CMBL's Beach Hopper
By Anthony van Someren - 10 Sep 13
If your passions revolve around biking and surfing, there really is only one way to combine both lifestyles, and that's to get the spanners out to combine surfwax with chainlube, just as John Eldrige has done with his CMBL build down in Newquay in Cornwall, in the UK. ...Besides, why should the Californians and Australians have all the fun? "I've been deeply rooted in the UK surf scene for most of my life, opting over the last 10 - 15 years for the more stylised classic side of surfing based around single fins, twin-fins and heavier longboards. It is this aspect of surfing that led me to Indonesia in search of perfect waves and and it was in Bali where I stumbled upon Deus Ex Machina and caught the motorcycle bug. I had always wanted to get my motorcycle license and once I had laid eyes on this interesting and different style of motorcycle customisation that was it… I had to do it right away. I quickly passed my test and got straight onto a '78 SR500. This was 3 years ago now and since then I have immersed myself in the current trend in motorcycle customisation, albeit mostly from in front of a computer screen. More recently I had started sensing a building of interest in motorcycles through parts of the UK surf scene and perhaps a little prematurely feel the need for a UK based surf and motorcycle brand and this is what I hope to achieve with CMBL (symbol) in the future. Initially CMBL was simply an outlet for a few surfboards which I had been shaping for friends, more recently it has merged with my interest in motorcycles. I currently have one personal project in an SR500 and two commissions for builds this winter and am looking forward to anything else that may come my way." "The donor motorcycle for this build was a very sad looking 1978 CB100N . It was actually acquired as a pair, it's twin went of with a friend to be worked on separately while I decided that this could be a good base for my debut build. It basically needed a complete rebuild, something nice and simple to really get my teeth into. For one, I thought it would be a good idea to start with a low cost bike just in case I discovered along the way that customising motorcycles wasn't for me ( as it turns out I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it) but also, with future hopes to be building custom motorcycles for the uk surf/motorcycle scene I figured a sub -125cc motorcycle would be a lot more accessible to those not wanting to gain their full motorcycle license and just wanting a local beach hopper. So I set forth to build a fresh motorcycle from the ugly duckling with a limited budget in mind." "I decluttered the frame, looped it at the rear, added a new tank and seat fittings and went about replacing all bearings, bushings and washers. I replaced the forks with new old stock from a similar motorcycle and overhauled the clutch , brakes and had a mechanic friend take care of the piston and valves. I started scrubbing the engine casings trying to get rid of most of the grime but 35 years of no love made this a little tricky. My original idea was to spray the casings to give them a fresh look but I actually started to like the look of the beaten up old casings and decided to leave them as is. I think in the future, and with larger budgets in hand I would like to have the casings looking a little neater but at the same time I feel that it is what it is, an old motorcycle and in some ways the engine left as it is pays testament to this." "I sourced a replacement rim and spokes for the rear wheel and an entire wheel for the front as I wanted to get rid of the cabled disc brake and replace it with a neater looking drum. I heat-wrapped the original downpipe, mostly for cosmetic reasons to cover the older pipe and had fitted a shorty megaphone muffler, this really made a difference to the overall tone and you wouldn't think it'd be a little 100cc coming round the corner. I also went about trying to find new old stock or replacement nuts bolts and fixings where I could." "I fashioned a new seat pan out of aluminium and had the seat professionally built to my spec with gel pads for extra comfort. I wanted some nice low and narrow handlebars which closely resembled the original bars and found a similar Renthal bar, it was a little wide for my liking so I shortened it slightly and stuck some simple gum grips on along with some simple but nice looking levers and a mini speedo, some run of the mill kind of stuff really. My idea with the build was to really simplify everything on the bike while still keeping a certain style and keeping the costs relatively low. One of my favourite parts of the motorcycle is probably the mini switch, I had seen these on a few custom motorcycles and loved the look and simplicity to wanted to include in the build and i think it looks great and falls into line nicely with the simplicity of the bike." "Another favourite aspect of the bike is the hand painted CMBL (symbol) logo on the tank. It really ties the bike off nicely and fits in very well with the whole ethos of the build. I stripped all of the wiring, started again from scratch and added a custom battery box. I looked into a 12 volt conversion for this motorcycle but wanting to keep the costs down I stuck with the original 6 volt. I did however manage to increase the light output of the headlight by fitting a dual relay." "I had the board racks welded up by a friend and they truly are a custom fit for this motorcycle, attaching neatly at the front and rear and can be quickly removed by removing a couple of bolts. This first build, along with the board racks, has been a bit of a learning experience for me, but never the less I really feel it turned out well and it has given me a lot of confidence for future builds." "I'd like to say thanks to a few people who helped me along the way: Pete at BikeTech, James for the welding, Sheila at signs of good taste and Will for pointing me in the right direction. Also thanks to Deus Ex Machina, Wrenchmonkees, Iron and Resin and many, many more for the inspiration." It's an inspiring story of passion and the kind of get-off-your-arse-and-just-do-it attitude that is all to rare these days, but luckily not here in The Bike Shed. John and his wife are also opening a cafe the end of the year, at St Breock, near Wadebridge in Cornwall. "It's in a great location for what we are hoping to represent in the way of surf, art and motorcycle culture. It fronts on to the Atlantic Highway, a great motorcycle ride and is not too far from various decent surf spots. There is scope in the future to have a motorcycle workshop based up on the same site as the cafe which is slowly being developed into a really cool place to visit." If you like the sound of what John's up to (we certainly do) then keep an eye on www.strongadolfos.com for the cafe and www.cmbl.co.uk for the motorcycles and surfboards.