S.M.F. x Mooneyes Taiwan build a 190cc BMX for Reckless Race…
For so many builders we talk to, their love of motorcycles started with bicycles, especially BMX (Bicycle Motocross). That should come as no surprise, as the earliest motorcycles were little more than bicycles with engines attached, and motorbikes are sometimes considered bicycles “fleshed with power,” as in James Dickey’s poem “Cherrylog Road”:
And I to my motorcycle
Parked like the soul of the junkyard
Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106, continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth,
Wringing the handlebar for speed,
Wild to be wreckage forever.
Recently, we talked to Vince, Sam, and Temu of S.M.F., a custom workshop based in Tainan, Taiwan, whose KTR 150 tracker and Hartford bobber we’ve featured in the past. With Taiwan’s largest dirt race/event on the horizon, Reckless Race, they wanted to collaborate with Mooneyes Taiwan on a purpose-built custom racer, and the idea of a petrol-powered BMX took hold:
“The main inspiration of the build was to pay tribute to where motorcycles originally came from, but at the same time create something new, the combination of a bike and an engine.”
Instead of simply rigging an engine to an existing bicycle, the S.M.F. crew opted to build the frame completely from scratch, which not only made for a cleaner fitment, but allowed other opportunities:
“Funny how, if we put a gas tank on it, it wouldn’t look like a BMX. To solve that problem, we made the upper frame hollow, and let it be the tank. There’s a small custom-made window on the side, which serves as the fuel gauge.”
The wheels, brakes, and suspension are all heavy-duty components to handle the power, and master pinstriper JB (@jb_signpainting_pinstriping) added his touch. The power-to-weight ratio is borderline insane, as the finished bike weighs less than 150 pounds wet!
“To be honest, it is absolutely crazy riding a 190 c.c. bike with only 67 kilograms wet weight. It got massive torque, so it takes time to adapt to it.”
Below, we talk to Vince of S.M.F. for the full details. We’d also like to thank Eric of Night Shift Motor Club (@nsmc_ncku) for bringing this bike to our attention and photographer Yobe (@yobe_tw) for the killer shots!
BMX Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are S.M.F, a custom bike workshop based in Tainan, Taiwan. My name is Vince, and we have other two partners in the shop, Sam and Temu. Sam ran it as a repair shop before Temu and I joined. I convinced him to “act outside the box”, and thus S.M.F started doing modification and custom builds. With all the experiences added up along the 10-year journey, we’ve gradually become what we are now.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
We started this from zero. The frame is all handmade. We threw a 190 c.c. engine from K. U. Motor on it, and then it became what it is now.
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The main inspiration of the build was to pay tribute to where motorcycles originally came from, but at the same time create something new, the combination of a bike and an engine. In order to join the dirt track race, we had to come up with an idea that combines bicycle and motocross, and therefore a motorized BMX became the one.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Instead of simply putting an engine on a BMX frame, we hand-made the frame so as to have a better coordination between the engine and frame. Funny how, if we put a gas tank on it, it wouldn’t look like a BMX. To solve that problem, we made the upper frame hollow, and let it be the tank. There’s a small custom-made window on the side, which serves as the gauge.
Moreover, we upgraded the wheels, brakes, and suspension system with a new Frando CNC caliper, custom-made PGS suspension, and Excel rims. Last but not least, we are honored to have JB leave his incredible pinstriping works on the bike, making it a Mooneyes custom bike.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
No, not yet.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
To be honest, it is absolutely crazy riding a 190 c.c. bike with only 67 kilograms wet weight. It got massive torque, so it takes time to adapt to it.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The three of us all agree that making the frame from scratch was the hardest part of the build, and we are so proud of it. Some people say we are “building” bikes rather than “modifying” them; we are so so glad and honored to hear the compliment from the public.