Bike of the Month - June 2005
1982 Honda Mugen ME480
William Nicodem
Leesburg, Florida



My name is William Nicodem. I was stationed at Leipheim Germany with the Air Force from 1984 to 1988. I had a German friend who was seriously into motocross like myself. One day I walked into his Audi dealership and he told me he had a "works" bike for sale. When I saw it, the first thing that caught my attention was the coke-bottle swingarm. I had to have it! It turned out to be a 1982 Mugen ME480. He told me it was ridden by Rolf Diffenbach.


The frame serial number is ME 480R5000005. From talking with a few experts, the front forks and triple clamps are works Honda by the numbers stamped in them. A plastic tank was mounted on it as the aluminum tank was too small for long races, but the aluminum tank came with it. Most of the titanium hardware is still there. The front fender, fork boots and fork protectors are not original. The original front fender which resembled an '83 CR480R did not look as good as the rest of the plastic so I mounted an XR unit. Rear shock is an Ohlins.


The only thing I did to the bike since I brought it back to the States was paint the frame, gearbox and pipe. Since then it has been in my garage. I have taken it to a few vintage bike shows where the so-called Mugen experts said they did not know the ME480 existed. I have been trying to find info as to how many were made but no luck so far.


William Nicodem