Modifying or restoring a motorcycle at home is not for the weak and faint-hearted. The lower the individual’s technical skills level, the more difficult the task. Some folks have an inherent understanding of things mechanical, most of us are all thumbs. I speak from experience. My father was very good with his hands and relished fixing just about anything. Watching my uncle who worked as a motor mechanic and workshop manager work on an engine, is like watching a top musician play an instrument. No swearing, no bleeding knuckles, no reference manuals required – effortless. I on the other hand have to use a different approach which requires at least one manual, access to the internet and marking every removed part and bolt with a tag which matches up to a carefully drawn diagram. Parts are placed in a neatly arranged layout in order of disassembly. The workshop becomes a no go area for fear of someone mixing things up or the diagram getting lost. That being said, I have successfully restored and rebuilt several motorcycles. Nobody is incapable of building a motorcycle. Some of us just make it look really difficult.
For the first time builder, choosing the right motorcycle according to personal technical ability is essential. Rather spend more money buying a mechanically sound donor bike if your ability level is limited to changing the spark plugs. Similarly avoid a build which involves major changes to the frame setup. Even changing wheels and suspension components can be tricky as most components are not interchangeable between different manufacturers and models. I am not saying the above should not be considered or undertaken but outside professional help will be required
Our featured motorcycle is a perfect candidate for a home built bobber/chopper. This is the Honda VLX600. V twin, Lowered, eXtended rake is what VLX stands for, all the right elements for a chopper. The unusual standard 15″ diameter rear wheel with a 170mm wide balloon tyre looks just right as does the 19″ front wheel. The hidden monoshock suspension gives the bike the old school rigid look. Remove the front fender, install a bobbed rear fender and change the seat to complete the look.
This is the third motorcycle Rory has built and he has gone way beyond the simplified modifications mentioned above. He fabricated the rigid tail end which greatly lowers the motorcycle and accentuates the chopper lines. The “frisco style” handlebars are also his creation as is the seat. A Honda CB500 rear fender was used to make the rear mudguard. The matt black paint work and red pinstriping are also Rory’s handiwork. Open exhaust pipes are a must. Rory named the bike Gomez.
Gomez is ridden by Rory as his only daily transport. This motorcycle’s appearance in SA Hot Rods magazine as a centrespread and article is proof that, if properly planned and built, a home garage built motorcycle can hold its own with the professional customs