Custommade C.A. builds an 80/20 street weapon…
The Honda NX650 Dominator has become an unexpected favorite of custom builders across the world. While it was only available from 1988-89 here in the States, it remained in production for 25 years, featuring the same bulletproof 45-hp RFVC engine as the XR650L.
Sometimes known as an “urban trailie,” this big, partially faired, single-cylinder machine became a favorite of inner city messengers and backroad heroes. It helped that the handling was surprisingly spot-on:
“At the beginning of every stretch of tatty, twisty B-road should be a sign saying ‘Beware of the Dominator’. Then at least the poor little racer-replicas straying from the smooth and curvy might have some inkling of what is going to happen to them. As it is, they are Dommie-fodder. Before racey-boy has time to regret trying to scratch on a horrid bumpy lane, the lurking Dominator swoops past him in a flurry of flying chippings and boinging suspension. Resistance is useless; the Honda will not be caught by anything…. It turns twisty B-roads into Donington Park with hedgerows. The Dominator really is that good.” —Bike magazine, 1992
Recently, we caught up with Christos Foskas of Greece’s Custommade C.A., who works with his friends Antonis and Fotis in the shop:
“We are childhood friends who started customizing their first BMX bikes as kids and have now reached the point that we cut and weld motorcycles and create custom parts for ourselves and our friends…. Our love for two wheels was born the day we managed to ride our first bicycle. We would ride all around our town on ramps, dirt trails, etc. And today we ride motorcycles, cruising all around Europe!”
Starting with a ’92 NX650, Christos says their mission was to create a “daily commuter and weekend joy machine,” focusing on the performance and riding experience as much as the aesthetics. To that end, they fitted a full front end from a KTM Duke II, complete with Brembo four-piston brakes and a CNC top yoke custom-made to hold a Motogadget Motoscope Mini. Out back, they swapped out the stock rear wheel for a 6-inch rim, as the bike is intended for 80% street riding.
“Then we fitted a brand new fuel tank and built from scratch a new removable subframe that fit our taste, but was also easily interchangeable anytime the owner wants something different, like a two-seated bike, etc.”
They opened up the intake and exhaust tracts for better power, and then there’s the iconic race-inspired livery:
“The colour was inspired from HRC, of course, and gives just a little vintage style, mixed with the modern accessories of this project.”
Christos says the finished bike is perfect for daily commuting and backroad ripping…
“Or you may find yourself hooning during the night on the empty city roads.”
Below, we get the full details of the build and more shots from photographer @lykva.
Honda NX650 Supermoto: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
It’s a Honda NX650 from 1992.
• Why was this bike built?
The main purpose of the build was a daily commuter and weekend joy machine. For this reason we upgraded the already powerful single-cylinder engine with a high-flow air filter from RAMAIR and a less restricted exhaust . Also we fitted a KTM Duke II front fork along with its amazing Brembo four-piston brakes.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We wanted a minimalist result with clean and slightly aggressive lines. So we chose a tank with clean lines and built a square tail subframe that fits the concept exactly. In the front, we went minimal with a small front black headlight hidden between the forks and the Motogadget Motoscope Mini hidden in the CNC handlebar plate we made.
Also the seat follows with flat square stitches as the main pattern. The colour was inspired from HRC, of course, and gives just a little vintage style, mixed with the modern accessories of this project.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
First thing we focused on was driving improvement. So we made a new steering stem to fit the KTM complete front end and a wider, 6″ rear rim because the main point was a 80% road use bike. Then we fitted a brand new fuel tank and built from scratch a new removable subframe that fit our taste, but was also easily interchangeable anytime the owner wants something different, like a two-seated bike, etc.
We installed a front fender a bit higher from the tyre to give an aggressive look. After the hardware, we upgraded the electrical system with a rebuilt loom, removing all the unnecessary cables and fitting some new lines for the Motoscope and lights.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The bike feels light, with quick steering and enough ground clearance to make it a very good daily city commuter. On the other hand, the torque of that engine, the stiff suspension, and the Brembo brakes, made it ideal for a backroad ride. Or you may find yourself hooning during the night on the empty city roads.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Well the main lines of the frame and the complete bike is something we aim in all of our builds, but also our custom CNC Motoscope Mini mount.