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Apr 09

2013

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Funky Framework

The CL600 Specials frame in a coat of handsome silver. BTW you maybe be wondering what is going on up the back – next time we don’t care what the owner says, the whole sub-frame comes off and we’re fabricating a new one, don’t worry, it all does something…maybe.

Mar 22

2013

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CL600 Tank cleaned up

An early Honda tank with the visible seam. Mounts and tunel modified to clear the XR frame. Cleaned, lined, filled and shot with a quick coat of blue and white to keep it fresh until its new owner decides what they’d like.

Feb 12

2013

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Fresh Curves

When you’ve got a twin loop frame and you want to get those lines just right there is is no escaping a hand shaped tank. FRP plug shown without filler or underside.

Sep 15

2011

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Moto Christmas in SeptemberMoto Christmas in September

When we finally got through the day’s chores and had a chance to meet up at the Speedtractor Lab for some quality creative time we were in for a big surprise (and no it wasn’t the teddy bears’ picnic, because we’re located in town, not the woods). Waiting for us were three brown boxes filled with goodies, dropped off moments before by our friendly Takyubin guy.

Upon opening, said boxes revealed the missing pieces to the CL/XR600 mash up that is currently sitting in a state of ..er…flux.
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Sep 08

2011

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Speedtractor vs Samezu Speedtractor vs Samezu

Getting your custom ride registered in Japan (shakken) presents a unique series of challenges. In a country with automotive manufacture and vehicle ‘consumption’ as a corner stone of its financial stability, the difference in level of difficulty in registering an up to five year old bike versus a 20 plus year old bike (with modifications) is vast, with it often appearing as being in everyone’s best interests but your own to have your aging machine off the road so you’ll go and line up for shiny new Honda.

With a burgeoning auto maintenance industry to also support, the urban myth going around is that it is all just far too complicated for Joe Public to handle for themselves, seeing most people pay the equivalent of US$600 dollars or more for having someone else go stand in line and run the gauntlet to register anything over 250cc.

To muddy the waters even more is Japan’s heightened view that bureaucratic time wasting equals thoroughness, one that would do any government clerk the world over proud, resulting in a complex combination of largely benign but mandatory paperwork. In addition, at the Tokyo Samezu registration center they know important rider fitness is to on-bike performance and have kindly spread the process out over four buildings and 26000 square meters of land, Speedtractor forgot the stepometer on this last visit but suffice to say there was enough sweaty trekking over hot bitumen to see us go home a few kilos lighter for our troubles.
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Aug 31

2011

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Not-quite-retail TherapyNot-quite-retail Therapy

When it comes to a custom build, if half the fun is in making it, then at least half of that half is represented in the sourcing of the right parts. That elusive auction/ebay/swap meet find, the retro diamond in rough that everyone else missed. The way the air electrifies when you clamp eyes on it and you then try to contain your enthusiasm as you enter into negotiations to make it yours, a moment of infinite potential and fleeting bliss.

Of course, when you finally get it home and inspect the part in the harsh light of post-purchase-reality, more often than not it becomes alarmingly obvious that what you’ve bought is in fact rubbish and you would have been better just making a small fire and burning your money.
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Aug 19

2011

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Taste the GreatnessTaste the Greatness

Honda has a lot to answer for. While still at a malleable young age we were bombarded with imagery like this one. Snap shots of super natural, Moto-4 clad heroes with magical powers of flight, riding wheelie prone monsters, in fancy tri-colour pants. Our tender brains soaked them up like sponges, filing them away deep in our subconscious, under the category “want”.

What Honda didn’t show in the picture is the fractures in the mans shin bones and bruised legs from when he learnt the hard way about kick back, or the fact he carries the water bottle to prevent dehydration from the lather he works himself into trying to start a hot and flooded motor. Most importantly what they failed to illustrate is the gigantic, shit-eating grin this guys wearing under his helmet as he rips along.

We know all this now because 25 years on, we just got one and even though it took more than a week (and one small broken foot bone) to learn how to start it, damn it if it isn’t the silliest fun we’ve had in a decade. Now all we need is the pants to match.

This lucky XR600 is destined for greatness (or perhaps great humiliation) as it will shortly be press ganged into our XR/CL mash up in the honorable role of donor bike A.

Aug 17

2011

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Speedtractor lab takes shape

All the greatest ideas in the world remain lifeless and mute without an appropriate lair,laboratory or darkened corner from which to spring. So we finally got our priorities straight, stopped hooning around on the donnor bikes, put down the tasty spare parts and began by building a workshop space.

With floorspace at a ridiculous premium here in Tokyo, we’re having to start the ball rolling with just 13 square meters ( 124 sq ft ) of bare concrete, nestled roughly between Shibuya and Shimokita, but thats enough for buy-in and we figure it provides a wealth of fodder for moody “humble beginnings” quotes once we start to make something of ourselves someway down the track.

High~ish ceiling to give us space to hang parts, timber was the material of choice, fits in with the surrounding landscape and seemed to stand up to the ongoing tremors ok although it lets out some wicked moans during the bigger ones.