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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:

  • The stock frame and wheelbase would be retained with no permanent modifications of the structure.
  • The original type CT70 folding handlebars would be retained.
  • Existing Honda pieces would be used where possible and modified where necessary.
  • The 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.
  • Top 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 years..
  • Clean 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...

 

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