With the hours in a day of isolation stretching out, we stare into clean sheds, and out onto empty roads. Dream builds manifest in our minds and stretch further towards the boundaries of our imagination. Impossible combinations of powerful engines rammed into elegant frames. High spec parts bolted between endlessly customised metalwork. On and on we dream. Yet it’s the refreshingly simple rebuild and restoration of this 1974 Honda MT 250 by Steve a.k.a Fossick Moto from Sydney, Australia, that has our attention today.
Fossick, verb, Australian/NZ informal; to search for gold in abandoned workings.
If your moniker harks back to the good ol’ days of searching for gold then what better bike to start with. In an era of 4-stroke single-cylinders the MT250 Elsinore struck out along with the other major Japanese manufactures. Fitted with a lightweight 2-stroke that is endlessly charming and equally inspiring. “ I feel they’re the purist form of a motorcycle. The simplicity of the 2 stroke engine, the no-nonsense style of a dirt bike and the purposeful engineering to withstand the punishment they get off road” muses Steve.
Unlike most dreams, Steve didn’t forget the details. Starting with a full teardown to the frame it was cleaned back to bare metal. The subframe needed to be altered to accommodate the new integrated wiring and indicators. Steve explains, “I wanted to keep as many of the OEM period bolts as I could which meant hours of meticulous cleaning, polishing and re-coating of each and every one.” The fact is, this dream would be a nightmare for some.
Step by intricate step. The forks polished, seals replaced and the chrome D.I.D rims were kept as they were in great condition. The engine was repainted and colour matched to the original bronze colour. “I did consider changing the instruments to either small digital or analogue aftermarket gauges, but to be honest I really like the look of the period ones and feel they’re a big part of that nostalgic appeal” Steve adds.
But lets put the masochistic level of restoration to one side for a moment. Steve had to let his wild side dance in a few ways to celebrate the 2-stroke power and his own dirt track racing passion. The handlebars have been upgraded to Renthal race bars with Pro Taper diamond grips. Meanwhile all the control cables were replaced with new custom made ones. The original OEM exhaust expansion chamber has been ceramic coated in satin black. Exchanging a few other parts has helped shed almost 3kgs or around 2.5% of the total weight. So theoretically it now has a better power to weight ratio.
Staring down the endless horizon of increased performance is a dream none of us can deny having, including Steve. “I have come to realise that what you think is solid in the workshop may not be in race conditions, and that has been a great lesson that I now apply to the bikes I build, on or off the track.” Thus the rear shocks have been upgraded to a stiffer setting and the foot pegs have also been changed to Xtreme wide pegs for comfort and control.
It’s refreshing to rest eyes on a bike that does not work harder for itself. Instead it celebrates beauty through kind and patient hands. This bike, when fired up, is the sensory overload we are all ready for when this dream ends.