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SNAKES AND LATTICE. The ‘Cobra’ Honda XR250 from Argentina’s Lucky Customs

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Andrew in Other, Tracker. 27 comments

Written by Andrew Jones

‘Chuckable’. It’s what we call bikes in England and Down Under that are super easy to throw around on the road. You might call them lithe, lightweight or manoeuvrable. It’s what you get when you start with something that’s already pretty minimal and push it even further. Like whittling a toothpick or stripping back a Dylan song. And if being chuckable was something you could measure, we’re pretty sure that Argentina’s new ‘Cobra’ Honda XR250 would take first prize.

“This is the fifty-seventh Lucky Custom’s project,” says shop owner Lucas Layum, nonchalantly. Damn, that’s a lot of customs. “We opted for a brand new bike to avoid any mechanical worries. We also chose something easily available locally, as we are planning to do a small run of bikes in this style. Yes we still love large displacement customs, but sometimes they are just too expensive for everyone to afford. The XR is very popular throughout Latin America. In fact, they are made locally in Brazil and are called Honda Tornados”.

Lucas says the basic idea was to mix two styles; a tracker and a motard. At least, that’s the way this beast seemed to want to go. The first step in the build was to lace up two wheels that were based on the dimensions of a CBR1000: 180/55/17 out back and 120/70/17 up front. “The weave of spokes takes the rim from outside and not from the center, like they do with the factory BMWs”.

Of course, such a drastic change to the bike’s hoops didn’t come easy. The swingarm had to be widened and the final drive sprocket and frame were modified to stop the chain rubbing on things it shouldn’t have. Similarly, the front forks and triples were heavily reworked for the new tsunami of rubber it now had to accommodate.

“The fuel tank is completely handmade and was inspired by the metalwork of Argentina’s Zanella motorcycles from the 1960s. The chassis follows the fuel tank’s silhouette; the tank’s also been fitted with a fuel sightglass”. Taking inspiration from a previous build, Lucas installed some electrical boxes that blend into the bike’s middle section by mimicking heat sinks or cooling fins. They are in fact just a very clever way of hiding the bike’s battery and fuses.

“As we were building to a budget, the engine is mostly the same as when it left the factory. But there’s been many other mods, including a new exhaust made entirely of stainless steel with a de-deafening chamber placed directly under the bike. And it’s all fed by a new K&N high flow air filter”.

The bespoke stacked headlights are LED items and the ‘bars are Californian ProTapers designed for quad bike use. Lucas says he liked them because they are noticeably thicker than ordinary bars, making the task of installing the internal wiring and throttle cables much easier. “The levers and pegs are all aluminium competition items and the paint is a three-coat job with a semi-satin finish”.

But what was his main goal for the rebuild? What was the one thing he was really driving for? “What I always look for in my work is to do something that has not been seen before. These days, the internet and globalisation tend to unify things and now everything looks more or less the same, so I always try very hard to think of something that’s clearly different”.

Meanwhile, in downtown Cordoba…

Once it was ready for delivery, the Lucky Customs team stood back and decided to christen the project “Cobra”; no doubt the bike’s charismatic litheness and speed had something to do with the new name. “This won’t be the last,” says Lucas. “It’s just the first of several more in different colours that will be leaving the workshop in 2018”. Shut up and take our dinero.

Lucky Customs – Instagram | Photos by Max Pucheta ]

  • martin hodgson

    I’ve become big fans of Lucky after first writing about one of their bikes and having seen build pics of this been waiting for it to come out… and I am NOT disappointed in a single way! It’s perfect, I love their style, the diversity of bikes they build and always super high quality.

    This build, pardon my French, makes me want to just jump on board and ride the merde out of it!!! How do people see a bike like this and not get how fun riding is?!?! Brilliant! Gracias Amigos

    • guvnor67

      That’s exactly right! I could imagine a small child walking past this, tugging at mum’s sleeve and pointing, the seed being well and truly planted!

    • Yes indeedy. It’s one of those bikes that would have you laughing out loud inside your helmet.

  • guvnor67

    Absolutely brilliant! It looks really light, and the colour choice, the wheels, the overall build, it exudes class!

  • John in Pollock

    What a kick ass little bike. I dig it.

    • John in Pollock

      P.S.- Exhaust of the year.. on a quarter liter bike…

  • Bob Happel

    This is the most uncomfortable looking MC yet, I wouldn’t ride it across the street. And its ugly.

    • Please keep the comment constructive and positive, Bob.

    • Andy Rappold

      That the most unimpropriate comment so far, I wouldnt even read it. And you are ugly. 😀

  • aaron snyder

    poppin fresh. love the stupid tire paint.

    • guvnor67

      You can get them as an individual rubber letter or number with an amazingly strong adhesive that apparently doesn’t affect the structure of the tyre. Each letter in sets of 4 (4 As, or 4 Bs etc) so creativity and dollars and away you go. Here in Australia they’re about $9 each set and the adhesive is about $25. So “TURBO” for instance would cost $45 + adhesive or “BOBBER” would cost $36 + adhesive.

  • Jim In Solvang

    I’m going to go “out on a limb” here and say I’m not crazy about the “whole” thing. I do love many of the “parts” of it – including the vision and technical skill to build such a lean machine and the beautiful red satin fuel tank – but an hour in the tree limb saddle would no doubt do me in.

  • MayDayMoto

    Nice bike, but the painted tires just show how wide the chicken strips are. Grasshopper needs more practice in the turns methinks.

  • the watcher

    Cute little thing. More show than go, though.

  • Thoughts on the seat? Good? Bad? Would you do it differently?

    • guvnor67

      Well, it’s not a trans-continenal seat in anyone’s imagination, but for a trip to work or a weekend blast through the twisties, hanging off it, throwing it side to Side, can’t see a problem myself . . .

      • To be honest, I expected it to be slammed. Colour me surprised.

        • guvnor67

          Life is like a dodgy curry-full of surprises! Picture it with a chunkier seat, it would overpower the tank I believe, and anyway, the quilting would take out some discomfort, maybe. Until recently, my ever-changing and trusty old Honda had a seat with only 6mm of foam rubber n covered in leather, and we go everywhere together (ain’t that sweet?!).

    • Alex

      Personally would definitely need a little more padding on that seat, but all together it looks super fun. Saw an XR650 based custom outside of the Brooklyn Invitational last yeah that had a really similar style and was super killer so really digging the sort of super moto feel it gives off. Just oozes fun.

  • Herminio Caesar Mercado

    Would love to “chuck” the shit out of this Honda.

  • Andy Rappold

    Just love it !! Simple , clean and certainly a blast to ride.