The Honda CR500 first appeared in 1984, it was the most powerful model in the legendary CR series of two-stroke motocross bikes, and its 55 hp engine only had to move a (dry) weight of 102 kilograms (225 lbs).
The CR500 has a reputation as being an animal, but when you are thinking straight and everything is together, it’s a lovely machine. But as soon as your mind wanders you tire and become a passenger, that’s when a 500cc two-stroke becomes a beast that will bite you.
The CR500 was (and in some cases still is) the king of the dirt biking world from the mid-eighties until its eventual demise in 2001. But the mighty big-bore two-stroke is still held in very high regards by the dirt biking community. It’s lovely to see that people are still coming up with unique takes on the two-smoke legend, just like this radical flat tracker from C’s Garage in New Zealand.
THE HONDA CR500 FLAT TRACKER
The custom CR500 you see here is the work of New Zealander Adam Hedges (@adamcsgarage) – a relative newcomer to the world of custom motorcycles. Before being bitten by the two-wheeled bug Adam was one of the pre-emminent drift car racers and builders in NZ, and the founder of C’s Garage.
The build started with an original 1985 CR500 that had been freshly imported from southern California. It was disassembled, and all parts other than the frame and engine were placed on the scrap heap. Adam’s goal was to build what Honda might have built – if they had ever chosen to produce an official factory CR500 flat tracker.
A set of forks from a 2004 Yamaha R6 were fitted up front with a monoshock pulled from a Ducati. A new chromoly swingarm was built in-house for the bike, and the original rear drum was tossed in favour of a Brembo disc brake that had also been scavenged from a Ducati. The Brembo caliper used up front was sourced from a KTM, a new set of Excel rims were laced up front and back, then fitted with Maxxis DTR-1 tires.
A new subframe needed to be welded up to accommodate the new flat tracker seat, and a classically-styled tracker fuel tank was fitted above the engine. The completed bike could easily be mistaken for a factory-spec racing bike, and it’s merely the beginning – Adam is now at work on two CR250s and a CRF250.
Adam’s other venture is Earnest, a company based in New Zealand that specialises in making workshop wear, and they take pride in developing their products in New Zealand.
THIS AND THAT – THE SPECSHEET
- Honda 1985 CR500 engine and frame
- Maxxis DTR-1 tyres 27x7x19 front and 27.5×7.5×19 rear
- Excel rims F/2.15×19 R/2.5×19
- 2004 Yamaha R6 forks
- Ducati rear shock
- Brembo front caliper (from a KTM)
- Brembo rear caliper (from a Ducati)
- Custom tubular chromoly swingarm
- Custom chromoly rear subframe
- FMF Gnarly expansion chamber
- Custom stainless mid pipe
- FMF turbocore muffler
- XR750 style tail section
- Champion-style tank
- CRF rear master cylinder
- Custom rear brake pedal
- Custom blue vinyl seat
- High bend wide flat track style handlebar
- Custom aluminium radiator