Hot Lips – Aaron’s 1974 Honda C50 Deluxe

A machine that was fabled to have been taken to the Rack in medieval times, this is a saucy red, stretched out Honda C50 that has outgrown its dainty Super Cub days.

Originally being into Hotrods and American classic cars, it would be a chance encounter at the Christchurch local motorcycle hub, Smash Palace, that small capacity bikes would enter Aaron’s life. “I was there on a Thursday, which was their bike night, in my Roadster Pickup. I saw these wild guys on modified mopeds, so we got talking and that was pretty much it. I was hooked into it. The idea of cheap/wild/loud custom little bikes that were on the edge of being legal was great. These guys were having a hoot on bikes that cost them $300 and were killing it with smiles all round. My mate Phil and I bought a Honda C50 at the next swap meet to cut up and customise. And that was it.”

With his first little C50 going, Aaron joined the ranks of the local scumbag club, The Quake City Rumblers. Aaron’s enthusiasm for these bikes would result in more builds, more rides with QCR and, sure enough, he’d become a fully patched-in member. The ethos of creating wild, small capacity machines to bash through the roads of New Zealand isn’t something all too common around the globe, with many opting for larger machines and more performance. Not for these lads however.

This latest build is a 1974 Honda C50 Deluxe frame with a 110cc Lifan Engine. “The idea behind this bike has been in my head for over a year after coming across an image of a long, strung-out C50 in Asia. I bought a stock C50 back in February, then wrecked it out. I sold all the stock parts to fund this next build. It’s got a 16” rear wheel donated from a Suzuki GN250, forks from a CT90 from a wreck in my yard, and a 21” front donated from my mate Chris.”

“I built a super long custom swing arm for the bike out of heavy tube, and added some new shocks, tail light, and headlight which I had picked up on a trip to Bali. My mate Lewis Horrell from QCR created the killer seat for me. I used an old set of BMX handlebars next which I modified to have an internal throttle system.” 

The bright red paint job sticks out like dogs’ bollocks, and probably/definitely makes the bike go faster. “The type of red I used was called ‘Hot Lips Red’, so it only seemed fitting to name the bike after that. It’s pretty cold here in winter, so painting the bike was tricky. I had to have the fire cranking in my shed with the doors closed and a heatgun on hand to help tack it off. I got some vinyl signs and scallops from our mate Seth @budabingbudaboom.”

“Hotlips is longer and lower than my Harley. This is a bike that I wanted to make nice and fresh, shiny and new as my previous bikes were all ratty. I’m hoping to take it on the Scooter Safari ride in 2018 over the pass to the west coast. It’s got a bit more of a comfortable riding position than my previous bikes. I have to put thicker brake linage on, a new front brake cable, make it a proper side stand and put on fork stops so that they don’t swing around the frame. Nothing some beers in the shed can’t fix up!”

“My philosophy in building these bikes is: cut it, tack it together, if you don’t like it, weld it up and cut it again until it looks right. Everything can be fixed; don’t be shy. Cut first and think about it after. I have a saying “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me” and I am real impatient so usually I just get shit done. My family is important, and my wife and kids really support me. I have had bad depression in the past, but bikes have helped so much – and still do, and of course my mates. For us in QCR, it’s about swapping parts, helping each other with ideas and advice, drinking piss and lots of riding.”

A few pieces from the archives