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Andy Copeland’s Honda CT110 – “Express Post”


Posted on November 5th, by Andrew in Other. 51 comments

More rake than an autumn tree festival

Pipeburn firsts? We’ve had a few in our time. A WWII Harley blown with Subaru supercharger. A twin pulsejet bobber. Even a murdered-out Chinese army bike. But never, NEVER, have we had anything like this. First and foremost, it has no seat. On any other day that would be enough to stop you in your tracks, until you realise that it has no tank, either. Or frame. Or instruments… hell, it barely has anything at all and looks like the bastard child of an unholy union between a drag bike and a giant’s Mecano kit. And we love it. Introducing Andy Copeland and his CT110 masterpiece, “Express Post”.

“I bought my Honda CT110 (famous in Australia as the bike postmen ride) with the sole intention to obtain my motorbike license and then move onto bigger and better bikes. I had always been inspired by Shinya Kimura’s style. In particularly his Honda cub but had no intentions to sink my limited time into ‘just a postie bike’ in an attempt to achieve this style.”

”The bike sat forgotten and gathering dust until some close friends of mine created a now annual event called the Rusty Kustoms Biker Build Off. The competition is focused on homemade, budget, low capacity motorcycles. To be eligible for the event the builder must complete a course around the block so the bike was built with the intention to only ever complete 1 lap of the block. Provided it didn’t catastrophically fail, any additional rides would be a bonus.

Being my first ever bike everything was completely new to me. I had only ridden just enough days to pass my test and get my license. In terms of the actual build, I didn’t have any preconceived perceptions as to seating position or steering geometry so I was lucky to have very few design constraints to work around.”

“Drawing on my architectural background I sketched and sketched, attempting to highlight and resolve as many issues as I could prior to starting the build.”

 

“the bike was initially mocked up with
the frame template being cut out of cereal boxes”

 

“Using my drawings as a reference, the bike was initially mocked up with the frame template being cut out of cereal boxes, and a spider web of ropes strategically hanging the cut up CT110 parts from the garage roof in their correct positions and angles.”

Mmmmm – coppery

“Countless cereal boxes later the rake, swing arm and engine position were decided and the cardboard frame templates were ready to cut out of wood. With the bike loosely clamped together, it was at this stage I was seriously questioning my dreamt up engineering capabilities as the bike creaked and wobbled when I wheeled it around (I was not game enough to even sit on it).”

“With little time left I steamed forward, reassuring myself that aluminium was much sturdier than wood. I progressed, spending my nights in the garage slowing cutting and filing the thick sheets of aluminium by hand and strategically drilling the holes with precision. With the addition of some calculated spacers I surprisingly assembled the bike in around 30 minutes just like a meccano kit. With two nights until the reveal, the bike still had no wiring or fuel system.”

 

“Yes I did receive strange looks when asking
for the biggest syringes they had at the chemist.”

 

“One night was spent teaching myself how to wire a motorbike and the last night was spent wandering through the aisles of my local hardware store searching for ideas for a tank. As the intention was to only make it around the block (roughly 2kms), large diameter copper tubes from the plumbing section would have to do to feed the deliberately long fuel lines. The backup plan was to carry a syringe full of fuel to pump into the lines when the engine started coughing. Yes I did receive strange looks when asking for the biggest syringes they had at the chemist.”

“After another sleepless night spent in the garage the bike fired up just an hour before the big reveal. A quick, wobbly test ride a few metres out of the garage and into the back of the ute was all I got before the Rusty Kustoms race was underway.

Names where drawn out of a hat and it came up to my turn for a nervous run of the course. There was a steep learning curve to riding the bike. At slow speeds, legs dragged along like training wheels as the bike flopped around due to the un-functional rake, but with a full twist of throttle it tucked nicely into a straight line and is an eye opening ride to say the least – chin on the front wheel and your bum inches away from being sucked into the back tyre, it’s enough to get your heart pumping! Against all odds, with the ‘tank’ taking just 150mls of fuel I managed to get a full 2 laps of the course – with just enough left over for a celebratory burnout.”

THAT’S why there’s no seat…

“The Rusty Customs guys put on another great event complete with a detailed course, finish line and entertainment. The event was a huge success and I would encourage anyone to have a go at the next one.”

“The build process took around 4 weeks. Since the build off I have polished and painted a few things and ridden the bike at a few events. The bike will never be finished – I could sink countless hours into improving various aspects of the bike – but it’s time to hang it in the rafters and move onto new projects.”

(Shot by Chris Pearce at Dimension Studios, with much help and brylcreem from Stephen Broholm.)





  • Drifter

    Non functional awesomeness. Its what pushing the boundary is all about. I like it.

    • Davidabl2

      Looks like the offspring of a Velocette LE..crossed with God-knows-what.
      Needless to say,I like it.

    • AndrewF

      In this case, it is apparently about pushing the boundary up the rider’s crack.
      Thumbs down from me – call me boring, but I like my bikes with seats.

  • Lorenzo

    I like it a lot, but honestly I just can’t get my head around it. Maybe that was what he was going for, but I feel that for a very non-functional bike, it should have some impressive aesthetics. It’s not made to ride, nor is it meant to be incredibly artistic. It is unique, different, and it will definitely turn a lot of heads.

    • Andy Copeland

      Dont worry I still cant get my head around it!
      I had a moment the night I kicked it and it fired to life and started to rattle apart the all the loose bolts.
      I sat back and had a mad scientist like moment as I eyed my Frankenstein.
      I remember thing to myself what the hell have I just made! Then having a good laugh.

  • tmcsp

    Love the kit of parts approach and the bolted plate frame. It is really cool. Can’t imagine it would be easy to ride, with the foot pegs way back near the axle on the swing arm, but it does look fantastic. In a way it’s like the mutant custom of a trials bike.

    Normally not a fan of bikes built for showing and not going, but this one has a light hearted-ness and is just too cool not to appreciate.

    • Andy Copeland

      The bolted frame idea came about due a cross between my lack of welding abilities/refined lego abilities.

      With the original foot pegs below the engine it had a ‘riding position’ (note: I use this term very lightly) that only a circus contortionist could ride.
      Still your spot on its not a easy ride but it sure is a fun ride!
      The best description would be like a sour lolly its oh so sour but you keep going back for more.

      Thanks tmcsp

      • tmcsp

        The bolt on frame is a really clever solution working within your lego biased fabrication style. Any chance the concept will be refined in a future project? Given what you’ve learned the first time around I imagine a second iteration would give you a chance to work out the kinks and create a better (to ride) bike. Perhaps even as far as designing and manufacturing a kit bike that anyone could assemble. That would be the ultimate ‘lego’ motorcycle to me. I know I’d want one for Christmas!

      • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

        I like the way the steering tube is bolted to the frame with big aluminum blocks. The frame is perfect for this type of underslung horizontal motor. It looks like something NASA should have included with the last Mars rover just in case there was intelligent life (bikers) on the red planet.

  • revdub

    This bike is insane: Insanely awesome! I have to give some kudos to a guy that jumps right into building like this. Takes some guts and I bet it was a great learning experience. That build off sounds like a lot of fun as well. I have to mention the photos here. I can’t remember a better shot first build showing up. Great pics and great story.

  • blackbird

    You know. I had a friend make me a pretty convincing argument that Motor culture can create art but that motorcycles (and cars) could not be considered fine art because of their functionality.
    This post is good, its evidence to the contrary.

    • JimmyR14

      trying to limit what can be art is absolutely pointless. Art is what you think art is. It’s different for everyone. For me art is when something becomes more than just what it was designed for. Or something like that! This bike is art. Crazy art. Wonderful!

  • Hondaface

    It is a purpose built bike. Built to do one lap around one block. Its really genious. And beautiful in that fact. Form should always function IMHO. And this does this to a strange extent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

    Wow, looks cozy.

  • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

    WOW – this is the craziest Honda CT I’ve ever seen. I can easily see a seat and a fuel tank hidden between the aluminum panels. One of the coolest bikes we’ve seen on pipeburn in a while. It’s given me some crazy ideas for my Puch moped build. Hey Andy, I’ll be happy to hang the “postie” in my garage if you run out of room.

    • Andy Copeland

      Come get it Ive run out of room, Actually i never had the room to start with.
      ….. seriously its for sale.

      • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

        Cool garage.

  • russelllowe

    Fantastic bike, a real smack in the face when pipeburn.com came up on my screen. Great lines, nice balance between the major components … Andy clearly has a lot of talent and a really eye. I really like the picture with him sitting on it … The other images are beautiful in themselves, but with a rider on board it really says “motorbike” to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mr.alvinwong Alvin Wong

      Thanks for that! Chris took the first few pictures of the bike but the rest we did in a factory! including the one of Andy on it! haha

      • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

        Alvin – shoot me yr details and I’ll update the story to include a credit to you guys… andrew[at}pipeburn.com

    • Andy Copeland

      Lets put it down to beginners luck and to much time sitting in a chair in the garage staring at cardboard cut outs for a full week.
      Thanks Russellowe

      Huge credit to Alvin Wong and Chris Pearce and his team. I love to share and these guys made it possible.
      http://www.alvinwong.com.au

  • blueline

    This goes to show why you should eat your breakfast everyday..to kickstart your brain, and to make sure you have adequate material to make a template for your kickass bike build….love how form has taken a back seat to function in the build, yet the bike still looks awesome.

    • Andy Copeland

      Just trying to figure out what to do with all my milk cartons now.
      Thanks for the kind words blueline

  • Ugh

    I don’t know what’s worse – the riding position, the rake, or the performance you’d get from an 8hp bike covered in hammered sheets of aluminium.
    Unrideable waste of a good bike.

    • sebatron

      It’d be lighter than the standard pressed steel frame. The exhaust and air filter might give it an extra .3hp.
      Don’t hate just because you can’t spare the $300 it takes to buy one of these “good bikes” to let your imagination run wild on.

      • Ugh

        I already own one. They’re great.

    • Andy Copeland

      I’ll help you out the worst is the rake… but hey you know what they say abut guys with ‘big’ rake!

      The bike is about half the weight of a standard ct110. With little to no exhaust, re-jetted forward facing carburettor and non standard sprockets it will deliver the mail quite considerably faster.

      • Ugh

        So it weighs 50kg? Really?

  • Shane_lxi

    I really, REALLY like ct’s, and I’ve seen a few customs (but not many). This isn’t my taste at all, but I can’t deny that it’s an extremely impressive first build. I can’t believe the frame wasn’t machined, or atleast machine drilled. Hand cutting and drilling both sides identical and lined up is ridiculous. I would almost call B.S. on it, very impressive.

    • Andy Copeland

      Hi Shane
      The guys in Japan do one great stuff with the honda cubs in my opinion.
      Its a relatively easy modification extending the main frame tube to get the long look.

      Yes I did model this on CAD so I had the option to have it cut by machine however keeping within the the budget I just used a jigsaw and a drill press. I clamped the cut out plates together and with an angle grinder and hand file I made them all almost identical.

      Material built cost worked out to around $200.

      Ive started up a blog sharing my build photos.
      There is a pretty crazy time lapse movie of me SLOWLY cutting the frame from the 5mm thick plate.
      http://andycopeland.blogspot.com.au

      (check back in a few days as I find some time to add more photos videos and descriptions)

      enjoy

      • Andy

  • $52244477

    hmmmm…
    interesting!!!
    artistically speaking!!
    ;)

  • Randy

    This looks quite a bit like the monocoque framed racing motorcycles of Monotrack Engineering and Ossa from 50 years ago.

    • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/ Mule

      It looks absolutely nothing like the Monotrack bike. However that bike didn’t work either.

  • arnold

    I estimate 11 boxes of cereal of the high sugary kind……….. Excellent implementation of a concept.

  • itsmefool

    If a Third World country was looking for a prototype to an unmanned motorbike for combat messenger duties, this might just be a decent first start. Gotta love the engineering here…great job!

  • Jeremy

    Wow. That is what I call a complete waste of time, effort, and money.

  • Jake

    Awesome looking bike, but I really want to see a video of someone riding this.

    • Andy Copeland

      Some videos of the Rusty Kustoms bike build off.

      http://andycopeland.blogspot.com.au/

      • arnold

        Seems clearly alcohol fueled. Brilliant!

      • Jake

        Damn, and I though I looked awkward on my moped, trying to pedal with flipped clubman bars.

      • http://hangaround.tumblr.com/ hangaround

        Looks like fun, like “fresh bottle of moonshine fun”.

  • GOT

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. If you hit a bump, the chain falls off. Look at that geometry.

    • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

      Thanks for pointing that out, GOT. I think Andy will try harder to avoid bumps in the future.

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      I’d suggest you watch the videos – it rides over bumps just fine…

  • yo

    this thing is bad ass….
    (looks like the ossa yankee 500 monocoq prototype frame)

  • NoNeed

    It’s not a motorcycle, but it’s an interesting looking way to display a few parts that were once part of a motorcycle.

  • http://origin8or.com/ Rob Chappell

    Arguing if it’s comfortable, something you would ride, or if it even functions as a true bike should, would seem to me that you missed the builders point. Hats off to ingenuity and thinking outside the norm here. Working with the skills and tools you had and producing something truly original is a win in my book. Hell, slap a small fuel cell between those aluminum sheets, add a sub-frame for a small seat and you’re on your way to a few more trips around the block. Great build Andy!

  • Jay Barton

    totally off the wall ,frame concept using aluminum plate very impressed using the old indestructable honda ct 110 ,brings me back some memoirs of my first bikes i ever ripped apart and actually got put back together again, lol, great job, ORIGINALSIN

  • John

    A waste of time. No, just the opposite. Same reason people climb mountains