Small Budget, Big Heart — 1000-Euro, Elsinore-Inspired Scrambler
In stock trim, the Honda FX650 Vigor — a re-released version of the SLR650 — is no looker. MCN called the bike: “A fairly joyless machine that barely redeems itself as a reasonably efficient commuter.” However, the big single dual sport has the bones for greater things.
Enter Alf Vopt, who started his workshop Bandisca Motorcycles in 2014 with his wife, Mihaela. Alf, a former racer in several disciplines, went from working on American V8 to following his true passion of building custom motorcycles. This bike was built for a friend with a limited budget — just 1000 euros — but big dreams of owning a custom bike inspired by Steve McQueen and the mythic Elsinore.
Alf was able to create the Elinsore-inspired FX650 scrambler/tracker you see here for under 1000 euros, utilizing a number of parts lying around the workshop. Below, we get the full story on this build…low budget, but BIG heart!
Honda FX650 Vigor Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Alf. I’m the owner of Bandisca Motorcycles, an independent small custom workshop based in Bucharest, Romania and established in 2014. I have been involved in the motorcycling scenario since I was 14 years old (I’m 50 at the moment).
I was a racer in my young age in several specialities, I started with trial and enduro, after that I passed to speed races and involved in competitions with my old Yamaha RD350LC until 1987, a year in which I had a hard accident that separated me from the races, but not from the motorcycling world.
After that issue I started to work in classics, I passed my life working in another not relating activities but always motorcycles was in my soul and my garage. After a long time working on American cars and engines, mainly V8, at the end of 2013 I decide to focus in building motorcycles again and with my wife Mihaela, who is the other part of Bandisca, we opened the workshop. So this is a small family business… probably more passion than business, but that’s it.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The donor bike for this project was a 1998 Honda FX650 Vigor, probably one of the ugliest bikes ever…
• Why was this bike built?
This project was not a normal one for us. The owner of the bike is a friend of ours who has not too much financial resources but is very passionate of custom, so we decide to help him to get his dream, even not getting any money for that, actually the bike was built with a budget under 1000 euro, re-using lot of parts from other bikes we found over the workshop.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
This guy is a fan of Steve McQueen so, being the bike a Honda, we decide to inspire it on the old vintage enduro style of the mythic Elsinore.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Basically we built a new subframe and seat, changed the tank with a Honda CB360 one.
We added a front mask, side panels and front fender inspired by old enduros.
We handcrafted at the shop a new final 2 in 1 setup for the exhaust and a general cleaning and servicing of the bike. The paint pattern is obviously inspired by the Elsinore.
• How would you classify this bike?
I don’t like tags so much but if needed I would say that is a Tracker, with an scrambler touch.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Very proud of seeing the face of our friend when we finished the bike, that was the best after lot of hours of composing and defining the bike shape with what we could find over the shop.