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  • By Badgranny
  • Posted 9th July, 2015

From Maggot to Mythical Motorcycle : The Cafe Racer Challenge

There’s no vehicle more representative of British rock-n-roll culture in the 1950s and 1960s than the iconic café racer motorcycle. So when Bad Granny’s Manufacturing Specialist Jason Reece was given the task of overhauling a Honda CX500 motorbike, his inner rock rebel couldn’t resist transforming it into that symbol of rebellion, speed and classic Rocker style: the café racer. Plus, as Jason puts it, he wanted to prove that he could “take something ugly and make it look cool.”



With the Honda CX500 going by the nicknames “plastic maggot” and “sewerage pump”, there was no denying that Jason had set himself a pretty sizeable challenge in setting out to recreate one of the most legendary motorcycles in pop culture.


Phase One of the transformation involved stripping and lowering the Honda CX500 and removing all unnecessary parts. Then, to give the authentic café racer aesthetic, the bike was painted, its frame shortened, and new dropped handlebars were installed. The bike was then fitted with a minimalist custom seat, retro tyres, and a dual stainless steel exhaust with black carbon wrap to complete the look.


Lastly, to pair retro appeal with modern functionality, Jason installed a dual stainless steel exhaust and custom fuel tank, along with updated LED lighting, hidden electrics, upgraded foot controls and electronic controls.


According to Jason, “Less was really more in this case. We had smaller everything and that’s what made it look sleek and clean while functional at the same time.”


More than anything, Bad Granny’s vintage challenge showed that with the right vision, skills and a whole lot of elbow grease, even a ‘plastic maggot’ can be turned into a slick rock-n-roll ride that Mick Jagger would’ve been proud to call his own.


Check out the full transformation of the Honda CX500 in Bad Granny Season 3 Episode 2. Click here to watch the full episode.