Sure, it’s easy to turn a big displacement bike with plenty of brand pedigree into an eye-catching custom, but these builds are a dime a dozen. Rather, if you’re really looking to turn heads, your best bet is to seek out a smaller motorcycle with a more meager powertrain. Take this 1979 Honda XL125S, for example.
Even at first glance, you can see that it’s no standard small-displacement trail bike. On the contrary, it’s been modified for maximum off-road potential. For instance, the engine has been bored out to 175cc, a sizable upgrade from factory spec that gives it some extra grunt to get up hills. What’s more, it’s been fitted with a pair of stiffer shocks at the rear for better performance over the rough stuff. And although it still rides on stock wheels and brakes, it now wears a set of tacky Vee Moto tires — a Gold Medal at the front and a deep-treaded Bull Dozer ST at the back. Add to that a more aggressive gearing ratio, a custom navigation mount, and some high-rise handlebars, and what results is a bike that punches well above its weight. Hell, this one even completed the 2,500km Morocco Rally.