Earlier this month, Honda attended Glemseck 101 in Leonberg, Germany, to show off 6 stunning Honda bikes and race their custom-built cb1000R in the ‘Spring International’ 1/8th-mile invitational race.
Three of the custom Honda’s on display were based on classic bikes from the past:
The CX500 - with its transversely-mounted V-twin engine - has long been a favourite among customisers and the award-winning version created by Michael Michael at Libra Coachworks (of Dartford, UK) is an exquisite example of its kind, full of hand-crafted details from the cross-stitched seat to the ‘signature’ exhaust end-can.
Another perennial favourite in the custom scene is the world’s first mass production superbike, the CB750. Kaspeed Customs (the father and two sons of the Karsten family) have spent over 200 working hours on their hand-built Kaspeed CB750, using 3D CAD software to create a beautifully-balanced effect, with new aluminium front fender, a bespoke, elongated fuel tank and classic café racer seat cowl.
The third classic Honda is a re-working of a 1000cc Gold Wing, which began life as a naked machine in the 1970s. Built by Dutchman Roy Holtman, the customised version at Glemseck underlines the simplicity of the original four-cylinder Gold Wing with a bespoke tank and seat, a pair of two-into-two exhausts, plus a military-style storage compartment that gives a nod to the touring benchmark that the Gold Wing very quickly became.
The remaining 3 bikes on show were based on current models in the range:
The Monkey has proved an instant hit since its return to Honda’s European product line-up this summer. It combines the modern elements of USD forks, twin rear shocks, LCD instruments, IMU-based ABS and full LED lighting with the classic Monkey look and proportions. The Monkey has often been a ‘go-to’ bike for use at campsites by RV-owners, and for fun on light trails; for Glemseck 101, Dirk Öhlerking of German customisers Kingston Customs has taken the off-road vibe further by re-imagining the Monkey as a Flat-Tracker. His Monkey Tracker features a host of adjustments including modified frame, flat-tracker style handlebar, hand-made seat, new exhaust, foot-rests from a 1976 Elsinore 125 and gold and tricolour paint scheme.
Another addition to Honda’s line-up for 2018 - the CB1000R - will be at Glemseck in two customised incarnations. The first - called the CB1000R Neo Daemon - has been developed in Germany by customiser Jens Kratschmar, with a printed ‘reflective’ vinyl wrap, exotic enamel-coated white exhaust and new bars, levers, brake lines, indicators and tyres.
The second has been created by Honda Racing in the UK for entry in the ‘Sprint International’ race in the expert hands of 5-time 500cc GP World Champion Mick Doohan. With Fireblade SP Öhlins suspension, Akrapovic exhaust, Brembo brakes, bespoke swing arm and clutch, Rizoma accessories and beautiful gold and tricolor paint scheme, the Glemseck CB1000R fully dials up the strong ‘Sports’ performance characteristics of Honda’s uniquely-styled ‘Neo Sports Café’ roadster.
The six machines represent an eclectic mix that spans both the decades and the breadth of Honda’s product range while resonating with Soichiro Honda’s oft-quoted maxim that “Real happiness lies in the completion of work using your own brains and skills”. And all are in tune with the spirit of freedom and creativity of the Glemseck 101 – the biggest annual motorcycle ‘happening’ of its kind in Europe.