    anyone dissing this bike is a complete and utter fucking wanker. its beautiful, genius. GO LIVE IN THE PAST YOU BITTER, USELESS FUCKING HATERS. FUCK YOU.