At just 26 years old, Simon Dabadie of Dab Design has already made quite a splash in the custom motorcycle world. With a background in the emerging industries of 3D Printing and 3D software publishing, he’s done work for big guns like Roland Sands Design and Deus Ex Machina. Says Simon:
“With all these emerging technologies, I set myself the challenge of customizing motorcycles in a totally antagonistic way to the old school spirit, integrating new technologies into the creative process.
“This is how Dab Design was born. The desire to create exclusive motorcycles in a very specific way. When I’m designing and building a bike, I feel like I am telling a story: each step has its own signification and when I finally come to the final step, in addition to my client satisfaction, I got a personal satisfaction that I cannot find anywhere else.”
Until now, most of Simon’s signature builds have been based on the venerable NX650 platform, such as the “LM-0” Honda NX650 tracker we featured. However, to mark the one year anniversary of the brand, Simon decided to build his last custom of 2017 based on a very special bike: the Honda CR500. As he says, he wanted to present an extreme bike.
The Honda CR500 was the most powerful motocross bike the company had ever built, offering 52.8-56 horsepower at just 223 pounds — lighter and more powerful than a modern 450 four-stroke. The powerband was explosive, even violent — at one point in the midrange, power jumps 18 horsepower in 1500 rpm. Indisputably, the CR500 is a modern legend, and a fitting platform for this build.
Below, we get the full story from Simon the build.
CR500-Based LM#5: In the Builder’s Words
(Highlights by us. Photos by Bastien Errecart.)
The end of 2017 will mark the closing of the LM by Dab Design limited edition. This year was very busy for the brand that has been building bikes for its customers. To mark the occasion, I wanted to make a special model for the 1 year anniversary of the limited edition by presenting an extreme bike. The public is used to seeing the Dab Design builds based on the solid Honda NX 650 Dominator well-known for its robustness, good performance and simplicity. The LM#5 is placed above all the previous LM, using as basis the indomitable CR.
500 … To which is added an element that makes it even more mythical: its name “DIAPASON“, one of the rare 360 CR500 homologated by the French dealer Diapason between 1994 and 1998. It’s during a customer meeting that I discovered, in the back of his garage, this wonder. Passionate about enduro, track and speed sports in general, Dab Design has created a real wheelie machine.
The configuration of the LM#5 has been set with my client from the beginning, after 3 or 4 different 3D rendering, the choice is focused on a dominant black coupled with high quality components. The entire bodywork still uses the same molds of the limited series, designed and printed in 3D to mold the body using fiberglass, carbon or even flax fiber. I make no compromises on manufacturing quality by working with a team of carefully selected craftsmen to rebuild the engine, weld and paint my bikes.
The Dab Design futuristic front-plate integrating the LED system is still there, as my signature. The plate was laser perforated and then painted in the same glossy black as the rest of the bodywork. The choice of black was also important to get the darkest black, so we choose the Vivid Black from Harley Davidson.
It’s been several months I worked with a big name of motocross industry and this name makes react any crossman or endurist : Bud Racing. International reference in suspensions, I chose to work with the super team of Bud who made the preparation of the Ohlins suspensions of the LM#5, by taking into account the characteristics of the driver (weight, size, type of driving).
To adapt the tubes, I designed triple-trees on Solidworks (3D design software) and then sent to machining. These two aluminum pieces create a superb contrast with the golden suspensions. Note also the Motogadget multifunction speedometer inside the upper triple-tree, on which the driver can play with the information displayed by pressing a button on the Motogadget commands.
A weight of 100 kg, a power of 65 horses, it is quickly deduced that the braking system will have to be super efficient, same for the wheels mounted on the LM#5. To stick to the ground, Excel Tagasako rims are fitted with Michelin PowerSport tires of 160 at the rear and 120 at the front. And finally, the CR500 is equipped with the complete Beringer braking system offering incredible braking performance.
And now, let’s go to the heart of the bike: the two-stroke liquid-cooled single cylinder has been completely rebuilt. The cooling system was modified because the two original radiators did not allow to mount the tank Dab Design. I designed a central radiator and carefully payed attention to its volume and number of cooling cells to cool the 2-stroke engine. It is protected by two carbon fiber probes made in our workshop.
Below, we can see something similar to a boa, wrapping around the big 500cc like a snake. The Scalvini handmade exhaust boosts the Honda engine, and joins a FMF silencer placed on the side of the saddle. We can note the work done on the Ohlins rear shock absorber : it is the second central element of the bike, observing well, the frame and the exhaust surround him with perfect adjustments.
The original air box has been removed for space reasons, we had to also think about the location of the KN air filter. It cannot be mounted directly on the carburetor because of the space taken by the rear shock-absorber, so I scanned in 3D the bike and then draw a specific 3D printed that can “avoid” the shock absorber shape.
Finally, an important element is the saddle. For the LM # 5, I went to see the prestigious Carriat tannery that supplies the luxury brand Hermes and also Bugatti for the interior of the Veyron. So I went to Espelette to choose the magnificent buffalo leather that lines the saddle of the LM#5.
LM#5 Specs List
FRAME & BODYWORK
- Full black composite (fiberglass for this one) bodywork designed by Dab Design
- Custom subframe
- Custom Billet aluminum gascap with 3D printed logo
- Black seat with high density foam and buffalo leather from Carriat Multifonctions LED tail light
- Multifonctions Dab Design front headlight (laser cutted)
- Powder coated frame, swing arm and standOhlins MX 48 RXF fork customized by Bud racing Rear Shock absorber customized by Bud Racing
- Billet aluminum tripletrees designed by Dab Design Integrated Motogadget Mini speedometer
- Black Biltwell grips
- Ajustable Nekken risers
- Renthal Fatbar handlebar Motogadget m-Switch
ENGINE & EXHAUST SYSTEM
- Engine cleaning and rebuilding with black painting Scalivini Exhaust (modified)
- FMF Powercore 2 muffler (modified)
- K&N Air Filter + 3D Printed Air Pipe
- Bespoke radiateur with carbon fiber probes RIMS
- Black Excel Takasago Rims
- Bud Racing CNC machined hubs Front : 3.5 x 17
- Rear : 5.00 x 17
- Full Beringer brake system
- Michelin Powersport Front : 120/60 R17 Rear : 160/60 R17