Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

And when you least expect it...

What is this now?!

Where does this righteous little scrambler come from? Well, it certainly didn't start out that way...

In its original trim, Honda's XL 125 S isn't really the prettiest bike ever made. Quirky, sure, but pretty I'm not so sure. Here's a stock photo from the internet:

Witold found one locally for a good price and quickly set to work with a very clear vision of what he wanted out of this bike: a scrambler. An actual scrambler, not a 300kg street bike with offroad tires, as is inexplicably fashionable these days.

The little XL was quickly torn down and parts were sent out for the usual sandblast and paint treatment:

but not before we chopped off the rear subframe and re-purposed it into a mudguard support with a more vintage vibe. An old trick, of course, but hey, it works:

Incidentally, Witold adds welding to his ever-expanding repertoire of practical skills. Give this guy a lathe and a mill and he'll be unstoppable. 
Another major alteration was the bodywork: the gas tank was swapped for an older Honda item; the bottom was cut, ground, hammered and re-welded to suit, and the result was really neat.

A new seat was also fabricated completely from scratch, with a strong fiberglass base, hand-shaped foam and vinyl cover. The result is atrociously uncomfortable, so I think we can consider it a prototype, with a mark two on its way soon.
The rear mudguard is also off an older Honda and was adapted using hi-tech methods:
The front mudguard is another non-standard item that was cut to size, then the whole set was given a good rattlecan silver paintjob, some original decals and finished off with a pair of universal oval number plates to act as side panels.
Parts back from sand & paint:
With a more or less finished mock-up of the bike, he then focused on fixing the surprisingly complicated wiring loom and ignition system: too much saké, Honda!

Lighting is by a neat little tail unit at the back, and the most classic of round headlamps to find your way at night through the wilderness.
The headlamp brackets were shortened considerably for a closer fit, as was the mudguard.
Of course, as with any garage-built special, there are always a few details that could be changed - not that they necessarily should be - but there may be another iteration of this cool little bike in the future.

For now, it looks great, sounds like a properly competent off-roader (thanks to a very unrestricted air filter), and is real fun to mess around on. Also, a great learner bike...

Man, look at him soar.
And scramble, up and over, off to wherever.

Strap a bivy bag and some liquid courage to the back, and go off motocamping somewhere away from tarmac: what could be more fun?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


There's a reason I haven't been posting much new content on this blog, and that reason is that... I have become a Lego Minifigure!

Imagine my surprise waking up one day as a little plastic guy, though thankfully my Norton and some essential gear seem to have followed me.

Thank you Jonathan for this very thoughtful gift : )
I love the details, minimalist but unmistakable: the tail fairing and the Maney cylinder with its thick fins, just great.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Heavy lifting, literally

Witold soldiers on and gets the engine out of the motorcycle all by himself (I've done this years ago on the Rising Star and it is no picnic).

Good job man, keep up momentum and you'll be riding this thing before you know it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


This has been on my mind lately:

My chopper lays dormant in the garage, and has done so for far too long.

I won't have much time for riding this year, but there are two events I really wanna go to, and I'd like to take the BSA to one of them.

There is some work to do to fix a broken fuel tank and frame attachment, plus another project that I think could turn out really well.

Hopefully I can go from thinking to wrenching soon, there isn't much time. Damn time...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

hibernation, n.

Pronunciation /hʌɪbəˈneɪʃən/
Definition: 1. The action of wintering, or passing the winter, esp. in some suitable place or condition.

Time for a new chain, possibly a new sprocket/drum and brake shoes set for the Interstate...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to start the year.

Our friend "the German" shows us how it's done, scrambling off into the new year on his genuine competition Triumph:

(These were taken at the start of the year, sorry it's taken me this long to put them up!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

1 + 1 = 1, hopefully.

You may have seen Witold's BSA OIF (oil in the frame) project from a good while back; that was a nearly complete bike that had been found in a warehouse and needed a full rebuild.

Our man had actually started making progress, as you can see from today's featured post, however when he took a closer look at the frame it became apparent that it was quite badly bent. He took it to a local frame "specialist" who botched it even further to the point that it is now totally unusable.

So, what to do? One option would have been to source another frame, and keep looking the other missing parts. Another was to rescue this poor thing and apply the shaky math you see above: 1 bike + 1 bike = 1 complete and working bike, hopefully without too many parts leftover, or that we'd still need to find.

There is a LOT of work to do, but by no means impossible. Witold wastes no time and tears into bike number 2:
One thing's for sure: when it's done, this will be a spectacular motorcycle. There is a fairly ambitious deadline floating around, and currently it does feel like spring down here, so there isn't that much time to get this done. Press on man!