With a population of over 1.3 billion, there are bound to be some interesting custom motorcycles being built in China. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see them. There’s the occasional Chinese builder who cultivates links to the western scene, but the majority seem to stay within the confines of the world’s most populous country.
This Honda CB125 custom has come to light by accident, via the motorcycle historian Paul d’Orléans. And it’s an absolute cracker. It was built by photographer Valen Zhou of Chengdu and he’s called it ‘Monstub’—a mix of monster and cub—“because it looks weird and has a small engine.”
But has it really come to light by accident? The backstory is almost too good to be true. Zhou’s girlfriend Remo interviewed Paul as part of her journalism class, and when Paul asked how she’d found him, she mentioned that her boyfriend was working on a custom bike. His suspicions were aroused—too many coincidences going on.
But whatever the circumstances, let’s focus on this very interesting Honda. “This is my boyfriend’s first handmade motorcycle,” Remo said. “This Honda CB125 is from the first generation, made in cooperation with a Chinese motorcycle company c.1975. He spent about three months rebuilding this awesome thing, and he thinks this is still not good enough.”
When Zhou was a small child, his father apparently gave him a toy motorcycle, and an obsession started. He bought a Chinese Honda on his 16th birthday: “He still can remember the feeling of freedom when he got on that bike for first time,” his girlfriend says. “He likes old things, because they always have a lot of stories to tell … He has an anxiety disorder, and building the motorcycle helped make him feel calm. The motorcycle helps him deal with anxiety, and he can fall asleep at night.”
There’s no list of bolt-on parts to catalog with this build. It’s mostly hand-fabricated, with a raw finish and an amazing stance. It’s like an apocalyptic ‘Samurai Chopper.’
Zhou is apparently working on a second bike right now, and it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with. For the full story on his first build, head over to the Vintagent website.