A middleweight CBX inspired by Colin Chapman’s Lotus 43…
The Honda CBX550 Four, introduced in 1982, boasted some interesting signature elements at the time. Most notably, there was the distinctive 4-into-2 exhaust system, featuring crossover pipes in front of the engine — overall, a lovely set of serpentine chrome. Then there were the inboard disc brakes with ventilated, drum-like enclosures, which gave the bike an unexpectedly retro vibe. The engine itself was an all-new 752.5cc air/oil-cooled design offering 65 horsepower and , and the air-assisted, oil-damped forks featured Honda’s TRAC anti-dive control. While the bike was never officially imported into the USA, it’s one of the more interesting middleweight sport bikes from the 1980s.
Enter Tuscany’s Luca Sereni (@sereniluca), an engineer who shares a passion for vintage motorcycles with his father, Alberto. When Luca came across this 1983 Honda CBX550F in Florence, he decided to create a unique cafe racer. We love that Luca chose to retain the signature elements of the bike, including the 4-into-2 exhaust and inboard brakes, along with the subtle details of this build, including colorway of British racing green and yellow-tinted glass, inspired by the 1966 Lotus 43 of Colin Chapman — designer of some of the most elegant, fearsome F1 racers in history.
Below, we get the full story on the build!
Honda CBX550F Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
In Florence, Italy, an ‘83 Honda CBX550 captured my imagination — to create a unique Honda CBX550 cafe racer. My concept focused on the addition of classically styled bodywork. Up front, we opted for a 900SS styled half fairing, which was modified to suit the CBX’s geometry.
Surprisingly, the stock eighties fuel tank tied in with the vintage aesthetic so it remained in place. The side covers we’ve trimmed to emphasize a diagonal line that leads to the bike’s custom tail.
For a clutter-free finish, rear end lighting is limited to an integrated LED unit in the hump.
Up front, there’s a pair of tiny Motogadget m-blaze pin indicators nestled beneath the fairing.
For obvious reasons, the 4-into-2 factory CBX exhaust headers were retained, although cafe-styled megaphones replace the original mufflers.
The inboard brakes and Comstar rims were also retained. After they were rebuilt we finished them in satin black to match the engine. They were then wrapped in Lasertec rubber from Metzeler’s classic range.
Mechanically, the CBX was running strong, so it was only given a basic service and fresh paint before fitting it back in the frame. Despite being the latest thing back in the eighties the Pro-link rear shock lacked feel so there’s a 900 Hornet monoshock in its place.
When the time came to select a colour for my Honda CBX550 cafe racer, we took inspiration from the Formula One history books. The green scheme is a nod to Colin Chapman’s Lotus 43 of 1966. To make it pop the rest of the bike was shot in satin black.