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Lil’ Red Sled: A custom Honda Trail Cub from Colorado

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
The legendary Honda Super Cub is known for being the world’s most produced vehicle, and the poster child for Honda’s most memorable ad campaign. But it was also responsible for spawning multiple trail-focused variants. They’re known the world over; as the Hunter Cub in Japan, the humble postie bike in Australia and the Honda Trail in the USA.

Perry Wilson of Studio 35ive, based out in Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of those ‘nice people you meet on a Honda.’ A photographer by day and a garage builder and general fabricator by night, he’s taken inspiration from the Asian custom scene to build this 1961 Honda C105T Trail 55.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
“I wanted a classic look and feel,” says Perry, “with inspiration coming from the scramblers and trials bikes of the era. Every inch of the bike has been customized, and not a single bolt remained untouched.”

Starting with a rusted-out $100 swap meet special, Perry built the whole bike in his garage using both traditional and modern fabrication techniques. By employing the use of CAD programming and 3D printing, he was able to make some very unique parts.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
Most will notice that the swooping front guard and fairing have been removed, since Perry stuck to the tried and true method of weight reduction to improve performance. He went even further by trimming the pressed steel frame of countless brackets, and even cutting, welding and smoothing as many stamping seams on the bike as possible.

The rear mudguard is the factory item that Perry modified himself. It now kicks up at the end, keeping in tune with the trials bike vibes.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
Replacing the front headlight is a custom rack that Perry designed in CAD and then 3D printed. It matches the rack on the back of the bike, which was made using the same techniques. Perry used a material called PLA+, and reports that in all his time using it, he’s found it to be plenty strong and durable.

Where Perry utilized his CAD and 3D-printing knowledge the most was in the mounting hardware for the new stem and handlebars, which are from a mountain bike. By adapting certain parts, and after a long process of trial and error, he ended up with a setup so slick, you’d be forgiven for not even noticing it. Proof of a job well done by a skilled fabricator.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
Dual brake levers, a thumb throttle, and new grips and bar-end mirrors adorn the handlebars. Perry chose to set up the controls this way for ease of use, since the thumb throttle and semi-automatic transmission make it more approachable and fun.

“The idea was that anyone who has ridden a bicycle can ride this bike and be comfortable, with no learning curve” he explains.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
The 50-plus-year-old engine was tired, so a brand new Chinese-made 125 cc unit was ordered on Amazon and bolted straight in. Perry reports that while it doesn’t have the highest top speed, it does have double the horsepower of the original! (I’m sure you, dear reader, are also wondering why all motorcycle engine work can’t be this simple.)

The new engine features a semi-automatic four-speed transmission, with three forward gears and one reverse. We can think of many times a reverse gear would have saved us a lot of effort, especially out on the trails.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
If you’ve ever had a 60s or 70s Honda, you’ll know that the rear shock absorbers are basically just chromed spring holders. Perry thought the same, so new shocks were bolted on to smooth out the bumps on the trails that he obviously plans to rip down.

The original wheel hubs were able to be saved but the spokes and rims were rusted beyond repair. Shinko SR241 tires are wrapped around the fresh rims.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
A red and cream color scheme was chosen to keep in line with the classic theme, and was laid down by Jeff Painter (yes, that is his real name) in Naples, Florida. Bryson Lunger, also of Florida, is the guy behind the hand pin-striping and lettering. The seat was made by Perry himself out of white birch and marine fabric, and is removable to allow access to the fuel tank.

The leather side bag (that matches the seat nicely) was found at a local Target store. Perry simply 3D-printed some brackets to clip it to the frame.

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55
“I wanted this bike to be an example of the idea that you don’t have to be a massive shop or designer to make something unique,” explains Perry. “This was the every-person’s bike. Cheap, fun, reliable… and customized by people just like me.”

Studio 35ive Instagram | Images by Perry Wilson

Custom Honda Trail Cub 55

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