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  1. For ages Hannah and I have been after some sort of vehicle as a means to get stuff up to our ridge top for a cabin build plus for lots of other carting shit about the place. I had originally been thinking of some sort of tracked vehicle. Years ago, like 22 years ago, I worked for Doc for six months on the West coast. Among counting Kiwis, penguins, painting huts etc I did a lot of track work. On one of the tracks we had use of two power barrows. Honda powered things and quite cool. I learned quickly that on the way back from dumping a load of gravel you could stick it in reverse, stand in the tray and ride it backwards. Great fun (at 10kph...). So my idea was to get one of them to modify. But so spendy and so slow. We have three neighbours in our valley who have got the side by side farm thingees. What are they officially called? Anyway.. they are cool and I want one. But again..not cheap. Plus they are a bit too wide. I started thinking about adapting a quad bike. I want to get long lengths of timber up easily, plus, in true Kiwi fashion, I want to build something. It’ll be fun and I can design it around what we need for here. So for yonks Ive been looking on TM for a cheap quad to rip apart. Something beyond usual economic repair, like a rusty or damaged frame. I asked and left our number at the local motorbike shops, asked our neighbours to ask about among the local farmers etc. Nothing turned up suitable or people still wanted space ship money for something I was going to chop up. Then my uncle rang me. His mate had a 1988 Honda Big Red ( or otherwise known as a Fourtrax) TRX 300 AW that had been sat a few years with stripped head studs but otherwise in really good condition and on a trailer. He wanted a grand for it with the trailer. He sent some photos. It looked good and he knows the bike well so a deal was done. My uncle delivered it today and its good. It has really good tyres and the owner had had the wheels galvanised before having the tyres fitted. Which is nice. The frame has only really got light surface rust in places. The plastics are good although faded and the seat is good too. Rear brake works but front fluid is down. I suspect the wheel cylinders have poorly seals and they have emptied their guts out into the drums. The engine is clean, although in two halves. The cylinder liner shows no wear and the head looks good. Apparently the owner couldn’t get the plug out as it was seized in. He broke the plug so took the head off. Freed the plug but in replacing the head stripped the stud threads in the block. Or something like that. I dunno. I’ll just fix what needs fixing. Heli-coils or what ever is better. I know there are different options out there for thread inserts and I have no experience so any advice welcome. Until I have a better look I cant say what the holes are like. So our plan is roughly this. Sell that trailer. Make some coin back. We don’t need or want it. Fix the engine, clean it up, run it a while and ride it. Try it out on our tracks. Probably roll it and break something/someone. If it goes hard for what it is then I’ll strip it back, sell the plastics, seat, tank and any other stuff we don’t need. I want to lengthen the frame from the engine forwards by roughly 200-300mm, heavier springs up front if possible so it can take the extra weight of having a forward control setup. I have no plans or need to drop it down into river beds and no need for crazy attack angles so having feet over the front wont worry me, so long as I protect them. Rough ideas at this time are to utilise the existing handle bar with all its controls. It will most likely need powersteering added from a later bike, maybe with an electric pump? Or are they full electric assist? I have no idea on how quad bike systems work. I could use gear box cables from old fwd cars to control the gearshift. Or rods. Its unlikely in use on our land to see much more than second gear anyway. Build a lightweight steel frame over the front to take a basic bench seat for two, a roll cage with a rack on top. The extra wheel base will move the engine weight back and that combined with the forward control layout will allow a tipping tray on the back. We have a lot of fire wood sitting already to come down and many, many trees for future cutting. A decent tray will be handy. It has a good tow bar as well so a future trailer will certainly be built. I shall draw some sketches and post them up. It has till now been totally just me and my grey matter rummaging up simple ideas in my morning day dream slumber. I’m totally keen on any advice. I think once I put some sketches up you’ll all get a better idea. For now here is a photo of what we have… I can see it now.. it'll work perfect as is and I will just leave it alone, build a trailer. But shit.. where is the fun in that!!! So tempt me with neat ideas
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