Getting into motorcycles is usually a progression: if you loved riding pushbikes as a kid, you probably wanted a motorcycle as a teenager. But we don’t often see that progression going into reverse.
This petrol-powered BMX motorized bicycle is an intriguing example of a reverse, and it comes from English builder Shaun Walker of Down & Out. We had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago: he’s a bluff, straight-talking northerner who, as they say, “knows his onions.”
Shaun’s been immersed in the custom scene for almost 20 years, building a solid business as trends and fashions come and go. As well as being a skilled builder, he’s not afraid to try new things. And sticking a small engine into a BMX frame is his latest experiment.
“As a boy, the BMX craze started and I wanted one bad,” says Shaun. “But coming from a working class background, in a family of eight, and with my dad working in the mining industry, money was just about non-existent.”
“So I never got to have one for myself. But I always had a liking for BMX bikes. Then, around two years ago, I was looking online and one came up with a Honda Cub engine.”
Shaun noticed that most of the bikes of this ilk had Cub frames modified to ape the BMX style. So he decided to make his own version, but a little differently. It was a sideline project, and as so often happens when someone is running a company, the project literally sat on the sidelines—for a couple of years.
“Our business building custom Triumphs was very busy,” says Shaun. “But I finally got it finished, and put up a photo up online. It went through the roof, so I set up a new Instagram page. And after around three months, it’s grown to over 23,000 followers!”
With all that interest came requests for bike builds and kits. And Shaun has delivered, with a new website and ordering system due to launch in a month or so.
This prototype uses a Honda clone engine—a Chinese-made YX, which is a popular and reliable choice for builders of pit bikes, Dax and Monkeys. It comes in 125 and 140cc sizes, is kickstart, has a CRF-based bottom end and can be found for less than US$300.
For a little more visual pop, the engine has been fitted with a Hustle magnesium ignition cover—in bright red, and with a ‘Fully Blown’ logotype. The exhaust system is custom, and fashioned from stainless steel.
The engine with its even cheaper gearbox is wrapped around a beefy custom tube frame with a solid hit of BMX DNA. The finish is raw steel, with clear coat applied by Pro Kustom, and the frame is effectively a hardtail at both ends: you’ll be standing on the pegs on the rough stuff.
Shaun reckons the bike will get up to 60 mph (100 kph), so those with knee replacements need not apply.
There’s a bit of cushioning from the wheels though. If you’ve followed Down & Out over the years, you’ll know that Shaun likes big wheels, and he’s whipped up a set of 17 x 5 rims for this machine, fitted using custom hub spacers. Yes, that’s five inches wide … the rubber is Pirelli’s MT60, in 180/55×17 size.
There are matching Honda Cub drum brakes front and rear, and the wheels are laced to modified Cub hubs.
Fuel is stored in the frame, and the capacity is around two liters (half a gallon). So it’s no long distance machine, but it’ll get you to the local skate park and back.
The bars are from Renthal, and the saddle is from the English leather specialist Brooks, est. 1866.
“We are going to be offering frame-and-wheel kits as well as full builds,” says Shaun. “In the future there will be an electric version too. And we’ll also offer kits with electric start, and full working lights.”
Intrigued? Down & Out BMX is launching soon, with full builds available from around £2,800 ($3,450). Maybe it’s time to dig out that old Poorboy t-shirt, and slip on the Etnies again …
Published at Mon, 07 Oct 2019 17:01:07 +0000