The Honda XLR200 was a genuine do-anything bike, a street-legal 200cc Honda thumper with parts scavenged from various models of the venerable XR series. Says Brian Jones of RealClassic.co.uk:
“The XLR turned out to be a grin-maker in the forest and amongst the wind generators. It reminded me of a borrowed Serow [Yamaha XT225]. Yes, I could like this bike.”
Enter Bjorn Pabon of Free Spirit Moto, a moto-driven clothing and custom bike brand based in Manila. Bjorn and his old friend Bok Quimpo of Jets Q Kustoms decided to build a collaborative custom tracker for Motobuilds Pilipinas 2017, a prestigious custom bike show in the Philippines. The result is this 1999 Honda XLR200 tracker, “The Postman,” so-named because the duo bought the bike from a local town postman they’ve known since high school. Says Bjorn:
“The base bike was first used by a local town postman as a daily steed for delivering mail from all over the countryside through towns and coastal mountain communities — hence the name!”
Below, we get the full story on the build!
200cc Honda Tracker: In the Builder’s Words
I’m Bjorn Pabon of Free Spirit Moto (Philippines), a small company and moto culture brand that makes clothing and custom motorcycles. Honda XLR200 “Postman” is a debut design concept of Free Spirit Moto — a collaboration build with a friend Bok Quimpo, who has the custom shop Jets Q Kustoms of Goa Camrines Sur, a small town down south of Luzon island. I live in the next town, San Jose, Cam Sur.
“Postman” because the base bike was used daily for work by a local town postman when we (Bok and I) were still in high school. Nearing the years of the postman’s retirement from work, he was looking for a new delivery bike which was more handy and low riding.
We came across him on the street just in front of the shop (Jets Q Kustoms), when we randomly asked if he might want to sell the bike. We were looking for a base bike to make a custom tracker for our Free Spirit Moto x Jets Q debut build for the upcoming Motobuilds Pilipinas 2017, a prestigious custom moto show in the Philippines.
To our surprise, the postman — “Papay Nonoy” we call him — was already thinking of selling it. Right there we made a deal and paid him a fair price which would allow him to buy a brand new alternative bike suited for his convenience at work.
The concept was simple. The bike should be fit as a daily driver to work, zipping through the buzz and hustle of Manila traffic, while at the same time serving as a reliable steed in the outdoors, to play with off and on trail.
Minimal / functional / classy vintage enduro with details on show quality aesthetics.
- 18″ wheelset with black alum rims.
- Black spokes with chrome spokes heads.
- 4.10 trial tires — maximum traction for city and trail use.
- Old Honda TMX tank from the 90s. (Donated from our Boy Scout teacher’s bike when we were high school — pretty much historic for me.)
- Stock odometers.
- Stock headlight assembly cowling (plastic), with a little twist on customizing it by cutting some portions of it and adding a headlight grill.
- Applied vintage front panel number graphics.
- Fiberglass custom fenders and side panels with vintage-like numbers.
- Tank stamp with free hand Honda with Norton inspired font.
- Stock pipe system with re used motocross muffler.
Basically clean lines, minimalist accessories, and minute details. The bike turned out to be a neat “vintagey” enduro and won 1st place in the 200cc below class at Motobuild Pilipinas 2017. Taking home some humble prestige to our local town shop, Jets Q Kustoms, and debut design build by Free Spirit Moto.
Free Spirit Moto (founder)
I have numerous bikes (old) including REVOLT Cycles Honda XL100 Lantuag! Which is my most precious bike — a trip down memory lane. I know you already knew that story!