Muntjac – Oliver’s Kawasaki W650

Taking its namesake from a population of feral deer that have been sweeping their way across the UK, Muntjac is a W650 that is the amalgamation of years of experience and work in the motorcycle scene that’s sweeping it’s own way in foreign territory.

Growing up with a father that was from the Mods & Rockers era in 1960’s England, Oliver was brought up on bikes and mischief from a young age. When he wasn’t being regaled with stories of the early café racer scene and all kinds of goings on in the early 70’s, he’d be riding pillion with his old man to racetracks, pub meetings and on joyrides through the English countryside. Oliver’s was the kind of childhood most of us could have dreamed about.

Before Oliver was bestowed with his first bike, an ’85 Honda Melody when he was 14, he’d already been pulling apart engines and could happily rebuild a complete Melody engine with his eyes closed. “As soon as I could ride, I did. From then on I’d be washing dishes and working on a farm to save up for my second bike, a 1989 Kawasaki AR50, which was bored out, clip on handlebars and loud expansion chambers. Bits would be falling off the bike within a few miles of fanging it flat out everywhere.”

By the time he was 16, Oliver had been offered a 3 year apprenticeship at one of the country’s only motorcycle mechanic schools, based in the east end of London. “I also worked day release for a local Kawasaki and Ducati dealership which was family run for generations, these were some of the best years of my life. I was young, dumb, and had a huge passion for 2 wheels.”

It was a steady progression in the motorcycle world for Oliver as he gained new skills and experiences, spannering for Ron Parkinsons for the next 3 years. “One day a good friend and work colleague of mine decided it was time to go road racing. He was coming from an MX background, him being a champion from a teenager I was keen to jump on board and fulfill a dream of being a race mechanic and so my racing career began. And so my racing career began.”

Taking a sabbatical from bikes, Oliver hung up the greasy overalls after years of tuning, building and spanner to travel the world. It was then in 2010 he decided to call Australia home, and his love for bikes was reignited as he jumped into the café racer and brat motorcycle scene. “Building bespoke bikes was always something I wanted to do. One day my old man found some old pictures of a Triton he had built back in the early ‘70’s when we were a similar age. This started a fire under my arse, and so the work began.”

This fire under the posterior would give birth to a 1999 Kawasaki W650, which he got quick to stripping down in his 3x6m shed in his backyard, attacking it with a grinder as he was fueled on into the night on many a beer. “I was sourcing parts from all over the world, trying to create something unique that was in the style I was most passionate about. I focused on my heritage as the theme for this bike, with a classic British racing green, plenty of chrome, dark browns and leather which would add some country feel to the bike”.

Having always owned MX bikes, a wide bar style was planned for but with more of a racing edge added in. The bike soon started to take on it’s own look, as each piece represented a different style and unique piece of Oliver’s riding history. “The bike started to take on a look of its own, and was aptly named Muntjac after the UK’s mysterious mix breed deer. I added racing rear sets, 2 into 1 exhaust, and some CR carbis which gave the bike the subtle racing edge I was looking for. The BSA headlight and firestones brought it back to the period style I was most fond of, giving it an almost ‘40’s military look.”

A few pieces from the archives