Beach Bum: A laid-back Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
Nothing cures boredom quite like motorcycles—and that goes not just for riding them, but wrenching on them too. This is why the father-and-son team behind AMP Motorcycles, Michael and Allen Posenauer, are never bored.

Based in Offenbach, Germany, the Posenauers started AMP Motorcycles as a way to spend time together after hours. They never intended for it to be anything beyond a hobby, but their work resonated with others and orders soon trickled in. That hasn’t stopped them from sneaking in personal projects whenever they can though—like this lighthearted Honda XL 500 scrambler.

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
“My father bought the 1983 Honda XL 500 R almost three years ago,” says Allen. “He wanted to build it for himself.”

“We had a lot of customer work to do, so we worked on the bike just when there was time and we felt like it. We had no deadline. It was just about having fun, while building the bike to our own expectations as father and son.”

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
The overly abbreviated tail, small fuel tank, and lack of front fender might seem silly to some, but AMP didn’t customize this Honda scrambler for serious souls. All they wanted was a light-footed beach runner—stripped down and ready for shenanigans.

“Our aim was to only have the essentials on the bike,” Allen adds. “We cut off everything we didn’t need, shortened the rear, and removed the passenger foot pegs. The bike is kickstart-only, with a tiny battery under the tank.”

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
The XL 500’s big front wheel and tall suspension were great for pinning it across the desert in the 80s, but they were total overkill for AMP’s needs. So the guys took the OEM drum brake hubs, and laced them to shiny new aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes. The new wheels measure 18” front and back, with Heidenau tires offering all-terrain grip and an appropriately chunky aesthetic.

The forks were lowered to fine-tune the scrambler’s stance before being fitted with fresh gaiters. The Honda Pro-Link rear suspension system is all standard issue.

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
AMP tossed all of the XL 500’s bodywork, then redressed it with a mix of salvaged and custom-made parts. The fuel tank came from a friend; it’s an old Honda unit of an undetermined model. Michael and Allen cleaned it up, adapted it to the bike, painted it, and re-fitted its original badges.

A three-quarter length seat sits atop the cut-and-shut subframe, upholstered in two-tone leather. Handmade aluminum number boards flank the bike, with an aftermarket alloy fender finishing off the tail.

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
There’s an aluminum number board up front too, with an LED headlight poking out of it. A set of chromed scrambler bars sit just behind it, along with a Motogadget speedo, Motone switches, and a new throttle. The turn signals come from Highsider, with the rear units doubling up as taillights.

The XL’s single-cylinder engine was treated to a full service and then painted black with all-new stainless steel hardware. The carb was ultrasonically cleaned and fitted with a foam air filter.

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
The Honda wears a black and white paint job that plays with stars and jagged stripes. AMP went for a glittery bright silver finish on the frame (just like the finish on the Kawasaki Z400 that they built a while ago). There’s not an inch on this bike that hasn’t been refurbished and refinished.

A custom exhaust system adds a finishing touch, snaking its way through the frame and terminating in an aftermarket muffler under the seat. Oh, and there’s a surfboard on the right-hand side of the bike.

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles
“The bike is exactly what we wanted,” Allen concludes. “It’s the perfect scrambler-slash-tracker for the city—super light, super agile, super good looking. It’s a real head-turner and everyone on the street wants to take pictures of it.”

“It would also be great to ride it to the beach and go surfing—but, sadly, we don’t have any waves near us.”

AMP Motorcycles | Instagram | Images by (and with thanks to) Marc Holstein and Christine Gabler

Honda XL 500 scrambler by AMP Motorcycles

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