In Singapore, you can be sentenced to jail for selling chewing gum… imagine what they do to people whose exhaust pipes are too loud! The funny thing is no matter how many rules “the man” makes, people are still going to find ways to break them do what they want. It’s not that we’re all outlaws hellbent on breaking the law, it’s just that some laws are plain stupid. Mervyn Goh owns a motorcycle workshop in Singapore where he does his best to build the bikes his customers want they want without having them risk imprisonment on their first ride out of the shop. With the threat of a $500 fine for a modified exhaust and many other strict automotive laws, he’s really got his work cut out for him. Despite the challenges his workshop, ‘Vicious Cycles’, is rapidly building an impressive portfolio of custom builds and this tidy Honda CM125 Cafe Racer is their latest achievement.
“We don’t have too many old motorcycles lying around in Singapore and they are pretty expensive to buy. Even mopeds such as a Honda Cub (C70) can easily be priced around 4000 Singapore dollars ($3300USD) which doesn’t make any sense. With this bike, a customer came to us requesting a Cafe Racer build that would be a reliable daily commuter. We stumbled upon a mid-’90s Honda CM125 and while many here saw the stock version of the bike as something odd (neither a cruiser nor a road bike), we took it up as a challenge to see how we could improve its appearance (The dual pipes had some part to play in us choosing this bike too).”
“The bike was stripped down completely and the stock frame underwent a rigorous cleanup. We had to level the back part of the frame so it runs straight with the front portion, making it less cruiser-ish. Unnecessary tabs were ground off to make the bike look really clean and minimal. In order to get the cafe racer line right, the swingarm also needed some extension work.”
“A seat under-tray was created to hold all the electrical components such as batteries, ignition, wires, etc. so nothing sticks out from the bike. We also went with the open pod air filter to keep the bike as bare as possible. The new front end came off a Honda Phantom TA200 chosen because it was wide enough for us to fit the Firestone Deluxe Champion rubber. We knew right from the start that we need to put those fat tires on. Clip-on bars were used and we selected the Biltwell Thruster grips to match the diamond-patterned seat we had made.”
“The grilled headlamp and tail lamp style are commonly used on chopper/bobber builds so we wanted to mix it up a bit by using these on our Cafe Racer, the brass details also worked nicely to compliment the black paint scheme. Finally, the tank was taken off an old Yamaha RXK, reshaped and retrofitted onto the frame. The shape was perfect for the structure and our leather centre strap finished it all off with a nostalgic Cafe Racer feel.”