Honda Motor Europe instigated a competition between dealers in France, Spain, and Portugal to create custom Honda CB650R upright naked sport motorcycles. We have photos of 10 of the best, and Ultimate Motorcycling Editor Don Williams rates them in order on his purely personal subjective standards. He welcomes your disagreements in the comments, as all 10 of these 650Rs look great and will be winners for different readers. As usual, Don doesn’t pull any punches.
#10. White Edition by 3C Motos, Anglet, France. The idea of this one is simple, according to 3C Motos: “To mirror the beautiful CB1000R Black Edition, we have its little sister—the CB650R White Edition!” That’s a great idea, and the various shades of white and black might look better in person, but of the 10, this one just doesn’t stand out. The Arrow muffler doesn’t feel special, and there’s a CB1000R master cylinder on the handlebar, but you would have to be very dedicated to notice that.
#9. Café Racer by Blanmoto Honda, Girona, Spain. Blanmoto clearly put plenty of work into its CB650R café racer. It has goodies from Rizoma, Givi, PSR, and Puig. The aluminum covers above the motor are cool, as is the tuck-and-roll seat. However, one thing I like most about the stock CB650R is that it’s an upright, and not an uncomfortable café racer. The Café Racer has the lowest clip-ons of the 10 bikes, and doesn’t look comfortable to ride. I don’t mind looking at it, though.
#8. Akira by Hakuba Motor, Santander, Spain. Again, the clip-ons don’t work for me with the Akira. While the clip-ons selected by Hakuba Motor aren’t as extreme as the Café Racer by Blanmoto, it still is more about style than comfort. The carbon-fiber solo seat unit is striking with the racing stripe, but the leather seat is definitely minimalist. The titanium megaphone muffler by Arrow definitely looks great, as does the custom clutch cover.
#7. Fenix by Mototrofa, Trofa, Portugal. This CB650R’s “93” paint scheme by Nexx Helmets is inspired by MotoGP’s Marc Márquez, and is the star of the Fenix, which is named in honor of the rebuilding of Mototrofa after a 2019 fire. Regardless, it also has some creatively chosen parts, including a VFR750F swingarm and rear wheel, plus a CBR900RR Fireblade front wheel. The only letdown for me is the low bars, which would make me enjoy riding less than I would the upright stocker. Update: This bike won the 2021 European Honda Customs dealer contest.
#6. BMX by Honda Wether, Nice, France. Honda Wether’s black-and-gold motif for the CB650R is a good one, especially those wheels. Werther shortened the gearing and added a full Akrapovič exhaust system, so you know this one is a riotous ride around town and in the canyons. The NMB Design seat looks great, and the white-walled tires are an unexpected touch. The blacked-out treatment of the lighting also gives the BMX some serious urban panache. Update: This bike eventually became the runner-up in the 2021 European Honda Customs dealer contest.
#5. Four Limited Edition by Espace Moto, Angers, France. The unexpected color combination drives the look of this attention-grabbing CB650R. The quilted brown leather seat is fantastic, as is the racing green on the tank, set off with gold pinstriping, black paint, and a classic Honda wing logo. The bar-end mirrors are a nice touch, as is the gold and black micro flyscreen. Thanks to the exquisite taste of Espace Moto, this would be a great bike to arrive on at your favorite moto watering hole. Update: This bike was awarded 3rd place in the 2021 European Honda Customs dealer contest.
#4. Hedicion by Motor Sport, Madrid, Spain. A 1966 Brabham Honda BT18 racecar is the unlikely inspiration for Hedicion. “Our CB650R Motorsport represents the transversal spirit of Honda, breaking the barrier that separates cars from motorcycles,” explains a Motor Sport spokesman. This dark green beauty has yellow accents on the fenders, bikini fairing, valve cover, and upper side covers. The Akropovič exhaust is beautiful, with a 90-degree carbon fiber tip. Oh, and that quilted seat looks plush.
#3. Four by Honda Moto Sagaz, Toulouse, France. Moto Sagaz went all-out with the red on its CB650R, adding just the right amount of blue and white accents. A Brax Custom did the paintwork, which is meant to recall the 1976 Honda RCB1000 that Jean-Claude Chemarin and Christian Léon used for endurance racing at 24 Hours of Liège. The chin and bikini fairings give it a racing-inspired look without compromising the ergonomics. The seat looks comfortable enough, the mirrors add a bit of café racer to the mix, and we all know that IXRace exhaust is not shy.
#2. Flat Tracker by ADN Motos, Cognac, France. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of heat for this one. Yes, it’s gaudy, but it works for me. The red, white, and blue classic retro Honda flat track factory color scheme is all about grabbing attention. Thanks to the number plates, Acerbis handguards, ’80-style rear fender, and full Arrow exhaust, ADN Motos has a motorcycle that cannot be ignored. The wheels look amazing, especially when shod with the Dunlop Mutant tires. Laugh all you want—I love it.
#1. KarbOne Edition by AZ Moto, Rouen, France. Okay, I’m a sucker for a Honda CB750K0 tribute. AZ Moto added in some one-off SEB Auto Shop carbon fiber, along with an exhaust wrap on the dual-muffler Arrow exhaust, and approve. The black Evo-X Racing wheels are exquisite, and the Dunlop Mutants look to be a customizer favorite. AZ Moto broke out the Black Topema epoxy paint for the KarbOne’s motor, handlebar, shock, and valve cover—parfaite!
Okay, so France sweeps my podium. Let’s hear what you like and dislike, and why!