Mountain Rider 1 THUMB How quickly the days pass. It seemed just mere minutes ago we were bemoaning the dreary weather, yearning for brighter days. And all of a sudden here it is (in between the scattered showers). It makes the tinge of jealousy just that little easier to live with when photos like these drop through our inbox. Mind you, the Sicilian coastline would still look splendid even if it were bucketing down. So it's no surprise that rather than some gnarly industrial estate, Officine Mr. S like to capture their bikes in all of nature's glory, taking in the beauty of the Sicilian spring and complementing the go-anywhere ability of their latest build. Mountain Rider A The 'Mr S' of the company is owner and operator Isidoro Stellino who started the business a little over 3 years ago. Having lived a varied life swinging from roasting coffee in the the family shop to becoming a master Tig welder, he decided to start over and begin building bikes professionally with the sometime help of his architect friend. Of course, fine coffee and neat welding are two essential items for every decent workshop so no previous experience goes to waste! Settled in Alcamo on the north coast of Sicily, his 200 Sq.m workshop is perfectly situated for inspiration surrounded by stunning cliffs and vineyards. Mountain Rider B This is the second Honda CB400N Isidoro has tackled. A glutton for punishment, in standard form the 3 valve per cylinder parallel twin could best be described as anonymous. Previous waves of his magic wand have shown the potential of the little commuter scoot and this build for Scuba instructor Claudio Provenzani, knocks it out the park again. A 1978 donor provided the base, the generally decent condition mattered not, as this would be a true nut and bolt rebuild. The clue is in the name: Honda 400 SR. S for scrambler, but R for racing. Not just a shiny trinket, the engine has been rebuilt and tuned, every component of the rolling chassis has been reworked or replaced with a superior item. Simple but effective styling means the machine oozes the character and charm of an old-school enduro. Mountain Rider C The trusty twin was hauled out of the chassis and stripped down in it's entirety. While the lump received a tick in the 'general health' box the plan was always to get it ripped. So it was time to get busy and whip out the 'roids. The cylinder head was ported, a new more aggressive cam profile was ground, the compression ratio raised, altering the engine's character from sedentary to sensational. Mountain Rider D Fully rebuilt carbs were jetted to suit the modified motor and to accommodate the freer flowing K&N filters. Combustion gasses now exit the bike through a mandrel bent 2-1 system, collecting beneath the engine and exiting in a single reverse cone on the right. Nimbleness with the Tig torch payed off handsomely when it came to making the exhaust, along with the multiple, brackets, mounts and tabs strewn across the bike. Mountain Rider E The silencer is finished with a machined end cap, just one of the many beautiful items of shiny billet aluminium found on the CB. With access to a CNC machine, Isidoro couldn't resist knocking up some one-offs. The throttle twist grip, fuel cap and foot pegs all received the same attention and love. Having the parts you interact with so closely on the bike look and feel so solid certainly inspires confidence. Mountain Rider F And it's when you look closer at the bike, that further details become apparent. No, the CB400N didn't come with a hydaulic clutch from the factory. Isidoro has neatly mounted a slave cylinder where the original cable adjuster was held and the lever now actuates the plates with a prod from a single digit thanks to a radial master unit. An oil temperature gauge nestles in a custom knurled mount, letting you keep an eye on the tuned engine's state of mind. It's a bike that deserves a second or third glance at. Mountain Rider G The chassis has received similar attention. Most importantly the original suspension has been binned. The flash of gold lets you know the rear shocks bear Ohlins quality, while the forks received new springs, oil and valve damping when they were rebuilt. There's now little worry when barreling into the coast road corners, fully rebuilt brakes containing EBC pads clamp onto a freshly drilled rotor. Though the original Comstars remain, powdered black and clad in a set of Mitas vintage trials tyres, the bike looks rugged and purposeful enough to take you anywhere. Mountain Rider H Keeping the aesthetics simple and classic, the majority of the components received a coat of black powder. Flashes of gold anodizing and paint around the bike ensures it doesn't become overbearing, but all eyes are really on that tank. Not paint or powder, it has been freshly plated in deep, deep chrome. A fantastic calling card for the company, along with the silencer, the finish is perfect, making it a pain to capture we'd imagine, so props to photographer Giuseppe La Colla . Practicality remains with full length mudguards, grown up sized lights and indicators, and there's even a WW2 ammo box mounted to the handlebars for somewhere to store your sandwiches. Mountain Rider I With the bike complete it's onto the next project, Isidoro hints at something with more of a Cafe flair... With a new website on the horizon, the easiest way to keep in touch is via his personal Facebook where we hope to catch a glimpse of the next build soon. Photos by Giuseppe Lacolla
Share