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A killer street tracker from Hong Kong

I ran across this little number on the Do The Ton cafe racer forum recently. After a little research I discovered this bike is owned by fellow blogger Wes of Abandoned Pier.  The bike is a Honda FTR223 which is an air cooled, four stroke, single cylinder with a SOHC. Many of you may not have heard of this bike as it’s Asia-only model.  Wes is currently living in Hong Kong, making it possible to get this little number in his greasy hands.  He tells the story of his build below:

“It’s a late model 2006 and the engine was still in very good shape. I started by stripping it down, replacing the cam-chain, all the gaskets and re-adjusting the valves. I also re-built the carb, shimmed the float needle and re-jetted it. Shimming is absolutely necessary to ease out the transition between the pilot and main after re-jetting. The stock jets are way too small and won’t allow for running with a velocity stack and an aftermarket muffler. After some further jetting and the black magic art of carburetor adjustment, she was running beautifully.

The huge stock battery was also removed and replaced with a tiny battery I soldered up in parallel using 6 lithium ion a123 cells sourced from a local electronics store. Not only does the new battery have more cold cranking amps, but it also lasts about ten times longer than the standard led-acid battery at a fraction of the weight and size. I also removed the signal lights, flasher relay, kickstand dead switch and the ugly instrument cluster. The wiring harness was also simplified and all the electronics and cables, fitted on a fabricated bracket in the tiny space below the seat. This was certainly the hardest part of the build and you’ll be surprised at how many cables can come out of a motorcycle. The Honda FTR223 is electric start only, which means I had to get really creative when hiding the electrics. The simplified wiring was also complimented with a small led tail-light.

I removed the airbox completely and added a stack which I sourced from Japan as well as a Supertrapp muffler from the states. The header was wrapped in fiberglass heat wrap to compliment the cool exhaust system. The Supertrapp exhaust uses a system of disks, which have a larger opening on one end causing an acceleration of the exhaust gases exiting the engine, very similar to the venturi effect. With the modified exhaust and intake design the bikes performance improved notably.

Next, I removed all the plastic body parts, removed the front and rear fenders as well as the ugly taillight and number-plate brackets. Once it was stripped down, I took a grinder to it and removed all the OEM brackets from the frame and re-sprayed it in flat black.

Custom Honda FTR223


Custom Honda FTR223

For the finishing touches I added some fork boots and a Daytona speedo from Japan as well as some new grips and Renthal handlebars from the UK. I kept the stock tank, because I really love how the lines flow with the seat. The tank and headlight and other bits were also painted in black to match the new colour scheme. Lastly, I added some really cool vintage badges off a 1982 Honda CB which I found on eBay. To me there is great beauty in imperfection and I wanted to keep the old scuffed up look.

This bike is really loud, really fun and really fast. I like to think of it as a BMX with an engine. As an ode to this bikes Japanese origin and styling cues I aptly named her the Yakuza. Well done Wes, we dig it!


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Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, combines over a decade of OEM motorcycle marketing experience with his passion for custom builds. Since 2008, he has been the driving force behind The Bullitt, a digital platform celebrating the art and culture of motorcycles.