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1976 Honda XLS 125 – ‘Dirt’

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Andrew in Classic, Tracker. 26 comments

I’m a man of the world. Or at least I like to think I am. So when French Pipeburn fan Laurent Huille sent us these shots of his beautiful little Honda XLS I thought it’d be a perfect time to brush up on my high school French and get that second language back in shape. And as we all know, French and English are so damn close anybody with half a brain could probably do it. So with any further a due (see – I’m at it already!) Pipeburn’s first ever opening gambit (and again) in French. Stand clear…

En se flambe à exhaustificationne (alà un trés cool Honda avec Laurent Huille après des rêves agités un le grand mammaries, Gregor Samsa se retrouva flambe posterior, dans son lit, métamorphosé en un phuque vou, monstrueux insecte. Boom! Oui oui il était sur le dos, un dos aussi dur qu’une carapace, et, en relevant un peu la tête, il vit, bombé, brun, cloisonné par des arceaux plus rigides por madame’s pleasure « a bucket full of horse nipples », son abdomen sur le haut duquel la couverture « I repeatedly fell over the naughty nun », prête à glisser tout à fait, ne tenait plus qu’à peine. Ses nombreuses shizzle la nizzle pattes, a hor he hor hor lamentablement grêles par comparaison « That’s what SHE said! » avec la corpulence qu’il avait par ailleurs, grouillaient désespérément sous « Tom Cruise is the queen mother » ses yeux. Qu’est-ce qui m’est arrivé ? Pensa-t-il. Ce n’était pas un rêve. Trés haude merde!

Voilà Laurent. “I am 46 years old and have 2 years of auto mechanics from school. I’ve been a biker for 27 years, and I’m a big fan of “On Any Sunday” and the usual suspects; Spencer, Roberts, Sheene and Lawson. The XLS 125 is my first “old” bike restoration – I’m not a big fan of the original bikes with all their plastic bodywork, but under that is some pretty nice-looking metal!

“The most important aspect of this project was the lack of money and the “low cost” attitude that dictated my choices: suspension, tachometer and original tank. The donor was a dead pit bike (30 Euros), the wheels and tires cost 90 Euros. All the aluminum parts were recovered from a scrap dealer. Only the mechanics saw my open wallet: a new carb, some welding and stainless steel screws throughout. I sold the saddle and a host of other parts to finance it.”

“I put in a lot of elbow grease polishing up the housings, the forks, the aluminium, etc. I also did a very simple rewire job on it. The total budget for the finished product = 1200 Euros.”

If you’re a fan of what you see here, Laurent tells us he’s just started work on a 500 XLS, which we is describing as a “street-tracker.” Rest assured you’ll see it here when he’s done. I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologies to the French nation and French-speakers everywhere for my horrible butchering of the world’s most beautiful language for the sake of a bad joke. Well, maybe not that bad – Tom Cruise would make an hilarious Queen Mother.

  • Coxster

    Excellent work. Perhaps with a different left side cover and a down pipe most would never know it’s origin!

  • J

    that’s not a cafe racer. more of a tracker something

    • Ryan

      who is claiming it is a cafe racer?

  • Eh. Good work, but not my style. Maybe different bars and a different seat?

  • Den

    Looks like a fun little bike, Nice work!

  • Adexterc

    No, it’s no cafe, but it sure is a nice little bike and one that probably is good fun to ride.

  • Laurent

    Yes! very good fun to ride:

    • Paul Keipert

      Hey Laurent, Fanstastic job here. In regards to the electrics on the bike was it initially a 6 or 12 volt system before the CDI conversion? Was it difficult to convert? Did you go batteryless? Thanks. pk

  • Sbaugz

    nice little bike. I like it

  • Mach-X

    It only takes a few silly changes to make a bike like this into just about anything,  Complaints about what it isn’t are moot.  Just because it doesn’t have clubmans on it doesn’t make it unworthy of appreciation.  If it were for sale and I were in the market for a cafe type bike I would not snub this one off just becuase I didn’t approve of the “top end” on the bike.  The top part (tank/bars/seat) is so simple to change to one’s own taste that criticism of such things and implications of it *not fitting-in properly around here* are sorta silly.  At least it isn’t another You Tube inspired bobber built by yet another minion of the hacksaw and pillion seat club.

    These little 125s are really cool.  I rode a 1974 TL125 when I was an early teen.  Reliable, stupid fuel mileage (80-100mpg?) and torquey enough to be loads of fun.  This particular one presented here shows the builder’s chops, there is no doubt there.  All one need do is imagine what ~copy-paste~ top part they want to apply and it could be built to suit anyone ;).

    Nice job!  The big thumper should be a wonder when it’s done if it’s as nice as your 125 is.  🙂

    • Hey, I’m a member of the HS&PS Club! lol

  • Mach-X

    After looking at it more, I gotta tell ya, it really reminds me of the kind of bikes we raced at Perris TT track in the 70’s.  Sans the lights and kickstand.  Low pipe was also more normal as well for flat tracking.

    Again .. nicely done! 

    • JasonB

      That’s because he found an XR750 flat track seat somewhere and plopped it on. It doesn’t want to be there as it’s the wrong scale for this little 125 and wrong context. But hey, that’s what makes it his.

  • bostondog

    Mach-X, well said. Laurent, well done man, it looks like plenty of fun.

  • I want one!

  • SportsterMike

    Tres bon!! (I think) –
    Used up all my French now… I can order four beers and some plates of mussels in French – what more does one need??

    Any way – Christmas greetings to all from wintry old England (PS still a nice website Andrew)

  • I used to have one of these. The XL125S is a very simple and durable bike. Beautiful work, congratulations

  • Davidabl2

    His english is better than your freenchh…but you knew that already

    • Yeah, but my French is funnier…

      • Lothaire Hucki

        I’m sorry but is not possible to understand your french !
        It’s look like a very bad Google translate…
        But your website est vraiment très bon et apprécié en France !

  • Lincoln

    I really like the view from the bars. Super clean.

  • matt lynch

    i like this a lot. i’m currently converting my 92 suzuki dr250s into something similar. kind of bratstyle maybe. we have a gs750 tank on the way, an 07 gsxr1k shock in back and a lot of welding to do. when i get finished, hopefully around spring, i hope it is worthy of being shown here. this is another no budget build. i bought the bike for $600, running poorly. i fixed it up in dual sport trim, and saw 70mph on the speedo, so it can run… my buddy is boring it out to a larger displacement, not sure what size exactly. this thing will be so fun in the end. he’s also welding up an underslung exhaust terminating with a reverse cone muffler right behind the right foot peg. 

  • The furnish is really nice. It looks a million buck with that shine!

  • V Chauhan

    I second that.

  • Harsha A. Vithanage

    Awesome job, i am a huge fan of Honda XL’s and currently owning a Honda Xl125S and i finished restoring it to running condition. It runs fine but looks pretty ugly. 🙂 after seeing the job you have done with this bike, it inspired me to do something not similar, I would like to see mine restored to it’s original state 😀