Sometimes, bikes come to enthusiasts in the strangest ways.

Whether it's a friend or a family member who heard you like bikes, and they tell you that you can have this abandoned motorcycle that's been sitting in Granny's garage for 20 years if you just come get it, Or a friend moves out of the country and says you can keep their track bike, sometimes it's just a weird kind of magnetism.

Can it be explained? Not really. Do you care? You've just achieved the magic equation of bike plus one, so probably not.

And it's probably even more likely to happen to you if you make fixing up lost cause bikes a large part of your public identity. Just ask Craig, better known on YouTube as The Bearded Mechanic. He grew up around cars and car racing, but is primarily known as a bike guy, as that's where his passions primarily lie. 

As the story goes, his buddy Jimmy phoned him up with a tantalizing offer: If you can get this bike engine running, you can keep it. 

And then, a shipping container showed up. From Colorado. With a janky-looking Toyota MR2 inside that was powered by a Honda CBR1000R engine back when it last ran, which was approximately 10 or so years ago.

So, you know, nothing to worry about. At heart, it's a Honda! The engine, anyway. And the dash, and the gearbox. The car is even still chain-driven, with a super sketchy solution involving a skateboard wheel to guide the chain from the front passenger seat where the motor is kind of halfheartedly mounted to the back to drive the rear wheels. 

Plenty of additional parts went into this build, and some that Craig calls out as he goes through his initial inventory of what he's seeing include a Lexus limited-slip differential, a rather nice set of Enkei wheels, and a Ford tailgate that's mounted as a wing out back. Hey, at least it's adjustable! 

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Does It Run?

It's a Honda, and as a dedicated Honda enthusiast, I don't necessarily feel compelled to defend Team Red's honor. However, I will observe that you probably already know the answer in your heart. Of course it runs.

It needs a functional battery, of course. But once that's hooked up, the bike engine does, in fact, start right up.

But does it run well? That's a completely different question.

It's been sitting abandoned in a shipping container for the past 10 or so years. According to Jimmy, they used to have to change the chain two or three times every race because it would stretch, or break, or otherwise cease working properly. 

Craig's first drive in the thing is tricky, firstly because he's a big guy and getting into the thing is a bit of a challenge. Once he figures out how, though, he's off. And he soon realizes that the brake calipers are at least partly seized and causing significant drag on the wheels as he's trying to drive.

After quickly removing the front wheels and examining what's going on, it's clear that the calipers and pads are pretty rusty and crusty. After a bit of cleaning, they're working a bit better, so it's time for the second test drive.

Here's Why The Chains Keep Breaking

Now that he's able to drive and have reasonable expectations of being able to also stop, Craig is able to pay attention to what else is going on with this particular bucket of bolts. Remember how Jimmy said the chains would stretch and break and need replacing a couple times a race?

It turns out that's because the engine is only mounted in the rear, at two points. So whenever you get on the throttle, it wants to jump and move around. That's going to make the chain also want to jump and move around, which will in turn cause it to stretch and behave in unpredictable ways. 

Craig thinks that if he can more securely mount the engine, that will solve at least a few major problems with this concoction. Will it work?

The race they want to attend isn't for six months, until December 2024. Can they fix this thing up and get it drivable between now and then? Stay tuned.

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