This mix of Manx Norton styling with Honda’s CB500 twin as the powerplant will divide opinion with classic bike fans, but it’s one of the coolest retro machines insidebikes has spotted lately.
Johann Keyser’s CB500 ‘Manx Tribute’ started as an attempt to build a economical cafe racer from a rusty wreck; “The bike was standing outside for 20-plus years, and even the wheels were rusted solid,” says Keyser, who had to use a forklift to load the bike from his trailer. Once he’d scraped the green moss off various parts, Keyser bought a Honda CR750-style tank and seat, but changed his mind after looking at a Manx Norton.
He ordered a new tank and seat from Omar’s Dirt Track Racing in the USA, along with a fairing and a 2-into-1 exhaust system. Keyser also planned to give the CB500 motor a big bore kit, as he thought it was the smaller CB450 unit, but after cleaning and stripping the engine, realised that it was a late CB500T twin cylinder engine. As with most restoration projects, costs spiralled, as every nut and bolt was replaced with a new nickel-plated or stainless item, and new spokes re-laced polished alloy rims, but Keyser is happy with the end result;
“When I stand back and look at it, it was worth all the time and money. I can truly say that there is no other bike like this in the world.”
Keyser’s planning to remix two other 70s classic machines, a Honda CB550 and a CB750 next. We say good luck, and hope he’s replaced the camchain tensioner in the CB500 motor.