Don’t Call It a Moped — This ’72 Honda Goes by ‘Wild Horse’ Now
And it could use a whisperer
While millennials aboard electric scooters with names like Bird, Lime and Spin speed headlong into Silicon Valley’s next great ride-sharing war, we rather prefer an older breed of low-power commuter vehicle: the humble moped.
Plenty of vintage numbers have been getting the restoration treatment of late to stunning results, perhaps none better than this 1972 Honda SS50 “Wild Horse,” a Willy Wonka-meets-Steve McQueen custom build imagined and assembled by George Woodman.
gw (3 images)
Woodman is actually Sebastian Valliergues, a Biarritz, France-based woodworker who builds a few bikes each year, often infusing his creations with a healthy dosage of, well, wood. For the Wild Horse, he added a polished seat base that was most definitely not in the original ’70s version of the moped, along with a front plate for holding the halogen headlights. Both are made of beech wood.
Valliergues didn’t stop there, though. He’s already got a bike called the “Smoking Black Fish” enshrined in a museum in Dallas, so his engine expertise is a tad more serious than you’d expect for a carpenter’s side hustle. Valliergues switched out the 49cc engine for a 199cc Zongshen and pumped the output up to a worldbeating … 22 HP.
Keep in mind, the SS50’s a light bike. So with that sort of increase in power, the nickname starts making some sense. To compensate, he leveraged new shocks, front brakes, a start system and larger wheels supporting some get-out-of-my-way Michelin tires. But we’re hung up on that gleaming cobalt blue paint job, to be honest.
Images from George Woodman Garage