A 675cc Big-Single Cafe Racer from Paris!
The Honda NX650 — aka the Dominator 650 — has become one of Europe’s most popular donor bikes for customization. However, the vast majority of these builds are scramblers or trackers — rarely has a builder taken the harder route of transforming the 650cc thumper into a cafe racer.
Enter Isidore Delgrosso — aka Iz Meccanica — the boss of the MécaServices92 workshop near Paris, who already made a name for himself with his Honda FX650 Vigor café racer, which we featured in 2017. Now he’s back with another build powered by the beloved RFVC engine — this time, he offers us his vision of the Honda NX650 Dominator in cafe racer trim.
Below, we get the full story on this 675cc, well-sorted super single!
Dominator 650 Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
This 1990’s model slept for years in a barn under a thick layer of dust. Then, in no time, we had the idea: transform this dual-sport bike into a real café racer!
Disassembled in its entirety, the engine has been renovated and optimized: sandblasting and powder coating of the casings, metrology of wear parts, gear shafts were changed, installation of a reinforced connecting rod, reboring of the cylinder to allow a high compression forged piston to pass. The engine size is increased to 675cc. Then some bronze valve guides were manufactured, the camshaft replaced by a HRC model, and an amorphous carbon DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) treatment applied to all the top engine parts.
A Mikuni TM40 pre-jetted flat slide pumper carburetor replaced the original part. An aluminum air cleaner box and a funnel intake manufactured using spin forming technology optimize the engine performance. It breathes through a K&N filter, the homemade stainless steel exhaust pipe end with two Marving mufflers.
The flywheel generator has been lightened and balanced to make the engine even more responsive. The original steel clutch friction discs have been replaced by lighter aluminum models. Isidore did not hesitate to fit an open clutch cover to have quick access to all of these friction discs.
A kickstart will give life to the engine, and a foldable brake pedal was created as the rearsets were in the way. A ball and spring system allows the pedal to be manually locked in the up or down position. The starter has been removed, it was replaced by a hydraulic clutch receiver and a small carburetor air breather box.
The modification of the original swingarm made it possible to abandon the ProLink suspension system in favour of a twin oleopneumatic dampers custom-made by Fournales. The battery fits into the swing arm, accessible through a flap underneath.
The rear subframe, screwed to the frame and made of double-curved steel tubes, is rather new, and the work done on this part has made it possible to accommodate the entire electrical harness. The wiring has been simplified to the strict minimum. Starting from scratch, it was entirely made by crimping and without any soldering. The keyless M-lock system has been selected to power the motorcycle.
The front-end is supported by two inverted fork arms whose stroke has been shortened by 20mm so that the bike’s overall line is horizontal. The front braking is provided by two 298mm discs. The latter are supported by 4-piston calipers. The aluminum front mudguard is fixed to the fork via homemade brackets. It should be noted that the front hydraulic brake system goes directly into the steering column axis. The fork tees were designed in CAD by MécaServices and then machined by USV Racing.
The foot plates and the aluminum tachometer holder are laser-cut. The manufacture of the half fairing holder allowed the fixture of a 7-inch round headlight. This half fairing has been designed by Nuno Capêlo. The whole thing is mounted on silentblocks and adjustable. The tail light has been machined from an aluminum bar and the red glass lens is made by a stained glass craftsman.
One of the technical solutions that required a lot of time and thought was to make the wheels coplanar while having a perfect guidance of the transmission. The 3.00×19-inch front and 4.00×17-inch rear perimeter spoke rims were really not designed to fit into this frame. Nevertheless, as a mill lathe operator, Isidore took up the challenge by machining the crown holder and rear hub to rebuild a functional torque damper system and designed all the spacers needed to ensure that the assembly was perfectly aligned.
The carbon reinforced glass fibre tail cowl was made by Carbon Shape. Its shape in accordance with the tank lines and those of the cylinder head reinforces the racer side of this bike, which did not have the vocation.
Jean Eric Tallemet, the historical painter of MécaServices92, took care of the enhancement.
The seat is signed SQP Motors.
From the basic model, there is not much left of it. Each part has been manufactured, modified, and adjusted to find a harmonious place in this set. The result is a subtle blend of know-how, periods, and trends.