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Classic Meets Modern in This Sleek Honda NX650 Dominator Build

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The world hasn’t seen a new Honda NX650 Dominator since 2003, but the pioneering adventure bike is still a much-loved platform and a favorite launching point for custom builds. As proof, take a look at this sleek, stripped-down bike from Austrian builder Vagabund Moto dubbed the “V13”.

Vagabund took a 1991 Dominator and sharpened the bike’s off-road focus while maintaining street legality. NX650’s were fairly minimalist adventure machines in factory trim, featuring a 644cc air-cooled, single-cylinder engine, a low front fender and a small fairing integrated into the fuel tank; think Africa Twin of the time period, minus one cylinder, and you’re pretty close.

Honda-Dominator-NX650-Vagabund-build-11-The Dominator V13 incorporates 3D printing technology using Polyamide 12, a material known for its tensile strength and impact resistance.

The Vagabund version is stealthy, hiding the components that keep it street legal behind a clean design and just plain good looks. As a result, the whole build has a modern, angular feel that frames the engine and off-road focused 21”/18” front/rear wheelset beautifully. It’s a bike that looks the part.


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Keeping it street legal necessitated clever touches like integrating the Kellermann Atto turn signals into a custom front rack above the front wheel. The rack also serves as the mounting point for the Highsider Satellite headlights and as an attachment point for a nifty quick-release Black Ember storage bag. It’s so well done you can’t tell from a quick glance that the bike has lights at all.

Honda-Dominator-NX650-Vagabund-build-7-9Honda-Dominator-NX650-Vagabund-build.jpgThe 3D printed tank flows into a rear bodywork out of the same impact-resistance material, topped by a pleated Alcantara seat to complement the clean lines. Also 3-D printed: the air filter cover, indicator light bracket and handlebar switch housings.

Beneath the rack is a high fender borrowed from a Husqvarna, and beneath that is a black powder-coated 21-inch front wheel rebuilt with stainless steel spokes and a larger, 320 mm brake rotor. The rear 18-inch hoop gets a similar treatment.

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A sparse cockpit with custom bars, controls and levers leads the eye to the fuel tank, which continues the angular, minimalist look, incorporating a Motogadget mini speedometer in the design. While many custom builders hammer and bend metal to create one-off tanks, Vagabund put in their design hours on a 3-D printer, ultimately crafting the unit out of a Polyamide 12, a plastic known for its tensile strength and impact resistance. The tank flows into a 3-D printed rear bodywork out of the same material, topped by a pleated Alcantara seat to complement the clean lines. Also 3-D printed: the air filter cover, indicator light bracket and handlebar switch housings.

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A pair of GKA fuel canisters hang from a custom rear rack, avoiding the slapped-on look of many such systems. They’re also painted to match the overall look of the bike and blend in so that, once again, you have to look twice to even see them. Out back there is another set of Kellermann Atto turn and brake signals cleanly integrated into a custom license-plate frame. Supporting it all is a custom rear subframe.

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It’s powered by a rebuilt NX650 engine that’s stock with the addition of an oil cooler from German brand OTR. The lump breathes through a custom, two-into-one, stainless steel, scrambler-style high exhaust that ends in an Arkapovic muffler.

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Overall, it’s a cohesive, deceptively simple design that looks like it just came together, hiding the hours of design and fabrication work that went into it. Someone else saw the beauty in this Dominator as well, because it is already sold. Vagabund doesn’t build copies of its one-off designs, but BikeExif reports they are eager to apply the concept to a different dirt-worthy platform like KTM or Husqvarna. Any takers? 

Vagabund “V13” Dominator Features

  • 3D printed fuel tank (Polyamid 12) with integrated motogadget mini speedo
  • 3D printed rear end, air filter cover, indicator light bracket and handlebar switch housings
  • Exhaust System: stainless steel manifold with custom-made two into one collector and modified Akrapovic muffler
  • 320mm HE brakediscs
  • Engine rebuild
  • Husqvarna TC85 front fender
  • Custom-made front rack with integrated Kellerman Atto turn signals and quick-release mounting system for Black Ember bag
  • Highsider Satellite headlights
  • Wilbers shock
  • Custom-made licence plate holder with integrated Kellermann Atto tail- / brake light / turn signal combination
  • GKA fuel pack with custom made rack
  • Bridgestone battlax AX41 tires
  • Custom-made Alcantara seat
  • OTR oil cooler
  • Custom-made rear frame
  • Powder-coated wheels with stainless spokes
  • Modified fork bridge with new handlebar / clamps / controls / levers

For more information go to vagabund-moto.com or you can also follow their amazing work on Instagram.

Photos by Stefan Leitner

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Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

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