MX Bob Bike History - Eastward Gaze 23
2005 O'Hallee CRF180
Never Thought I’d Be That Guy

I never thought I would own a pit bike. I think what happened was that this was the height of the pit bike craze, other people I knew had them, and it was really cheap during a time of underemployment. I bought this brand new from my friend, Blair, which may or may not be his real name, but if you've been reading this for any length of time, knows that of course it is.

I had the next motorcycle in the list purchased, but I bought that in "project" condition. The funding and progress of that effort moved rather slowly, so in 2006, the relatively few times I rode, it was usually this bike.

Even though I put an apostrophe in the name and jokingly referred to it as my Irish Honda, it was in fact Chinese. It was pretty much a copy of the Honda CRF180, the engine anyway, but without the Japanese level of quality control. It came with a poorly translated owner's manual that was occasionally useful, but mostly good for laughs. It reminded me of the owner’s manuals for the Japanese bikes back in the 70s. One of my favorite phrases in there was "Engineered in Japan". No mention of China, where the bike was reversed-engineered and manufactured, could be found.

I had fun with this, and went on some good trail rides, including my only time up in the legendary "trails at the top" at Millville. I really had to keep an eye on things so they wouldn't fall off. I'm not sure if it was the vibration or something about the fasteners. I also could never get the jetting to stay right, despite Blair helping me find the obscure jets the carb used.

2006 started the trend of fewer race stories each year, although it did include my first Guest Appearance in Racer X, and a few national level stories; "Professional Motocross Returns to Minneapolis" (Boo Koo Arenacross) and "Road to New Zealand Starts in Oklahoma" (ISDE Qualifier) The “Old Motocrosser’s Guide …“ series also continued with an attempt at Vintage Motocross. I was loaned a Puch 125, which was very generous of the man who let me race it, but like the O’Halle, it developed some serious carburetion issues as the day went on.

I rode the O’Halee in competition once, a Supermoto race near Delano, MN. This race was to going to be the next installment of the "Old MXer" series. Supermoto was about at its peak, pre-2008-bubble-burst. This was a local promoter trying to make it work, not the national AMA series. The day went so poorly that it was never written about until now.

This how Supermoto was supposed to look, three wide through a turn.

They had a pit bike class, more or less, and so I prepared the bike for a road course, safety-wiring many things, adding an oil drip can, and a few other minor modifications. Unfortunately, the jetting issues were quite bad that day, seemingly made worse by the high-revving nature of the track. It was cutting in and out the whole time during my heat race, and I just barely made it to the finish, pushing it the last 50 yards or so back to my truck. I decided not to risk riding it in the main.

The income flow issue improved towards the end of in 06 when I started working for the company I had been laid off from a year earlier, doing a second, and what would turn out to be much longer, tour at the newly cash-infused company. This allowed me to finally get the next bike on the list ready to ride. This bike was then ignored.

I had stopped using this for quite a while before I finally sold it. I didn't really pay much for it, but got quite a bit less when I sold it. Blair continued to be saddled with working on it. The guy who bought it didn’t do much work on it himself, lived fairly close to his shop, and tracked Blair down to fix it. Eventually he stopped seeing the guy until 2016, when there at Sport Wheels, much to my imagined horror, he spotted the last remains of the Chinese-Irish Honda.

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Revised October 2017