By Hugo Minnaar | Published on 2020-04-08
The most fun I’ve had on two wheels happened to be on a Honda Deputy 125cc which at that stage probably had closer to 80cc left.
The semi-automatic scooter was standing for five years in a shed on my friend’s farm in Namibia, basically written off and left for dead. I got permission to do with it whatever I wanted. I started cleaning off the years of debris, spider webs and even birds’ nests. Next, I removed all the body panels and took the carburettor out. It was completely gummed up. I cleaned it thoroughly and put it back it. I also gave the scooter a much-needed oil change, cleaned the spark plugs, etc.
The scooter had no battery and initially the kick starter didn’t seem to work. I connected a deep-cycle auxiliary battery and pressed the ignition. As if by magic the scooter roared to life for the first time in five years.
The last remaining problem was the wheels. The reason for going into ‘storage’ was a bent front rim. So even if the tube could be patched (it was completely torn), it would almost instantly get destroyed again from ‘peeling’ out.
I decided to make ‘permatubes’ from thick 50mm black irrigation pipe cut into sections as it was too hard to bend into a circle.
At last the bike roared to life again with wheels capable of rolling. Riding it for the first time knowing that I ‘fixed’ it was pure bliss. I’ve owned several bikes but have never done such extensive repairs or maintenance.
The farm has a lot of bushes, so the next modification was adding bush plates. I cut an old plastic bin into sections, using the natural curve of the bin too curve around one’s legs. We pop riveted it onto a square tube that was welded to the scooter.
The scooter handles soft sand remarkably well as tyres were almost complete flat with the black pipe just keeping the tyres from coming off.
My friend basically gave me permission to destroy the scooter, and therein probably lied the biggest fun factor. I drove everywhere, got some air, went around and sometimes through bushes. The small form factor and the bushes flying past, gave the sensation of travelling at extreme speeds, adrenaline rushing and feeling like a Dakar rider.
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