Categories
Bikes Events Other Shit

Praise the Slide – Sunday Slide April ’19.

Dressed in your Sunday best, SUNDAY SLIDE is a place of worship for the two wheel lovers.

Praise the Slide!

There’s nothing like it. SUNDAY SLIDE brings the living legends and new age novice hipsters together among the dust. Whether you ride a 1974 DT250 running methanol or a 2006 Honda CT110 with knobbys. All are welcome to share in the love and kindness that the slide shows us, except for those moderns.

SUNDAY SLIDE will be back later this year. In the meantime, stay dirty, stay holy.

Categories
Bikes

“This is not a scrambler!” – Triumph 2019 Scrambler 1200 XE

“THIS IS NOT A SCRAMBLER!” is what I shout to myself on repeat as I hit the first few corners of the famous Great Ocean Road in Australia’s south-east. Not a car in sight, my right wrist is only just warming up. Luckily, my hands are already comfortable thanks to the bike’s heated grips. From corner to corner, the 2019 Triumph Scrambler XE consistently proves that it was not only made to conquer the dirt, but the bitumen too.

The word ‘Scrambler’ became an industry phrase in the 50’s and 60’s for motorcycles that had both off and on-road capabilities. But in more recent times this really hasn’t been the case. It’s been turned into a fashionable term, falsely giving people the hope of adventure and promising that dreaded motorcycle misnomer, ‘freedom’. However, the tide has turned and Triumph recently decided to put a 21 inch wheel on a modern classic. It’s so large, I was immediately concerned that maybe Triumph have now focused on the bike’s off-road capabilities at the expense of the on-road.

However from the first corner in to the last corner out, this bike blew me away. The Showa front end with its 250mm wheel travel, coupled with the twin spring Ohlins adjustable rear suspension gives the Scrambler smooth and seamless movement from corner to corner. A little unexpected, huh? It gives you the stability and the confidence to push it relatively hard on the tarmac. At this stage, it may be difficult to imagine this bike is a “scrambler”, with the road performance being as fucking amazing as it is. My head now swimming, it begged the question: did Triumph build more street bike than dirt bike?

The engine – as beautiful as it is – has been in a few current models, like the Thruxton R and Bonneville T120. I’ve ridden these bikes, however I could instantly feel the improvements made here. First and foremost, it delivers more power and more torque. Now pushing 110 newton metres and 90 horses, it is truly more than enough of a power plant for a bike of this style. For those interested in watching their weight, the answer is 206 kilos (or 450 lbs) dry and around about 330 kilos with me on it, wet. Very wet.

The TFT display is now in its second generation, and it has features galore. There are a heap of options, including the always-amusing ability to customise the name of the rider for a friendly welcome message. Mysteriously, the morning of day two saw all the journalists welcomed with greetings that were more than a little honest…

Jokes aside, the display and overall setup is impressive, with a wide range of modes including the ability to customise your own. Traction control settings along with ABS can be turned off or on, with a bit of flexibility in between. The bike features six standard modes: Road, Rain, Sport, Off Road, Off Road Pro (or Dirt Burnout mode) and Rider, which is fully adjustable.

I used ‘Sport’ mode the most, although once we hit the mountains it started to sprinkle so I tested out the rain mode. It felt like the bike deftly rolled off the power exactly when needed to be more manageable in those conditions, which is a nice touch on such an imposing bike. As the road continued, we reached an ‘off-road testing facility’. Typically, these are places where manufacturers go to test out their vehicles for all sorts of compliance reasons. So it was sort of like heaven, I guess. This was my playground for the second half of the day; a space where I could truly test the off-road capabilities of the bike. Put simply, the Triumph Scrambler XE quickly exceeded the capabilities of myself.

The bike proved itself to be just as capable off-road as it was on, which is a big statement for a bike that looks as pretty as this. The modern-age scrambler game has officially been changed. This scrambler could fucking scramble, and it could scramble well. Steep down hill embankments, riding over logs, through water crossings or launched over woops – this bike could do it all! Sand, Water, Gravel, and Tarmac were all handled with ease. This truly is an everything bike. It’s the one bike you would choose if you needed to take your collection of two-wheelers and consolidate it into one big, beautiful ride. It’s basically the Swiss Army knife of motorcycles, and with a fantastic neutral riding position as well.

“The bike proved itself to be just as capable off-road as it was on, which is a big statement for a bike that looks as pretty as this.”

Other cool features include keyless ignition, a USB charger under the seat, full bluetooth capabilities, an integrated GoPro control system, Google maps on the dash, an integrated phone and music system and three-stage heated grips for those cold, lonely winter nights. When it comes to stopping, you know Triumph are serious when they use the set-up off the front end of the Street Triple RS; Brembo M50 callipers gripping down onto twin 320mm floating rotors.

Tyre-wise, it’s important to note that just like any rockstar’s backstage groupie session, there was eventually a rubber change. On road, the Scrambler was sporting the dual purpose Metzeler Tourance Tyres. And when off-road, we shifted to the Pirelli Scorpion Rally. For those curious on just how many inches I was sporting, it was a front of 21 x 2.15″ and a rear of 17 x 4.25″.

If you’re shy and don’t like conversing with people, this isn’t the bike for you. In its standard configuration, the exhaust note is louder than what you’d expect in an age where many bikes are getting quieter. No doubt, the 270 degree crank helps with such a lovely sound. The looks are stunning, from headlight design to the Monza cap, and the oval-shaped rear of the twin pipes.

This bike started conversations everywhere I stopped. There were even propositions for nude photos on the bike, although it was me offering it to a lovely old lady who wanted to take photos for her husband. Would he of appreciated it? Who knows. But what I do know is that this bike doesn’t lack character in any form, and with two colour schemes available in the XE version, you’ll be hard set deciding which to choose.

My final thoughts? This is not the sort of scrambler that Steve McQueen would use to jump the wire fence in The Great Escape, this is the scrambler Steve McQueen would use to jump Steve McQueen jumping the wire fence in The Great Escape. It’s seriously that good, and if you are in the market for a tick-all-the-boxes bike, this just might be the one.

Categories
Bikes Cafe Shit Other Shit

Roads We Ride | Kangaroo Valley

The Roads We Ride collaboration between Transport for NSW, Pipeburn, and Stories of Bike, continues with a great ride through the Kangaroo Valley on the Moss Vale Road. 

Join local Kawasaki Rider, Dan Sharp, on his custom café racer as he explores one of NSW’s most picturesque historical locations, via one of the State’s most spectacular roads – and Australia’s oldest suspension bridge.

Click here to watch as Dan focuses on the changeable weather conditions, the challenges he faces with local wild life and and visiting tourists within the region.

Visit Kangaroo Valley for a ride sometime; and as always, keep the shiny side up.

Categories
Bikes

The Burning Boxer – Tony’s BMW Café Racer

The beauty of motorcycles is that they can screech into your life at any moment, and 8 years ago that moment happened to Tony. In true Aussie tradition, his first bike was a CT110 Postie a mate of his picked up cheap at an auction. A license and 10 bikes later and the addiction has firmly taken hold. Starting and completing a motor mechanic trade straight out of school, Tony has been working on anything and everything as long as he can remember.

  

His current creation is a 1986 BMW r65 Café Racer, “I got the idea to do a BMW airhead when I visited the BMW Welt museum in Munich, after that i was hooked on boxers.” It’s a ground up rebuild/custom, having it all pulled down to the frame. All the unnecessary tabs, brackets and mounts were ground, filed or smoothed over in true Café Racer tradition. The result is something that is neat, sleek and nimble.

Having such a history working with motors and vehicles has afforded Tony the knowledge and skill to rebuild and replace everything on this bike. Once the frame was sorted, not a part on the bike was left unchanged, replaced or rebuilt. The bike had over 80 hours of fabrication work done to it at RB Racing, where Tony himself is currently working.

Some of the work that went on there included:

  • Custom rear set brackets
  • Custom sub frame
  • Relocated ignition switch
  • Hidden horn, number plate mount
  • Frame bracing
  • Rear brake linkage
  • Relocated battery mounts
  • Lower fairing bracket
  • Steering dampener mount
  • Mounts to raise the tank 1″ at the rear
  • And of course the custom full exhaust system.

Once the fabrication was done, Tony worked towards pulling the bike down once more (statues of Saddam Hussein haven’t been pulled down as many times as this bike) and got to work getting everything painted and reassembled. There were a lot of long nights in the shed with the help from mates.

“The boxer was always going to be ridden hard no matter what, I wanted to set up an aggressive riding position from seat to bars, and seat to pegs. Since I’ve always had an interest in race bikes from the past and present, I wanted to create a bike that was a throwback to a classic racer style with the upgrades and modern take on style and function. This can be seen in the custom exhaust system which exits out of the rear body work, by far my favourite park of the bike”

The bike is running with front Racetech suspension and Wilbers Type 631 Competition rear shock with remote reservoir so not only will the bike mimic sensibilities of an old school race bike, but will also perform well when the bike is being blasted through local backroads. “I also wanted to run the best possible tires on this bike, trying Pirelli Sport Demons first and then moving over to the Dunlop K81 TT100 which I liked better”

While Tony hasn’t got a new custom project on the board at the moment, he spends the rest of his time racing and maintaining his Honda RVF400 race bike. “Its always an ongoing project where I am looking to squeeze the most out of the bike and myself every lap, or I will break myself in trying”

Categories
Bikes

The King Of The Footpath – The Postie

The Honda CT110, affectionately known Australia wide as a ‘Postie’ for profoundly obvious reasons. This machine has been the workhorse for postal deliveries for over 30 years, and starter bikes for riders across the country. We pay homage to this little red belter.

 

Back in the old days, shortly after dinosaurs were buried into the ground by the Devil to test Christians faith, the post was delivered by pushbike. Completing daily deliveries via this method is making me feel tired already, but fortunately in 1971 some bright spark reckoned we bin the pushies and instead get some wheels with motors. Someone buy that legend a beer. This new mode of transport would be the Honda CT90, with a brutal 5kW coming from the 89cc engine and a 4-speed gearbox with auto clutch. This clutch system allowed free use of a hand, making it ideal for mail deliveries. It wouldn’t be until 1980 however that the model you and I are most familiar with would hit footpaths across the nation.

The bigger brother of this CT90 would start to roll out, with a mighty 105cc pumping 6kW it would be the king of the Aussie footpath, delivering bills and birthday cards far and wide. The roll of the Postman was fraught with danger, with vicious dogs, apathetic cats, and dodgy driveways claiming many a proud deliveryman. Images of Kevin Costner in the 1997 epic post-apocalyptic adventure film may now be springing to mind. Not for me, I haven’t seen the bloody film. I actually have no idea if it even has anything to do with the post. But I digress.

Honda were all too happy to feed Australia Post all the bikes they needed. Aus Post would send the bikes off to retirement after 25,000kms or 3 years – whichever came first. Word on the street (or internet) is that there are roughly 7,000 of these bikes jamming letters in boxes across the country. This means, if my maths is correct (it rarely is) there’s over 2,000 sales Honda can happily complete with Aus Post each year. Not bloody bad.

Thanks to this little bikes dedicated use in the Postal industry, this has made it the highest selling motorcycle in the country. What this also means is that there’s a bloody buttload of pre-used models up for sale for the right price. This has made it as an entry point into motorcycling for countless Aussie riders, who have slapped a bright yellow L plate onto this fine steed.

The possibilities for the Postie aren’t simply mail or learner riders, with Postie rallies popping up around the country, and plenty of custom builds being created. Anything from fine Café Racer versions to rude Choppers, and mongrel beasts that tear up the dirt track.

In 2013 Aus Post retired our beloved CT100 altogether, to be replaced by flashier Super Cub 110. Casting aside the proud heritage red, this new beasties are a bright flouro which is apparently to make them more visible and safer for the postie riding said bike. We know the truth though, Big FlouroTM is in Aus Post’s pockets for that sweet delicious flouro market.

Or something.

 

Categories
Bikes Reviews

Unveiled – The Bobber Black

Being a mad Triumph fan (and to help a brother out) I was kindly asked to represent Throttle Roll at the Triumph Australia official launch of the new Bonneville Bobber Black and new Bonneville Speedmaster.

Having never been on a bike launch before I asked His Holiness Hawwa what’s involved.

The short answer was “thrash some bikes around Sydney, be wine and dined, get photographed, critique the bikes, pretend you know what you’re doing and spin some shit with other top journos. Oh, and hang out with Charley Boorman, all for a couple of days.”

“Hmmm…” I said, “let me think about that for a minute.”

Nek minnit, I’m online applying for extra leave to extend my Easter holidays, and immediately the excitement butterflies begin to build up in anticipation.

I was lucky enough last Easter to have borrowed a brand new Triumph Bobber for the Throttle Roll pre-Party Bike Ride. Being the lead rider, it was a great way for Triumph to show off their latest 1200cc High Torque monster, which really wanted to fit in with the cool cats of the custom bike world. It turned out shortly after its launch that, the bobber became so critically acclaimed by fans around the world that it became Triumph’s fastest selling motorcycle in its 115 years of existence. Who would’ve thunk it.

I had that Bobber for 5 full days and enjoyed every 800 km’s that I put on it– around the city, along country highways, and into the twisties. It was comfortable, gave a spirited ride, looked and sounded bad-ass, and it hit its design purpose on the head. But Bobbers just aren’t for me. I still commended Triumph with what they did with that bike – and that engine.

It did have a few downsides tho, most notably in the braking department. It went like the clappers, instant torque when you flicked the throttle and quickly built up speed. But pulling that 228kg (dry) beast up with a single disc and caliper was always going to be a tough ask. You see, the Bobber wanted to go – and it did. It wanted to turn – and it sort of did… Ground clearance was the biggest hurdle. But it really did not want to stop. In fact, when you needed it to stop you would have to allow sufficient time so you could perform the braking evolution without overshooting a corner or ramming it arse up into a tin top. Don’t get me wrong; it was adequate – especially for a Bobber – but its stop didn’t quite match its go.

Fast forward a year and enter stage left the Bobber Black – or as I like to call it, Bobber 2-point-ohhhh.

It’s meaner, more muscular, more imposing, and ‘more blacker’. You can pick any colour of the rainbow that you want, so long as It’s black – Jet Black or Matt Jet Black.

You see, Triumph listened to their customers and they changed a few things – for the better.

The first big difference you’ll notice is the front end. It’s now chunky, with extra beef. This is a result of new 47mm Showa cartridge forks (up from 41mm KYB forks), a smaller 16” blacked out rim (down from 19”) wearing a 136mm wide high profile tyre (up from 119mm wide), and twin discs each gripped by 2-pot Brembo calipers (up from a single disc with a Nissen caliper) which immensely improved its braking capability.

All up, it not only adds to the Bobber Black’s beefy hunched-forward appearance, but it also helps pull-up the black beast quickly and easily. A light squeeze on the lever with 2 fingers is all that’s needed to quickly pull the reigns in and come to a halt. It’s definitely a good upgrade over the standard model.

The clutch is the same in regards to ease of use, it’s torque-assisted, and only requires a light squeeze with a couple of fingers in order to swap cogs. Wanna race? Turn off Traction Control, make sure it’s in Road mode, apply revs, dump the clutch and hold on. It’s so easy with that clutch. In fact, this is exactly what Triumph encouraged us to do with the Bobber Black by sending us out to Eastern Creek Dragway in Western Sydney. They say the bike is at home in a straight line with power applied, and I couldn’t agree more.

After our safety brief, a photoshoot and a couple of practice runs we then went into a knock out competition. This started off all shits and giggles until we were told some prizes were on the line and then all hell and rear tyres broke loose.

I eased through my first round but unfortunately got done by an ex Australian Superbike racer in the second. I had the jump but he rode around me when it mattered.

In the end, it was he who got the quickest time of the day down the quarter mile with a 12.3 second run @ 168 km/h. And it was Charley Boorman who took out the competition by knocking everyone out. Well-done, Mr Celebrity-Who-Can-Actually-Ride!

And just for the record… I ran a 12.4 second pass @ 166 km/h

After our half day at the drag strip, we headed south to the Royal Nasho to test the Bobber Black through some twisties.

Triumph supplied the Bobber Black in a few variations, one with the Quarter Mile kit which included clip on bars, upgraded Fox mono-shock suspension (rebound adjustability only) and Vance & Hines silencers. And another with the Old School inspiration kit, which included a brown leather seat and Ape Hanger style bars – among other additions.

For me I love the look of the clip-on’s as it’s more my riding style, so I found myself on the Quarter Mile more often than not. It also helped that the other blokes on the ride liked having a photoshoot or a short squirt with the clip-on’s, but didn’t want it for too long. It does get to your lower back a bit with the foot position. The seat is still adjustable back and down or up and forward. I left it as it was (up and forward I believe), and the riding triangle just never quite felt right with the clip-on’s. It definitely wasn’t as comfortable as the stock Bobber Black with its low rise straight bars on the highway, which was a bit more of an upright position and very ergonomic. Like the original Bobber, the bike will still send a jolt up your back if you hit a decent bump. Even on the Fox equipped bike, the hard bumps were still felt on the factory setting. Playing around with the Fox’s one and only adjustment (rebound) may help with this, but I didn’t get around to fiddling with this. All up though the stock mono-shock does an OK job.

Once in the twisties, the Quarter Mile felt more at home with its forward weight bias, and it was here that it was the red hot favourite Bobber Black again amongst the boy racers. Sometimes it pays to be selfish.

Performance wise, the Bobber Black is the same HT 1200cc engine that’s found in the Bonneville T120 but with its own unique tune. What this ‘unique tune’ statistically translates to is 10% more torque and horsepower than the T120 at 4,500 rpm. The Bobber Black does have 2% more torque overall (106Nm) but lacks about 2% in neddies in total (77PS). What this means in real-world speak is the Bobber Black, like the original, is a low-down grunt monster that doesn’t need high revs, and loves traffic light drag racing. And this all comes down to a change of exhausts from the T120’s.

What this also means in day-to-day riding, whether in the twisties or in high-speed sweepers, is you just simply leave it in a gear, wipe off a little speed using two fingers or a right foot (the rear brake is quite sufficient), turn until you hear those hero knobs screech (oh it happened a lot), hit the apex, apply a fist full of throttle, listen to that glorious 270 degree offbeat thump reverberate all around, grin like a little school boy and repeat.

Coming in at an extra 9.5 kilos over the original Bobber with 100% of that forward of the head stem, you can feel the difference in the unsprung weight department at the front when turning. It’s not difficult to turn, but it is noticed. The overall diameter of the wheel and tyre is the same as the original, but the extra weight, bigger forks and gyroscopic forces of the twin discs does add to the weighted effect. It’s certainly not a deal breaker – especially once you consider the beef it now brings.

In fact, the Bobber Black is a mega fun bike to ride. It has oodles of torque and plenty of power. It now stops as good as it goes, and with or without the V&H pipes it sounds aggressive and deep. Throw in a heap of black stuff on the bike and you’ve got one seriously aggressive looking, blacked out hot rod of a bike – exactly what Triumph were aiming for.

From a custom bike tinkerer’s perspective, what else could be done or changed to the Bobber Black? It would all be cosmetic, really. Besides the usual shorter front and rear fender, smaller indicators and maybe a custom paint or wrap job, I’d look at putting a wider rear tyre on the back to give the rear end a bit of a beefy look too. But squeezing a wider rim and tyre inside that caged swing arm would prove pretty difficult. Normally, a headlight would be one of the first things I’d change on a bike to give it its own character – it’s own eyeball, so to speak – but the 5 inch LED DRL on this bike is a thing of beauty and I absolutely love it and wouldn’t change it for anything else.

It goes to show that Triumph have done an exceptional job with this bike straight off the showroom floor.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I tackle the Bobber Black’s less bobbed (and less black) brother, the Speedmaster.

Words by Tremayne East.

Photos supplied by Triumph Australia.

Categories
Bikes Cafe Shit

Kent’s Yamaha TR1

As a young whippersnapper, Kent started his two-wheel journey like many of us – on his trusty BMX push bike, naturally progressing through to Motocross on an YZ125. Motorcycling came as second nature to Kent, however, it would be years later that he would officially get a license that allowed him to ride through the concrete jungles.

Born in the picturesque New Zealand, bro, Kent moved to the UK when he was 13, and joined the Sydney motorcycle scene 5 years ago. Being a fan of Aussie-based builders such as Renegade Custom Cycles, Kent decided it was time to build his very own custom cafe racer. For his base-of-choice, he was drawn to the horizontal cylinders of a BMW R65. From a learner legal bike, he progressed to a completely customised BMW K1100 and, fast forward to his 3rd bike, and the one that he calls “a keeper” – his wild, daily ride – the TR1, originally built by Yamaha in 1981.

The Yamaha TR1 of the early 80’s was in fact more cruiser than café racer, more chill than aggressive, and to be frank, more ugly than Ms Universe (or Mr Universe for those who will claim we are sexist).

It is a 75-degree V-twin engine with a capacity of 981 cc and a top speed of 184kph. The engine is a stressed part of the frame, which makes for a bike that looks all-engine. Now, I know a lot of you are sitting there thinking “A TR1? Fuck off, that’s just a fancy way of saying XV or Virago!” Well, settle petal, the TR1 is chain drive with the XV being a shaft-driven machine. The TR1 was never going to be the bike that shifted Harley-Davidson riders to Yamaha, however in more recent times it has been a cheap second-hand bike that has proven to be a strong base for some pretty wild custom bikes.

An authority on the XV, TR1, and Virago custom build front, is Classified Moto. Possibly the first to start using this base to make custom trackers and cafe racers, Classified Moto have inspired a whole wave of these unique Yamaha customs over the last 6 years, including this one.

“The work of John Ryland was the inspiration for this project. I wanted a bike that was low maintenance, low tech and wildly customised while still being used daily through city streets.”

Kent chose a path not taken by many when modifying these cruisers, he took the somewhat dusty path of turning it into a machine that is competent on-road and, if required, off-road. Aesthetically, he wanted the flat-tracker look with a touch of the carbon fibre modern bike world. He purchased the tank and tail from BOTT POWER, a small Spanish motorsport engineering company. When deciding to use ARIAS pistons, custom cams, custom springs and bringing the bore from 980cc to 1065cc, coupled with the Mikuni TM40 flat slide carburettors, Kent quickly realised his 7L tank wasn’t even enough to do a Macca’s run.

This led to even further work for Darren Millichamp of DNA custom cycles, who was in charge of creating the bike of Kent’s most-recent dreams.

“I understood the tank was the tank and that wasn’t going to change, so we started to look at options to create an additional overflow tank running its own pump back to increase the capacity. Being a TR1 there wasn’t much space to play with, and this part of the build was probably the most frustrating part, however, we settled to slide it under the tail and in-between the swing arm and exhaust, giving the bike an additional 5L capacity.”

Next up were the wheels, suspension and swing arm. Wanting to shift this bike from cruise to sport, Kent opted to stick to the Yamaha family, and breed internally. He chose a R6 swing arm and wheel set up, utilising all the R6 discs and brakes; and R1 forks, wheel and brake set up on the front end. To ensure the bike had a similar rake and trail, Darren customised the rear to fit and created the CNC triple trees needed to marry this inbred together and finally, the wheels are wrapped in the Pirelli MT60RS specially designed for the Ducati Scrambler.

The exhaust was built in house by Darren, and upon asking him the question of how many pieces make up the exhaust, he put the phone down, went to the bike, and started counting.

“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82. Yep, 82”

Being a daily bike and wanting reliability, Kent settled on using Motogadget for the electrics, surrounded by a custom DNA housing which is the actual M-Unit on display to the world. This is possibly the first time the unit has been shown as a feature-piece on a bike build. The bike also uses the M-Lock, Motogadget speedometer and indicators; however, Kent shifted away from using the matching buttons and used the switchgear made by Ben at Extreme Creations.

To finish off the bike, Kent chose Renthal bars, R6 rear sets, ASV levers, and Extreme Creation brake reservoirs.

By far, this is the craziest TR1, XV, Virago we have featured, and possibly one of the only bikes with three names.

 

Categories
Bikes

Haydn’s 1995 Yamaha XJR 1200

With his ’81 Honda CB900F away being restored, Haydn needed another set of wheels to keep him on the road, and sane (well, somewhat). So it would be a 1995 Yamaha XJR1200 that would join his family, and in turn, receive a tonne of work for itself.

When asked “Why the XJR1200?” Haydn kindly responded “Because I’m a fat cunt and needed a large capacity bike so that I could make it up hills.” Fair enough, a man’s gotta move. Haydn’s been a big fan of the UJM format bikes, and thus stuck with what he knew and sorted himself an XJR 2 years ago. “The bloke who owned the bike had it since brand new. He was devastated when I rode away, he only sold it to me because he couldn’t ride anymore due to a knee reconstruction. I had no intentions to modify the bike, but as usual one thing sort of led to another. I wonder what the old bloke would say if he saw it now…”

So, before the wrenching began on this bone stock machine, Haydn had been turning his CB900 into a café racer, which had instead turned into a resto-mod. This meant all Haydn’s ideas of Café Racer glory would fall onto this unsuspecting XJR.

The build would commence with a set of clip-ons (as is Café Racer tradition) which then spiralled out of control as Hadyn battled to create something he believed worthy of the Throttle Roll 2016 pre-event ride. “I sourced a fibreglass seat online and got about chopping up the frame, welding in support pieces and relocating the small Li-Ion batter under the cowl. I then added some new, adjustable rear shocks from Gazi, which replaced the leaking factory items. I also sourced a front end from a 2001 Yamaha R1 and set about fitting it up, with help from a local steel fabrication firm who turned up a new steering stem for the R1 yokes to match the XJR headstock.”

Next up would be for Haydn to fabricate a new headlight basket and wire up the new Acewell all-in-one gauge, and some pod filters. “The only other outside help I required was getting the seat pad made up, because who the fuck owns a sewing machine? After all this came a Yoshimura replica hand bent exhaust from Japan, some Over Racing adjustable rearsets, an integrated tail light/indicators, braided brake lines, a rear calliper from a late model XJR1300, and some Rizoma mirrors. The bike was finally tuned by Harley over at RB Racing and put down 115hp at the wheel.”

“I’ve always been a big fan of classic racing cars like the Gulf Porsches, GT40’s and stuff like the Martini Racing Lancia rally cars. They all have such instantly recognisable colour schemes, people know and love them, and I do too. The paint was the final piece of the puzzle in fact, and it has really set the bike apart. It was completed by Sam down at Colourfuel in Caringbah. I came to him with a couple of pictures off Google, and idea, and the Sam did the rest. The paint is just fucking amazing, and I’m really pleased with the result, he did a fantastic job.”

“It’s pretty quick bike, which is nice. I think the fact that I did almost all the work myself makes me appreciate it a bit more – if that makes any sense. It’s also cool seeing people’s reactions when they see the paintwork… it’s turned into a conversation starter for sure.”

Categories
Bikes

Macho Nacho – Mark’s Triumph Scrambler

Okay it’s super awkward writing a blog about your bike and self. So instead of reminding people how insanely attractive I am for a man of Middle Eastern appearance/ just man in general; I am just going to lay down some words and quote myself about the build aspect of this bike.

A bit of backstory – Triumph gifted me this bike in 2014 when they became the global sponsor of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Here is what I had to say about that.

“In actual fact it was a bit daunting being gifted with a bike. Trying to navigate through all possible outcomes of getting stuck into modifying it, is there an expectation I’d leave it standard? Will they get upset if I shorten the fenders, paint it, put other peoples parts on? I didn’t know what to do, well deep down I did, I just didn’t want to offend those who made a huge decision to support us on such a global scale! However, I just decided fuck it, I want it to be mine, I want it to be unique and the work then began. To my surprise – Triumph were digging it and totally understood the customisation culture.”

“The build process continued forever, as my tastes changed, the bikes changed with it. From factory to now, its had 3 paint jobs. Each stunning! However my final, for now, decision was to take the tank back to bare metal and clear coat it. Murder out all the other parts to the bike and just go for that big braun, murdered out vibe. It’s an awesome daily.”

“The work that went into the bike wasn’t overly excessive, I say that because a lot of friends helped out with the build and I did close to sweet FA. The most difficult part would have been grafting the Triumph Explorer front end on which required the help of Darren from DNA Custom Cycles. The entire bike is not a big $$$ build nor did it need to be, It is one of my least defect-able bikes I own from a police perspective, looks great to me, makes me look small and is a well sorted, hoot to ride. Those front brakes are enough to pull up a steam train. Okay probably not but you get maaa drift.”

Go the Dragons!

“My favourite thing about this bike is the 270 degree crank. It makes for such an amazing sounding motorcycle, and by far one of my favourite sounding machines out there. However I do wish it did have the Triumph Bobber 1200 engine in it. Maybe an idea for the future… I also dig the front mag wheel vs. the rear spoked. It always pisses off my autistic mates.”

The Extensive Modifications List

  • The front is a Triumph Explorer 1050 suspension, brakes and wheel.
  • Customised headlight surrounds with integrated Rizoma indicators and a front MX cowl
  • Hair and beard by Tommy J Barber
  • Speed Merchant Side Covers and rear foot pegs
  • Biltwell foot pegs
  • Triumph Aftermarket Seat set up re-trimmed, painted and powder coated
  • British Customs 180 rear wheel from https://www.wenley.com.au/
  • Aftermarket Arrow exhaust – Then modified to sweep upwards, ceramic coated
  • Tank taken back to bare metal and clear coated
  • Body by Fit Factory PT
  • Shortened rear fender
  • Free Spirits front fender
  • Free Spirits rear suspension risers
  • General Well-bring by Hyde Park Medical Centre
  • Gazi rear suspension
  • Posh tail light
  • Modified chain guard
  • Mental Health by Movember
  • Rizoma indicators
  • Renthal handlebars
  • Clothing by Saint.cc
  • Rizoma side mirrors
  • Monza fuel cap
  • Ignition relocation
  • Physio by Life Fit
  • Gold chain baby
  • Black rear sprocket
  • Poker Skills by – self taught mother fucker!
  • Aftermarket crash bars
  • Pirelli MT60RS tyres
  • Hair Product by Uppercut
  • $10 Ebay special side bag
  • Custom number plates by the money hungry scumbags at myplates.com.au

A special Thank you to Triumph Motorcycles (for very obvious reasons). The Speed Merchant, Free SpiritsGazi Suspension, DNA Custom Cycles, RB Racing, Harley Borkowski, Smith Concepts, Drifter Bikes, Chris Atkinson and Nik Ellwood.

This bike is now not for sale for the low price of $69,999.00 contact Jacob.

True story: I asked where is my coffee and he just walked past laughing. Asshole. Flat white next time. 

How many supporters / Sponsors can you count?

I wonder if she is ‘the one’

a real bad ass would of rode through the water. Not me.

Suck it in fella

 

Categories
Bikes Cafe Shit

Wenley’s Triumph Thruxton

Early in 2017, Wenley (with the support of Pipeburn, Stories of bike, Throttle Roll and Gasoline Motor Co.) embarked on a journey to be one of the first builders in Australia to go absolutely wild on the new Modern Classic base from Triumph Motorcycles. Having always been a Triumph tragic, Wenley chose the Thruxton R as the bike that he would put his pennies, and complete attention to, for 2017.

Triumph Motorcycles Australia loved the idea so much they threw their support behind it immediately. Wenley was to build a killer custom Cafe Racer to be specifically showcased at The Throttle Roll Street Party. But thats not it – once completed, this bike would burn through the marketing circuit around Australia; having more media commitments than Kim Kardashian.

The new Modern Classic range comes with ABS and Traction Control as standard, but for Wenley, that wasn’t going to stay around for too long.  “Yeah fuck that, we immediately took off abs, traction control and put it in sports mode. I was ready to ride, then I shit my pants on second gear when the bike did a wheelie and I almost died. But that being said, with the amount of adrenaline running through my system, it was actually fun. This was a new rush of power from the previous Thruxton and my love of the looks was now on par with my love of its performance.”

Having recently moved from Perth back to Sydney, Wenley, like most of us here in Sydney, had no where to build the bike. Luckily, Gasoline Motor Co. came to the rescue offering their space, tools, hands and brains to ensure this build was on display at The Throttle Roll Street Party.

Trying to navigate through all the different ideas bashing around his brain, Wenley had to somehow simplify these ideas into one clear concept. “At first, the intention was to build something simple as I only had 8 weeks to complete it – while maintaining a normal day job. It wasn’t much time at all for a build at this level. The fibreglass seat took the longest to fabricate, it was all done by hand. I hunted around for a week looking for something that would suit. I ended up buying 3 seats, however, I ended up using what was right under my ass the entire time. Instead, I used the same design of the standard seat; creating it smaller and in one piece. It took a lot of moulding and shaping to get the lines right. I am super proud of it, and it’s great to pay homage to the original vision by Triumph Motorcycles.”

As with all custom builds we feature, there are tens-to-hundreds of aspects changed throughout a build. It doesn’t start or end with just some cushion for your tush(ion). Next up on Wenley’s agenda was the air box and electrics. Sounds like fun, right?

“The air box had to be removed, surprisingly that wasn’t too hard. The main challenge was the speedo! The bike would not start if any wire was missing, so here the real challenge began – figuring out how to connect all the Motogadget gear while maintaining the electrics. A lot of the details are a blur while I tried to balance work, sleep and building, but I made it work, and it works amazingly”

However, this is just the start – the challenges kept throwing themselves at him, hard and fast!

“My next step was to make a cool surround for the new speedo, drawing on inspiration from race cars like Lamborghini, Ferrari etc. I came up with a design which included a start button with a race inspired CNC triple clamp to match. I then focussed on the heel guard, sprocket cover, number plate holder and custom internal throttle cable kit. Running an internal throttle cable in conjunction with the Electronic fly-by-wire took a stroke of genius that I do not wish to explain just yet.”

With only a few weeks until the star of Throttle Roll Street Party was born, the tins still need paint! Wenley is a huge fan of the Satin Grey Mercedes AMG C63, so needless to say he chose a similar colour. Following the lines of the C63’s paint job helped him form the lines for this amazing build. If there is one painter in Sydney always up for a challenge, it’s Kyle Smith of Smith Concepts. Kyle jumped on board, laying down his skills with the gun across the tank, seat and cowl.

Next up – wheels! Not just any wheels. The original wheels Wenley wanted for his creation were carbon, however, the wait of 6 months just didn’t cut it. Kineo Wheels came to the rescue after learning of his crazy 8 week build. He also had to sell a Kidney to afford it, but we both agree it definitely makes the bike.

Wenley is known for some crazy exhaust concepts, and this was to be no different.

“For the exhaust I wanted something pretty wild; something looking like fat ram horns at the front and continuing through the chassis to pop out just underneath the seat. I knew I needed someone with amazing welding skills, so went on to visit my mate Nick from Hi-Tech Mufflers. I was running short of time. Literally 2 days left until the launch! Nick made it happen. He brought the weld porn I needed.”

With the exhaust finished and air pods customised, the bike was tuned by the folks at Bikebiz Granville (Australia). The torque curve was exactly what Wenley had wanted, giving him amazing low end torque which is perfect for the streets of Sydney.

And as this fairytale comes to a happy end, silence falls for Wenley’s final words.

“This was quite a fun build. All up, close to 250 hours went into this with no expense spared. It was a huge amount of work with a high level attention to detail. All the tabs were removed, re-sprayed frame, swing arm and springs. This build was sheer blood, sweat and celebratory beers. The fabricating of one-off custom parts took up a heap of that 250 hours. The electrics with the Motogadget speedo and switches may be overkill, but that is the point of this bike. Its built to perform, grab attention, win trophies and above all – its built to be ridden. The attention it received at The Throttle Roll Street Party warranted the hours I put into this build, along with the hard of work of all the individuals that helped out. A massive thanks to all of them”

The ‘Phantom’  Thruxton R is now for sale at (AUD)$39,900 For more information head to wenley.com.au or call him on +61416099274.

Special Thanks to The Commune for the their ongoing support and amazing space.

l

Categories
Bikes

Francesco’s ’93 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Cafe Racer

Born and raised in Italy, Francesco started riding bikes as soon as he could afford them. After many different machines over the years, and a change of country, Francesco now has an incredible Harley Café Racer.

Since Francesco was young, he’d be drooling over old cars and every sort of bike he saw. “The problem was however, that my Dad never liked the idea of me on two-wheels. I spent years begging for a moped, a Vespa, anything! Whatever had wheels and an engine but got nothing. I could only buy magazines and keep dreaming about choppers, café racers, and race bikes. Then at the age of 16 I started working for an ex-pilot and road racer who trained me as a motorcycle mechanic, and with my money saved I finally got myself a bike. A 1997 Aprilia RS125 off a friend, and since then I’ve never stopped riding.”

Now settled in Australia, Francesco was itching to get another set of wheels after a tortuous hiatus from his one true love of motorcycling. The craving for riding sent him to Gumtree where he would go searching for anything that was below grand. “Then popped up an ad for this Heritage Softail Evo in Brisbane for a fair price. I thought about the Ironhead I had to sell back in 2008 due to the financial crisis, and so then drained my pockets to the very last cent and got myself this wide and low Harley.”

The bike arrived stock standard, but Francesco was soon to modify it for his own needs, with the bike starting to form a Bobber aesthetic. “I was riding the bike like a sports bike, and one day while I was dragging the hell out of the long chassis on a ride, the front end slipped and I ended up under a guard rail while the bike hit a pole. My head went straight under the guardrail blades, a metre further down and it would have been a lot worse! So after that I got thinking about how I could make the bike more rideable for the kind of work I’d be putting it through, you know, raise the pegs so they don’t scrape all the time etc.”

After the accident, Francesco’s bike was now essentially a blank canvas with which he could create whatever his mind and ability allowed him. “I know that Harley’s in general aren’t a good start when you want cornering and to be efficient through winding roads, especially the Softails, but this was my machine and I love a challenge!”

And so the challenge would be to turn this big arse classic style heritage cruiser into a stripped now, nimble café racer. “Café racers have always been my favourite style of custom bike because you can bond retro/classic style with race oriented solutions, (clip ons, rear set, single seat, improved suspensions etc) and this movement started as garage made modifications, so it sounded perfect to me.”

“The Harley needed a full strip down, but at the time I only had a car spot to work in so I started removing the damaged parts, tins, suspension, engine and transmission out down to bare frame. I cleaned everything thoroughly, classifying every piece and storing them in boxes in my share house room. Luckily 6 months later when the rolling frame was together and I had all the parts to rebuild the engine, I’d moved in another share house but this time I had a real garage.”

“Surrounding the engine is a generous S&S Super B complete manifold and classic teardrop filter cover, the air filter element is K&N which is taller than the standard S&S and results in better air flow. It’s been fully rebuilt and tuned to suit the engine mods and exhaust which features hand made headers with recycled muffler parts that a very kind workshop’s rubbish bin had given me.”

“I’ve chosen an old school paint scheme, people would need to look at the actual bike for what’s special about it, not for the flashy paint job. I made sure there wasn’t any Harley badges or writing left, as it’s already pretty obvious that it comes from Milwaukee. A custom build is of course about the donor bike/base chosen, but I’d say it’s more interesting to know who built it, and where to find him. So the tanks sides where used to highlight my name as a builder (Francis Von Tuto) with the angry Donald Duck in the centre. It’s a childhood memory, in the 90’s it was very popular, it’s also my favourite character. He’s very temperamental, but he’s a big-hearted dude. The funny thing is when I First came to Brisbane and started working with the locals, my English was pretty terrible, and though I had thought I had fair language skills… I’ve tried hard to mock Queenslander’s slang to integrate, but I ended up getting teased because I did sound like “the spaghetti version of Donald Duck. So that sticker really deserves its central position.”

“The aim of course for this bike was to make it more rideable, so I increased the leaning angle, gave it a sportier oriented riding position alongside a 360 degrees performance increase (suspension, brakes, and engine) the look had to reflect my personality in the motor world. In my mind the bike should have been what Marlon Brando could have used in The Wild One movie if his ride was a Harley Café Racer rather than a bobbed Triumph, with some Francis Von Tuto style. Talking about tricky bits, the brakes were interesting, surfing the net searching for parts was very fruitful.”

“I had an idea of fitting an oversized disc at the front and ditching the single piston calliper, the disc was easy, Alth Brakes in Northern Italy make beautiful 330 floating discs. It was love at first sight! While looking for a nice 4-piston calliper, I found a set of two hardly used black Brembo 4 Pots callipers from a BMW wrecker. Instantly I remembered about an insane Boss Hoss that I saw in a Custom & Special magazine something close to 20 years ago. That beast in the mag had two performance machine 6 pistons callipers on each disc – good inspiration, but my Harley weights way less than a 350 Chevy monster, so 8 pistons on a single disc were already more than enough, maybe too much. A single calliper would have been boring. Even Nicola Martini (Mr.Martini Verona) told me once: When you’re building a bike, build it crazy; otherwise it’s just another one. People want to see different things, not the same stuff! This last accessory gave the build a very cool feature; on the left hand side there are two powerful brakes with massive rotors, which nearly fill up the whole 16″ rims diameter.”

“This is the first bike of what will hopefully be a long series of builds. Completing this project gave me so much pride, being absolutely self-made (apart from paint and some machining work) and self-awareness of what I really enjoy doing. I’ve spent many nights and weekends in a share house room first, and then two different garages while building this bike. The build has been completed in my spare time over 3 years. This is another key factor that recently brought me to quit my job and dedicate the next few months to the completion of all the project bikes that I’ve collected during the last 5 years. After that I’ll choose which path to follow for my next career.”

Photos by: David Cohen ultragraphics.com.au

Categories
Bikes

Xxie – Nick’s ’75 Yamaha XS650

Meet Xxie, the 1975 Yamaha XS650 that earned its namesake firstly due to it being an XS model (duh) and secondly because of the unexpected money pit that it turned into. It’s all worth it though from our perspective, as it’s a killer build, and it wasn’t our money.

It was after attending Throttle Roll 2013 that Nick was struck with the motivation to get a project bike started. This would be perfect as he was running out of space, which meant no more car projects. “I’d seen a couple of XS650’s around, and every build was pretty unique. There were café racers, bobbers, choppers, and trackers. After many hours trawling Instagram and Google I found that this model had a pretty big following in the States, so plenty of aftermarket parts were readily available.”

This 1975 XS650 was picked up at a deceased estate. The poor machine had been sitting in a shed for over 6 years gathering dust and rust, and was in pretty rough condition. “Dad and I tried to get it running before we pulled it down with no luck, so we got stuck in and attacked it with the grinder!”

Nick was now armed with plenty of inspiration and had a vision for what he wanted to transform his 40+ year old machine into. “I bought the tank and brat seat as soon as I found the project bike, so they set the lines early on and everything began to flow from there. The bike was a twin disc from factory and after a bit of research I found Pandemonium Custom Choppers in the States who made a Brembo conversion kit. I ordered a kit and then made the modes needed to duplicate the setup to run twin callipers and Ducati Monster rotors.”

“The engine was treated to a full rebuild, with an upgrade to a 750cc kit, Hugh’s Handbuilt PMA, and Pamco ignition, VM34 twin carbs, and Daytona electronic gauge for the speedo and tacho. Hi Octane Coatings powder coated everything on the bike, from the engine casings to the dome nuts on the foot pegs. Crabby and Sam from Southern Cross Automotive helped out with the wiring. Chivos rebuilt the rims and fitted the tyres, while Geoff’s XS rebuilt the motor. Harley at RB Racing got the bike running like a dream with a much needed carbie tune and dyno. The only original pats left on the bike now are the front half of the frame, hubs, rims and side engine covers.”

Originally Nick had plans to extend the swing arm, stretching the bike out a bit more to give it more of an almost hard tail look, however this never made it to the final product. “The paintwork was left up to Kyle Smith at Smith Concepts. I only chose the colour scheme and had a loose idea on the design, he did all the magic.”

The build was not without its gremlins however, and there were the usual headaches that you’d run into when never having pulled a bike apart before. “The lengthy delays in shipping when ordering the wrong parts from the States also were a pain. That said, I really enjoyed tinkering in the shed on the bike, slowly getting the form to take shape. I’m happy to say that it’s finished, and I’m looking forward to finding another project soon.”

This XS650 is a bike that’s truly sharp and refined, it may look unsuspecting from afar to some but once the roar of its engine comes closer and you take the time to look further into this machine you completely realise the work that’s goes into this bike, and that it’s an aggressive little bastard.

“The thing that really gets me about this bike is how it looks nice, clean, and in a way a little bit plain. But once you kick it in the guts, it’s anything but plain. Everything about it is so bloody obnoxious, with its straight pipes, riding position, and the grunt from the 750cc kit. It puts the biggest smile on my face every time I grab a fist full of throttle!”

Categories
Bikes Other Shit

The 2017 Custom Bike Highlights

2017. It left just as quickly as it arrived. What an amazing year for the Australian custom motorcycle scene with so many incredible builds taking place. We were fortunate enough to shoot shit-loads of content, host a kick-ass street party along with a couple swap meets and above all, go riding with some absolute legends!

We thought we would take some time to showcase 10 of the amazing bikes we documented this year in no particular order. This is not a dick measuring contest so there will be no 10 to 1. In order of how we captured and documented the bikes here are 10 machines for your spank bank. Make sure to click on the title to see the full set of photos and blog.

Rob’s 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead 

Tom’s 1953 Triumph Bobber

Wenley’s Triumph Rocket 3

Olly’s Mono

Bruce’s Norton Cafe Racer

Sandy’s 1973 Vespea Sprint Veloce

Aaron’s 1974 Honda C50 Deluxe

David’s Royal Enfield Special 

Harley’s Triumph Speed Triple 

Bryan’s 1991 Kawasaki Zephyr

Thanks to everyone who made 2017 a year to remember, we look forward to working with all the builders, riders and brands that make motorcycling great in 2018!

Categories
Bikes

Bryan’s ’91 Kawasaki Zephyr

When asked why he picked a ’91 Kawasaki Zephyr for the base of this build, Bryan bluntly replied, “I didn’t, I’d never even heard of them.” And it’s here that the humble beginnings of what would be an insanely cool build will now be told.

It was Bryan’s mate Geordie who had first owned this 1991 Kawasaki Zephyr ZR750. “He’d bought it as a shitter from the Blue Mountains to fix up and give to his brother. Well, his brother didn’t want it, so I snapped it up for an easy $500 with plenty of impulse behind it.”

Bryan’s initial intentions were to turn this up until now unwanted machine into a rat/brat style build after catching some inspiration from Wrenchmonkees, with a small budget being high on the cards. “I was happy with it for a while, and did 2 Philip Island trips on it. It was a pretty good bike, super reliable near bulletproof. After a while it started needing a bit of love, and I was living overseas at this stage so needed a project to keep me out of trouble. I bought the CR29 carburettors off someone from Sydney Café Racers with the intention of getting the bike up to scratch mechanically. Well, one thing led to another and here we are…”

“When the real vision for the build started coming together I had a spank bank of reference images of retro endurance racers and knew this was the direction I wanted to go. I was thinking old naked Z1 Superbike in Moriwaki trim, but got the endurance vibe and ran with it. The whole build is based around those headlights.”

Getting just the right headlights wouldn’t be an easy task as Bryan was to find out. Searching high and low for a pair of matching vintage headlights, Cibie spots off a Porsche 911 or anything similar. “I went deep into a hole. I came out the other side with the help of Daniel Stern Lighting, a boffin in the US who apparently lives nothing but headlights. These came in RHS spec, they had the right diameter and the right depth so that they didn’t sit too far forward from the fairing. From then on, every part was researched in as much detail. It was probably 6 months of hardcore procurement and ordering from the US, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Uk etc. I’ve had a hard-on for the racefit quickfiller and ISR brakes going way back. This is where it started getting out of control.”

The work that would go into this build would be a group effort, with Bryan farming out work to those best suited for the task. Darren at DNA did the heavy lifting with the bodywork, exhaust, and all the custom trickery and last minute wiring. Harley at RB Racing sorted the brake and swingarm conversion, while Pete at Cutting Edge finished the paintwork. Dave from Badarse Trim Co would fix up the seat, Ron from Flywheels did the big bore kit and engine rebuild. Enrique from Sydney Motorcycle Transport did all the running around of parts.

“This bike is pure Frankenstein. Aside from the aftermarket bits, it has donor parts from a kwaka ZRX1200 (swingarm and rear brake / wheel), ZXR750 (front forks), GSXR750 (front brakes) and so on, all specifically selected to achieve a certain look or work with the rest of the build. The front callipers are a common 6 pot brake upgrade to ZXR750’s from back in the day. I’m a project manager by profession, so as with all projects it’s the interfaces between components where the issues arise. Small things like the petcock clashing with the new carbs on an original tank etc. The front forks were a sticking point as they were a little delayed meaning we couldn’t progress the build until it was a roller again. The powder coating colour was a happy accident and turned out quite well.”

“The fact that there’s not another bike out there like it, is something that I love. The colour changes in the light a surprising amount. The exposed battery, race filler, circular dash, circular taillights, circular head lights, all along with the white stripe make sweet lines across the top of the bike. The dimple die supports and frame bracing are a nice touch. It’s loud, and not so comfortable, it’s head down, bum up and it’s not an easy bike to ride. That’s what makes it fun.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Skinny – Joseph’s Postie Cafe Racer

Despite being flooded with amazing Postie builds from online, Joseph found that none tickled his fancy bar a few that had some major coin dropped on them. The challenge was now set, he was to create something that would appeal to his tastes exactly whilst still on a budget.

This little 1995 Honda CT110 was nabbed up from a local member of Sydney Café Racers in its stock form, with a carby that just wasn’t cutting the mustard. “Thankfully parts for these bikes are cheap, and a new carby was quickly purchased. Turns out, this would be the first of five carbies that would be required for this bike…”

The process for this build would kick off with the Deus Bike Build Off 2016. “All I knew to start with for the build was to have a new tank setup along with a cool exhaust. With that done I stripped the paint and went with the raw steel look. I entered the bike into the Build Off with under a months work, but knew I needed to go further. After the event the bike was stripped and sent to its respective experts to get it to it’s true form.”

The bike’s frame, swing arm, and tank were sent off to get painted a nice Audi Flake Silver, while the engine rebuild commenced and Joseph collected more parts. With the stock forks on this bike being as fragile as they are, Joseph decided on a new front end, and one that fortunately wouldn’t break that bank. “eBay came to the rescue with plenty of pit bike options that could go onto the Postie. Along with the forks I also decided on a matching wheel with a disc brake. Everything from the stock bike that had rusted or was too dirty to salvage was replaced with something new. Thankfully every part I needed was cheap as chips brand new. If I couldn’t find the part, I decided to chrome spray the parts to match the overall look. The bike now started being put back together and the vision was becoming a reality.”

Unfortunately the original engine for this little racer was a bit too cooked for Joseph to work on, so to go along with this machines rebirth a new 125cc engine was purchased. One hiccup arose however, as Joseph found that with the current mods to this bike that this new engine might not be the answer after all. “Thankfully I found someone to rebuild the original engine with a few internal mods, and with payment provided to him in the form of the already purchased 125cc engine. The process was the longest part of the build and the engine was the last thing to be installed on the bike, but the quality of work was brilliant. It also meant I could keep the bike registered and not be stuck with a pretty paperweight”

“I love the line of the bike profile, and the front end. With the last original forks being so weak you could snap them over your thigh, it’s great to have some much needed stability especially with bike weighing around the 70kg range with half a tank of petrol.”

Categories
Bikes

Adrian’s Sol Invictus Nemesis 400 Scrambler

With Adrian’s previous custom creation ‘Falke’ swiftly sold off after only being listed for mere minutes, thoughts now turned to a stock Sol Invictus Nemesis 400 Classic, and its Scrambler potential.

Adrian has had his eye on the new Nemesis models from Sol Invictus for some time now, pair this with always wanting to create a Scrambler the two would be married up perfectly. “I loved the base frame lines that the Nemesis offered, as well as the look of the engine. I’d bought the Nemesis almost immediately after selling my mercury build and was keen to start a very different project from my previous build.”

Inspiration flooded in after seeing a Triumph Tracker build that Adrian had seen come out of the UK. It was then that he new he was after something similar. “The Triumph build had formed the base style for the bike that I wanted to create, while I would refine it with all the smaller details making sure everything complimented each other.”

“The build process was only really a couple of months, but it was a lot of hours. It was easily well over 100 hours of work that had gone into this build already. The day I purchased the bike I immediately changed the bars, grips, and mirrors as this made it a little more individual instantly. As time went on (all my spare time, late nights and days off) I slowly worked through upgrading and customising all the components. Next I changed the chrome wheels for Matt black rims, and fitted scram tyres to give it a more bulky look.”

The bike would be now on the chopping block, as the front guard would be cut down, while the rear guard would be removed altogether and a new licence plate holder would be made up. “This coincided with the fabrication of my new fiberglass seat pan and custom seat with integrated taillight that I had made by my friend Pun at Motosai. I was very fussy about the material I wanted for the seat and she nailed it on the head 100%. Then it was onto the switchblocks. This was a task I grossly underestimated. I wanted the clean look, so I opted for integrated minimalist switch blocks with internal wiring inside the handlebar. What I thought was going to take me a couple of hours probably took more than ten. But it was worth it as it cleaned up the bars so nicely. With this I also relocated the starter button.”

“I called on my mate Andy from Sabotage motorcycles to assist me in installing the Motogadget instruments. This also proved to be a mammoth task, but again- well worth it for the clean look.  After this I swapped out the carbs for Mikuni tom-36/68 flat slide carbs for a little extra punch, and at the same time removed the air box, and installed a micro lithium battery. This was a surprisingly easy task, taking only a couple of hours, including de-tabbing he frame, and making up a custom tray to house the electrics and battery. This gave a really clean line under the seat.”

“At this point I still had the original headlight, and was having some electrical issues that for the life of me I couldn’t figure out. After many sleepless nights spinning around in my head I finally figured out the electrical issue, and rectified it. And while doing so I decided to install the new purpose build LED 7 inch headlight too as I’m kind of night blind and thought it may help at night, and it does!”

“I love way it this bike sounds and the way it feels. I kind of feel like I’m riding a vintage motocross bike whenever I get on it. The torque it puts out is ace, and being so light it’s a lot of fun to get the front of the ground, and jump speed bumps and curbs.”

“I’m yet to take it on the dirt but can’t wait. I wanted to finish it and document it like this before I let it get too dirty. But I’ve already got a secondary pair of rims ready with full knobbies on them. This thing will be a menace in the dirt and trails and I can wait to get it out there! ”

Categories
Bikes

Choppageddon – Troy’s Honda C90

Let’s say that the world is ending, and if the media is to be believed (it isn’t) that day will be soon. In celebration of this end of times, here’s a rude little machine that will no doubt be the ride of choice for one of the riders of the apocalypse. Or maybe it’s just a really rad little build made by Troy.

Whatever blows your hair back.

After seeing a ton of Honda Cub builds over in Indonesia, inspiration and naughty ideas soon filled Troy’s pretty little head. There’s plenty that can be done to these machines, and best of all they’re bloody affordable. So it was straight to Gumtree to pick one up for himself for a cool $300. “It was a 1980 Honda C90. I jumped on it right away and sure enough the bloke selling it ended up living 800 metres away.”

For 4 months the little bike sat in Troy’s shed, with naughty thoughts of Chopperdom consuming him. “The plan was always to build a Chopper out of it, so I stripped the whole bike down and got choppin’. I redesigned (chopped) the rear fender, wheel arch and seat pan before cutting and extending the frame by 100mm. I wanted to hardtail the bike, which meant I had to fabricate a new rear end. I also added a top bar to the frame which supported the new peanut tank I had sourced for it.”

A custom sissy bar had to be fabricated, with plenty of twisted bits to help represent Troy’s twisted mind (probably). The handlebars would be forged from a mix of old Postie bars and MX bars. “I combined the two sets to create some unique ape bars for the bike. The springer front end and wheel rims were imported from Thailand, and I had to replace the old hubs onto the new rims. The old engine was chucked out and replaced with a nice new 125cc RMW engine.”

“This build wasn’t very tricky compared to others that I’ve done. If anything though, it was a bit more hair-raising due to cutting the frame in half and making sure the new hardtail rear end was all lined up straight. The bike is a ton of fun, and was really affordable to build. It’s definitely different to your usual Postman Pat’s bike, he might just have gotten laid if he rode this.”

Categories
Bikes Events

Our Picks From The Sydney Motorcycle Show

As the Sydney Motorcycle Show is packed away, along with it goes a ton of exciting new and custom machines from manufacturers from all over the globe. As we settle back into work we decided to pick some of our favourite new, and not-so knew machines that were on display over the weekend. Of course, we’re more inclined towards the classic and retro styled machines, so we’ve only scratched the surface on what was on offered all weekend. There’s some really exciting releases coming from brands in 2018, and so heaven help all of our bank accounts.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 & Continental GT650 

Powered by Royal Enfield’s all new 650cc parallel twin engine, these new bikes are another stride in the momentum that has been growing for Royal Enfield. First shown off at EICMA this year, this new engine is classically stlyled as with the bikes, and is said to be easier to maintain.

These bikes are true to what Royal Enfield have stressed before in which they enjoyed a more relaxed pursuit of happiness, instead of white-knuckled testosterone. These will be a very appealing addition for the classic and café racer fans of the bike world, and I’m sure it won’t be long until some excellent custom creations are made from them.

Ducati Scrambler 1100

The booming success of the Ducati Scrambler series has been growing year by year, with new models being release of the already favourable designs (The Desert Sled and Café Racer most recently) along with a smaller, LAMs model (Sixty-Two) now comes the bigger brother in the Scrambler family, the Scrambler 1100.

The design aesthetics are very similar to previous models, albeit with some somewhat minor changes, including some upside forks, oh and a bigger engine… This is a bike I’m very eager to ride and see just how much more punch you can get out of it compared to the 803cc model.

Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen & Vitpilen 701

A very exciting and very different release from the typically off-road geared Swedish bike manufacturer Husqvarna. Taking a different road in comparison to their usual Enduro, Motocross and Supermoto machines, this is new Street line of bikes is something that is promising to be fresh and exciting. Two models were on display, the 401 Svartpilen and the 701 Vitpilen.

Both feature a very simplistic, futuristic design and some very well done lines. The 401 is actually kitted out with a KTM 390 Duke engine and will be geared towards the learner market. The 701 is a more serious machine which will be armed with the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto 693cc single cylinder, which is reported to pump out 75hp.

Kawasaki Z900RS

A machine that created quite a buzz once information and rumours started to leak out earlier this year, the Kawasaki Z900RS marks the entry of yet another bike manufacturer into the retro and modern classic world. This machine looks bloody good in its stock form, Kawasaki really nailed the retro look without being too heavy handed or pandering.


There’s a Standard edition which is just peachy, and a Café edition which comes with a nice little cowl. The iconic Kawasaki Green looks great on the Café, however the model can also come in a very uninspiring Grey scheme. Fingers crossed these bikes perform as good as they look!

Harley Fat Bob

The terrifically controversial new Harley-Davidson Fat Bob caused die-hard HD keyboard warriors to scream and rattle upon its announcement, though this has all but died down now that people are actually riding these bikes and realising they’re actually a great machine. The looks are very different for Harley, it’s a pretty bold move. The headlight looks like it’s from Futurama, but there’s a ton of custom opportunity for this machine. I’m dying to see a tracker version of this created.

Someone get to it, pronto!

Triumph Salt Racer

Ok this bike isn’t new, and you can’t buy it from a dealership; it is however a fucking great machine. This 2008 Triumph Thruxton is the culimation of a bunch of crazy mates who have a powerful lust for speed, probably fuelled by a few beers in the shed. The engine has been bored and stroked to 1000cc amongst a myriad of other performance work to get this thing really belting across the salt flats. Clock a final speed at 149.626mph this machine set a new Australian record for the Modified Fuel 1000cc class.

Yamaha XSR700 Ténéré

Again, whilst not a new release this Yamaha XSR700 Ténéré is a tasty custom scrambler with its namesake coming from a desert region in the south central Sahara. Truth be told I can’t find much information on this machine, but all I know is that I love the XSR series and this particular build gets my bloody flowing just that little bit quicker.

We’ll be back with a full rundown on the weekend’s awesome event and plenty of pictures to get you pumped for next year’s event!

Categories
Bikes

Slick – 2017 Royal Enfield Redditch 350 Chopper

If you cut Santina 5 years ago she’d admittedly bleed orange and black. She didn’t just drink the Harley-Davidson Koolaid, but she mixed it up and served it at parties. Today however, a tidy little Royal Enfield would catch her eye and a love affair would begin – of course this machine would naturally receive a dosage of American chopper styling, true to Santina’s heritage.

Santina started out back in the day (not too many days ago) with the Motor Company as a mechanic at Harley University, and later on became a dealer for these iconic American machines. “In my career I’ve had a lot of roles within the shop including mechanic, parts, marketing, and sales.  Before Harley I was working on Honda and Suzuki but I never felt very welcome in that space. When I found Harley I discovered that the place everyone assumed was the most unfriendly for women was the most welcoming and I felt like I had found my people.  You can’t imagine how surprised I was when all these years later Royal Enfield caught my eye and stole my heart.  It’s not a pitch.  I didn’t want to love them but I just do. They brought with them a world of new friends and consorts.  It’s a place I seem to fit into very naturally.”

This Royal Enfield in particular would be a 2017 Redditch 350. Despite it being a perfectly fine machine in its stock state, Santina and her team wanted to put some of their own style and flavour into it, making it a true representation of what she and the rest of the team at Revelry Cycles are about. “Some of the other dealerships like to give us a good  a good ribbing for our “concept meetings” but it’s our process.  Simply we sit around after the shop closes, crack a beer and look at the donor bike while throwing out ideas. We all come to the meeting with our own concepts and mix it up.  It’s all very light hearted and we always end up telling stories and laughing a lot.”

It would be in this particular concept meeting that one of the team, Will, told tales about a chopper that he had fallen in love with in the late ‘60’s. “It was a 350 Honda Scrambler and his older brother “the mechanic” told him not to get that hunk of junk.  Like a lost love Will pined away all these years for that chopper.  We know that a lot of the RE dealers have a background with English bikes but that’s just not us. We decided to be our most authentic selves and build a cool ass 69 Frisco Chopper with metal flake and a dropped rear end.”

“With customs hiccups are part of the journey.  We weren’t putting together a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces laser cut and collected in a box.  Overcoming the obstacles is really satisfying and fun if you’re in to that sort of thing.  There is a balance between dream and budget always.  We would have loved to put a Springer front end on it but we could have easily outspend the value of the bike.   We did have some cool twisted handlebars that we loved but they wouldn’t clear the fuel tank.  And then the paint (oh good gravy the paint!) it was not a brand we worked with before and we just struggled to get it right.  We had to strip the whole thing and start over.

My best advice is to surrender to the experience and see where the build takes you.”

You can catch ‘Slick’ in the metal this weekend at the Sydney Motorcycle Show

Categories
Bikes Reviews

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 2018 Review

As a non-journalist, shit like this shows me just how awesome the life of a motorcycle journalist sometimes is. It’s a sweet fucking gig. Being flown around and accommodated while riding the latest and greatest bikes that have been built from a variety of brands; the camaraderie, the smiles, the spirited riding – it’s cool. I could live this life if I learned how not to swear while writing. However, this blog is not about the jet-setting lifestyle of writers, it’s all about the new chassis and bikes that now fall under the softail category from Harley-Davidson.

For this article, I’m going to focus on the new Fat Bob, while the next article will be based around the new Street Bob. 

They are both called Bob. One is fat, one is skinny.

To understand the present, we need to first understand the past – so feel free to skip the next paragraph or two if you have zero fucks to give about history or learning some facts.

The first ever soft-tails belonged to that of the Ediacaran Period c. 240 Million BCE, followed shortly by the dinosaurs and all sorts of other definitely real animals and mythological beasts. Back to in a similarly ancient time in 1984 CE saw the release of the FXST Softail. Since this momentous… moment, the word has been expanded upon to include other motorcycles with hidden rear suspension. These machines were designed to mimic the look of the rigid frames of yesteryear, while still offering the actual comfort and practicality of rear suspension. All of the street cred, with none of the sore body. 

If we’re going to chat about Softails, then we’ve got to drop Bill Davis’ name. A dedicated Harley rider and engineer, it was Bill who designed the first Softail in the mid 1970’s. This first design featured a cantilever swingarm pivot at the bottom and sprung at the top, with the springs and shock-absorber being hidden under the seat.

After Davis created a prototype based on his own ’72 Super Glide, he had his design patented and arranged a meeting with Willie G. Davidson. At this meeting, Davidson was impressed, but made no concrete commitments. This interest would remain stagnant in the following months, with still nothing concrete to move forward on. 

It was in April of 1980 that Harley-Davidson started work on its own rear suspension set-up that would capture that hard-tail motorcycle. This would be the same year that legendary drummer, John Bonham, would die in classic rock-and-roll fashion, and the greatest rock band of all time, Led Zeppelin, would call it quits. None of this is relevant at all in the history of Softails, but something that simply cannot be ignored.

With the all-new stiffer (insert erection joke here) chassis (34% more stiff to be exact) and the introduction of the Milwaukee-Eight engines, the new Softail line-up has basically taken the majority of the Dyna models under its wing. This is why current Dyna owners took to social media to vent their frustration upon the announcement of these new machines. The Dyna is now dead. But there is a silver lining – Dynas in years to come should grow in value, so put the Kleenex away. Anyone silly enough to vent his or her frustration before actually riding these new Softails should read this next part carefully – these bikes do not disappoint, so go talk to your local dealer and book a test ride.

This is by far the craziest machine Harley-Davidson has produced in a while. It’s so fucking fun. Just as crazy as the XR1200, but still keeps true to the HD feel. The HD Milwaukee crew said they’re confident in keeping their customers happy while also pushing the boundary that little bit further. These boundaries have been pushed over the previous years, with the introduction of a learner approved bike, the introduction of a the more nimble Roadster model, Live-Wire the electric bike and now this – the 2018 Fat Bob which is unlike anything you would expect from Harley-Davidson, while still keeping the HD fanatic happy.

Enough of the boring fluff, let’s get down to the actually bloody review of this controversial machine. It’s time to get to the heart and soul of the Fat Bob. I didn’t take the opportunity to ride the 107 (while in Spain); I committed all my energy to the 114. The 107 comes with ABS as an additional option, while the 114 comes with ABS Standard. The 114 has enough torque to pull a rhino with blue balls. From what I’ve learned, HD doesn’t measure in horses – just torque. 


This is a remarkably capable bike. The first feeling that entered my head as soon as I jumped on was a feeling of power – the stance is incredible, foot control and handlebar position are in a neutral comfortable position, it’s a powerful looking bike, and you feel that power once you’re in the saddle both mentally and physically when riding. It has a very “Scrambler” feel to it and could in fact be labelled the closest thing to a Scrambler that modern HD have ever produced.

Hitting the twisting roads of the incredible Catalonia region of Spain (for now…) was interesting. Honestly, I thought that it would suck balls as the bike still weights over 300kg. I was happily proven wrong – what a fucking hoot! As all the other journos are enjoying the sound of their bikes scraping the ground, I was hanging off the edge, muscling the Fat Bob through the corners at enjoyably stupid speeds with minimal metal to road noise. To be honest, I hate the sound of scraping. It scares me – worse than Pennywise hanging in my local sewers. 

This truly amazing “cruiser” is jacked up, meaning you can push this puppy harder than any cruiser ever built, and you’ll love it every thrust along the way. While the aesthetics of this bike aren’t for everyone, the additional clearance is an absolute blessing for those who enjoy “not cruising”. It is a bike that, within their line up, is built for those twisty corners which is not something you ever expect from Harley-Davidson. The kid’s done well.

Despite it’s chunky appearance, it is deceptively aggressive and has been designed this way by HD intentionally. The single cartridge inverted forks, dual disc front brakes and a performance inspired 2-1-2 exhaust system shows how this bike breaks from its cruiser label.

 The bike’s got plenty of stop as well, with ample braking provided by 4 pot twin disks. Would this be sufficient once I extort the bike off HD and lock in some stage 4 engine mods? Only time will tell. As the bike is, it’s got brawn, it’s got handling, and the power to get any rider’s blood flowing. This is just the base model, bear in the mind. It has yet to be offered to the Gods of Custom to be rebuilt into a truly exciting custom machine. Which could really be done with ease as well considering the entire rear subframe can be removed with just 4 bolts! This is a modular machine that will provide those metal bending, welding, rolling freaks with the perfect blank canvas to experiment with. It’s these possibilities that excite me the most and we will endeavour to cover those bikes as they are being built.

Mark wears: Whatever clean clothes he has while riding

Categories
Bikes Events

Kawasaki Z900RS Unleashed At Deus

Another bike manufacturer has joined the ranks of the retro styled modern machine with Kawasaki releasing the new Z900RS. To celebrate this, and to dip its toes into the custom world, Deus set about two of these new bikes to flex their creative muscles and show the world some of the first custom Z900RS.

Announced earlier this year much to the excitement of the motorcycle media and enthusiasts alike, the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS was created as a homage to the Z1 which was first released in 1972. The new Z900RS features that famous retro look with a very clear nod to the previous Z1. Powered by a liquid-cooled 948cc In-Line four, this machine is a marriage of heritage and soul with modern technology. This is something more and more bike manufacturers are having their own take on, as the modern classic and retro inspired machines feed the ever wanting riders.

Quite naturally, and wisely, Kawasaki passed two of these bikes on to Deus Ex Machina in Camperdown and into the remarkably capable and passionate hands of head tech and creator Jeremy Tagand. From here two very unique machines would be created, an aggressive tracker and a very retro Mad Max styled machine.

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to have a test ride on these new bikes just yet. Probably a good idea as well since there was free flowing wine and beer. What we can say however is that these new heritage inspired bikes definitely have a very relaxed, neutral riding position. Or maybe we should say sitting position for now.

There will be two models hitting our shores in 2018, with the Z900RS and Z900 RS Café Edition giving buyers a couple of options. The standard model comes in a very retro (heaven forgive our gratuitous use of the word ‘retro’) Candytone Brown paired with a Candytone Orange. The Café Edition comes with a very sporting cowling, and two colour choices. A Vintage Lime Green, and a more subdued Pearl Storm Grey.

These new machines boast a strong, smooth In-Line Four engine, Kawasaki’s first tuned exhaust note, KTRC traction control and a lightweight Trellis frame. Despite being somewhat late to the game in releasing these style bikes, these are certainly a remarkably attractive option and we’re keen to get our bums on a seat to put it through it’s paces. We feel they’ll live up to the excitement.

Standard
Engine Type – 4-Stroke In-line 4 Cylinder
Displacement – 948cm3
POW./TORQ. – 82.0kW / 98.5Nm
Transmission – 6-speed
Curb Mass – 214kg incl fuel
Seat Height – 835mm
L X W X H – 2100 x 865 x 1150
Fuel – 17L
Brakes (F) – Dual Semi-floating 310mm discs
Brakes (R) – Single 250mm disc
Tyre (F) 120/70 ZER17M/C (58W)
Tyre (R) 180/55 ZR17M/C 973W)

Café Edition
Engine Type – 4-Stroke In-line 4 Cylinder
Displacement – 948cm3
POW./TORQ. – 82.0kW / 98.5Nm
Transmission – 6-speed
Seat Height – 820mm
Curb Mass – 215kg incl fuel
L X W X H – 2100 x 845 x 1190
Fuel – 17L
Brakes (F) – Dual Semi-floating 310mm discs
Brakes (R) – Single 250mm disc
Tyre (F) 120/70 ZER17M/C (58W)
Tyre (R) 180/55 ZR17M/C 973W)