These days motorcycles are too fast. Even the entry level bikes from major manufacturers have horsepower levels into the triple digits. There are certainly a few options out there for new riders just getting into two wheels, but they’re getting fewer and farther between. The key to a good first bike is a capable and sporty chassis and low enough horsepower levels to keep your head on straight. So obviously the answer is a 15-year-old Honda 919 sportbike with a 225cc lawnmower-based engine.
If ever there were a group of guys to trust your starter bike building needs, it’s a few hack mechanics with a YouTube channel whose motto is “It’ll be fine”. I trust them implicitly with my life and limb. They look like they’re friendly and have a grasp on how to handle a welder, and that’s enough for me.
This experiment comes to you in two parts. In the first part, these good old boys dig up a clapped out Honda 919 sport bike, slap together an engine cradle, and jam a Harbor Freight Predator 212 engine in there for the go-moderately-quickly. Once it’s all together they hoon it around a little bit, get it up to a top speed of thirty, and decide pretty much immediately that it needs more power.
In the second installment of this ludicrous series, the guys triple the power of their fresh-to-death starter Honda. With a Tillotson 225 racing lawnmower engine onboard based on basically the same blueprints as the Predator, the 919 now has a whopping 17-point-something horses, and can wind the street machine up to almost 50 miles per hour! That’s practically good enough to be safe-ish on public roads!
There is nothing I love more than jank-ass sketchy shit projects slammed together over a few beers among friends. If you take life too seriously, you’re going to die never having experienced true fun. Based on these two videos, it looks like these pals have a little bit of fun every day of their lives. Go build a weird pit bike from a 900cc Honda. You might have fun.