While at the 2016 Earnest Clay Classic, we took a closer look at one of the coolest bikes in attendance, which was the Honda CR500 flat tracker built by Adam Hedges…
Words: Paul | Photos: Joel Hedges – Earnestco.com
Adam bought the 1985 CR500 as a completely stock bike, freshly imported from Southern California. Being it was immaculate, it took a lot of courage to start tearing it down, but he knew what he wanted to achieve with the classic Honda. “This was my first bike build after owning regular dirt bikes in the past. I’ve always had a passion for two-stroke Hondas and, naturally, the 500 has been a dream,” explained Adam. “Basically, the build was based around the idea of, ‘what if Honda produced a factory flat track bike in 1985?’ So, I tried to keep things looking like they would have out of the factory.”
The only parts left from the original bike are the frame and the motor. Adam runs C’s Garage (www.csgarage.com), which specialises in building racecars and fabricating components, so he had the knowledge and equipment to turn his dream into a reality. “I started by building a custom tubular swingarm that is 1-1.5” shorter than the stock item, mated up with a shock off a Ducati sports bike. Next up, I fabricated a chromoly rear subframe to suit the fibreglass Harley XR750 style tail section/seat. The tank is a fibreglass Champion style tank from the UK.”
For the exhaust system, Adam kept the FMF expansion chamber that came with the bike from the States and fabricated a new ‘mid pipe’ that joins up to a FMF muffler that’s mounted central under the tail section. Up front, there’s a set of ’04 Yamaha YZF-R6 forks combined with a Brembo caliper off a KTM. The rear Brembo is off a Ducati Monster. “The bike was originally drum brake on the rear, so I fabricated a mount for a CRF master cylinder and made up a new lower mounted rear brake pedal,” explained Adam. “The front CRF450 hub is laced to a 19×2.15 Excel rim and the rear YZ250F hub has a slightly wider 2.5” Excel rim. This was my first time lacing wheels, which was a bit of an experience. For the radiator, I cut the tanks off two CR250 radiators, welded them together and made up some new tanks to suit.”
Adam painted the frame, tank and seat in a Honda colour scheme that he felt would look right and, finally, fabricated up some number boards and cut some vinyl to finish it all off.
The only bit of work that wasn’t carried out by Adam was the seat, as he explained, “I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near confident with a sewing machine.”
At the recent Clay Classic at Sam Smith’s farm in Pukekohe, the CR500 was by far the star attraction, with racers and spectators crowding around the bike when it wasn’t doing laps of the specially built clay oval. The attention to detail is remarkable and Adam should be proud of what he has achieved with this classic machine.
Adam has been fabricating race cars for over 10 years and is also involved in many aspects of high level motorsport. His fabrication workshop C’s Garage (www.csgarage.com) was born from a passion for metal work and drift cars and has become known throughout the global drifting scene. Since its inception in 2007, the shop has become renowned for putting out the highest level of race/drift car work in New Zealand, too.
Of course, Adam also has a strong involvement in the Earnest company (www.earnestco.com), building bikes, fabricating and being heavily involved in the product development process, as bikes have take a strong hold on Adam over the past few years. Since the CR500 was completed, you can now also find two CR250s and a CRF250R flat track build sitting in the workshop.
THIS AND THAT – THE SPECSHEET
Honda 1985 CR500 engine and frame
Maxxis DTR-1 tyres 27x7x19 front and 27.5×7.5×19 rear