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April 2012 Club News

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A Young Bloke's Old Bike

By Finn Johnson

Finn's 1974
          Honda XL175
Most of you old blokes think this bike probably isn’t that old, but to me it is! This is my 1974 K0 (so I’m told!) Honda XL175. It started out when my uncle, Neville Gibbs, of Boyup Brook bought it brand new. He used it on the farm, chasing and swearing at sheep, up and down the steep hills on the banks of the Blackwood River. No doubt it was used almost daily for this job.

Back then it was road registered, the story goes he rode it from the farm to Bunbury. A 22 stone bloke on a 175cc. Poor thing - the bike that is. About 1987 he upgraded to the latest thing then, a 250cc 4-wheeler.

The old 175 was relegated to secondary duties. That’s when us kids came in. Graduating from a Z50, XR75, and then the 175 was the bomb! This relentless caning went on for a few years until we grew up. The 175 sat in the shed for a long time after that.

Fast forward to 2010. My uncle said, “ . . . do you want that old bike?” Straight up to the farm and on the ute it was! A few weeks later he died, so I got enthused and gave it a tidy up.

The bike was still all complete, indicators, lights, levers, side covers and mudguards. Original timing chain, rings, chain and tyres. The speedo cable broke at 6349km.

A complete strip down, new gaskets and seals, sprockets, sandblast, paint, re-chrome, new seat cover - taking about 12 months. New rear shockies, different tyres and battery, handgrips and some globes helped to get it club registered (Neil reckoned it was good to see one that wasn’t completely wrecked).

So there you go! I might add the paint on the tank is still original, testament to a bloke who had a reputation for looking after his gear.

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