In an age where we’re all stuck inside watching bike videos thanks to social distancing rules, here’s a YouTube clip that stands out. It’s not full of crazy stunts, or high-horsepower thrills. It’s just a bunch of dudes rebuilding an old Yamaha RX100, and it could be the most soothing thing you’ll see all day.
The bike in the video is a ‘96 model, and the description says the machine was “quickest finest and the fastest motorcycle of the late '80s.” Errrr, maybe in the Indian city of Rampur, where this video was shot. Who cares about the hyperbole, though? This is a rad, old-school bike complete with dual rear shocks, drum brakes, kickstarter, and simple two-stroke engine. This machine was vintage before Mackelmore and Lewis made thrifting cool.
To be fair, India’s gearheads really did love the RX100 for its power-to-weight ratio, at least when compared to other bikes available in that market during the ‘80s and ‘90s. That’s probably why Old Piston Garage decided to restore this machine.
It’s a refreshing look at old-school motorcycle mechanicking. There’s no artifice, fake drama, or mugging for the camera. All we see is a well-worn garage filled with dudes wrenching on vintage Japanese machinery. For this project, the team rebuilt the engine (overbored piston, new clutch plates and bearings) and restored the exterior (new paint, polished chrome). There’s no silliness, no hacking up the frame and turning it into a brat custom. Instead, they’re fixing the brakes, installing new tires, adding daytime running lights—all stuff that makes this bike a better ride, instead of a poser accessory.
Having said that, an indie soundtrack might have made the video more enjoyable, but you can always watch it with the sound off. It might even be more Zen. Either way, it’s great to see a bunch of regular guys putting together a bike without the façade that accompanies so many custom build videos these days.