If you’ve followed the Bike Shed for a while you’ll be all to aware of our obsession with flat track inspired builds, and actual race bikes given the chance. The proportions, when well executed, are perfect. Give a child a crayon and ask them to draw a motorcycle and you’ll get two fat tyres, a seat, an engine and some handlebars – all you really need. Unless your child is very young or a bit special, and then you’ll just have a colourful mess to stick to the fridge door.
Another thing we like is decent photography and our chums from Ellaspede downunder in Brisbane give us exactly what we want, crisp pictures for all to enjoy. Added to which they’re fairly handy with a quill too, so here’s Hughan Seary to tell us all about the Ellaspede EB024 – Honda XL500.
“Bought as a basket case in 2009, this XL500 was one of the first bikes scheduled for an Ellaspede build way back when the whole operation was still in the garage based glory days. Before clients were around to commission custom builds, the bikes were self initiated projects built as expression sessions for the industrial designers at Ellaspede’s parent company Heluva Studios.
As history would have it though, two other bike builds EB001 and EB004 beat the XL to project completion and when client requests started rolling in the box-of-bits 500 was relegated to the back bench. Here and there the Honda would sneak into a scribble on a designers sketchpad and a spot on the workshop bench, but as clients builds come first the Ellaspede the XL was continually relegated to being the bridesmaid on the bike build priority list.”
“Given this build started with the designers it was only natural that addressing the overall aesthetic would be the first port of call. The frame had all unnecessary tabs and brackets removed before the rear end was rounded out with some fresh bar work on the frame. The front forks and big 23” wheel found their way to the scrap heap and replaced by an XR250 set up. The stanchions were shortened 100mm, re-sprung and shod with gators to suit the future look. Out the back an XL500 suspension upgrade from Icon keeps the bumps in check. Custom front and rear rims were laced up to the XR and XL hubs, measuring 2.5 x 18” front and 3.5 x 18” rear fitted with Dunlop F11 rubber, 110/90/18 & 130/90/18.”
“A vintage Suzuki 125 tank had the perfect profile, so was given the green light to replace the factory tin. Mounted closer to the headstock than the original, custom steering stops prevent the XR forks massaging the tank. It also means the rider can shift their weight further forward on the diamond stitched seat when on wide open throttle.
Covering the treads on a variety of terrain are a pair of custom front and rear guards. An Ellaspede Ninja Star Licence Plate holder hangs onto the shortened back end. The power plant was treated to a full top and bottom-end rebuild with the parts being blasted and/or painted before being screwed back together. A Mikuni flatslide carb sucks through a K&N pod filter, while a custom twin exhaust with internally baffled turbo taper mufflers eject the used gasses.”
“A full rewire with an under-seat electrics compartment hides the wiring to the Danmoto speedometer, Daytona indicators and LED flex tail light. Up front a flat track inspired number board houses twin spots from an aftermarket enduro headlight, with internal wiring to the micro bar switches controlling the lights and sounds. Biltwell Recoil grips and RHK motocross foot pegs ensure the rider has a strong handle and firm foothold on this 500. An aftermarket master cylinder, braided brake line and rebuilt XR caliper take care of abating excess enthusiasm.”
“A 2 pak paint combo of subtle metallic grey got the nod for the front guard, headlight plate, tank and rear guard. Offset stripes in a smooth black contrast the metallic hues with a splash of red breaking up the greyscale. 6 years and as many design iterations later (as designers do when working on their own projects) and the once humble Honda is finally finished. Ready to make up for lost time, this rig is one of our most rowdy rides and certainly rips on and off the road.”
After all this time and the bike is now for sale, please form an orderly queue.
Images by AJ Moller Photography www.ajphotography.com.au