A few years ago, amidst the chaos of grad school, Eric Baird picked up a vintage motorbike that wasn’t in great shape. It had a seized piston and a torn seat, but drawing from his upbringing working on small mechanical projects, Eric says he was instantly hooked on motorcycle restoration.
The next project, however, was much more involved, and Walnut came along for the ride.
Eric’s most recent project, the full rebuild of a 1964 Honda S90, was a labor of love. The bike was a rust bucket sitting on a rural ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a broken off handlebar and cracked side clutch cover. “Nothing moved due to rust. I had to have a buddy help me literally drag it off the ranch. In the process of restoration, I realized since it needed so many new parts for both the engine and body I could completely re-imagine the bike as a café racer.”
Café racers are visually minimalist, lightweight bikes that often have a 50’s style. Eric knew that in order to achieve this look a heavy dose of leather was in order so he turned to Walnut for help. “I had searched Amazon, and a few other websites for leather bike straps, but wasn’t pleased with the quality. I eventually stumbled on Walnut’s website and found exactly the look I was going for. Walnut’s leather straps proved invaluable and the tutorial videos were an enormous help as well.”
The project wasn’t easy. Eric used customized leather grips from Walnut as he strove to achieve the perfect look and feel. Eric says he completed most of the restoration work out of his apartment and it took two and a half years. “In the end it is really awesome and looks and sounds fantastic!”
“What I love most about motorcycles are putting together a working engine, and doing it in style. The thrill of putting a bike together and riding it, knowing every little part of it and knowing you put it together makes it worth it.”
Now it seems there’s no stopping Eric.
“I never meant to collect motorcycles, but it seems to be happening. I’m looking forward to more adventures with bikes now that this project is completed! I’ve already started my next project, the first bike I picked up back in grad school – a 1973 Kawasaki MC1 90cc bike. It’s pretty unconventional as a build, but I’m determined to make it in a desert sled and off-road kind of bike. I’ve learned a lot from the S90, and have a lot of good skills I can take to future projects.”
We can’t wait to see what you do next, Eric!