Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
500 CX Custom Â– 1980
As American as sushi
During the Eighties a new, more laid-back style of motorcycle appeared: the "Custom." This category would gnaw away at existing market sectors and become one of the most popular.
Image Is Everything
Up to the end of the Seventies, road-going motorcycles were divided into three basic categories: touring, utility, or sports. This rational classification had become outmoded by 1980. Sports bikes had developed into exclusive super sports models, replicas of competition motorcycles. The market for Grand Touring machines was in decline while the term "utility" had acquired a very down-marker image. The buying public wanted worthwhile, luxurious products. One of the ways the factories responded to this demand was the introduction of the custom category: luxurious utility bikes which were pleasant to ride and had a fashionably shocking image.
Customizing a Grand Tourer
Since the aesthetics of its compact transverse V-Twin lent themselves admirably to this fashion, Honda got on the bandwagon in 1979 with a Custom version of its excellent 500 CX tourer. The transformation began with big cow-horn handlebars, a tiny teardrop fuel tank, an oversize rear tire and lots of extra chrome. Adorned in this manner, the CX was slower hut just as comfortable and pleasant to ride, with an engine that was both silent and flexible, and possessed an excellent shaft final drive.
Engine: 496cc (78x52 mm) water-cooled 50-degree transverse V-twin four-stroke
Power Rating: 50 hp @ 9000 rpm
Fuel System: two 35mm carburetors
Transmission: 5-speed; shaft final drive
Suspension: telescopic fork (from); swinging fork with twin spring/dampers (rear)
Brakes: double disk (front); drum (rear)
Wheels: 3.50x19 inch (front); 130/90x16 inch (rear)
Weight: 452 lb
Maximum Speed: 106 mph
The GX Custom was the most comfortable and the most roadworthy motorcycle in its category.