British motocross racer Billy MacKenzie has quite the racing pedigree. He’s a 2x British MX1 Champion, riding for Factory Kawasaki and Honda teams, and 3x overall Gran Prix winner. After decades of competitive racing, Billy was surprised by the thrill he get from building and riding custom street bikes.
He’s team up with the Amor family to create the workshop X-Axis, based out of the UK. Billy has an obvious fondness for the Honda CX500 platform, having built the CX500 “Black” (his first-ever street bike) and this silver CX500 custom as well.
Next up is the incredible CX500 you see here. In contrast to the other CX builds, Billy bought this bike largely complete from fabricator Ben Rose, whom he calls a “shit-hot welder.” Billy had his own ideas he wanted to push forward on the build. Since entering the X-Axis workshop, the bike has received a full overhaul, including rebuilt engine, modified swing-arm, and more.
Below, we get the full story on this incredible build.
CX500 Brat / MX / Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’ve been racing motocross since I was 6 years old. Been on 2 wheels more than 2 feet sometimes it seems, walking feels strange and slow to me!
I am a successful professional world championship motocross athlete in limbo of continuing racing at top level. I may have a couple of competitive years left in me but I am enjoying building right now so that’s what I’m doing.
The workshop is a combined effort with my old racing buddies the Amor family. Most notably Keith Amor who is an Isle of Man TT racing hero. We grew up around bikes together and his brother Guy Amor is one of the best mechanics in the UK. Incredibly lucky we are all sharing this passion right now, the workshop is becoming pretty magic when we are in the flow of building and ideas.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1982 Honda CX 500,
• Why was this bike built?
Ben Rose had already built the bike and is a shit hot welder so we did some business and tried to push some ideas forward. I ended up buying it off him because we had to square things up, so I gave it a detail and had our man Andrew Ferguson get behind the lens. Ben was the actual fabricator for this CX500.
The pipes are the standout feature on this bike for me, I am not really a fan of the custom rear subframe, but I knew I could make it work and its easily changeable for a single seat with rear cowl.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Just a general interest in fabrication and bikes. Only after design did Ben realise the rear tubes are in line with the diameter of the rear wheel, which turned out quite nicely. I am a fan of the standard rear CX subframe with the natural seat dip, so it’s hard for me to enjoy the flat brat style seat.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Since it’s been in the workshop we have gave it a full overhaul. New tyres with modified swing arm, fully rebuilt the engine. Custom exhausts and subframe.
• How would you classify this bike? (Cafe racer, street tracker, scrambler, brat, bobber, restomod, etc.)
It’s none of the above; it just came together as a custom build. Mx inspired bars, brat style rear, classic details.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m sure Ben will tell you the subframe and exhausts!
I am especially proud of the new details on the engine.