Honda SL125

Street Scrambler Salvation

Parts 1-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda SL125 Street Scrambler Salvation Pt2

 

When this SL125 left the showroom for the first time the rider would have certainly looked familiar in flared jeans, feet protected by yellow laced DM’s whilst the Can-Am peak-less open face helmet squashes wayward locks flat. It was the time of the three day week when fuel was 35p a gallon and people endured dinner parties with Smash and Angel Delight washed down with Double Diamond party packs. If any of this is familiar you may well remember one of these four stroke singles in your street, it was you who had to suffer a music scene dominated by the Osmonds and David Cassidy. Its little wonder your average teen craved escape, leaving behind the Jamboree Bag of youth. This time would be life changing, blasting around the streets at all hours; in 1972 it was the only thing that ensured sanity. 

Let’s Get Ready to Resto…

Well, it seems there may well have been a few more SL125s arrived in ‘Blighty’ during the 70s than I originally thought; the big question is where are they now? The biggest problem I have is parts or lack of and even a well-known auction site can only offer bits from across the Atlantic. Example:  required n/s (left) side panel, not fussed about colour and will take even if damaged; finally success but sold as a pair at £108 plus £44 postage from the USA, £150 for side panels!! So the search goes on and I contacted Nigel for an honest opinion from a guy that has already followed the SL salvation path and although he is still smiling his bank balance took quite a time to recover; worryingly his SL started off in better condition than mine. Whilst profit is not the objective I don’t want to spend a fortune on the old Honda but do intend to get the thing back on the road; one way or another. Nigel told me the costings for his restoration (that came out superbly well, www.oldjapbikeguy.webspace.virginmedia.com/Honda.html )  a figure way outside of my budget; but I have a cunning plan, Baldrick. I must confess to being surprised at the interest this rather sad looking 70s relic has created when I took a look at the many comments posted on the Classic-Motorbikes.net book face page. Opinions are like plug holes, we all have one and many of those shared on the social media site took me somewhat by surprise, mostly extolling the virtues of my rusty Honda. Whilst I appreciate those looking back through ‘rose-tinted’ glasses to a time when they were able to terrorize their local neighborhood at all hours on such a machine, I have to be sensible. One post advised this restoration would be ‘a labour of love’ and I have to agree, few return your outlay but that doesn’t stop us folk having a go. I also have another such project already under way for the ‘fans of four wheels’ on the sister site of this great publication (classiccarmag.net) thus any large layout will result in one of two things. Firstly, the loss of my credit card when the wife finally ‘cottons on’ or secondly, plenty of space in the fridge and the kids going hungry; a compromise is therefore needed. I am going to get the SL mobile but will not be chasing ‘concours’ production, whilst the family can all go on a diet; brilliant. Last time, I let my over enthusiastic assistant take the old girl apart, this task he attacked with relish so now I have a garage full of rusty Honda but I will step up to the plate, one job at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Part Purchased

With just half a dozen bolts Honda’s single is removed from the frame and whilst it is rough to say the least it is complete; apart from the sprocket cover that has been replaced by a piece of tin plate. Best guess is a broken chain took out the alloy panel but surely it would have been just as easy to replace with a new one. From now on I would realize the full problem of obtaining parts for this 40 year old machine and by searching under SL125 results were ‘nought’ or lottery winner funds required; a little looking for CB125 parts though brought a result. Just the one from Moscow, not the place where the soldiers walk funny and it snows constantly but a town in Idaho (the lentil and potato capital of the world) that is home to ‘The Cycle Barn’. Several weeks later the package arrived and even at £36.00 for a used part this was cheap, as another identical SL version from across the pond was double. Several wire wheels would sacrifice their futures removing the corrosion and flaking paint from the engine whilst many more sanding discs would be worn down getting the tank back to bare metal. The mudguards resemble a colander but are fixable; they have to be as the internet revealed that any on offer were no better than what I already have. Some may consider I am working in a random fashion and not following the normal routine of strip followed by frame, engine then hopefully a rolling chassis. Now I have a grasp of the parts situation I want to work out how salvageable items actually are, little point going too far with the expensive items when I have little to re attach.  

Bit by Bit

Rusty parts are now scattered around the garage and I decided to tackle the most tragic straight away, the tank now sits in primer and whilst not perfect it is no longer an embarrassment. The exhaust and the sump ‘bash plate’ were the most likely failures but once several pounds of mud was chiseled off both were not only orifice free but actually in excellent shape. The exhaust enjoyed a good workout with a wire brush before flatting back, then a lavish coat of ‘rust convertor’. Whilst I am unsure of the rust prevention properties of this stuff it makes a superb primer so everything is getting a coat or two. Heat resistant black and two coats of lacquer finish the job and although I faced plenty of complaints as it hung along-side the bash plate in the hallway, the drying process was overnight. Flushed with success I moved onto the muddy mud-guards where the story is somewhat different and whilst the front one is well underway (at time of writing) the rear may require my mate Alan’s finesse with the mig welder. I would do it myself but fear of setting the house alight keeps me from charging in and as my college has just returned from his winter break, his enthusiasm should be at its highest.

 

 

 

 

Honda SL125 Street Scrambler Salvation Pt3

Classic bike spares, a worldwide, multi million pound business where every part one desires is but a mouse click away, unless you want a left hand side panel for a 1972 Honda SL125, or maybe a pair of rims that aren’t totally rotten; it’s a lottery for sure. In the words of some guy called Harry from a film that screened when this ‘street scrambler’ brightened the dealer’s showroom, ‘Do you feel lucky?’ well no, not really.

Keep the Faith

Just when I was starting to despair and beginning to give up ever finding any viable parts for the old SL, the ‘Ebay Gods’ took pity and tempted me with a lovely set of forks; far nicer than I could have dreamt of finding. A breaker named 1836Rocky in Folkestone has 100% feedback for a reason; his parts are as described, in-fact better. The frame is making slow progress but by the time part 3 is online that will be completed, as hopefully will the metalwork. The front mudguard took a little time and a fair scoop of ‘Metalik’ filler, the rear though was bad and I resorted to fibre-glassing two areas then a skim or five chasing that nice finish. Still trying to locate a left-hand side panel; an original would take the combined talents of Laura Croft and Indiana Jones to bag without paying an ancient king’s ransom. Re-chroming all the parts of the SL just didn’t add up financially, so our alternate plan needed to succeed and we tested our theory on the chain guard. Alan took it away and tested the rust/chrome mix with a gentle blast, enough to remove the plate without damaging the steel. On this part it worked really well, so with a light fill where the rust had left its mark and two coats of primer it’s now looking fairly good. Next the large chrome rear light holder which houses a small nest of tin worms; after the wire brush had done its best our part looked even worse. However, this returned looking pretty clean and whilst we will never remove every blemish caused by years of corrosion some classic recycling means we can afford to replace the unsalvageable. The seat cover has a small split in one side and that as always is a job for mum; renowned repairer of classic vehicle seating, this job was a breeze for the ‘veteran of vinyl covers’. The seat base enjoyed a coating of surface rust but nothing severe, whilst the original securing bolts (to frame) had long since perished. An alternate bolt had been riveted to one side so I would follow suit and replace the other by cutting the head from a bolt and tacking the thread to a small plate. Now a spare piece of material has been glued under the tear and the smart looking base has a coat of gloss the seat is finished; about the only thing that is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We like Shiny Things

The SL motor is easy to work with apart from removing the factory black finish that has departed some areas over the decades. The choices were reapply the finish where missing or remove completely and then polish the alloy for the ‘eau natural’ look; I took what I thought was the easy option and stripped. Two days later after much bad language the engine was ready for refitting into the frame, this would be a turning point in the build because until now the old Honda has been movable. The weight of the motor allowed me to balance the bike on the scissor stand and remove the wheels, forks and headlight whilst Alan was able to sort out the electrics. Crusty wiring and green connections, it’s a surprise that the 6 volt battery can power any part of the Honda’s loom, so the decision was taken to replace all the rough connections and clean where good, rewire certain areas and replace the main fuse section, then encase everything securely inside some black conduit; most professional. The air box contains a lovely unmarked filter but the exterior needs some treatment and the small tool storage section was only good for the bin; too rusty for repair, once that was separated from the filter housing the remainder enjoyed a rub down then blown over before refitting. The rear mudguard is in primer and in one solid piece although my filler work could have turned out better. My old habit of ‘putting too much on then taking too much off’ kept me entertained for many hours. The headlight looks worse than it is, but it looks terrible with rusty base and scabby chrome ring, once released from the looms grip that will face the blaster. Finally, I test painted the chain-guard in a silver finish and it proved two things; first, we were right to remove the rusty chrome as it looks rather good and second, the finish shows up any blemishes, so some additional filler work is needed. Prior to any more work I am tied to the laptop trying to source those wheels and that bloody left hand side panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda SL125 Street Scrambler Salvation Pt4

The dim light at the end of a long tunnel brightens by the day and whilst I have enjoyed a large whinge over gathering parts for our little Honda, working on this bike is straightforward and surprisingly fun. So where are we? The swing arm was the last part of the frame that required a tidy up and Alan has done a great job getting the brittle wiring into order. Oil changed, we ran up all 124 cubic capacities and she ticks over nicely.  The gears operated as they should but I noticed the head stock bearings felt anything but smooth, so it was time to go shopping again. The original ball and race steering set was no longer available, the alternative was a taper roller option. David Silver Spares had those in stock and after I sent a list to Karl in Suffolk, he confirmed that many of the parts going for a ‘king’s ransom’ on a well-known auction site could be sourced via them at reasonable money; £131.28 later a large box arrived and I was more than pleased with the contents, especially the aftermarket indicators and the chrome headstock bolt and fuel cap both original Honda parts. Repro levers, service parts and a chain with front sprocket completed my haul but options on wheel rims and side panels remain scarce.

Decision Time

The list of parts difficult to locate, in good order or even new, has grown to the point that I have decided to try and restore as much of what we have as possible. The last time I looked to get something re chromed (nearly a decade ago) it was costly but justifiable, nowadays it isn’t cost effective for the SL Honda as we have always said we are looking to return this 125 to the road, not the Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance. Alan has access to a very nice blasting machine, so he took the fork shrouds, handlebars, chain guard, rear light bracket and headlight ring away for de-chroming, ascertaining how corroded they are. The mudguards, tank and headlight bowl have already enjoyed ‘Metalik’ filler where needed, then primed. Seventies Honda’s often benefited from the wiring running through the handle bars, nice to look at but a pain to remove and worse to refit; like trying to get a basketball through a letter box. Minus their pitted chrome finish, the parts came back looking pretty good and definitely salvageable if one has the time and more importantly patience. Finding and filling every pin head mark is a challenge, one I failed but I eliminated the vast majority using ‘Finissage-fine stopper’; comes in a tube with no mixing required, this filler goes on smoothly and comes away easily, making it perfect for small imperfections or tiny rust spots. Hours of fettling with various grit papers does give a very good finish so we decided I would paint and save the parts we had; they could always be swopped later should new items appear.

Messy Git, Me?

Evidently I am, plus my project is taking over our abode and the female of the house is fed up with bike parts on every table available. Ok so I moved my other bike into the conservatory so as not to get knocked in the garage plus I like having it indoors; I think it’s a feature. The parts though are widespread now, with some in the raw and other bits in primer whilst the amount of painted items is growing quickly. Most of the silver finished items take three coats of primer then a flat down followed by one more, then four coats of colour and the same of lacquer. Some small items like the headlight ring and rear light mount didn’t look right attached to other silver parts, so they enjoyed several coats of hi-gloss black and everything refitted with new nuts and bolts.

Head Stock and 2 ‘Smokin’ Bearings

Removing the old head stock bearings is fairly straight forward with extra care required tapping out the old cups and installing new, an easy fit and once in place the taper set offers a smooth action. The other benefit against replacing with original steel balls is their tendency to make a bid for freedom during assembly, resulting in sore knees on the garage floor trying to locate the blighters. The freshly polished top yoke sits nicely in place and our new steering stem nut holds everything secure whilst we slid the forks home. This part was tricky, as the freshly painted shrouds with rubber boots top and bottom need to be positioned at the same time but it all stayed in situ and remained scratch free. ‘On a roll’ we tackled the handle bar/wiring and after a few course words, half a can of WD40 and an hour of pulling and pushing the loom arrived at its destination. With handle bars fitted, minus damage, this brought us close to a very successful afternoon’s graft, so the following day when a set of rear shocks arrived my enthusiasm continued, this resulted in fitting the rear mudguard and shiny new indicators. Progress has been superb over the past month but things will no doubt slow now as I finish the paint whilst staying glued to the laptop desperate for the L/H side panel.

Honda SL125 Street Scrambler Salvation Pt5

Hall-e-lu-jah!!!! The Holy Grail of side panels has come into my possession located not by the great Indiana Jones but in fact via E bay, discovered not near Jerusalem or even inside one of the great pyramids but much further afield. Courtesy of Mr Phonhan, my hunt for the mysterious left hand side panel is at an end, dispatched from his small motorcycle shop in Thailand. Hidden in a beer box and secured with string (true) the man from Chiangmai made me a new one in fibreglass and then lavished it in a glossy silver, does it fit?? Absolutely! ‘Sixty-five quid for a bit of plastic’ she who must be obeyed questioned my decision, ‘worth every penny and with just decals remaining the Street Scrambler will ride again’ I insisted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wheely Rusty Conundrum

The options on my corroded wheels were numerous but none perfect; 1st I could purchase a new set from the far side of the planet, these are not cheap with postage costing more that the bike did to buy. Also having acquired poorly chromed wheels for a classic car before it’s only a matter of time before the plating makes a bid for freedom; so it can be a risky business. Option 2 involved new rims sourced locally and rebuilding the wheels with new spokes, this was preferred but after contacting David Silver it was confirmed three standard of rear wheel was available but no fronts. The front rim is just not stocked anymore, at all! I could wait until another batch is produced but that could be months or even years away. So, in the meantime I would try something else, it may not please the purist and I was unsure if it would work at all but with corrosion eating through the old steel rims Alan took them away and blasted until not even the smallest sign of chrome plate remained. Inspected in the cold light of day I concluded that I enjoy the capability of removing every trace of rust, every pit, mark and scratch very bold and very wrong. I planned to fill and flat until the surface was smooth as a Frank Sinatra melody then prime and paint to match the tank and side panels. Having the tyres in place first would be essential as even the best fitter would struggle not to chip my fresh finish. I contacted the boys at Sussex Rolling Road in Worthing, what most of us remember as a real bike shop. Not one of these huge multi-brand showrooms that seem to operate from purpose built tin sheds on industrial estates nowadays but a small outlet in a row of shops where its first name terms and years of biker knowledge still exist. Where have all those places gone? In the 70s and 80s every town had a couple of these ‘Temples to Two Wheels’ always frequented by youngsters on RD’s and Fizzies and older blokes with long beards usually aboard Moto Guzzi’s. The owners of these ‘havens’ had forgotten more than we would ever know and tried to keep teenage cravings to a minimum, especially if it involved knocking the baffles out of your screamers exhaust pipe. Anyway, with rubber circles mounted it took two days to get a worthy surface (per wheel) and half a day in masking. Clamps held the tyres away from the rims allowing colour right into the wheel well and the results may not stand up to Rolls Royce scrutiny but is well beyond our expectations.

Alan’s Tasks

My long suffering pal Alan had also repaired the right hand side panel, this was the original unit that had accumulated several cracks and chunks over the years. He returned looking most pleased with his efforts, proudly showing how secure it would now fit before placing it on the floor whilst he fitted new points and plug into the SL motor. He would step back to admire his labours and put his size 9 boot straight onto the freshly repair panel, so that went back home with him for more hours of love and attention. I ordered a shiny new horn which he wired in and all the ancient connections received a renew and tidy up. Andy from Suffolk had somehow acquired an original front number plate and with fitting holes apparent in my front mudguard I went all out to purchase it via the on line auction; these ceased from being fitted to motor bikes in the eighties mainly because they resembled a samurai sword with any pedestrian contact. It fitted perfectly and after a rubdown and prime I applied a matt black top coat and ordered some letters and numbers from the net. These were painted the same silver as the rest of the bike, applied and then several coats of lacquer completed the 70s look.

Rolling Chassis

Several tubes of autosol consumed, the drum brakes slotted back into my freshly painted wheels, with alloy hubs restored to their former glory. The chain I had purchased was 10 links too long, so another hour I won’t get back was spent removing the excess; I couldn’t find my chain splitter. With cables connected and brakes adjusted I could push the old Honda out for the first time in six months. The end is nigh and with a bit of luck the final result will appear on classic-motorbikes.net in a month’s time; whatever the verdict we are pleased this old girl wasn’t sold off for bits so she can hang around outside the chip shop again as it would have done forty odd years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda SL125 Street Scrambler Salvation Pt6

1970’s Far Eastern Finale


Kon'nichiwa and thank you to all that have persevered with this saga of our SL restoration over the past 6 months. I would like to conclude with great news of perfection and a smooth project, completed on time and budget…. but I can’t, as things went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ over the past month. We left off 30 days ago with decals to fit, lacquer to apply and the MOT to face; one of those has yet to be achieved. You see the number plate fitted to the bike fitted decades ago is no longer valid, according to the DVLA and thus the MOT with Sussex Rolling Road has been put on hold. The paperwork is endless mainly due to the SL not sporting a tax disc since the dinosaurs roamed the planet; evidentially. Anyway, I didn’t help the situation by fitting the freshly painted original side panel, badly; being more brittle than the wife’s ‘Quiche Lorraine’ it shattered into eight pieces when pressure was applied. New rubber mounts and a smear of grease would have saved the day but now half a pint of JB Weld and a week’s cursing would be necessary. The decal kit came via Ebay from Derbyshire and whilst the Honda logo worked very well the 125 stickers for the side panels didn’t, far too much glue on the backing paper caused plenty of problems making the graphic allergic too lacquer. Luckily on my travels locating parts I collected a pair of original 125 letters and they adapted perfectly. I wouldn’t ever claim to be the world’s best painter but she is run free and the match is passable. A new fuel tap from David Silver allowed us to shove in some gas and enjoy all 12hp, provided the single hasn’t lost a few over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Test Tragedy

A sunny Saturday arrived and with camera ready the maiden voyage of our trusty Honda had arrived. A small crowd gathered including the bloke opposite and my whippet Lily to enjoy the spectacle. (At this point I must mention to anyone reading this from Her Majesty’s Constabulary or a large building in Swansea, this took place on a private road as did all the photographs). Primed with fuel and choke applied, it was all ‘high fives’ after three kicks brought the motor to life but with first gear engaged we stalled. After repeating this process a couple of times, it became apparent that the clutch was seized. Unimpressed my old pal Alan removed the engine cover to confirm, we had to remove the pack and see what the problem was. ‘Where do you keep the special tool the manual quotes as number 07086-28301’ was his next question. All I could offer was a blank look that resembled someone who had just consumed a pint of 179% proof Absinthe. Therefore, the clever old fox made one from another special tool that I will no doubt need next week and the securing nut gave in after an hour or so. The plates were stuck together, not surprising after remaining static for a quarter of a century; released, cleaned and refitted all would be fine. Both the neighbour and dog had lost interest but the SL is great to ride, not least because the gear changes come every two seconds. I had completely forgotten the joy of riding a 125cc, whilst ours has added interest because the brakes still need to ‘bed in’. Honda side panels have become the ‘bane of my life’, as many who have followed this sad tale can confirm. Whilst the JB Weld did its job my filler work failed miserably, many times, but after the 15th coat of primer the canyon like cracks were no longer and the rest is history.

Conclusion

One reader last year stated on the CBM facebook page that this resto would have to be a labour of love and that’s correct and I have loved doing it. I certainly wouldn’t claim it is of the highest standard, many other projects on-line offer far more ‘shine’, but it ain’t bad for two middle aged blokes in a garage completing the project ‘in house’. The last month has not gone as planned but I will be riding along the coast to Worthing for my MOT soon, I hope. Parts and locating them has been a real issue with the SL125, if they are about, they are expensive. We calculated if perfection was our aim the project would not have been viable, either in time sourcing quality replacement parts or financially. These small Japanese machines from the 70s and 80s do make great projects but please do your homework before committing. Decide whether you want a useable classic or a trailer queen for ‘concours’ events; especially prior to dismantling. We have exactly what we wanted, a nice, tidy bike that is fun to ride but didn’t cost a fortune to achieve; restoring, not replacing a lot of items made this possible. With the help of David Silver, Sussex Rolling Road and my mate Alan, this SL125 Street Scrambler is ready to be left outside any chip shop in the land; wearing flairs and DM’s whilst shovelling my fries down with Slade’s Mama We’re All Crazy Now playing on the radio. Although it wasn’t me that enjoyed this little Honda in September 1972 (being just 10) I was certainly jealous of the ‘biker’ that did.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading Grant Ford for classic-motorbikes.net

 

 

Honda SL 125 Specification

  • Engine: Single cylinder 4 stroke 124cc

  • Output 12hp @ 9700rpm

  • Top Speed: 63mph

  • 2 Valves OHC

  • Gearbox: 5 Speed

  • Front tyre: 2.75-21

  • Rear tyre: 3.25-18

  • Front brakes: Expanding brake

  • Rear brakes: Expanding brake

  • Weight: 108.0 kg (238.1 pounds)

  • Fuel capacity: 7.50 litres (1.98 gallons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was whilst visiting a local classic car enthusiast and admiring his lovely 1960’s Pagoda Mercedes that I stumbled upon the old Honda; nestled at the back of an old wooden barn where it had laid untouched for decades. ‘Tell about the bike’ I enquired, rather more excitedly than I should have. ‘We got that thing years ago, used it around the farm’ came the reply. The story progressed and it was explained to me that the SL125 was not really a native of the UK, although very popular in the States and Australia. The Far Eastern countries still enjoy their reliability daily and this like many old Honda’s are very collectable across the globe. The number plate shows a Surbiton dealer, Tippetts, who have remained loyal to the Honda Marque for many years and the story goes that they took many of the 25 or so machines that came into the UK. First registered 13thSeptember 1972 means this bike is a K1 model with the gas tank finished in Special Silver Metallic; as were the side panels, headlight bowl and mudguards. 

 

Worth Saving?

My first question had to be ‘is it worth saving’? The Honda SL 125 only came into the UK in very small numbers, so parts are going to be an issue. With just a single cylinder 122cc it is certainly not going to set the world alight with blistering performance. Finally, is there a market for it once completed? This would be a decision I would reserve until the health of the trusty Honda motor could be evaluated. In the barn I had the foresight to check the engine turned over and although surface rust covered every inch of this 43 year old bike there were no gaping holes to be found in the frame or in fact the gas tank. Just a few days later the bike sat on my driveway and to my surprise the tyres still carried air from before the new millennium dawned but unfortunately the fuel tank also carried remnants of something put in at the same time. When it was pushed into the barn all those years ago it had several gallons of Shells finest which has turned to a solid rusty mess that enjoys the aroma of £1 shop aftershave. I employed the talents of my wizened old friend Alan, veteran of many of my mobile calamities, including a Morris Minor and a rotten MGB; his enthusiasm for the Honda was overwhelming. Within two hours of arriving the little 125 sat with just the engine and wheels attached to the frame and closer inspection of the carb revealed that failure to drain means plenty of cleaning followed. Stripped and left in a bowl of paraffin for a week would certainly go some way to removing the solidified fuel, the majority would require a wire brush, small screwdriver and compressed air. The tank itself meant a repeat of the cleaning process I have carried out on a car before and that involves 12 bottles of distilled white vinegar at 37p each, two weeks of patience and a tub of baking soda. The final ingredient is spooned in with the vinegar to neutralise its tendency to eventually eat right through any metal. A blast with the jet wash and remarkably the interior of any fuel carrying vessel will look like new, for about an hour before, if not dried and lined with oil based liquid the rust will return with a vengeance. The carburettor responded well to some TLC and was refitted to the engine and once a new 6 volt battery arrived we immediately enjoyed a neutral and oil light but not much else.

 

 

 

 

 

It's a Honda it Will Work

 

First rule with these old Honda’s is don’t look too deeply into why there is no spark, it’s going to be something simple nine times out of ten. Cleaned the plug and checked the points gap, still nothing; slight concern now filled the garage but just by disconnecting then reconnecting all the ancient wiring the electricity began to flow. With the tank still full of vinegar I rigged up a large funnel connected to my sparkling carb and just five kicks is all that was required before the gentle ‘put’, ‘put’, ‘put’ brought forth scenes of jubilation mixed with amazement. No rattles or grinding noises and the little motor revved as freely as the day it left Japan; not wishing to undo all my good work by running with 20 year old oil I shut the engine down. Within another 30 minutes the motor sat on the bench and the rolling chassis was pushed into the greenhouse, snug and warm ready for the next stage. Although I still haven’t made a restoration decision, the tank was drained, cleaned and endured a day being sanded within an inch of its life; the rust scabs were deeper than I would have liked but nothing a light skim of filler wouldn’t resolve. A coat of primer to lock in all the hard work was followed by many hours exploring the web based sellers, finding and pricing up all I need to put this old Honda back on the road; is it viable? I will pass on that info next time.

After much thought I decided to enter the SL into a local event (under Alan's name) and the old girl won 'Best Bike in Show, the next question is what to do with her???