Also known as a restomod, a custom bike can be loosely
described as any bike that differs significantly from OEM
stock configuration. This covers a lot of possibilities from
stock-appearing ("restified") to wild one-offs. Needless to
say, the middle ground is where you'll most likely find
the "right" combo, especially if you plan to ride your
bike. Usually, a bit of added power is where most people
start. The stock engine just doesn't have enough grunt to
reach 50mph, let alone cruise at that speed. That's the
minimum speed potential we'd recommend for any kind of serious
road use. Even if you never take it over 40mph, you need to
have a bit of reserve power on tap to cope with hills,
headwinds and traffic. In the hands of a
competent rider, these bikes can
handle around 60mph top speeds with little more than tire and
shock upgrades. The stock drum brakes are the same used on the
larger CT90/110 bikes, thus there's some extra capacity for
normal road use. Racing and/or performance riding are
another set of parameters altogether and require serious
upgrades to the brakes, tires and suspension. In Europe and
Japan, these bikes see a fair amount of road use as serious
transportation. Some of the creations we've seen are amazing.
It's also surprising how much one can spend building an
unlimited custom bike utilizing off-the-shelf
parts. Honda engineered a bike with extra capacities;
European and Japanese riders took that to new
levels. Road and traffic conditions on
the other side of either ocean are vastly
different than what we know is the USA. The roads are narrow
and crowded and the level of driver skill and competence
of their machines is, of necessity, beyond what we need to
deal with our road system that has mostly been developed
over the past 50 years. This has provided a first-rate proving
ground for these little bikes. If they can accelerate, cruise,
brake and corner well enough for the kind of rally driving
that is normal traffic elsewhere, the machinery is more than
proven for use here. Considering the cost of gasoline these
days, perhaps the Honda minis were ahead of their time. Most
classic vehicles were, in one way or another.
With the shop bike completed to our satisfaction, we
now turn our attention toward building something decidedly
more state-of-the-art and road-oriented. Over the past
five years we've watched as Japanese and European builders
have continually raised the standard. Some of the bikes
we've seen have been on par with fullsize custom bikes,
in quality of engineering and build execution. Though
beginning to catch up, the scene here in the USA is
years behind. As a result, what is
possible along with the vast number of items
available are virtually unknown here. Engine displacement and
outputs have seriously exceeded anything sold here as of 2005.
The brakes, tires and suspension pieces available elsewhere
have followed suit. Now, we aren't out to build a
"me-too" project, but our own interpretation of what we think
a minitrail should be. The Japanese tend to favor a
stretched-out, tall-wheeled look and high-revving "screamer"
type engines; the Europeans, wild custom paint schemes, lots
of bling and a mix of big and smaller displacement
engines based on Honda and Chinese clones. Here, at MCM, we
prefer more of a clean, integrated, "broad-shouldered" look
with wide tires and big displacement "stomper" type
engines. This time around, we've placed fewer
restrictions on the components and modifications used in
the construction of the bike. With a world of
possibilities, literally, at our fingertips, it is
all-too-easy to run one's self ragged like a rat in a
maze. After months of research and planning we
arrived at the following guidelines for this build:
stock frame and wheelbase would be retained with no
permanent modifications of the structure.
original type CT70 folding handlebars would be
Honda pieces would be used where possible and modified where
electrical system would be updated to 12v and the lighting
improved to contemporary standards.
- Virtually every surface would be finished to a
standard befitting a high-end custom machine.
- Most of
the parts budget would be spent on the engine, suspension
and brakes. The engine would be built for the maximum power
possible, without sacrificing reliability, longevity or
driveability. The brakes and suspension would have to match
the increased engine power. in other words, a system
approach to total performance.
quality custom paint and upholstery materials along with
fit, finish and comfort would all be up to"real bike".
standards The overall look would be show quality, the
bike comfortable enough for long-distance touring and the
materials durable enough to keep looking good for many
overall lines, with no unnecessary bells & whistles.
Anything not needed would be removed; lighting would use
integrated function units where possible. The overall
appearance would be as minimalist as possible .
- Performance goals of 60-65mph sustained
cruising and 80mph top speed capability.
In short, we're after a hotrod-inspired show & go
machine with a refined-yet-subtle OEM look. That means no
add-on bling; any visual sizzle will come from the workmanship
alone. We also know that every unlimited project takes on a
life of its' own at some point and were willing to discard
anything should something better come along during the build.
So follow along as we build one our way...