Once again we find ourselves in our nations capital. Tucked away in a typical suburban street, in a typical suburban house, lives Simon and a shed full of awesome. Simon heads up Canberra Café Racers and builds his many bikes under the name Whittaker Specials. In Simon’s shed-come-workshop we found so many bikes we lost count.
Over the years Simon has built about 16 bikes. Even whilst selling some bikes to fund other bikes, his shed became the unofficial home of CCR currently holds 10 bikes plus another 2 waiting to be built. Simon advised us “I stick with the ’70s Hondas as they’re pretty easy to work on and easy to make into different styles. I try to make each one different from the last and I’ve built a few different styles already”. These themes have included a CB900 done as a Police bike, his army style CB450, and a TT Racer style CB350.
The latest build, done in time for the last Throttle Roll is “Diablo”, a ’76 CJ360 Brat with a skateboard rack and a matching custom made skateboard.
However, its not all old Hondas. There is also two modern Thruxtons each with their own subtle modifications.
Simon is the kind of bike builder that will try his hand at most things, but like any good builder he has network of mates to help make his ideas a reality. His mate Craig out at Queanbeyan runs a fabrication shop to help with the finer welding and other stuff that needs full-on engineering equipment. During a build Simon admits that Craig’s workshop becomes his second home when getting all the parts sorted.
Simon prefers the Café style, and excels at that style of creation/modification, however as he’s built a few now, it’s the finer personal touches he likes to see and create. He tells us what he appreciates the most is a well thought out, well detailed bike. A bike that shows that the owner is willing to have a go.
“In the Canberra Café Racers we have all sorts of skill levels but the most pleasing thing is the enthusiasm and people out riding on what they’ve built or modified themselves. We have plenty here at CCR that can help each other out with fabrication, paint, tuning, parts etc so ours is a small community, but after 2 years on we’re all making friends and getting into it!”
But Simon isn’t sitting still. Once he can sell of one of the Thruxtons, the Bobber CB450, and the GB400, he’ll be able to raise the cash to fund the next build. The next bike on the list is a little ’76 CB250. It will be a black-out Café Racer. There is also a rusted out CB350 he’s been slowly collecting parts for. This sounds like it will be pretty epic. “it’ll look almost standard except for the 19″ white walls, chopped guards, wild metalflake purple (but standard looking) paint and lots of chrome….
“Then I think I’ll have a rest”
We don’t believe him for a second.
Words by Jason Weber