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?


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