The Honda CB500 cafe racer that staved off bankruptcy

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat Building custom motorcycles can be a tough game. And the Swedish builder Fredrik Pål Persson was ready to throw in the towel, just before the commission came in for this rather chic Honda café racer.

his workshop, paal motorcycles, based in malmö, has been in operation for five years. but last year, the business almost closed. “We basically hit rock bottom,” Fredrik admits.

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The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat “We were paying for costly mistakes we made, and we had to downscale everything. We sold everything we could sell, and held our breath to avoid going bankrupt.”

“when a customer asked us to build a cb500, he was standing on a spindle. he could say no and close the shop, or say yes, knowing that all the profits had to go back to the company and he wouldn’t be able to draw a salary.”

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat Fredrik decided to say yes. He also decided to sell his home and invest the profit into the company: “I was basically buying one more year to follow my dreams.”

since fredrik was going all out, i knew the cb500 would have to be one of the best builds in the shop to date. “A bike that really represents what we stand for as a brand here at dial,” he says. “design, craftsmanship, quality and performance”.

See also: Dog Cafes, Cat Cafes, and Pet Cafes — Ho Chi Minh City

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat The donor—a 1976 CB500—was liberated from Fredrick’s own cache. It was a bike that he’d customized years ago, but he was never quite happy with it. It was a candidate for a complete makeover.

so the dial team stripped the engine (again), building it with new valves and modified cylinders. the engine also received a fresh coat of paint, and the carbs were facelifted and tuned to work with pod filters. Ancillary parts such as cables, bearings, seals, and chain and sprockets were replaced.

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat PAAL then ripped out all the wiring and started over with a Bluetooth-enabled Motogadget m.unit Blue module. The setup includes a Lithium-ion battery, and a new digital ignition.

they also installed led turn signals, a tiny speedometer and switches from motogadget, along with motone control buttons and a led taillight.

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat The taillight’s neatly embedded in the back of a new, custom-built subframe. Up top is a custom-made seat in a classic café racer style, complete with a removable rear cowl. The fuel tank’s a one-off too, and includes PAAL’s signature upholstered indents on the sides.

The effect carries over to the gorgeous tank and hood straps, and even the custom leather grips. the actual bars are a set of kustomtech clip-ons, matched with tarozzi rear assemblies on handcrafted mounts.

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat PAAL rebuilt the front forks, installed new rear shocks, and overhauled the brakes. The wheels were refreshed too, with new stainless steel spokes, a fresh powder coat, and a set of Firestone Champion Deluxe tires.

See also: Best 125cc Café Racers You Can Buy – 2022 Onwards

The four-into-one exhaust system was built in-house and ends in a thick, low-slung muffler. the frame and a bunch of other components were powdercoated black, while the bodywork was photographed in a tasteful light gray.

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat “We didn’t take any shortcuts on this bike,” says Fredrik. “Everything was done by the book, for the best outcome possible. It basically ended up being a brand new motorcycle, with modern performance, combined with some of our signature design features. Still keeping the retro vibe but bringing it in to the 21th century.”

around the time paal was finishing the cb500 they were also bolting on a kawasaki kz650 and a honda cb750. And while Fredrik went into the projects with a weight on his shoulders, he came out the other side refreshed and empowered.

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat “A lot has changed now,” he says. “I found new partners and investors, and we’ve been able to slowly turn the ship around with a lot of hard work. We are now excited about the future and the path we’re on.”

“I know I can write pages about all the parts we use on the bike. but the history of this bike represents much more than material things for us.”

The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat We’re glad to hear it: we hope to see many more bikes rolling out of PAAL’s doors in the future. And there’s a little more good news for Fredrik: his Kawasaki KZ650 is one of the stars of the 2019 Bike EXIF wall calendar.

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The Honda CB500 cafe racer that kept a Swedish custom shop afloat

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