‘78 Honda CX500 – Patrick Sauter
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.
“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.”