Manu Mertens of Belgium’s 2Motors has been a bonafide Honda devotee from an early age — a passion evident in arsenal of Honda big single builds that roll out of his shop, including two bikes we have recently featured: his Honda XR650R supermotard and his NX650-based Sideburner 670 street tracker.
Now Manu is back with another punched-out Honda NX650 custom. This time, it’s this beautiful Honda NX670 Scrambler, which was recently featured at the Fly Low IV — a Belgian custom show put on by Hermanus Bruges and MaxxMoto. This has to be one of the hottest Honda Dominators we’ve ever featured, with a big bore kit, high-compression piston, and lots of custom engine work.
Without further ado, we get the full story on this big bore Honda NX scrambler.
Honda Dominator Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Manu, from Erembodegem, near Aalst, Belgium. Passionate about Honda…my bikes, cars (2x Acty and a Accord Tourer), even my lawn mower is a Honda!
After having my first BMX bicycle, I started having interest in dirt bikes (and Honda!) when my brother bought a new Honda MT50 in the very early ’80s, a few years later followed by an XR350R ’85. That’s when I earned the MT and started to modify it to go ride off-road together with my brother and his XR… In the early ’90s I bought my first own Honda XR.
XR’s and other Honda singles are my passion. Just type “XRMANU” in Google and look…
In 2011 this passion led to the creation of my own small workshop 2Motors, pronounced 2M Motors. Manu is my first name, Mertens is the family name, so that was easy…the 2Motors thing.
The shop is passion-driven and specialized in building one-off’s, from simple service to rebuilding and tuning engines. After almost 20 years of doing this as a hobby I finally took the step. It’s a part time job for now but I hope to make a full living out of it one day.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
This project is based on a Honda NX650 from 1992.
• Why was this bike built?
This bike was built for a client.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
This client saw my earlier Dominator Tracker project the “Side Burner 670.”
He liked the finish and build quality of that bike, but he wanted something else than the pure tracker look. He had a few things in mind how his dream NX would look like and with that in mind I could start this project.
He liked what I did to the engine of the Sideburner, so I had to make him a replica of the Sideburner engine: big bore 670cc with high compression piston, a Hotcam, flywheel work, headwork and a big Keihin FCR carb + a complete overhaul of all the bearings, clutch, gears etc.
That’s something that I miss in a lot of builds, most of the time is the engine left alone. He wanted the engine in semi gloss black so the whole thing was blasted and powder coated by a local specialist before the rebuild.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The weak OEM suspension was beefed up with Hyperpro components and I lowered the front and rear. For the rear end, I made a custom adjustable link system so we could level the bike like we liked and get the best look and handling.
The client wanted a led taillight in the sub frame/loop and no wires/electrical components/battery in sight whatsoever. So a custom loop was made and everything was tucked in, away in there or under the seat.
The battery was beefed up to compensate the fact that the auto decompression was gone (Hotcams…).
With the small Motogadget blinkers and switches in the front, every thin wire had to pass through the handlebar, headstay etc. A custom loom was made.
The client wanted an exhaust with double cans left and right, high and close to the seat. I puzzled with tubes and bends to get everything out of the way and into a nice shape and look.
After I had cut every bend and tube to the perfect length and shape a pro welder came to my shop together with the client to meet and match up to a result that he wanted.
All the engine work was done by me (rebuilding, headwork…).
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The end result of the tail end with the custom exhaust and the way that everything come by at the end with the wiring, blinkers etc around the handlebar. That was a nightmare first.
Link to the making of the bike: Build Album.