The Honda CB500 twin was built for a decade, from 1993 to 2003. The liquid-cooled motor produced 57 horsepower, and the half-liter Honda twins were lauded for their confidence-inspiring handling and all-around performance. Couriers and commuters flocked to the machine, which just asked to be chucked hard into corners and wrung hard on the throttle. What’s more, the motors were reportedly built to last nearly 200,000 miles, meaning these bikes are still going strong today. In fact, the Portuguese often call the bike a “war machine.”
Enter Bold Motorcycles of Sertã, Portugal, located in the middle of the country’s longest and most mythical road, the Nacional 2. The two-man crew of Pedro and João have built this 1996 CB500 cafe racer out of their home garage — dubbed “B001” — and what an incredible job they have done. They are hoping their brand and builds will help foster a greater custom motorcycle scene in their area — we can’t think of a better way.
Below, get the full story on the build. (Words by Bold Motorcycles. Highlights by us.)
Boldmotorcycles is more than a brand. It came out of love for motorcycles. For the will to transform. To improve the good. For the aesthetic beauty of things. For careful work and attention to detail. For making one feel good. For freedom. For the pleasure of riding. For pleasure. For simple pleasure.
The crew is composed of two friends (an electrician auto and a teacher) with their lives and jobs, but with a passion for motorcycles, particularly the ones with a soul, with something different from all the others.
Everything started in 2016, when Pedro and João decided to make a new bike from an older one. After several possibilities and all the pros and cons measured they made a choice.
The Honda CB500 (90’s model) is a result of a Japanese and Italian partnership and a very good motorcycle, as Portuguese people use to say, “a war machine”, because of its reliability (it is probably the most common motorcycle in Portuguese driving schools) and it is projected by Honda to last around 300.000 km.
But if the CB reliability is a fact, is also true that she isn’t the most beautiful machine Honda ever made, furthermore has a difficult frame to work with. So, the main challenge is to transform a very good bike in a beautiful one too.
We decided to get our hands in it and the process ran slowly. We only have two conditions to follow: to build a beautiful bike (at least to our eyes) and perform the most work as possible by ourselves.
The workshop, isn’t exactly a workshop, yet, but we are working on a new space. All the work is made in João’s home garage, in the backyard along the night and at weekends. He has a few tools, and other we borrow from friends as they were being needed. We did a workbench by ourselves and it is there that we do everything. Sometimes our workspace is a bit chaotic, but like a friend of us use to say, it is a place with a peculiar decoration.
The bike was disassembled screw by screw, and the frame, the wheels, the superior suspension table and other small parts were lacquered.
The fuel tank is the original but the rear end is completely new, made in metal. The bike was painted in British racing green with two golden stripes alongside and the engine was painted in black and gold as well as the front fork.
The rear fender was reused from a typical Portuguese 50cc motorcycle and the front one was a readjustment of the original. The following parts were made new: the seat and the grips, licence plate support, the front plate (light and speedometer support), battery holder, side mirror support, fuel tap, side plates (under the fuel tank) and the superior suspension wood table application.
The bike is super compact, very easy and fun to ride with a beautiful bass sound provided by a brand new exhaust. The tyres are the avon roadrider. The rear and direction lighting were changed to LED’s and for the headlight was chosen a yellow projector.
The speedometer, the brake and clutch levers are new as well as the stainless steel brake cable. The original air filter box was replaced by two race performance air filters. The electrical wiring was completely remade and all the electrical components were hidden in the motorcycle rear end (easy access).
The Motorcycle Scene
The local motorcycle scene is starting to grow slowly. There are a few bikes here, but all non-customized. We were the first ones to follow this vintage lifestyle, making customized bikes but the movement is gradually growing.
Furthermore we are located in Sertã, a small town right in the middle of the longest and most mythical Portuguese road, the Nacional 2 with 738 km so it is usual to see bikes around here.
We hope that in a few years we can see a lot of café racers, brats, scramblers, bobbers and other bikes around here, stopping by at Boldmotorcycles’ workshop.