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Sean Zeigler of Other Life Cycles Creates the Fantastic "Supermotoscramblerstein"

Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing side view

Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing defies conventional bike building wisdom (photo Brad Holt)

An Unlikely Donor

A 16th-century proverb states “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Clearly, the idea is that something innately ugly can’t be transformed into something beautiful, even in skilled hands. Well, the scribe of the adage clearly never met a creative force like Other Life Cycles.

The fascinating “Supermotoscramblerstein” built by the Texas-based custom motorcycle company, is living proof that great things can come from very humble beginnings. In fact, another ancient pearl of wisdom comes to mind - “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle would be impressed by the build that began as an unassuming and even homely early 1980s Honda.

Yes, the name is a bit unwieldy, but as Sean Zeigler of Other Life Cycles puts it, Supermotoscramblerstein is a name that reflects the amalgamated unity that the bike exudes.

Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing front side view

Clean simplicity defines the Supermotoscramblerstein project (photo Brad Holt)

“The ‘supermoto’ comes from the fork and 17-inch front and rear wheels,” Zeigler said. “‘Scrambler’ comes from the basic high pipe design of the exhaust and the dual sports tires. ‘Stein’ comes from, well, the mismatched parts all being made to work in harmony. The result is something that is part dirt bike, part urban scrambler, part street tracker, part cafe, and 100% fun.”

Supermotoscramblerstein has, at its core, a 1981 Honda GL500 Silver Wing. The Gold Wing’s little brother has been called many things over the years, but beautiful is not typically one of them. The half-liter mini-tourer is propelled by a modestly-powered, opposed twin, water-cooled engine that intrigued Zeigler. Zeigler said that the motor, “responds pretty well to being kicked in the pants with some simple modifications.”

So the Silver Wing’s engine was attractive to Zeigler, but that was not true of the rest of the Honda – especially when it was undressed.

“When you strip the bike down past the plastic and trim, it can look awkward, even a little unbalanced,” said Zeigler. “As I (say) that, I kinda wonder what possessed me to start with this base. All I can say is that I like a challenge…”

Engine Enhancements
 Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing K&N filters

K&N pod filters breathe life into the the 500cc twin (photo Brad Holt)

Let’s start with that 500cc engine that serves as the centerpiece of the build. Zeigler left the internals of the motor completely stock. He cleaned it up, repainted it, and polished the valve covers. He refurbished the engine badges and added some aesthetic details to complete what he calls the “utilitarian” look of the engine.

Zeigler focused his performance modification efforts on the Silver Wing engine's intake and exhaust. He replaced the stock CV carburetors with a set of round-slide Mikuni VM34 carbs. He also cleaned up the intake path.

“(I installed) a set of lightly ported and polished aluminum intake manifolds that feed fuel and air into the cylinders more directly,” said Zeigler. “All is capped off with pod filters from our friends at K&N filtration.”

After allowing the GL engine to breathe more freely, Zeigler shifted his attention to the exhaust side.

“With the fuel supply side of the engine bumped up a little bit, I dumped the stock 2 into 2 ‘H-box’ travesty of an exhaust system and designed and built up a shorter more streamlined stainless steel 2 into 2 exhaust tipped with short 8-inch slip-on mufflers from Cone Engineering,” reported Zeigler. “Since these pipes were tucked in close to the frame and engine, I machined heat shields out of aluminum that harkens back to the old Honda CL scrambler pipes.”

Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing wide view

Flat track and supermoto design elements meld perfectly in the Silver Wing build (photo Brad Holt)

Suspension Magic

The forks that Zeigler chose for his build were sourced from a Suzuki DRZ. The forks were shortened by five inches, and Racetech springs and gold valves were installed to make the internals perform better. He retained the DRZ’s supermoto style rotor and dual piston brake caliper. Finally, he laced a Sun aluminum 2.75 x 17 rim to the DRZ hub Buchanan’s spokes.

The frame posed a problem when Zeigler shifted his focus to the rear end.

“In the back of the bike, I went about reworking the frame to help get rid of the stance issue this frame has,” said Zeigler. “To my eye, the stock Honda Silver Wing sits on its butt too much. I swept the tail section of the frame up 10 degrees and fabricated a new subframe to help get the bike to stand up better. I also lowered the gas tank mounts to flatten out the line that runs from the front to the rear of the bike along the tank, seat, and tail.

“The rear suspension was also upgraded using a rear shock from a CBR990RR which gives the suspension an additional 10mm in eye to eye shock length and shock stroke. That translates into a 1.5-inch rise in the tail height over stock. I fabricated a mount for the external reservoir on this shock that tucks in behind the engine and in front of the rear shock. Lastly, I installed a new Racetech spring on the rear shock.”

Sean Zeigler's custom Honda Silver Wing back view

The Supermotoscramblerstein cuts a lean and trim posture (photo Brad Holt)

Completing the Silk Purse

Zeigler crafted custom CNC tank badges to go on the tank and built a custom aluminum rear battery cover. He fitted a tracker style number plate up front to go with the custom aluminum 7-inch headlight surround. The bike was completely rewired and LED lighting was employed throughout. He then turned his attention to the coatings that would complete the transformation.

“All the tins were painted using a combination of House of Kolor tangerine candy and apple red for the base color,” said Zeigler. “The tins were then embellished with hand applied white gold leaf and burnt orange pinstripes and graphics designed by my friend Sean Starr at Starr Studios.”

The silk purse was complete and the end result was truly greater than the sum of its parts. K&N is proud to be part of the magic. Nice work Mr. Zeigler!


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