BMW Motorrad Spezial

Honda SL100

Honda SL100 'Dirtbag' custom
Honda’s SL100 was a lightweight dirtbike that won a lot of fans in the early 70s for its easy handling and high-revving OHC four-stroke motor. Today an SL is a collectible item—especially for guys who were lucky enough to ride one in their youth—and you don’t see many given the custom treatment. This neat 1972 SL bobber looks a million dollars, but incredibly, it was built for the Dirtbag Challenge, a ‘low rent chopper build off’ held every year in San Francisco. The Challenge costs $20 to enter, and the rules are simple but strict: no Harleys, don’t spend more than $1,000 on your bike, the bike must be rideable for several hours, and you have a month to build your bike. Makes that SL even more impressive, don’t you think? Dan of the Lilac Alley Speed Shop has catalogued the build on a blog here, along with some great photography. [Via Chalopy.]

Honda SL100 'Dirtbag' custom
Honda SL100 'Dirtbag' custom

  • revdub

    wow. what a great little bike (and a perfect height for a small dude like myself) ha. I like everything about this.

  • mingh

    yeah. much more of this please!
    caff racers and gold flake customs are so passé. Vintage scramblers and dirt bike are the new thing!
    Honda SL is one of the very rare japs i really love. Kawa avenger is in that field as well. Great build

  • mack-mack

    @mingh – how could café racers or gold flake customs be passé?!? it’s obviously a matter of being “in” or “out” that influences your preferences – and so you’ll soon be tired of all the upcoming vintage scramblers and dirt bikes as well… but noneoftheless, I agree – great build.

  • WillyP

    Looks like a million dollars? Tell me you are joking, is it April first again?

  • eric keith

    Me likes the looks. As a very practical person the simplicity of vintage dirt bikes is a turn on. As a practical person, the lack of mudguards combined with knobbies seems like a trend I would be greatly irritated by pulling out of that mud puddle.

  • Mule

    One common thread with “Chopper” type builds is that the less sense it makes, the more everyone goes gaga over it. Sissy bars, daggers welded to the forks, lots of skulls and pointy things aimed at the riders, rigid rear ends (ride one of those through a bumpy sweeper at 60-70 and you’ll wish you hadn’t), extended front ends(the longer and flexier the better), no front brake and now the latest craze of knobbies on one or both ends of your street bike. All these fads feed the rider control parasites. Leeching away control on increments. Just when I thought there would be no control left to lose, this fits in perfectly! Good job!

  • Phil

    No…just no

  • Aaron Burke

    Interesting idea, has a bit of a hillclimber look about it.

  • Jason

    This great little bike was one of my favorites at the Dirtbag Challenge last year (the funnest motorbike-related party in SF–an absolute blast, every year). Had the privilege to ride down Mount Tam on the Easter Ride with these guys and this little SL. Great group and lots of smiles.

    -Jason W.

  • I reckon the hillclimber look might be the next ‘big thing’, and the whole on/off road hybrid thing such as scramblers. If anything, it should make Honda CB prices more affordable!

  • steve

    If you slide back off that seat, you’re gonna need some preparation H!

  • jimbo

    Just imagine if your butt slide back a little!!!!!
    Can you say opera singer!

  • Amonza

    Great little bike, I like it.

    But would be somewhere back towards the end of the shed at my place.

    Stil…thumbs up…good build.

    @Chris…anything that makes CB’s more affordable has my blessing.

  • If you slid off the back of a SL100, maybe it’s time to do some bicep curls ;)

    Awesome bike!

  • Pete

    An SL100 chopper?

    Different. I don’t know how much I would enjoy that the seat sloping back into the exposed rear wheel, with knobbly tyres so close to my own rear, but a great build..

    I’ve always loved the SL100 look.

    I rode one on the road for years during the early 80’s, and ended up road racing it – flat bars, dual purpose tyres, supertrapp exhaust, a piece of 3-ply for the seat.

    Raced it on circuits and road hill climbs, where it went surprisingly well, against CB100’s, DT100’s, Kawasaki G4TR’s etc.

  • James

    LOVE this bike! Thanks for keeping fun alive mate. I bet it is a blast to ride. My first bike ever was an old SL70. I just recently bought a ’71 SL350 that I am restoring. A lot of people on this thread remind me of Leo Sayer’s brother Neah.

  • Love that first photo, most excellent