For more than forty years, the ultra-rugged and versatile off-road machines competing at the Dakar Rally have played an influential role in the design of everything from production models to one-off builds. As something of the ultimate endurance rally event, it’s not hard to see why these enduring racers serve as inspiration for project’s like Gessi Motociclette’s latest work, aptly dubbed the “650 Paris Dakar.”
Starting with a 1990s Honda Dominator, the NX was stripped down to a rolling chassis before having its fork and swing-arm swapped out for modern units off Honda’s CRF450 that now pack Ohlins internals. The bodywork on the retro-themed desert ripper is comprised of a slew of random bits off earlier Honda dual sports with an XR400 headlight and fender, and a tank, side covers, rear fender, and a modified, shaved-down saddle from an XL 600LM. The stock wheels were also jettisoned in favor of a pair of spoked FaBa hoops fitted with billet Ergal (an aluminum alloy) hubs and knobby Continental TCK80 rubber. Finishing touches include upgraded braking hardware plucked from a CRF and running Motomaster petal rotors, variable section Scar handlebars set in 65mm risers, top-shelf adjustable billet Zeta levers, stainless steel luggage rack, Acerbis mirrors, digital Koso instrumentation, a replica Arrow Paris-Dakar silencer, and a bespoke HRC-themed livery from modern-day Moto-design legend, Oberdan Bezzi.