With a workshop stacked to the gunwales and an inbox bursting at the seams it’s easy to become blasé about how bikes could or should be customised. But as with pretty much everything in life, you never forget your first time and the enamelled Honda tank badge on this CG reminded me of my first build. Anthony Harris is relatively new to the custom scene but not to motorcycles and thanks to this tidy little restomod he’s inspired the next generation.
Anthony gives us some background “Turn back the clock to 2012, I was looking for a different ride from the Supersports bikes I had owned for ten years. I’ve ridden bikes since I was 16 years old and felt it was time for a change. I started to notice shed built bikes in the motorcycle press and I fancied something retro. I came across an article about Kevil’s Speed Shop and loved the twin cylinder BMW and what Kevin Hill was doing with them.”
“I met with Kev at Bike Shed’s first ever show and arranged to visit his Paignton workshop. One thing led to another and I ended up commissioning a bike, ‘Volare’, which was featured at Bike Shed’s second show in Shoreditch. Forward to 2015, I took Volare on the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. I asked my wife and daughters to come and although they were unenthusiastic before the event, after a fantastic day, my youngest daughter had a new found lust for bikes at just 11 years old. She begged me to let her join me on the next ride but Volare is a single seater! This was where the story of V2 was born.”
Anthony did the right thing, he set a deadline, DGR 2016, and then hit eBay. A tatty Honda CG125 from 1999 was procured for £400 and promptly stripped bare. Anthony is a shed builder in the truest sense, with a limited set of hand tools and minimal experience. He is however an auto-electrician by trade therefore guaranteeing the fiddly bits would be done properly. The car and bike wiring guys I’ve met have all been perfectionists, and from the looks of this CG, Anthony is of the same breed.
With the frame de-tabbed and generally tidied the local garage, John Charles Auto, was called upon to weld the rear loop, whilst at it they freed the sticky clutch. Anthony then redressed the labour balance by spending three hours making a perfect incision in the new loop to accommodate an LED stop/tail light. The battery box nearly disappears under the seat pan, with a Super B lithium battery the basis for a hidden loom. Minimal wiring head forwards towards the spartan cockpit, routed through Renthal bars to the original switchgear. Assisting the hide-and-seek efforts was a relocation of the ignition barrel, now living under the tank and utilising an upcycled kitchen cabinet foot.
Cables are all-new throughout, as are the chain & sprockets, and thanks to streamlined manufacturing in faraway lands the forks were cheaper to replace with new than refurbish the originals. The wheels are original but now look more trick thanks to a tidy-up and satin black powdercoat from the guys at Amwell Blast Coat. Brakes are relined and tyres are a slightly wider 18×3.50 Dunlop X82. While these parts were away receiving TLC Anthony cleaned-up the little 124cc single, serviced it thoroughly before painting the barrel, head and cases. It now breathes through an aftermarket pipe and pod filter.
Seasoned shed dwellers will have spotted the non-stock fuel tank, Anthony fancied something with a more classic shape, opting for a one from a 1976 CD175. After a bit of prep a return trip to the local garage ensued for a two-tone paintjob. Then it was back to MacGyvering parts from other motorcycles. First up was a single Yamaha FS1E mudguard, neatly chopped and converted into both a front and rear fender. A Vespa was liberated of its side stand to replace the wobbly original. Despite this ingenuity Anthony’s budget had now been stretched beyond it’s limit so his mother-in-law was called in for the final task of upholstering the saddle, a fine job she’s done too.
Anthony grafting through late evenings and Sunday mornings to make the DGR deadline it’s safe to say he, and his daughter are thrilled to bits “V2 rides much better than I could have anticipated. It’s great around town and anything up to around 55MPH but forget a dual carriageway or motorway! I was proud to have my daughter with me for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, the day was brilliant and V2 even evoked some interest by the end. Now this has whet my appetite I’d like to take on another challenge, this time something larger like a W650 or XS650, price of the donor bike permitting!”
Top job Anthony, for not only embarking on your first custom project but for completing it in such style. We presume that as soon as your daughter passes her 17th year, and her CBT, that you’ll barely see V2 again.
Images by Kevin Lines