Trail Bike Review: Honda XL 100

General Meeting Round-Up
April 12, 2018
Ride Report: Wyegate LDT
April 24, 2018

Trail Bike Review: Honda XL100S

Who are you?

Dominic Hunt

What TRF group do you belong to?

Northumbria TRF

Where do you ride?

Slaley, Weardale, Hawes

What bike are you reviewing?

1978 Honda XL100S

Honda-XL100s-04

The 450 in its current ADV trim

Honda-XL100s-03

The 450 in its current ADV trim

Hi my Name is Dominic Hunt and I am a Northumbria TRF member ( I was born in Bellingham) living near Durham City. I cut my teeth riding  a Honda C70 on pit heaps around East Durham moving in to various trail bikes Sl and xl Hondas, TS Suzuki’s Dt’s etc.

I started competing in easy route trials when I was 30 after retiring from ice hockey. I did trials off and on for around 20 years, riding around the waterfalls on the easy rider sheep tracks!

Roll on 5 years I had a guest ride to Hawes in the summer of 2017 and enjoyed it so much that  I joined that night. I have been out around 8 or 9 rides now, mainly Slaley and all trails up Weardale but have ventured to Hawes and over Great Ayton.

My bike reviewed is a 1978 Honda Xl 100s. I bought this in 1981 for £60. It has served me well as a winter hack as well as my sister as her daily commuter when she lived in Scarborough travelling the 14 miles to work along a railway line!

It came home and slumped in various corners until I dug it out in 2016.

What are the bikes good points?

  • Good torque for a small motor putting out 8-9 ponies! It actually got up the mid crossing on the infamous H
  • You never worry where the next fuel station is!
  • Appreciating classic now worth around 20x what I paid.
  • Low comfortable seat and light.
  • Ultra reliable
Honda-XL100s-06

Back in the day looking fresh with new plastics and home made go faster stripes

What are the bikes bad points?

  • Kickstart only
  • Lack of road speed! At my first ride I was asked how fast? 60 down a big hill and 12 mph back up it! Cruising speed 45 mph depending on wind conditions! In all honesty, between the trails was killing it.
  • Parts becoming hard to find though a brand new carb delivered from China was £17!
Honda-XL100s-01

The very idea of dismantling my bike would have terrified me in the past!

Honda-XL100s-05

It will fit in a VW Caddy, just!

What modifications have you made?

  • Sebac rear shocks
  • Bar risers and rentals
  • Homemade pipe
  • Bigger foot pegs
  • Alloy gear-lever
Honda-XL100s-07

It will fit in a VW Caddy, just!

What is it like to own and ride on green roads?

This bike is absolutely superb for an introduction to green lanes. It has been across The H, up and over Doctors Gate, ridden to Hawes and back regularly doing 130 mile ride outs. But, as I said, the road work was killing it. If you are in no hurry, miles for smiles for a new rider, perfect!

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