Enter Diran

Hi everyone! Micmacs here. So I have to admit it from the get go: I’ve always been more of a car person than a bike person. I’ve always been passionate about the beautiful shapes designers come up with to catch people’s eye and the noise a nice engine makes.

After learning to drive on a terrible, terrible Mazda 323 which did nothing but teach me laziness and boredom behind the wheel, I got my first taste of what a real car should feel like with a clapped out Fiat 128 3P I picked up for $500 (and the less said about the final cost to get it running, the better…).  It was simple – a 1.3 litre engine (running on 3 of the available 4 cylinders), 4 speed manual, front wheel drive, drum brakes on the back and about 800 kg – but it taught me more about reading the road, understanding how to carry speed and general car behaviour than anything else I’ve driven since. The gearbox was literally one rod away from my hand and was such a pleasure to use. It encouraged you to stir the pot and keep the revs up. The classic Fiat ‘buzz’ between 3200 and 3500 rpm wasn’t a bad thing either.

I have since (unfortunately due to space and cost circumstances) sold that on to buy another car.  You guessed it! Another Fiat – an X1/9. Mid engine, targa, still only about 900 kg. It’s not a rocket ship but it certainly gives me a big smile on my face every time i drive it. With the roof off on a nice Sunday drive in the sun… I would not trade it for anything in the world.

What I love about these cars are that they are so direct with the road. No power steering, no servo-assisted brakes. You have to work to drive them, but they react as you expect them to.  There’s only one problem – they may be very basic cars, especially by modern standards (the most electronic device is the clock) but a car is still a supremely complex beast. You need space, you need tools, you need a ramp (money also helps!). I want to work on my little “Exxie” but I simply can’t with the limited facilities I have.

I’ve also always been very much into mechanical bits and pieces. From a young age I would play with Lego, Meccano, Bako, Capsella. You name it, I tried to build something with it (with varying degrees of success). Now that I’m older (and, at least some say, more sensible) I want to learn more about welding, working with steel and aluminium, and generally learn mechanical skills. But with the aforementioned problems, how can that be done? It’s always frustrated me how little I’ve been able to do.

Well I have findyourexit to thank for putting me onto the much more simple world of the motorbike! He showed me the dismantled project CB750 and how the whole thing took up only a corner of his garage. I was inspired. The more I spoke to him about it, the more it sounded like bikes were the answer. Simple, direct with the road, have a big grin on your face after each outing… and something you can work on and really get into.

So one thing led to another and now there are two project bikes sitting in his garage – a Honda CT125 to sit next to his CB750.

1980 Honda CT125

Our 1980 Honda CT125

We’ll blog about both bikes here as we work on them, the adventures we go on and the trials we face as we hope to renew a couple of old timers who want a new lease on life.

The journey into the unknown is about to begin… Let’s see how it goes…