Restoring not one, but two Honda XLV 750Rs
Have you ever considered rebuilding an older and neglected bike, with the thought of restoring it to new or near new condition?
Well that is just what brothers, Peter and Colin Tregonning, along with Peter’s son-in-law Rob, embarked on. A mission to restore not one, but two fabulous old 1985 model HONDA XLV 750R adventure bikes.
This whole exercise began almost by accident…..
Colin Tregonning, who lives in the UK, but visits brother Peter in Australia each year in December to partake of some good riding conditions over the summer months, has a friend in Lilydale (Vic), who had intended this task.
However, poor health intervened and in Dec 2016, Colin purchased the “two bikes” – consisting of numerous boxes of nuts, bolts, wiring looms, bits and pieces, some wheels, seats, handlebars, fuel tanks and two bare frames. Colin intended one for himself and the other for his brother Peter.
By today’s standards, the Honda XLV 750R is not recognised at the forefront of performance adventure bikes.
However, they were innovative for their era, with shaft drive, good balance, and uncanny handling and performance from the 750 V-twin engine bearing the hallmarks of Honda reliability. These bikes were to be the forerunners to the Honda range of adventure bikes to follow, including the famed “Africa Twin”.
For these two brothers, the real challenge lay ahead. Initially it was determined to get all nuts, bolts and other relevant pieces re-plated, to make them all shiny new. Next was the cleaning of the frames and wheels for powder coating.
But with Colin returning to England, Peter was left with a still very daunting task. Enter Peter’s son-in-law Rob, whose Melbourne engineering workshop proved to be the ideal venue for the next stage of this dual restoration project.
At this point, the seemingly insurmountable challenge became a whole lot easier with the discovery of the original Honda workshop manuals on-line. A quick download had the job moving ahead again.
Very soon, Peter was travelling from his home in Torquay (Vic) to Rob’s workshop every few weekends to keep the project moving forward. As the months ticked by, the bikes slowly but surely began to take shape. As the bikes were not in identical condition to begin with, it became apparent that one bike would be completed before the other.
But after 12 months of fairly solid toil by Peter and Rob, and the return visit of Colin to Australia in December 2017, the “re-launch” of the “A” bike took place. The bike initially performed beautifully, in-keeping with its revitalised appearance. However a “miss” was soon detected, and after a bit of detective work, a faulty (or worn out) magneto was diagnosed. Replacement magnetos (two) were installed in the bikes and Bike “A” is now a regular in the hands of Colin – often seen around the vicinity of the Great Ocean Road.
After due consideration of all possible options, it has been decided by to make some minor modifications to Bike “B” with a view to converting it to a café racer.
Peter, Colin and Rob all admit that at times the project appeared doomed for one reason or another. But with perseverance and some plain hard work, not to mention those on-line workshop manuals, the task of completing these dual restorations was eventually completed in early 2018.