JACKPOT FOUR-POT. NCT’s Winning Honda CB500F Cafe Racer
Written by Marlon Slack
NCT Motorcycles are a clever bunch of guys. We know that they can build a mean moto, as their folio of stripped-back custom bikes shows. But what we didn’t realise is how good they are at a bit of self promotion. Not ones for t-shirts or stickers they’ve gone all out with their latest creation – a 1978 Honda CB500F that you might just be able to win. That’s right. Play your cards right and this sweet little CB cafe could be yours.
But, after leading with that tantalizing statement we’ll tell you about the bike first. NCT actually scored the little Honda already partially customised. When they went to take a look at the donor motorcycle it sat for sale in faux-racer trim, sporting a slim racing tank with gold GT stripes and a few other tricked-out parts. But the finish was, overall, pretty nasty. But despite the cuts and bruises on the bike the engine was strong so the NCT team decided to pull the pin and make it the basis for their next project.
The plan from the outset was to build a clean, honest-to-god cafe racer that everybody would like to own. No outlandish paint schemes or gimmicks or high performance engine work. Just something nice and neat that would ultimately get lots of people wanting throw their hat into the ring for the competition. And have people like us drooling, of course.
So NCT Motorcycles needed to make the bike a hell of a lot more refined. First came the strip down, with all the parts removed and either cleaned up or discarded. The bare frame was de-tabbed and had a short frame loop welded on. It was then stripped and sent to the powder coater for a layer of gloss black.
The bike was assembled by Mario, the workshop manager, before work could begin on the racer’s engine. The air-cooled Honda four proved to be as fresh as the owner said it was. So all NCT had to do was change out the oil and filters and replaced all the gaskets and rubber grommets.
But the real work began with the exhaust system. The winding four-into-one headers are a work of art and took no small amount of time to get right. But David Widmann, manager of NCT, thinks it’s all worth it. ‘It looks great and the sound is amazing – loud and aggressive!’ It’s an easy contender for exhaust system of the year.
What’s curious about this CB is how many original components the team used – the headlight, suspension, wheels and mounts are all standard. But there’s still a smattering of tidy new elements around the bike. Small indicators, side-mounted licence plates and Tarozzi rearsets. Hidden underneath everything is a brand new wiring loom.
Remember I mentioned earlier that you too can own this sweet little CB500? Well, NCT are running a little competition over on Instagram that requires you to tag yourself, a mate and share a photo and you’ll go into the running to score the Honda CB for yourself. And even if you’re not in Austria, they’ll throw free shipping into the mix. How good is that?
With this Honda CB500F, NCT Motorcycles have produced a gorgeous, simple, understated cafe racer. And Herr Widmann is a fan of the simple approach to the build. ‘In todays custom scene, many bikes are super customized,’ he says. ‘It’s simple. It was also fun to build a bike where you can tell it’s not brand-new. You can tell it’s already got some miles on it.’ With any luck you might be able to rack up some more.