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Super Surfer: Cloning the Honda Cub

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
Not ready to let go of the weekend? We’ve got the solution, and it involves a surfboard, the beach, and a cute little scooter.

This little slice of summer is called ‘El Gordo,’ [‘fat’ in Spanish] and it’s the first build from Dutch crew KRUK. Mark van Meerkerk and Ton Everaers hold down day jobs, but combine their talents after hours to make cool things.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
Mark’s one of Holland’s top surfers, and works as a mechanical engineering technician and theatrical automation specialist. He’s well versed in custom motorcycles, having owned and built a bunch of them over the years.

Ton’s a graphic and audio-visual designer, and while he’s owned numerous classic bikes and cars most of his life, the custom scene is new ground for him. Both guys wrench regularly in their own sheds, but El Gordo was put together in Ton’s workshop in Delfgauw, just outside Rotterdam.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
So what is El Gordo? We assumed it was a Honda Cub, but we were wrong. It’s a Super 50, a Chinese-made Cub clone imported by Super Motor Company in Amsterdam. “It was kind of weird to chop up a brand new bike,” says Ton, “but it saved us the hassle of rebuilding a possibly worn out engine and battling rust.”

As for the direction the guys wanted to take, that was a fairly easy decision: “Since we’re both avid surfers and bikers, we’ve always been charmed by surf explorer bikes with board racks attached to them.”

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
From a distance there doesn’t seem to be much going on, other than a board rack and a new paint job. But the mods are both extensive and subtle. There’s a mix of Yamaha, Honda and Puch parts at play, sourced from auto-jumbles and the internet, along with a few off-the-shelf bits.

Mark and Ton ditched the Super 50’s plastic rear fender, then welded in a shortened Honda Cub number with a neat ducktail on the end. Then they bolted on a luggage rack and taillight from their oddball pool of parts.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
They also tossed the original seat, replacing it with a hand-made unit covered in an anti-slip fabric, “so you won’t slip off when cruising around in your wetties.” You’d normally flip the seat up to access the gas cap, but the new seat has a hole in it for quick access.

“If a solution like this is good enough for vintage British race bikes it sure is good enough for El Gordo,” Ton jokes.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
KRUK were on a mission to rid the little Cub look-a-like of as much bulk and plastic as possible. So they dismantled the steering and headlight assembly and rebuilt it piece-by-piece, starting with a custom-made top yoke and a set of aftermarket handlebar clamps.

The handlebars are from a 70s Honda CB, cut a little narrower to suit the bike, and capped off with Beston grips.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
Keeping the bike road legal was key, so it still sports turn signals and a headlight. The guys tried to use as many of the scoot’s existing mounting points as possible, but Mark still had to whip up a bunch of small bits on the lathe to piece everything together.

Reworking the front end also meant rewiring everything. The ignition switch and starter button—originally integrated into the steering unit—were moved to the left side of the bike. A set of replica Honda Dax switches was added, and all the wires moved to inside the handlebars and frame. Even the horn and side-stand switch still work as per original spec.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
KRUK took care of a few nifty upgrades too. An aftermarket exhaust system and open filter were added, and the carb re-jetted, for a little more go. “Semi automatics don’t really give a punch,” admits Ton, “but now it’s a nice ride with a decent top speed.” Fitting the exhaust meant scavenging a heat shield and mounting brackets from another donor.

The suspension was sorely lacking, so the guys upgraded the rear shocks with a pair of open spring units. Then they fitted the widest rubber that the frame and forks would take: 3.00×17 Heidenau K58 scooter tires.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
The inspiration for El Gordo’s unique hue came from an unusual source. “We chose a brown tint that was on a Marlboro cardboard box we used to transport El Gordo’s parts to the paint-shop,” explains Ton. “It was by coincidence exactly the type of brown we were after, and the painter did a great job matching it.”

Parts like the handlebars and rims were powder coated flat black to complement it. As a final touch, Mark and Ton fabricated a surfboard rack, finishing it off with caramel leather handlebar grip tape and hand-made elastic fasteners.

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK
“The original idea behind this little Cub was to build a one-off bike that could be fairly cheap and easily reproduced if the demand was there,” says Ton. “The bike is road legal, has registration and insurance and is ready to explore all those remote surf spots.”

Who else feels like heading down to the beach right now?

Visit KRUK Customs on Facebook | Photos by Aad Hoogendoorn | Surfboard on loan from Ollywood Surfboards

Honda Cub clone with surfboard rack by KRUK