L’ill Dom: Honda NX400 Scrambler

Honda NX400 ScramblerAs Seen at Bike Shed Moto Show: 400cc Scrambler from Side Rock Cycles…  

Most of us are quite familiar with the Honda NX650 Dominator, a fairing-clad 90s “trailie” that would lend its 650cc single-cylinder engine to the XR650L dual-sport still produced today.  Over the years, the Dominator has become one of the most popular donors in the custom world, particularly in Europe where the bike was sold for many years.

However, did you know the Dominator had a 400cc little sibling? In 1999, the Honda NX400 — aka the NX4 Falcon — became available, featuring a ~30-horsepower XR400 engine with electric start. The bike was especially popular in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Portugal.  While the middleweight trailie is lesser known than its older brother, it’s proven itself in some of the toughest commuting conditions on the planet.

Honda NX400 ScramblerAt the 2024 Bike Shed Show last month in London, we came across this “L’ill Dom” NX400 from Pete Hodson of Side Rock Cycles. You may remember Pete from his Moto Guzzi “Gutso” we recently featured.

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Pete is a builder with a rich history of national-level road racing, including several club championships, but he’s also spent years competing in both enduro and trials — experiences that would directly influence this build. Starting with an ’06 NX400, Pete decided to turn back the clock on the plastic-clad trailie:

“We wanted to create a retro scrambler with a nod to the late ’60’s, early ’70’s competition bikes.”

Honda NX400 ScramblerNearly everything on the bike has been modified or replaced. The polished and clear-coated tank is a centerpiece of the build, nicely matched with polished fenders and number boards. A custom subframe and nice thick seat from Moger Cycles keeps the rider’s bum happy on trail and tarmac, and the bike is decked out in stainless sump guard, chain guard, and heat shields for the Cerakoted exhaust.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

The bike is running new rims with stainless spokes and Mitas Enduro rubber, including a swap from the standard 21-inch front wheel to a nimbler 19-incher. 

Honda NX400 ScramblerThe engine has been Cerakoted black with gunmetal side cases, and a custom electronics tray, wiring loom, and small lithium-ion battery keeps the bike energized.

Honda NX400 ScramblerAs the little brother to the Dominator 650, the bike is aptly “L’ill Dom,” and the bike is a throwback to the scramblers and enduros of the 1960s and 70s, but with a modern engine, electric start, and plucky good looks. More importantly, Pete says it’s a lot of fun on the street and trail.

“A really nimble, fun ride with a bit of a bark when you open it up.”

Honda NX400 ScramblerBelow you’ll find more of our interview with Pete, and photography credits go to Roberto Garagarza for the indoor shots from the 2024 Bike Shed Show and Flat-Out Creative for the outdoor shots.

Honda NX4 Scrambler: Builder Interview

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

Honda NX400 2006 with electric start.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• Why was this bike built?

Purchased a while back as a donor bike for a project.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

We wanted to create a retro scrambler with a nod to the late ’60’s , early ’70’s competition bikes.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• What custom work was done to the bike?

New tank, seat, mudguards, oil tank, and stainless braided hoses.

Exhaust with stainless heat shields, stainless sump guard, stainless chain guard, Daytona speedo, alloy handlebars with brace, new Mikuni carb with Ram Air filter.

Custom electrics tray with Anti Gravity Lithium Ion battery, modified wiring loom, new 19” front rim with stainless spokes (instead of 21”), new rear rim with stainless spokes , Mitas Enduro tyres.

Cerakoted motor in black with gunmetal side cases and Cerakoted exhaust system.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• Does the bike have a nickname?

“L’ill Dom” (Dominator’s smaller brother).

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?

Lighter than stock with a little more power.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

A really nimble, fun ride with a bit of a bark when you open it up.

Honda NX400 Scrambler

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

Transforming this bike from a trailie style commuter into something cool.

• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Steve at Phoenix Metal Finishing for all the polishing, Glenn Moger for the retro leather seat, Wicked Coatings for the paint and clear coating, and Bob Presslie for his wiring expertise.

Follow the Builder

Web: siderockcycles.com
Instagram: @siderockcycles1
Facebook: Side Rock Cycles

Photography Credit

Indoors: Roberto Garagarza: @roga______
Outdoors: Flat-Out Creative: @flatoutcreative


One Comment

  1. Elam Blacktree

    I like it!

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