Honda Chaly Challenge Part 1- Strangest Salvation
With winter approaching, the search was on for another resto to help ease through the darker days; what could be more appropriate for a couple of ‘grease monkeys’ than a CF70 Honda Chaly. Cries of ‘are you mad’ & ‘why bother’?? Are now ringing in my ears! Because we get bored quickly and it will be fun…hopefully. Although not strictly from the Monkey Bike/DAX family, over the decades its 10 inch rims and 5.5 hp single four stroke has bundled the Chaly under the same banner; certainly in parts of Asia. Slightly taller frame / seat height than its famous diminutive cousin our automatic (three speed) wonder enjoys that extra 20cc’s over the early DAX models plus the facility for those over 4ft to enjoy as a daily driver. You see, no self-respecting youth can be without one of Honda’s ‘taller transporter for the masses’ in parts of Thailand and Malaysia and these kids do know how to modify! Their aftermarket potential is massive, lowered street cruisers or minimalistic speed machines, to off road quad types, the options are endless. Many ‘home-builds’ are brilliant whilst just as many are terrible…we hope to get somewhere in-between. A quick Google images reveals some phenomenal engineering including an all chrome finished example; the whole bike! Their cult following is certainly extraordinary and it all started with a lady’s shopper.
In the early 1970’s not only had music lost its way…Dana with ‘All kinds of everything’ and Clive Dunn’s offering Grandad (you had to have been there) are just examples. Motorcycling too was on a downward spiral, especially for the Japanese home market. Biking had earnt a reputation for ‘the rebel’ and whilst the UK mods and rockers were still enjoying fisticuffs by the seaside Stateside gangs had progressed to weapons with drug dealing, all of which reflected on the motorbike. Small cars were cheap and becoming ever more desirable and so Honda’s two wheeled management realised something had to change. A step-through version of the DAX, for the mini skirted younger lady who wanted to maintain some dignity boarding her machine, was conceived in 1969 and introduced to our roads by 1973. The CF70K2 Chaly arrived in 1978 and this little beauty was one of the last sold as Honda evidently de-listed the UK model in 1980; although, the majority of examples displayed on line seem to be from this era. So, the bike that began life as a city shopper for girls, complete with basket, has become a must for the average testosterone filled male in parts of Asia; oh and two old idiots in Sussex.
We’ll Meet Again
The market for modified mopeds is enjoying a prosperous period at the moment, some of the designs created around quite ordinary machines such as the NSU Quickly and C90 Cub’s are most impressive. We were looking in that direction until a friend reminded me of the Chaly rusting away in his lockup. There is history with this actual machine, it was our paddock bike when we raced saloon cars around the UK in the 90s. It never failed to start, was ridden without consideration and never ever checked for oil or in fact enjoy any maintenance at all, beyond air and fuel. Thrown into the corner of the garage or the back of a van it offered the team nothing but total reliability whilst we rarely offered it a passing glance. ‘Do you fancy having a go at that old Chaly?’ I was asked ‘it hasn’t the basket attached, lost that years ago’ as if that would raise the price. The answer came without any thought installed at all ‘sure’. The old Honda arrived courtesy of Motorbike-Breakers.com delivery within Ian Owen’s trusty Transit. Our new project was registered in 1982 with two previous owners in the book and it looks like a bike last road ridden around 20 years ago, (the final time it enjoyed a tax disc) certainly much rougher than I remember. Saying that she’s complete and the 72cc piston moves up and down inside the barrel and its automatic, a three speed (CF70C model) and unlike most Chaly’s the wiring enjoys 12 volts. The oil in the motor is darker than deep space and the fuel tank contains a liquid with a pungent odour I can’t really describe; anyway its off. It fairs little better with the seat, paint and chrome whilst the instrument panel has lost a fight with a breeze block, the exhaust is in two parts, the front section end remains alone, stuck in the head.
A Home for the Winter
One thing we are desperate to avoid this resto is working through the cold months on a tiled floor surrounded by bits of broken Honda, I therefore had a cunning plan. Take one old work bench on wheels and using my newly acquired Sealey Mig-Mate non-gas welder (very good machine) construct a frame to attach the monkey for that near perfect working height. We are both getting on a bit, if Alan was a dog he’d be 420 (honest) but he is still first to the table for a fry up. Age doesn’t slow his mastery of the Mig-mate and with the able assistance of the wife our Chaly was lifted into place and secured; he then installed the parts washer in the perfect place right under the bike. Now we plan to work outside on the pleasant autumn days and stay snug over the worst of the winter….as you get older these things become important. You know it’s going to be a long job when removing the old exhaust and centre stand requires an angle grinder but the biggest dilemma remains, what style or look are we trying to achieve? We have just assumed that because the Chaly is Honda built it will work, ‘probably just needs a carb clean’ I tell myself with confidence. One thing is certain, we will not be letting the chaps of the Far East down with a ‘back to original’ rebuild, no this time we are looking to the dark side and the art of modification; we want to show them young guns a thing or two. So, now I have opened my mouth and promptly shot myself in the foot, we discuss the options as the old CF70 slowly comes apart. Fighting every nut and bolt with or without lashings of WD40 becomes boring after a while so I sneak of and delve into some of those famous Thai websites! You know the sort…certificate 18 with loads of bling for the Monkey Bike pervert.
Once mounted securely upon our new bike bench the first parts to remove are the wheels and whilst the bearings seem to offer little movement the forks offer too much sideways shuffle at the base. The brakes are operated from the handlebars on the automatic version so there is footbrake to consider and the cables seem to just require a light oil. The tyres are shot but removing them is a doddle as Monkey bikes enjoy a variety of rim sizes but common amongst all is the ability to split, provided the fastenings are not seized. Nine bolts hold the rims together including those securing the three spoke hub/centres which house the drum brakes, speedo drive etc. and sprocket to the rear. Lashings of lube and my 18 bolts released, the rims detach from the tyres reluctantly as the corrosion sticks onto the rubber. Water trapped between the inner tube and steel can rot them out from the inside, we got lucky, finding only surface rust and a quick trip to the blaster brings pleasing results. While I am on a roll, grey primer is lavished where the inner tube will return, whilst a white finish is applied on the exterior; this will allow for a light coloured finish should we choose. Removing all the easy bits first the next to release its 35-year-old grip is the shocking seat unit and after years with a torn cover the foam followed suit and split in sympathy but we were already planning a reduction in the seat height with an alternative covering. The original foam can be cut back once peeled from the base (more signs of water ingress) whilst the beige cover is bin fodder; the base will obviously need a severe de-rust and re paint. The fuel tank is drained and removed with no problems and the rear light/number plate holder just fell off. So, pleased with our days labour we enjoy ‘beer-o’clock’ as always; although it does seem to be getting earlier as we get older. Chatting over a cold one there may be plenty to raise concern, not least the parts issue but now there is no going back, so in about 30 days’ time the Chaly challenge continues here at classic-motorbikes.net.
We strip down (the Chaly) in the last of the year’s sunshine
Smelly seat gets the chop, well its foam does whilst the base enjoys a de-rust
And a fight with a pair of forks breaks out on my driveway
Chaly Challenge 2 -
The Battle of the Bolts
Since beginning this season’s strange resurrection of a basket carrying Honda mini-bike, the first question to come forth when explaining our current task is normally ‘What the hell is a Chaly’? Well, everyone remembers the Top Gear Xmas special when three proper presenters decided on a two wheel crossing of Vietnam and as always, failure meant completing the journey aboard the worst kind of alternate transport, in this case it was a stars ‘n’ stripes painted Honda that blasted out ‘Born in the USA’ loud enough to bring deceased Viet Cong back to downtown Hanoi; that is a Chaly.
Let’s be honest, if it was that easy, everyone would want to play ‘resto the old bike’, wise words from the Silver Fox, me old mate Alan. She is a fighter and whilst some fastenings offer easy surrender, like the swing arm bolts (fortunately), others insist on suicide before releasing their grip. Whilst I am starting my excuses early, the biggest issue we have with this CF70C is its 12-volt capacity and the fact that virtually no supplier stocks parts for this model; I can buy a complete machine for a 6 volt but parts for this model are rarer than a hot British summer. Certainly, I didn’t expect to breeze through this rebuild, but my lack of knowledge has come back to bite me in the gonads yet again. At this stage all we can do is breakdown what we have, all the time trying to preserve everything, although we are finding she is a rough old girl. Saying all that, we do enjoy a grotty resto, makes us look so much cleverer when our efforts go on display at the end but that is still months away, so best crack-on.
The Full Strip
In the words of Ant and Dec ‘Let’s get ready to grumble’ and boy did I enjoy a moan getting the chain and sprockets off; having enjoyed grease applied with a shovel over the years this didn’t stop the front 15 teeth all leaning to the left. Once I found the split pin, it was onto the swing arm which looks rotten but is remarkably sound and will face the blaster prior to a splash of primer to protect. Once again, I have claimed squatter’s rights over the greenhouse and whilst ‘she that must be obeyed’ had a moan, after 20 years of putting up with my resto habits, concluded it was preferable to me paint spraying on the kitchen table. Meanwhile, my pal had unpicked the seat cover and peeled the foam from its rust covered base, in the game water, sponge, metal…H2O always wins but luckily we caught this one before the full time whistle and salvaged all but the vinyl. Alan knows a man with a sponge saw (yep there is such a thing), so I marked out the amount that required removing and that went away allowing time to de-grot the metal base and seal with lashings of primer. The rather unfortunate tail light bracket, seat lock combination will need some thought, it sticks out the rear like a large boil and that won’t do.
De Wiring – Lessons Learnt
I would consider our efforts over the past ten years of taking unwanted mechanical ‘tat’ and resurrecting it into shiny, mobile old ‘tat’ qualifies us as restoration ‘veterans’ or at least ‘regulars’. One mistake made previously will not be repeated; when stripping out the wiring, mark everything as this just gives one a chance of having some electrical capacity when your machine goes back together. Varios methods can be applied; we prefer the ‘number’ approach as we can both count to 100 without too many issues. It’s amazing how much of a ‘birds nest’ lives within this strange little bikes headlight bowl and we reached nearly forty in the masking tape numbering game. Colour coded wiring cannot be trusted as you always have some left over, so we marked each connector with a number and its corresponding wires accordingly. Rather than risk damaging the electrical cables in removal we secured everything back inside the frame and this then released the handlebars and front basket frame that we won’t be re-fitting.
There is no doubt, old Alan’s engineering brain does have its moments, like the frame he constructed to hold the Chaly on our moveable table. Not only can we work outside when that one summer day arrives but the frame can be lifted, tilted or even laid on its back, offering access all area’s for the sockets and spanners. Honda’s legendary four stroke single is secured by four bolts and luckily just one of ours was a non-factory bodge; featuring incorrect thread and bent like a banana it resisted everything except the mighty mole-grips. Once that gave in we just pulled the rear of the frame down (lifting the front) leaving the motor on the bench. Externally the condition can only be described as rancid, resembling something that endured a wet field at Glastonbury with several decades of caked on crud seemingly welded to the casing; ‘that’s your job’ my mate reminded me.
His contribution to the engine clean involved removing the world’s smallest carb and spending half a day painstakingly disassembling and cleaning before proving the value of his toil by removing a lump of crud the size of an iceberg from the main jet; no wonder she wasn’t inclined to start! With my attention span starting to wane, the engine scrub up took a back seat as we attacked the wheel hubs with a whirly wheel attached to the Black and Decker. In less than an hour decades of old grease, mud and corroded paint had departed, mainly on my tee shirt and we both resembled coal miners after an eight-hour shift.
Fork-off; What a Saga
With the easy stuff done we looked at the tiny workshop manual I was lucky enough to find on-line; our task, to remove whatever sits inside the sealed fork tubes. Yes, for these springs, circlips and nylon bushes there is only one exit and that is out the bottom. We assumed (wrongly) they could be attacked from both ends but the book explained that once the circlip was removed, tiny holes on the tubes allowed a mini screwdriver or hairpin access which could ease the sealing ring free, then the internals would just pull out. Sure, and I would take top prize in that week’s ‘Health Lottery’. No amount of pulling and bashing helped and by the time we were standing knee deep in WD40 the situation was looking desperate. Sure we re-read the manual but the words hadn’t changed, we did however find one of the nylon bushes had dropped a fraction allowing us to pick it out from either side.
Once released the problem was obvious, 30 odd years of neglect allowed the original grease to become super glue, sealing the nylon inside the fork tubes. It was certainly easier than prizing open Alan’s wallet, as the second fork finally gave in after an hour, and laid out on the garage floor the internals looked horrific, although they are complete. Another hour with the brake cleaner and we realised that the fork internals were all in fairly good condition, although it became easy to spot why we had excessive movement at the base. One pair of worn nylon bushes were going to be our biggest problem; they just don’t manufacture them for the 12v version anymore but we enjoy a cunning plan, well at least I thought we did!
As beer-o’clock came round again, it was time to make some decisions. The hubs would need priming as would the swing arm and seat base; this would all reflect on the top coat choice that we had yet to conclude. Alan wants yellow and for once he ain’t for turning but a light colour and home paint jobs don’t usually match. Yellow body and wheel rims to be contrasted by black hubs, graphics, 7-inch bowl headlight and handlebars; whilst I prefer the opposite with some wine red thrown in. Blimey, someone will spend some serious toilet time considering all the choices. I can’t even make my mind up what tyres to fit so I am in no position to argue and my main concern is not to burn my gob on the Pucker Pie that had recently been removed from the oven. I promise to grab some colour charts and consider his proposal during my morning ablutions but one thing is for sure, we are still a long way from applying a top coat whatever the colour.
In-period Chaly advert from Japan and ‘nope I don’t get it either’
Bits return from blasting and I begin the priming
The body needs attention removing the chips and scratches takes days
A visit to my mates at Sussex Rolling Road where I buy a pair of rubbers
Chaly Challenge 3 - Pre-Paint, Prep & Prime
To those who ‘revel in restoration’ and especially if you ‘treasure the ten-inch tyre’ may I bid you a very warm welcome… from a rather cold garage. Since my last ramblings the Chaly has enjoyed a transformation in appearance, but even so progress has been slower than we had hoped for. The main time-consumer has continued to be removing the vast amounts of crud, corroded paint and grease that must have contributed to the weight of a small child being hauled around. The ancient Greek saying ‘a wheel that turns gathers no rust’ maybe true but ours had collected two decades of greasy filth instead. No wonder the performance was limited when I added my 15 stone to the mix; therefore, to enjoy every one of our 5.5hp my grouchy old mate Alan would enjoy stripping and cleaning the world’s smallest carburettor. I took an age to de-crap the wheel centres, we are way beyond the bucket and sponge stage, consequentially whirly wheels and wire brushes came to the rescue. Once again, the wife’s greenhouse was put to good use being the perfect venue for the application of several thick coats of zinc primer that not only brought some ‘bling’ to the wheel hubs but also gave much of her flora and fauna that pre-Christmassy look.
The World’s Fastest Monkey Bike
Now, many of you may not be aware that a Czechoslovakian named Ivo Kastan, aboard a Mini-Honda, achieved a rather wobbly 97.45mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2009 (rather him than me) but his Monkey machine was bored out to 175cc. With just 72 inside our original motor we will be most impressed with 30mph, downhill with a tail wind, being towed by a Fireblade. Therefore, our next task was to ensure the beast will run with reliability obviously and that means a clean oil filter is a priority. The element is as tiny as the rest of the bike and its location under the side cover allowed us to clean the final remnants of ancient lubricant; plus, some strange gloop caught by the gauze filter. The timing chain was checked for the correct tension and whilst disassembled I fitted a new front sprocket before starting the job of cleaning, paint removal and polishing the alloy of this 35-year-old engine. Now, I could bore you to death recounting the hours I spent with wire wool, flatting paper and polishing cloth but instead I bring you a Monkey Bike joke.
A guy parks his Chaly outside the local pub and whilst sitting at the bar supping his lager-top a lovely young lady approaches and asks ‘are you a real biker?’. ‘Well’ he replies, fancying his chances ‘I spent my whole life riding that monkey bike, my mother rode one when she was pregnant with me and my father taught me to ride on that very machine, so I think I am’ he replied. She then said, ‘Well you don’t impress me cause I am a gay biker, I spend all day thinking about ‘bikes n babes’, from when I wake in the morning, work, watch TV, eat and sleep, two wheels and leather clad women is all I think about’ she downs a shot and leaves. Shortly after a tough looking Hells Angel walks over sneers at the guy and says ‘so you think you’re a real biker do ya’. Chaly rider replies ‘I used to… but I just found out I am a lesbian’.
Rims, Hubs and a Big Grin
A trip to my favourite motorbike shop in Goring offered a chance to quiz those at Sussex Rolling Road that know about rubber; my plan was to buy cheap, hoping no one would notice but I ended up with a pair of rather costly white-walls by Continental with tubes to match! It will be worth it, I kept telling myself on the way home but the vision would only impress if I could get the paint finish pro-sprayers lust after. The steel rims had already faced the blaster and the alloy hubs were clean enough to eat a ‘pukka pie’ off; the task completed and after several coats of primer its roughness faced a 500 grit flattening. The choice of Claret red for the hub sections was chosen to contrast the gloss black, my idea of a classy touch which would then contrast with the white wall rubber. It may be a rare thing, but you know those days where everything goes without a hitch… ‘wheel paint day’ was my 8 hours working in a ‘cock-up free’ environment. So, whilst I know folk prefer reading when everything goes wrong, as the saying goes ‘I’m as happy as a tornado in a trailer park’. The weather played ball and the primer didn’t run, whilst the colour choice was right and even the lacquer stayed put; just like a ‘full eclipse’ such an event won’t happen again for another few years but ‘I have seen the light’! Four coats of primer were followed by five for each colour; I lost count of the lacquer applications but it all took 3 days to be dry enough for reassembly. The rims are secured together by six smaller nuts and bolts and three larger which also attach the hubs; every fixing and washer had to be ‘whirly-wheeled’ to its factory finish before the refit began. Fiddly! You don’t know the half of it…let me explain.
The inner tube goes inside the tyre whilst the two steel rims are squeezed together enough for the nut and bolt to connect, all this with the tyre half fitted. At this point ‘her indoors’ starts moaning as the floor is now like an ice rink covered in soapy water whilst my fingers become dislocated pushing the rubber into place. The bolts are slowly tightening with the assistance of a desert spoon pushing the inner tube away from the closing jaws of the steel rims. All very dramatic and the true test arrives with addition of air, if they pump up and remain inflated then its ‘beer o’clock’. If not, I will become deflated along with the punctured tube. Just before cracking a cold one the hubs are secured via three additional hub bolts and even though its November a trickle of nervous sweat descends from the end of my ‘schnoza’. Just the brakes, speedo drive and rear sprocket to refit, these fought not to return, especially the circular clip that secured the sprocket, the consequence two tiny ‘touch-ins’ needed and the sort of language my neighbours dislike.
Bits n Bobs Arrive
So far, the costs on our Jap midget motor have been kept in check but now it’s time for the plastic to suffer; the first thing we need is a replacement for the basket carrying- frame that secures the head light plus everything else to the front. I binned it in favour of standard fitment headlight brackets allowing for a new round light to be installed. This plan to replace the original frontal illumination was dealt a blow when the new brackets arrived and the gap to accommodate a new lamp was measured (bolt to bolt) at 16cm. Guess what? No sensible round headlight enjoys that size thus I checked the sad looking original…yep perfect fit, more prep and paint for me then. Next, one 12v battery which is very small, barely larger than a six but the internet came through with a solution at £18.00 delivered! My Enfield replica speedo failed to arrive from Amazon and I ventured into the unfamiliar world of 2K paint at Mountspace Ltd my regular suppliers of all things top coat.
A new gun courtesy of the world wide web with gravity feed instead of my trusted ‘suck it up’ model will face a black gloss combined with 50% hardener and 10% thinners. Alan returned the foot rest/side stand combo that attaches to the base of the motor, this has endured a serious and much needed blast then lavished in thick coats of colour; much improved from the nasty item he took away. Handlebars, indicators, foot rest rubbers and new shocks are also on the shopping list but I have already purchased the vinyl covering for the seat from Falcon Fabrics in Chichester. A deep Claret to match the wheels etc…we don’t just throw this stuff together you know. So, armed with everything required to park my 100 kilo derriere in comfort, my pal was off to ask his sister to stitch it all together. Good luck with that one! So, as you leave us for another 30 odd days the garage has been cleaned in preparation for painting day, the walls decorated in brown paper and anything that could enjoy miss-directed colour has been protected. The one part of any resto I dislike is the pre-paint, takes days but if you don’t get it right… the final result will suffer and right now we could do without disaster.
Mini disaster; fresh paint displays more runners than the Olympics.
We refit the shiny motor
What a tool! I borrow a mini-mop from a professional.
Rebuild Begins / 再建が始まる – Chaly Challenge 4
Old Japanese proverb say: ‘It is dark one inch in front of you’… the more cultured followers of this tale of the ten-inch wheel obviously know this translates to ‘no one can see the future’. So, predicting a mild and dry Saturday morning in late November to colour the Chaly proved tricky, it was 10 degrees and raining as Alan stirred the carefully measured heavy gloss black hue into a plastic pint mug. The body of our mini Honda has enjoyed several more coats of primer since our last communication, a thicker grey gave her a more industrial look but this sanded down to a super smooth finish. Spraying any vehicle within the confines of your own garage presents issues, most of which we have dealt with before, but the most important thing (as mum always says) is cleanliness. The walls were lined in paper and the floor scrubbed in the hope of a dust free environment. Followers of our previous restorations may remember it’s at this point we normally get ‘Sprayin Bob’ in to apply the finish but he has been under the weather of late so we decided to fly solo; he will be back and soon we hope. We chose the two-part solution with a 50% addition of hardener and 10% thinners, the latter could have been omitted as we just didn’t have the heat available for quick drying and therefore a pair of large ‘runs’ joined the party.
Decision time, stop and plan for another day or carry on and take a chance on my flatting talents later? Remember the other Japanese proverb ‘he who chases two rabbits catches neither.’ Well five days’ after painting several sheets of 500 grit were sacrificed chasing the double runners that had become twin black curtains; but it worked. As one of the images confirms, my flatting process removes any chance of a quick shine from the dull, but smooth frame. Armed with tons of patience plus a bar of fragrant green soap (I must remember to buy her another one) warm water and 1500 grit the process was repeated; then again with 2500 grit before the hand application of compound paste. Whilst it takes ten times longer by hand, the fear of polishing through at this stage was so great it would cause me to commit hari-kari.
Top Tool – Super Shine
My trusty mate arrived with an air powered mini mop (borrowed from someone who knows what they are doing) and a selection of various soft heads. The final gentle cut was followed with a black polish and the shine just got deeper and brighter until it achieved far more than we expected just the week before. Having the right tool always pays dividends and this clever little chap would be worth having in your tool chest if bike restorations were a regular feature. Bacon rolls and back slapping all round followed as reconstruction began in earnest; Alan reinstalled the main wiring loom whilst I tried to work out the air filter fixings. We struggled with the air tube from filter to carb and this would continue to offer resistance once the motor was back in place. Having the body bolted to our bespoke frame/bench has made the whole resto easier and the engine installation proved a doddle, pivoting the front in any position allowed the motor to be correctly situated prior to the bolts sliding through.
The CF70 unit enjoys a pair of small bolts either side near the barrel plus two larger fixings to the rear but with space now restricted loads of non-religious phrases and cut fingers followed as the hoses and pipes were reunited with their appropriate parts. Biggest threat to success came from the aforementioned airbox tube which at 35 years of age, like me, is not as supple as it once was, the solution came by loosening the carb mount which gave enough leeway to secure the hose before re-tightening everything down. The swing arm benefited from a similar plan; loosen engine mounts before slotting into place and now we are really on a roll. Our final treat before the light retreated from the dull skies was to refit the foot rest frame to the base of the engine; this now showed no signs of the damage it endured by being thrown up the road in its distant past. Alan managed to correct all the angles whilst its rusting metal fresh from the blasters shone after several coats of thick gloss finish. Beer o’clock arrived along with the football results on the Beeb, combined with an hour of congratulating ourselves on a good day’s labour.
Shocks, Wheels and Worry
The postman is now camped on my doorstep as the parts flock to my abode and courtesy of Shire Bikes a lovely pair of 340mm shocks with black insert and five position adjustment…bold and blingie, just as they should be. A pair of rubber footrests and a chrome nut for the headstock arrived at the same time. A couple of weeks before, I took a flyer on a set of handlebars originating from Hong Kong, via the magic of the inter-web and a bloke named ‘Gostopxu’ they arrived and were everything I had hoped for. The foot rubbers are original Honda and thus fit, I made sure my size 10s wouldn’t alter the fixing with a healthy blob of Gorilla glue before bashing them into place with my trusty rubber mallet. Meanwhile, Alan took on the task of relocating several exterior fittings (flasher relay and resistor pack etc) under the rear seat. The rear lighting and fittings are no longer wanted so he rather smartly used the existing battery box to secure these and associated wiring out of sight.
This Chaly enjoys a hand operated rear brake cable which is much easier to refit before we reinstall the freshly painted fuel tank and connect to the carb. All this takes place under the seat with little space but with some cable taped to the fuel line very little blood was spilt and we tightened everything down and slid the new battery into place. The repainted top engine cover is now refitted and I can’t wait any longer, so in go the new shocks which arrived on their softest settings. Now, I know folk attack this job with screwdrivers or even a punch and hammer but the ‘C’ spanner is so much easier and all the chrome stays with your suspension; which must be a bonus. Obviously, neither of us are delicate ‘Tinkerbelles’ so the shocks get wound up a couple of notches; we will start with the 3rd setting of five. Before we forget and try and start the engine prematurely, 0.9 litres of Motul’s finest fills the sump of our 72cc beast and she even gets a new plug cap. The rear wheel took some ‘jiggering’ getting everything to line up but one thing we didn’t foresee was that when choosing the inner tube I selected a side entry valve; easier to attach an air-line especially with a 10 inch rim. The only problem came about when the fancy valve cap with built in removal tool catches the hub, fortunately we noticed before any test rides. This was resolved with a standard plastic valve cap from Alan’s VW Golf…he won’t miss it.
Some Bits Fit, Some Don’t
Freshly painted parts start to go back on, except the rear mudguard. Now, I don’t mind admitting failure but this is just embarrassing; primed, painted and lacquered I managed to drop this item (mid-spraying) not once, oh no twice!! It would now have less floor debris on it if it was a stick of chewing gum; it’s all got a bit emotional to be honest. Anyway, the chain guard won’t fit with the new shocks and we are both flummoxed with the new light unit; great item to purchase, bloody useless if we cannot secure it to the machine. I decided to let the ‘Silver Fox’ spend some quality toilet time thinking about our options…as always he came up with a solution. Now we are ‘cookin’ as the exhaust is mounted followed by the Chinese ‘Dragon-Slayer’ bars new grips and a pair of custom mirrors that have rattled around the workshop for years; primed and coloured we bolt these on with the freshly polished switch gear. Alan returns from a week of contemplation and sets about the seat catch and associated parts, basically he marks out what we need, the rest gets the chop. Using the original mounts, he installs with a homemade rear light bracket with custom attachments for the rear indicators. Clever boy, and once we know this fits it is down to me for more painting. I solve the chain guard issue with patience and the Dremmel grinding tool, then touch-in the damage which is hidden behind the shock anyway.
The DID chain is too long, sure it will work but eventually must face the link remover; the single connector gives up without a fight and adjusts up nicely. It’s not all toil and strife in this garage and over a tiger roll stuffed with ‘Porkie Whites’ sausage with brown, whilst we consider the front mudguard. It has ancient damage and thus we need to cut accordingly and matching the rear one for size and shape requires a marker pen and one short disagreement. Alan wins the discussion and then proceeds to try and refit the birds nest of wiring back into the headlight cowl with all the connections working; luckily, we marked them all several weeks ago. The rear stop & tail is all good but the new indicators fail to blink, this may be due to the wattage of the new bulbs or the two-pin relay which is taken apart for diagnosis. Once the innards are revealed it is obvious we have no idea what we are looking at, so Al takes it to work where an electrician will give it the once over. Meanwhile, I tap in my credit card number again so a new lower wattage unit can find its way into our postman’s bag. Thus, with a glass of ‘Kroney’ each, yet another cold day’s labour comes to a close. Hopefully, by the time the next (and final) instalment of the Chaly Challenge hits your screens we will have solved the electrics, replaced the front suspension and annoyed my neighbours by blasting up and down the road like a couple of 16 year olds.
The final push…our Chaly enters the tunnel with a light up the end.
Our seat returns from Alan’s sister…ooh how she enjoyed that job!!
We try to make a bespoke paddock stand from two old ones.
It’s all Getting Emotional – Chaly Challenge ‘Finale’
New Year has arrived and we stand staring at our half-finished ‘Monkey-Bike’ as the snow descends outside; we feel like expectant fathers in the delivery room…one final push needed before the garage doors open wide. Into the world will ‘pop’ our new creation and I need to wipe the moist area by my eye…not due to emotion; Alan just slipped with spanner whilst tightening a bolt I was securing…twatting me across the knuckles in the process! ‘Golly gosh that does smart a tad…you silly Silver Fox’ I exclaimed. The paint fumes are obviously finally getting to me but luckily the colouring is nearly complete. Our front mudguard came out perfect 1st attempt whilst the rear one took five goes before I could bolt it into place; didn’t help that I dropped it twice.
Wiring, Seating & the Dreaded Forks
The spaghetti that once was a loom finally became a bird’s nest inside the headlight cowl, the additions of a small ignition LED and power for our super mini speedo both work. Alan fabricated a couple of plates and this was secured to the top suspension/handle bar plate that had been painted to match the seat and wheels. The rather unique headlight bulb arrived via the worldwide web, as did the low voltage indicator relay; both operated perfectly. A massive ‘thankyou’ must be offered to Alan’s sister Geraldine McCormack who took our rancid seat foam, one tired base and several yards of burgundy vinyl and returned with one seat. Evidentially, she is not overly keen on doing another one, which I can understand but once any excess fabric was secured to the base we bolted the finished article back onto the frame; stood back and admired. This all led to the one task we were actually unsure about at the outset eight months ago, rebuilding the forks. The design consists of two springs plus four plastic inserts and several ‘C’ clips all coated in lashings of grease. No oil or seals are involved and our biggest issue was the base plastic tube that wrapped around our fork tube.
The original leg could be moved from side to side…not ideal, as the MOT inspector would be sure to fail, plus this part is no longer available. My clever colleague took the measurements from all the parts plus the offending item away back in October. Whilst I am not at liberty to divulge our source, some very high-tech equipment was used to construct a new pair and one cold Saturday morning in late January we began the rebuild process. First to re-enter the empty fork tubes was one large spring containing a bump stop. This was pushed to the top followed by a fully assembled combination of springs, plastic tubes and clips and after being forced into place secured by a circular snap ring. Another reason why restorers photograph and tag every part because six months later we certainly wouldn’t remember the sequence this lot came out in; not at our age…Alan can’t even recollect how old he actually is!
One thing is certain his engineering talents came to the fore on this job and as long as you remember to feed him and finish the day with a pint of the cold stuff he won’t fail. By lunchtime the forks sat in situ, returned to their 1983 specification with some 2018 technology and excitement in the garage was immense as the front mudguard fitted perfectly at the first attempt. In next was the front wheel that I painted at the end of last summer, complete with ‘white-wall’ Continental and new brake shoes. Speedo and brake cables connected and checked, then we took five with a celebration ‘sausage roll’… once written off as bin fodder a rather splendid mini-Honda sat proudly secured to our custom-made work bench.
First Run – Teenage Fun
Did you know; In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most journeys under 50 minutes but the Chaly is faster than a bicycle…just. The final task which we had somewhat overlooked was getting the fully rebuilt Honda back on terra firma. With one excited old boy at each end ready to lift, we got the wife to remove the securing bolt and wheel the bench away, well that was the plan. One hernia and one bad back was the result, but in the excitement of our imminent road test these were soon forgotten. Into the daylight she rolled, ignition-on and two heaves on the kick start all 72cc burst into life and boy that sporty new exhaust reminded the neighbours who lived just up their road!! With plans for a future ‘big-unveil’ we tried to be discreet but the exhaust had other ideas as Alan took the maiden voyage; grinning like a Cheshire cat he boomed off up the street. One careful test ride of a few hundred yards saw him return, still very pleased. All the gearchanges worked and the brakes, suspension and handling were nearly perfect he reported, just as the engine stalled into silence. Then followed twenty seconds of panic as it just would not restart, I hadn’t even sat on the thing and it had failed already! Top tip, it doesn’t matter how clever you are, no motorbike will run if you don’t turn the petrol tap to the ‘ON’ position. My road test went just as well but some adjustment will be required should the rider want to view anything but his own ‘mid-rift’ through the mirrors and the brakes will want a few turns before we bring that ‘famous celebrity’ round for a photoshoot with our pride and joy.
We don’t just throw this stuff together you know! Overall appearance for our ‘finale’ photoshoot would also include one very old and rather battered paddock stand. With the Chaly’s centre stand on route to the local council depot we decided to redesign an old paddock stand that has been lying dormant in the loft. Firstly, our tiny Honda was heading for a rather large fall if we failed to modify and the clever ‘old fox’ decided to cut the existing mounts and re-secure in a lower position. Using the last of the burgundy paint our stand was then transformed into a thing of beauty (sort of) with black piping and new soft grip. Finally, we fitted securing pins and rubbers to protect the finish and our display stand was ready to be admired; sad what folk get up to with time on their hands.
Celebrity Send Off
We were honoured to have ‘Slosh’ lead singer from ‘religious metal’ band Nuns & Moses with us to announce the completion of our ‘Monkey Honda’ Resto. He gave us his rendition of the ‘Marillion’ hit from 1985 that pays ‘homage’ to and is in fact named after the CF70. Called ‘Chaly’ the song talks of the heartbreak and neglect felt by one ‘basket carrying’ mini bike, cast aside by an uncaring owner with that immortal line…’Chaly, is too late to say I ‘m sorry?’
The photoshoot created huge interest and we were surrounded by at least two or three interested bystanders, one couple enquired ‘What is it?’ whilst an elderly gentleman informed us that he too owned a DAX version and it has been in his garage since 1985. Small world. We fled the attentions of these overzealous ‘groupies’ and managed to put five miles onto the speedo before I was able to prize the keys from Alan’s grip. I felt it only fair that after his months of hard labour the first official distance ride should be his, also if the wheels fell off he would bounce better than me. This ‘road test’ was to confirm the performance and handling of the Chaly and ascertain any adjustments that were required; his technical report concluded ‘that’s bloody brilliant and bloody loud’. Well, the exhaust does emit the decibels of a Ducati, so the hunt is on to find something more suitable for the MOT testers ears.
With a few classic cars and now several bikes under our belts we are getting wiser with each restoration and whilst our efforts may not be considered body shop quality, everything is done in-house. Not only does that make it financially viable but also reminds us, mistakes are there to be learnt from! The Chaly has turned out to be our favourite, mainly because we were forced to think ‘outside the box’. A full original resto was never achievable because the model we chose doesn’t enjoy much in the way of parts backup; all the home suppliers carry next to nil stock and whilst the far eastern enthusiasts do carry some but they are at a price. In this situation doing a ‘Fleetwood Mac’ is the only option and we went ‘our own way’ with both paint and replacement parts. Thanks to Sussex Rolling Road, motorcycle experts in Goring for insisting White Wall tyres would work whatever the cost; they do and were worth the extra.
The Z handlebars, grips, rear light and indicators came from my old pals Gostopxu, Comyur, Cxig with Happy Deal who all live near each other in Hong Kong. Whilst chain & sprockets, battery, headlight mounts etc were all purchased locally everything else had to be sourced via the second-hand market place. The paint came from our usual supplier of all things colourful at Mountspace in Chichester; the remainder we made ourselves and included Alan’s moment of triumph when he produced replacement fork tube sliders. Thanks to Gary James for selling us the bike in the first place, we hope he is pleased with its salvation and new look. For those considering something similar we can only advise ‘just do it’. Most old Honda’s will likely run even if they have been buried down a coal mine for 50 years; so well engineered and the with ‘Monkey bike’ range that just continues to grow in popularity.
A massive ‘cheers’ to Alan’s brilliant engineering brain (never fails as long as its kept fuelled with fried breakfasts and beer) which was kept ticking over with this project. Finally, a big ‘Like’ for Classic-Motorbikes.net for allowing my ramblings to be aired and those who took time out to follow our ‘tale of the ten-inch tyre – restoration’. We move onto our next project, so until next time its sayonara from Chaly central.