Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

‘71 Honda SL70 – DavmoMoto


Posted on January 29, 2016 by Andrew in Tracker. 25 comments

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_03

When you’ve been in the custom bike game as long as we have, you get pretty darn quick at spotting bikes that make the grade. Like some crazed laboratory chimp, we get shown a whole heap of bikes on a daily basis and we often have to make a call as to whether we’d show them or not in a matter of minutes. And ‘show’ is exactly what we agreed to do for this bike. In 2011. Then one thing led to another. Photoshoots were booked. Photos were taken. Photos were lost. Grass grew. The world turned. Then, last week, we received the finished product. In the end, we shrugged our shoulders and said the same thing we say about our love lives. “Better late than never”.

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_04

We think Steve Jobs would approve of that centre stand…

“Sometimes things fall through the cracks,” said Davmomoto’s head honcho, David Morales. “Or in this case, a time-warped black hole”. Long story short, it seems that the photos were traded for a customised synth (Hey! I’ve got a great idea for another blog…) Well, the synth hit a supply roadblock and everything got delayed until now. So without any further synth-related ado…

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_01

The bike was picked up in a place called Midlothian, Texas – hence the “Midlothian Racer” nickname signed to her by the shop. “She was pretty badly abused, very rusted, but a mostly complete bike,” says Dave. Clearing the bike’s dead wood, Dave removed the tank, seat, handlebars and fenders. Then the front triple tree was widened by 6mm to allow for some ‘01 Honda CR80 wheelsets to be utilised. To match, the rear wheel from the same bike was also added.

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_11

Then almost every bracket was removed or relocated; these included the aft-mounted footpegs, a lowered exhaust bracket, and the keyswitch mount. And if you look closely, you’ll note the latch created to hold the right-hand footpeg clear of the kickstarter.

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_06

The rear frame was shortened about 60mm and a crossmember between the ‘up-tubes’ was made to brace the rear brake foot bracket which, along with the footpads, were also taken from a CR80. “See if you recognize the centre stand,” says David with a wry smile. “It’s a re-purposed piece.” Yes, yes… but can it run PhotoShop CC?

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_10

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_07

So the holes AREN’T for your fingers?

“I tried to simplify the controls as much as possible. A single toggle kill switch is right at the centre and the lights are on a knob mounted in the space where the wires usually come into the light housing. The housing was then turned upside down and the hole that the owner’s manual calls “the useless hole” is suddenly useful to pass the wires through.” Also note the handmade aluminum oil vapor tank (above the cooler in the fourth shot from the top) and the associated oil cooler lines.

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_08

“Keeping the original cases, we built a 110cc power plant, a 4-speed tranny and then we added manual clutch for good measure.” Despite their best intentions, the bike’s original tank made the grade. It was saved from it’s J-B Weld fate via a long Sawzall blade that was used to cut a masking tape line around the tank’s rusted nether regions. Then the inner mounting tabs were remade and relocated higher up on the tank and frame.

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_09

The rear hump hides a sealed battery and if you had a sneak peek up under the tank, you’d see that Dave is using the original mounting brackets. “The stock coil went up under the frame tube beneath the tank, but I ground down the mounts, welded and tapped the holes near the frame, and then made a triangular bracket out of aluminum to attach the steering stabilizer.”

29_01_2015_DavmoMoto_Honda_SL70_02

For a final hurrah, Dave had the original head ported and then proceeded to drop a sweet little performance cam into it. We’re not sure about you, but we can’t think of anything cooler than this little 110cc donk going full blast. “It’s enough to keep you smiling for ages” Dave notes. We bet it is. See you in another five years!

[Photos by Peter ‘Circuit Bent’ Salisbury]








  • Fantome_NR

    LOOOOOOVE this. Looks a lot like what I’m doing with a CB450, including the high fender, lots of drillium everywhere, high headlight, bobbed rear fender. Excellent work.

  • I love the ultra-light look of this. It looks fast despite the little motor. And the paint scheme is very appealing to the eye. The back fender is a bit too short methinks but I really dig the front fork brace and high front mud-guard combo.
    A very very cool bike!

  • It’s one of those builds where the closer you look, the more genius you see…

    • davmo

      Thanks, Andrew!

  • if i was still 16 i would want this one http://www.davmomoto.com/#/z50magnum/

    • guvnor67

      Also kool!! These guys know how to give a small bike a big heart.

  • guvnor67

    Koooooool!!! A small bike with so much attention to detail!! Everywhere you look there’s a “ooh, look at that” or “Oh, I didn’t see that” moment. Excellent!

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Who’d a thunk you could do that to a SL70! Wonderful craft, great vision and real attention to detail.

  • the watcher

    Loads of skills, glorious details, witty ideas and all wasted on an old turd of a Honda. Just cos you can doesn’t mean you should.

    • davmo

      Thanks for the positives. As far as the turd of a Honda part, I think you might be missing the larger picture. The joy of doing this sort of thing comes in part from taking something so roached out and turdified that most people would just chuck it, and polishing that turd till they are suddenly attracted to it.

  • davmo

    Thank you for all the positive comments. I realize it may not be everyones taste, but for those of us who love the small displacement rides, its just as meaningful as a big bike. Thank Andrew and his bros at Pipeburn for all they do, and giving these little bikes a home!

    • the watcher

      I know what you’re saying, really; bu when i was younger I used to say “2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad” and though I still believe that in an academic sense I’ve come to realise that I’m actually only interested in ones with the power to excite. I really would love to see what you could do with something that was fast enough not to need justification!

      • davmo

        Well, I can hardly argue with that. There are some big bikes in the works that hopefully will be Pipeburn worthy. Just hope Andrew was kidding about having to wait 5 more years to show them!

    • guvnor67

      As far as I’m concerned variety is the spice of life and all that!! I’ve looked at your website and all I can say is keep it up sir!! If my first “legal’ bike (Honda H100) all those years ago had been this kool, well ….. All my bikes are mid to big CC, but we have to remember, kids watch these sites too, or people on their learners, and if little bikes like yours inspire them to go get a bike, or do a fee mods, then every minute of your time thinkin, wrenchin and creating has been a minute well spent!! And what you have created is bloody marvelous!!

      • davmo

        Thank you for the kind words. Sometimes the motorcycle world gets bored with itself while forgetting that a new generation is just discovering it, and digging it hard.

        • guvnor67

          My Pleasure. And, of course with stepped licence systems in so many countries big bikes are often a long way off. Now, I wonder if I can get my ex-Post Office BSA Bantams back …. ?!

  • Adexterc

    I understand the desire for a bigger bike. When I was young and people watched me ride, it was on roadracing goldstars. But when they weren’t watching my favorite racing was in the woods on a 80cc Sachs Boondocker. You learned early never, ever brake. Wind it up and hold on. If you go into the bushes, you got a lot less bike to haul back on to the track. Little bikes are a different ride but they are a gas. When I see a bike like this, it just brings a really big smile.

    • davmo

      Exactly! WOT most of the time, and the throttle is your brake. It is a different ride and is still exciting for most people who give it a go. Everyone comes in from a ride on these small bikes with a smile on their face…i mean the ones that don’t have a look of sheer terror.

    • honda 125 on some waste ground was probably best fun i ever had, perhaps only bettered by a yz490, but that was scary

      • the watcher

        I rest my case.

        • wheels with a little handle you can pull with is a good idea

  • Blackbird

    Really nice work. Congratulations also for the outstanding lighting of the photos.

  • Too cool! Nicest townie bike I’ve seen in a long time. Great details.

  • bill smith

    An unexpected delight……..To be young again and have this, hell to be old and have this !!!!!

  • some music while we wait