Sunday, October 14, 2012

Charlie's Place - where old Hondas go to LIVE!

A line-up of old bikes, a bit of signage - it can only be a classic bike specialist
The classic bike world is full of specialists - it's just that sometimes it's hard to find one in your backyard. Read the British classic bike magazines and weep at the range of specialists that any old bike enthusiast has to choose from. But buyer demand is creating new businesses here in Australia and in major markets like the USA. In the States, the supply of classic British and Japanese bikes seems never-ending (although the day must come when the container-loads of old bikes shipped to Australia, the UK and even back to Japan must slow to a trickle). We've blogged before about the classic, custom and cafe racer bike scene in the US - it's big enough to encourage Aussie-founded Deus ex Machina to set up in Los Angeles and to spawn new stores such as Iron & Resin (see previous blog).
There are also US-based specialist shops that are ahead of the curve, with an established reputation that pre-dates the swing away from mega-buck custom showbikes to budget builds and beautifully-engineered cafe racers. These shops use classic Brit and Japanese bikes as the basis for some great builds. Some of them have built a reputation for restoring classic bikes and reproducing parts - or supplying new parts that bring modern standards of performance and reliability to older bikes.
There's no lettered sign outside - but Charlie's Place is unmistakeable.
One such specialist is Charlie's Place, a focused repair, restoration and build shop in San Francisco's colorful Mission district. Established by Charlie O'Hanlon in 1993, Charlie's Place is unapologetic in its specialisation. The signs outside say it all:
We do not sell motorcycles - Service, Repair and Part Sales Only
We repair old Honda motorcycles only! We do not fix mopeds, bikes or scooters
And a favorite for any workshop:
We do not lend tools!
On a recent visit, Charlie was good enough to spend a few minutes talking about the shop, customers, and some of the special parts the team has developed. (And don't under-estimate how valuable that bit of time is to Charlie and guys like him - they're there to work. Talk with genuine customers is part of the job. Social chit-chat with casual visitors and tyre-kickers doesn't get the job done or the bills paid.)
Read the signs...

As the sign says, Charlie's Place specialises in the repair and restoration of older-model Honda motorcycles. That's it - no YamaKawaZukis. No Beezas, no Trumpies, no Dukes, no Guzzis, no Hardly Ablesons (a blessed relief...). Lined up outside on busy 17th Street there are Hondas from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and even the Nineties. There are neat, original CB160s, CB400F Super Sports, the occasional cruiser-style aberration from the Eighties... Inside the workshop it's more of the same - classic Hondas in every state of repair, restoration or servicing. And hanging from every available space are complete bikes and a range of tanks and other parts that would be the envy of any Honda restorer-builder-collector.
Charlie has developed a range of specialist parts in addition to the usual bits that need replacing in any rebuild or restoration. One of his newest items is a range of electronic ignition systems for most 12-volt Honda street bikes. Apparently this system is magic on early 450 twins, but there's a model that's equally effective for Honda's other early twin-cylinder bikes and on the SOHC fours.
Charlie's Place built this neat CB350
for local bike journo Gabe Ets-Hokin

We heard about Charlie's Place on a previous visit to San Francisco when we ran into motorcycling journo Gabe Ets-Hokin. Charlie built up a neat Honda CB350 cafe racer that Gabe rides at every opportunity, and it seemed everyone in the San Francisco Bay area whom we talked to about early Hondas had either been to, or was about to take their bike to Charlie's Place.
So if you own a classic Honda and you're in San Francisco, you're in luck. Charlie's Place will fix it, fettle it, or turn it into a stylish street custom.
If you're like the rest of us, and a long way from the mean streets of the Mission district, check out Charlie's online store - we certainly will.

When he has time away from fixing classic Hondas and building custom bikes, Charlie likes to create unique mechanical sculptures
such as this custom sign, Charlie's Winged Dream. Check out Motozilla on his website!
A workshop exclusively for old Hondas

Classic Honda CB160 awaits Charlie's attention

Monday, September 17, 2012

This Ventura highway leads to Iron & Resin

Iron & Resin is the new USA cool
Iron & Resin in Main Street, Ventura, California is a cool place. Opened on July 4th (American Independence Day) this year, the store facade is similar to Mid Life Cycles – a big door opening from the street into the showroom. Except here the bikes are fewer in number and there to draw attention to the merchandise – T-shirts, jackets, retro-style Bell open face helmets, books, posters, badges and much more, including surf gear. Three bikes including the owner’s recently-restored 1950s Triumph twin and an early Honda Dream 305 are just enough to attract the “right” crowd, those who appreciate classic style.
I&R co-founder Thom Hill is equally able to chat with the old codgers who remember his Triumph when it was showroom-fresh while also talking to the visitors who are new to classic bikes. Thom says he "knows the Deus guys" who’ve also recently opened a store in Los Angeles, an hour or so south of Ventura. I&R's staff are friendly and helpful and obviously enjoy the place's funky mechanical style. For more:
Been there, got the T-shirt(s)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ace 125s and Silver Shogun on the road

Anthony and Ace 125 ready to raid and pillage along the promenade
A busy weekend saw two Ace 125s and our Honda CB125 Silver Shogun cafe racer all take to the roads around Mid Life Cycles. First we had Anthony call in for a few minor adjustments to his Ace 125 before he took it for a run down the Bayside promenade. A short session on the bench with Dr Roger had it idling properly and revving-out as it should. Anthony has plans for his Ace and we'll try out a few mods on ours as well and report back on what works best. In fact, a set of Pirelli tyres plus after-market shocks and a few adjustments to the front forks seem to be a good start. Next up might be some adjustments to the stock carburettor or maybe a replacement carby along with a pod filter and related changes to help get the fuel-air mixture in and the exhaust gases out.

We also had new Silver Shogun owner Romi in to discuss the possibility of getting a bike for his brother-in-law-to-be, Rega. As Romi seems to be permanently attached to his CB125 cafe racer, it didn't take much to get Rega out for a ride on our Ace CR125.
Romi (left) and Rega are rapt in their new rides

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ducati 450 Single joins 900SS Bevel and Mule XS650 Street-tracker

The Mid Life Cycles workshop has been busy again with some interesting and diverse bikes, from classic Ducati Single to a Yamaha XS650-based street-tracker.
Nick's Ducati 450 Mark 3 heads a Latin line-up

First on the list for Sam Speer's expert attention was a very neat Ducati 450 Mark 3 that's been sitting idle for a while now. Some concentrated work on carb and electrics got this bevel-engined beauty up and running. Sam says it rides as well as it looks - for a short distance. Now we need to source a new alternator to keep the good spark going and a replacement for the tired Dellorto carby so it doesn't fuel up the plug after a short run. The Dellorto is a work of art - and this one will make a good shelf ornament. Call it another sacrifice to the Gods of Speed or other Ducati Deities. But it looks great alongside our almost-completed bevel-engined Ducati 900SS replica.
Yes, they do look good together...

Sandy finally gets to ride his Mule XS650 Tracker
Next up was Sandy's Mule XS650 Street Tracker. This one would have tested the patience of a weaker man, but Sandy's been waiting a while - first for the bike to be built in the States and delivered, and then for us to get it somewhere near road-legal and to sort out some teething troubles. Dr Roger fabricated front guard and chain guard, fitted a mirror, got the speedo working and wired the lights to... light; Sam stepped in to make sure the fuel flowed and the CDI unit fired that big grunty twin... There was a bit to do. But it now starts and rumbles like the big-engined XS that it is and Sandy is looking forward to riding Melbourne's streets and doing a few selected shows.

It's a handsome beast... 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Simon and his Norton 750 Commando

We get some enthusiastic visitors at Mid Life Cycles - and one of the more interesting recently was Simon, who rode out of his personal Tardis to bring us a touch of the Seventies.
Simon and his well-used Norton Commando

Simon has owned his Norton 750 Commando "for years" and he's modified it along the way to make it more rideable, if not more reliable. The early Honda CB750 front forks and disc brake conversion make for an interesting cross-pollination between the bike that changed motorcycling and one of the last (and best) of traditional British motorcycles. The fairing looks like it's been there since the Seventies and the overall bike looks well thought-through, and well-used.
And Simon? It would be unfair to say he looks well-used, in fact he's in fine fettle, but with open-face helmet and wrap-around shades and those fantastic period leathers, Simon is definitely Living the Dream...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kawasaki's retro Classic ZR750

1998 Kawasaki ZR750 Classic

Not quite a cafe racer - but a handsome retro-classic.

Kawasaki built a limited run of its ZR750 Classic for model years 1996 and 1998. The Classic is based on the long-running Zephyr series, with added features such as wire-spoked wheels, four-into-two exhaust and paint schemes that paid tribute to the iconic Kawasaki Z1. We've developed a real liking for these very rideable retro-bikes.
Check it out at:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Honda's CB Singles make great cafe racers

Sammy the CB100 Cafe Racer
And here he is – Sammy the CB100 cafe racer. Every visitor to Mid Life Cycles is blown away by what ace builder Darren Brown has created here – a bike that’s more mascot than motorcycle, more art than machine, more Honda CR than CB… and it runs as well as it looks. We are building more of these, so Sammy is currently our Showpiece. Please inquire about your cafe racer build on any of Honda's classic CB series.
M: 0408 129 169

Honda CB125 Silver Shogun cafe racer

Meet “Silver Shogun”, a Honda CB125-based cafe racer that makes short work of the local urban circuit. Bike-builder Luke Ward used a Prixhistoric Fibreglass Ducati Silver Shotgun tank and a neat seat unit to top-off this great example of a custom build.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coffee stop for cafe racers

We've had some neat cafe racers and classics come through the Mid Life Cycles workshop this week and the repairs have been fuelled by coffee and ciabattas courtesy of our neighbouring cafe, Est.1983 Espresso.
Morgan's Honda CB200 outside our fave cafe.

The first bike through was Morgan G's Honda CB200 (ex-Adelaide) which needed a few final touches before it went onto Club Permit (Historic rego) with the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club.
The bike had a fair birthday courtesy the guys at Gassit Motorcycles when it was first delivered and then needed a bit of re-wiring, a couple of globes and a thorough check-over before passing its safety inspection. If the mid-winter rain ever eases, Morgan should have it out on the urban prowl...
Then there was Irish lad Ben - set upon riding around Australia on a near-forty year old Honda CB550. The bike itself wasn't in bad shape, apart from clogged carbies and float levels all over the shop. A few hours patient care from Dr Roger and the 550 was back together and running well. Now we just have to persuade Ben that a 20-litre plastic jerrycan strapped to a packrack is NOT a great auxiliary fuel tank.

Next up was one of our favourites - a really neat Yamaha SR500 that had been restored and then needed a few extra jobs done for enthusiastic new owner Tom.
Tom's 1978 Yamaha SR500 is ready to ride.

Maybe it's just us, but it seems no matter how good the restoration (or refurbishment) is, there are always a few detail jobs that don't get done first time round. The SR has been nicely done, with just a few custom touches such as clip-on bars, and a new cafe racer seat that we had in stock. It deserved that little bit extra attention, especially when we found the forks had been over-filled with oil and needed to be pulled, drained and re-fitted. In the course of that job, it became obvious that the head-stem bearings should be replaced, so a new set of tapered bearings went in there (after a bit of a search around our suppliers). The fuel tap had decided to leak, so that got a new kit courtesy of Cykel. So Tom should be bike-mounted in the next few days.

But back to cafes - our new best coffee friends Est.1983 Espresso are right next door to Mid Life Cycles in Cremorne St, just off Swan St in Richmond and a couple of hundred metres from Richmond Station - itself a short train ride from Melbourne's CBD.
Ioanna knows the value of a good coffee...
New owners Ioanna and Melinda re-opened the business mid-April after refurbishing what had become a tired old cafe. Now with a trendy service window opening onto the street, some inside benches and tables on the footpath, and (most importantly) great coffee courtesy Single Origin Roasters in Sydney, they've become the hot spot for locals and passers-by. Call and see them Monday-Friday for coffee and cake or something more substantial.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Henderson and friends up for auction

Readers of this blog might remember the item posted back in March ("Lunch with Henderson") which described the collection of classic bikes to be found at Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's bar in San Francisco's SOMA district.
Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's bar on 2nd Street
Now we've learned that the collection, including the1941 Indian formerly owned by movie star Clark Gable and the 1913 Henderson which kept us close company over lunch, is to be auctioned by Bonhams during the Pebble Beach automotive week at Carmel, California, in mid-August.
The Eddie Rickenbacker Collection was assembled by the bar's late owner, Norman Hobday, who realised that if one classic motorcycle displayed in the bar created interest, then lots more must draw a crowd. And that's what his collection of bikes, US Civil War firearms, toy trains and antique lamps has been doing for several decades.
Clark Gable's 1941 Indian given to him by Gone with the Wind
producer Samuel Goldwyn.

It's a pity to see it all go - or at least to see such a memorable motorcycle haunt disappear.
The bar traded on the name of American World War One flying ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, who went on to a distinguished career as the head of Eastern Air Lines (USA). He was also a pioneer in automotive design and one-time owner of Indianapolis Motor Speeday. He died in 1973 at the age of 82.

The Indian formerly owned by Clark Gable is expected to attract strong bidding, but so will many of the other classic motorcycles, including the rare Henderson in-line four. Bidders with money and style are probably queuing already (although "to queue" is a very English thing and not likely to be the favoured approach of many Pebble Beach attendees).

The bar at Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's - that lunchtime shot
will never be the same without the motorcycles for company.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ace CR125 cafe racer

It's here! Our new Ace CR125 cafe racer has joined the Mid Life Cycles fleet.

Ace CR125 Cafe Racer
We've dubbed it the CR125 because that's what we plan to turn it into - an even closer replica of the fabulous Honda CR110 racer of the early 1960s (or of Honda's own CR110 replica, the Honda Dream 50R of 2004).

Confused? That's understandable - what we have here is a SkyTeam Ace 125, a clever update on the screamin' twin-cam, 50cc Honda Dream 50 produced in 2004 to commemorate Honda's fabulous RC110 road racer, one of the bikes that put Honda on the road to multiple world championships throughout the 1960s.

With a 125cc single-cam engine, the new Ace might just match the performance of the standard Dream 50, but with a few tweaks we expect it to shade this (very) distant forebear and still be road-registered, learner-legal and huge fun. Meantime, it looks great parked up next to the Honda CR125 Silver Shogun cafe racer...

Ace CR125 (background) and our Honda Silver Shogun
The new Ace can be bought through dealer Two Wheel Garage ready to ride away for less than $3000, and that's a bargain ride in anyone's currency. Once it's run-in, we recommend a few tweaks to get the best out of it and to address a few of the minor design and build issues that are inevitable in a bike of this price.

After all, when it looks this cool, it's worth some extra time to get it just right.

Jim looks cool as he prepares for first ride on the Ace CR125

As soon as Dr Roger had given the new Ace a thorough check-up and shakedown ride, we were lining up for our turn. The little racer is cold-blooded, just like the early Hondas, and it takes a bit of choke and patience to get it to settle to a smooth idle.

While we wait, we check out the controls and details. It really is nicely set up - easy switchgear, a neat speedo (no tacho), warning lights... The light clutch is good for traffic-running, the gearbox a little sticky but already starting to free-up with a few kms.

Ace CR125 meets Honda S90 and Suzuki T200
Once warm, the Ace clicks into first and we're away, pinning the throttle in each gear to get it up past the urban speed limit. A freeway slip-road provided an opportunity to wind it up, but with only 60km on the odometer, the engine felt a little tight. We saw 70km/h and decided a little mechanical sympathy was in order, at least till we give it an early oil-change. After that, this little jigger will have to earn its keep and at least out-pace Sammy the CB100. Once that's achieved, we'll have to look at a few tweaks so that the Ace can run with its breathed-upon cousin, the CB125-based Silver Shogun cafe racer with its high-comp engine and straight-through megaphone exhaust. That should be fun.
Meantime, the Ace is resting with some old friends at the back of the Mid Life Cycles showroom...

The REAL Honda CR110 racer:

1962 Honda CR110 racer
Way back in 1980 (almost 20 years after it conquered the race tracks of Europe, the USA and Japan), celebrated motorcycling journalist Alan Cathcart tested Honda's CR110 racer. Here was a factory production racer - 50cc, four-valve, gear-driven DOHC engine; eight-speed gearbox. In race trim it produced around 8.5bhp (that 0.5 was important! But it was still only 6.34kW) at an incredible 14,500rpm. It weighed 134lb - that's just 60kg!
Like the rest of us, Cathcart weighed a lot less 30 years ago, but his very-fit 72kg body had trouble squeezing in behind the CR110's race fairing. Despite that handicap, the racer had a top-speed of about 80mph (130km/h) and demolished the opposition back in the early-1960s. Cathcart described it as "jewel-like", and a close examination of any photos of the CR110 racer reveal just why that description is so appropriate.

A quick comparison - the road-legal Ace CR125 weighs 100kg and produces a quoted 7.0kW (9.38bhp). It's rated top speed is 85km/h. Not nearly enough, even when compared with the road-going Honda CB100 and CB125 commuters of the 1970s, which could (and still can) run at 100km/h-plus. Hence our plans to breathe on the little bugger...

2004 Honda Dream 50

A fairer comparison to the Ace CR125 might be Honda's own tribute to the CR110 racer, it's Honda Dream 50 and Dream 50R released in 2004. The Dream 50 came in both road and race trim, but the road-trim bike wasn't road-legal in most markets (including the all-important USA). A new, crate-fresh Dream 50 bike in road trim sold in Australia last year for $10,000, and that was probably a bargain when measured against overseas prices. With a beautiful but complex DOHC 50cc engine, the road bike apparently made around 5kW (7bhp) and ran a six-speed gearbox.

So, the Ace CR125 has a lot to live up to - but it also has a lot of potential. Stay tuned - there's much more to come from this cool retro-cafe racer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grievous Bodily Honda... and more

Rearset mount fabricated for GBH
With Frankenbike safe in the hands of its new owner, we've taken on three more Honda-based cafe racer builds. First up, there's Grievous Bodily Honda (GBH), our take on what customer Chris R lands on when he trawls YouTube for bike-building inspiration.

Chris's Honda CB550-based custom is in a million bits (well, quite a few bits) and we're deciding on the key features before commencing the rebuild.

Honda CB350F tank and dual seat on DWP

When we need a break from GBH, we turn to a bike being built as a present - that's right, a present from very generous fiancee Lyndsay to a very happy Dave W. So, this one's workshop tag is DWP.
It's based on a Honda XBR500 single, and we've tried a few tank and seat combos to meet Dave's request that he be able to reward Lyndsay's generosity with the occasional pillion ride. One near-winner was a neat Honda CB350 Four tank and a very retro-style dual seat...

The CB400F tank will dress up Dave's cafe racer

But Dave has gone for another tank from the Honda Four family, the CB400F.
With the Honda four-valve 500cc Single beating away beneath, this combo should turn heads and start conversations wherever it's parked.

Honda CB77 cafe racer takes shape
If that's not enough for the Honda tragics - and some traditionalists will already be weeping into their beer (or sake), we're working steadily away on a Honda CB77 that will be one cool cafe racer when it's done.

This over-bored classic 305 (now a full 350cc) runs Akront rims and freshly-refinished drums front and rear and will borrow key bits from Europe and the USA before it's done.

But the big question is: What are we going to call it?!

See more about Mid Life Cycles at:

Yamaha action in the Workshop

There's more Yamaha action in the Mid Life Cycles workshop than we're used to. First, customer and keen enthusiast Sandy brought his newly-imported Yamaha XS650-based Mule Flat-tracker for a couple of detail fixes so he could get out and enjoy it. A few twists and tweaks in the hands of Dr Roger and the now-750cc twin burst into raucous life...

Sandy's tasty flat-tracker by Mule (USA)
We've also taken on another flat-tracker style project, this time for Stewart, who decided he had to have his very own Yamaha SR500 D-Track, as built for German supplier KEDO by JvB Moto.

The SR500 D-Track built by JvB Moto for KEDO
Stewart provided most of the Kedo bits and we're well on the way to building this great-looking bike out of a fresh 560cc SR single with lots of custom parts and some careful work by Jim the SR king.
The SRK, as we've dubbed it, features an alloy swingarm, some lightweight bodywork and a few Kedo bits that really define the look of the bike. We'll have the wheels built to spec and then Stewart faces the toughest task - choosing between Kedo blue with white speed-block design, or a traditional Kenny Roberts yellow.

Here's where we're at so far...

Big Single will give the SRK some punch...


Friday, April 27, 2012

Another happy customer...

Dr Roger has done it again - sent another happy customer out into the cafe racer world with a better bike than he rode in on.
Local guy Andy brought his modified Honda GB400 in to us on a trailer after he saw the Mid Life Cycles TV commercial. (See: )

Andy's neat GB about to undergo surgery

It was quite a neat bike, but Andy had run out of skills at the critical moment, needing some help to re-route the wiring and fit a new seat from Benjie's Cafe Racers.
(See: )
It took a few workshop hours, but Roger did his usual tidy job, fitting a rear frame loop and then wiring in a new Shorai battery under the Benjie's seat-hump. He didn't like the look of the stock fork-tops protruding above the triple-clamp, so one custom modification later and Andy's front end looked neat and the fork's factory-fitted mushiness had gone.

This GB needed a fork-ectomy to tidy up the front end
Roger also tweaked the carb, fitted a custom inner guard and bracket to support the dry-sump oil tank, tidied up some brackets 'n bits, and handed the bike back to Andy.
And this was the happy customer's response:

Hey Roger: I've been riding the bike around this morning, and it feels fantastic! The front end feels a million bucks and the carby tuning trick feels great too. I've been very happy with you communication and workmanship skills. I will absolutely be coming back when I need more help with sourcing or mechanical issues. Cheers and thank you! Andy.
You're welcome Andy! That's another neat cafe racer back on the street...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

D-Day for Frankenbike

So, it's done, dusted and delivered. Frankenbike went to his new owner a few weeks back and has been doing the rounds, blowin' people away - as he should.
New owner Frank Kelloway is a happy man. "Bike is just terrific - thank you. Rides really well, firm but not too much, goes and sounds great, gearing is good." That's what we like to hear.

Frankenbike on D-Day
This was a great build to do - challenging, because it combined elements of both Honda XBR and GB models, with plenty of custom touches. We had a clear brief from the owner, purity of line and design maintained by builder Mike D, some inspiration along the way and lots of technical input from Dr Roger on all areas from fabrication to electrickery.

Custom bracket holds standard tacho

Details abound on this build, from the custom alloy bracket for the tacho to the mini-speedo tucked subtly away on the left fork leg; the brass clip holding the front brake line in place and the rare Yoshimura-branded rear shocks.
Paintwork is by Trevor Whitty, seat by Nitroheads, indicators and tail-lights custom-mounted. It all counts in a custom build and it all adds up when it comes to the time and care taken to make sure Frankie stands out from the crowd.
Frank, Mike and Frankenbike

And no sooner had Frankenbike left the shop than we started on not one, or two but THREE new projects.
Watch for updates on:
Project GBH - Grievous Bodily Honda
Project SRK - an SR500 Kedo-style
Project DWP - this lucky guy gets a neat cafe racer as a wedding present! How good is that?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Project Frankenbike

Project Frankenbike is steadily taking shape on the Mid Life Cycles’ operating table… errr, workbench.

A combination of mid-Eighties Honda XBR and GB parts, Frankenbike will be lighter, quicker and prettier than his XBR daddy (maybe not a difficult task…), with a few touches of mama GB and an unhealthy dose of custom or cut-about parts, from front guard to LED tail-light, Cycleworks exhaust to Nitroheads seat.

Cycleworks custom exhaust
Cycleworks custom chrome exhaust, polished footrest hanger-exhaust mount and Yoshimura black-n-gold shocks all follow the Frankenbike build plan

The Yoshimura-badged shocks out back pick up on the black-n-gold theme we’ve set for Frankie, but it’s the deep gloss-black tank with gold GT stripe and matching front guard, both courtesy of painter Trevor Whitty, that make this bike stand out.

Add the Cycleworks chrome exhaust, polished alloy footrest-exhaust carriers and the dull sheen of the external braided oil lines, set it against the black engine and pick out a few details and you’ve got a bike that’s less than fugly.

Nothing like a bit of gold jewellery, Cloth-ears, to offset the severe black 'n polished alloy penguin suit.

And then there’re the wheels with black powder-coated hubs and rims laced with stainless spokes, all courtesy of Lightfoot Engineering and a wallet-induced fainting spell, plus a small but special artistic touch, the gold chain stolen from a hairy-chested southern European… there’s no stopping the Frankenbike deconstruction squad.

Wiring spaghetti all the simpler without stupid-box and sundry bits…
We put Dr Roger in charge of the electrickery and he immediately performed a stupid-box-adectomy on the Honda wiring loom, removing all those civilised bits that tell you the tail-light bulb is about to blow, or the headlight is on… stuff that you either don’t need to know or don’t care about, or both.

Honda frame has lost its ugly bits, replaced by this neat rear loop and seat mount, with tail-light mount shaped and grafted into place.

Surgeon-in-charge Dr Darling has already put in the hours on the frame, removing the unsightly tail and grafting in a frame loop, seat mounts and a neat tail-light mount that follows the line of the seat and cleans up the beast’s back-end.

Standard dry-sump oil tank sits low and tight in the frame with K&N filter hiding under the tank.

We're stuck with the dry-sump oil tank, but it sits low in the frame and looks purposeful in black, as does the K&N filter tucked up tight between the top frame rails.

The Shorai battery sits neatly in place, with a few electrical tidy-ups to be done before the tank is re-fitted.

The standard battery box and bits are long gone, and Dr Electrickery’s assistant has fabricated a neat mount beneath the tank for the regulator and wiring, and the light-n-lean Shorai battery. Mount this electric-stick sideways or upside down and it’ll still crank the starter and illuminate the road ahead.

Standard Honda tacho takes pride of place in fabricated mounting.

The front-end has rebuilt forks and a custom gauge mount for the tacho. Dr D. will find somewhere out of mind, if not out of sight, to fit a speedo. We wouldn’t want Frankie to get a ticket the moment he emerged from the side lane outside the laboratory…

Napoleon bar-end mirrors are neat and effective and the quality matches the rest of the bike.

Then there are the Napoleon bar-end mirrors, courtesy of our friends at Motociclo in Sydney.
These are fitted to the neat ‘n standard Honda clip-ons, bolted above the top triple clamp so that Frankie’s new daddy doesn’t suffer spine-seizure after the first short ride.

There’s not much more to tell really… the plan is to have Frankie ready to crank over in the next week and maybe to set out on a short shakedown ride. Check everything, tighten everything else, hand over to Frankie’s very patient daddy… and start to plan the Bride of Frankenbike…