Speed Read: An Africa Twin-inspired custom Honda Cub and more

The latest motorcycle news, customs and auctions
There’s something for everyone in this week’s edition of Speed Read. We’ve got a Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker from the UK, an ISDT-inspired BMW R100GS from Italy, and an alluring 1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper from the USA. But first, a wonderful redemption story of a stolen, recovered, and transformed Honda Cub.

Custom Honda Cub adventure scooter
Nasir Morni’s Honda ‘Africa Cub’ Based in Borneo, Malaysia, Nasir Morni knows how to make the best out of a bad situation. The custom Honda Cub you see here originally belonged to his father, who bought it way back in 1984 and commuted on it every day—until it was stolen in 2005.

As the years passed, Nasir thought they had seen the last of his dad’s Honda, until they received a call from the local police in 2020. The good news was that the bike had been recovered—the bad news was that it was recovered back in 2005 already, and had been wasting away in the police impound yard for the last 15 years. Regardless, Nasir couldn’t wait to get his hands on the Cub again.

Custom Honda Cub adventure scooter
Skip forward to 2023, and Nasir decided that the Cub needed some much-needed love and attention. And by that, we mean that he tore the bike down and threw out everything except the frame.

Heavily inspired by the Honda Africa Twin, Nasir decided to build an ‘Africa Cub.’ After the frame was disassembled, blasted, and painted, a new set of forks was bolted on, along with adjustable rear suspension. Brembo brakes were modified to fit, along with a slick rotor guard, gold wheels, and a set of chunky tires.

Custom Honda Cub adventure scooter
New ProTaper bars were fitted, with new grips and a set of off-road hand guards. The headlight is protected by some chunky bars and a mesh grille, with a small windscreen taking some of the wind load off the rider.

Custom steel frame rails were fabricated and bolted on in front of the engine (a feature that modern Super Cubs have from the factory), with a skid plate mounted underneath. The engine looks brand new, and so does the custom exhaust system and swingarm.

Custom Honda Cub adventure scooter
To finish it off, Nasir painted the bike in classic HRC red, white, and blue. Set against the gold wheels, blue vinyl seat, and custom ‘Africa Cub’ graphics, you’d think this was a Honda original. We love a good rags-to-riches tale, and we’re sure Nasir will enjoy this bike just as much as his father did. [Nasir Morni Instagram]

Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker by Joe BanksFor sale: Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker by Joe Banks Ah, the humble Yamaha Banshee. Or rather, the absolutely bonkers, fire-breathing, 347 cc two-stroke quad bike that is the Yamaha Banshee. Known chiefly for its Yamaha RD350-based engine, the Banshee has gone on to donate said engine to many a custom project. This lightweight street tracker is one such project.

It’s the work of Joe Banks in the UK, who built it as a Kenny Roberts tribute. And even though it wears a license plate, it’s no ordinary street bike.

Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker by Joe Banks
Perusing the extensive build thread on ADVrider.com, It looks like this crime against modesty was heavily premeditated. The Banshee wasn’t sold in the UK, so Joe started with a box full of two-stroke goodies, courtesy of a few contacts in California. Those boxes not only contained a complete Banshee engine, but a spare RZ350 engine too.

Once he was done putting it all together, Joe had a monster 421 cc two-stroke motor in his hands. With the addition of 35 mm Keihin carbs and a custom stainless steel exhaust, he was off to a good start.

Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker by Joe Banks
With a goal of 80 hp and 265 lbs, Joe needed a frame as radical as the powerplant he’d just built. So he took a trip to Co-Built Fabrication just outside of Oxford, UK, and found what he was looking for—a handmade, chromoly steel frame and a nickel-plated swingarm. Yamaha R6 forks, Maxton rear shocks, and a set of lightweight Marvic magnesium wheels were bolted on to make it a roller.

The new, and very yellow, bodywork came from Redmax Speed Shop. And since this is a Kenny Roberts tribute build, there are speed blocks aplenty. Final touches include a Scitsu tacho, a pair of LED projector lights, and an ISR and Beringer brake setup.

Yamaha Banshee-powered street tracker by Joe Banks
After the bike was finished it was shipped across the pond to its new home in the USA, where the current owner has enjoyed it for the last few years. If you can see yourself blasting into the sunset on this thing, we have some good news—it’s currently being auctioned off through Iconic Motorbikes.

The auction ends in two days, so you’ll have to be quick with the bids… and you’ll need to line up behind us.

BMW R100GS ISDT tribute by SantaFox Garage
BMW R100GS by SantaFox Garage Known as the “Olympics of Motorcycling”, the International Six Days Trial (ISDT) started in 1913 and is still run to this day. Now called the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), the competition has come a long way, featuring thoroughly modern and technologically advanced machinery.

Back in 1978, most competitors were running lightweight, single-cylinder bikes—but the BMW works team showed up with air-cooled BMW boxers. With the help of engineer Laszlo Peres, a BMW 247-series airhead was modified for the competition. Not only did it weigh in at under 300 lbs, but it also went on to serve as the base for the legendary BMW R80G/S.

BMW R100GS ISDT tribute by SantaFox Garage
Carlo Santamaria of SantaFox Garage in Savona, Italy, recently came across some old photos of the ISDT BMW and was inspired enough to create his own. Starting with a 1992 BMW R100GS, Carlos first painted the frame blue to match the original bike. The front suspension was swapped out for a set of WP Suspension forks and a dirt-friendly 21” front wheel.

The factory fuel tank was replaced with something with a slimmer profile. The new tank was then modified with a cut-out for the battery, which is stored inside a leather bag—just like the original ISDT competitor. A striking German flag graphic was added to the tank, and a generous leather seat was fitted.

BMW R100GS ISDT tribute by SantaFox Garage
The fenders and headlight nacelle came from Acerbis, but Carlos had to modify the rear fender to fit the R100GS frame. The engine was mostly left stock, with the electrical bits hidden under the seat and in the ‘tank bag.’ No big dirt bike is complete without a thumping soundtrack, so an Akrapovič muffler was modified to fit.

We’re not sure we’d attempt the ISDE aboard a vintage boxer—but Carlos’ BMW sure looks the part. And in the right hands, it could probably take anything thrown its way. [Via]

1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper by Red Clouds Collective
Triumph 6T Thunderbird by Red Clouds Collective Triumph has used the Thunderbird name a few times over the decades, but the best Thunderbird was the original. Originally released in 1949, the Triumph 6T Thunderbird had a rigid frame, sprung seat, and a parallel twin engine. Americans wanted more power, so the Brits bored out the engine from 500 cc to 650 cc, slapped it in the frame, and sent it Stateside.

This quintessential vintage Triumph made its way into the hands of the Neefus brothers at Red Clouds Collective in Portland, Oregon. When the 1951-model 6T ‘Bird arrived, they knew they were onto a good thing. After all, it was the bike that Marlon Brando rode in The Wild One.

1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper by Red Clouds Collective
“The old chrome frame has a look and feel you can’t fake, so we wanted to leave that alone and keep that theme throughout the build by using period-correct parts with their natural wear,” explains Seth Neefus. “Everything is mechanically restored, from the fork seals to the engine and gearbox.”

Searching high and low through swap meets and friends’ collections for the right parts, the brothers eventually had everything they needed. A set of MCM fork shrouds and a 1930s Packard headlight were fitted, displaying just the right amount of patina. The chrome-plated Triumph frame was left how they found it, but the team added some taller bars and vintage-style tires.

1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper by Red Clouds Collective
No 50s-style chopper is complete without some finned Webco parts, so Red Clouds added finned exhaust clamps, rocker inspection caps, and a finned oil feed to complete the look. A Joe Hunt magneto was sourced, restored, and fitted for a robust and reliable spark.

Finally, the peanut tank and ribbed rear fender were given to Nathan Sykes to lay down an artfully distressed paint job. Adorned with prerequisite flames and pinstripes, it looks like this bike has been ridden hard for decades—which is exactly the vibe that the guys were going for. A distressed solo seat and passenger pad, courtesy of River Seat Company, finish things off in style.

1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper by Red Clouds Collective
Sure, Red Clouds could have turned the vintage Thunderbird into a modern, polished custom. But the shop’s primary business is making hard-wearing apparel and leather goods—the type of stuff that looks better the more you abuse it. And nothing screams hard-wearing like a period-correct 1950s Triumph chopper. [Red Clouds Collective]

1950s Triumph Thunderbird chopper by Red Clouds Collective

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