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
Events

Aftershock 2018

“Aftershock is basically a few mates sinking beers, racing bikes and getting loose in the sake of fun”. A quote pulled from the mouth of Rex from Garage Project Motorcycles in Perth back in 2015, who founded the first ever Aftershock in 2013. Since then, Aftershock has been a recurring event for the Sydney-siders who are lucky enough to gain an exclusive invite into this inelegant event. Since its inception, its mantra has remained, with 2018 showing just how much fun a bunch of mates can have with two-wheels (or skis?) and a whole lot of beer.

Once again, over a hundred two-stroke smoke-junkies were expected to fill the space come Saturday morning. Unlike last year, no rain was forecasted – in fact, homeowner Ben reported that they only had 4mm of rain since Christmas – so we knew every day would be a dusty one – and that’s not from the tonne of tinnies and bottles o’ rum supplied the kings at Sailor Jerry’s and Young Henry’s.

Friday saw a few keen beans there nice and early, setting up tents, fixing bikes, crashing bikes, and then fixing said bikes again. Thankfully that process didn’t last too long and folks just got straight to good ole drinkin’, then put themselves to bed to ensure a restful sleep before the following day’s antics.

For those who know the Aftershock agenda, the classes and their participants are announced on Saturday morning, before hitting the flat track for the day to warm up, get cosy, and get competitive within their race group, followed by the highly technical race track on the Sunday. This year, the class listings were as follows:

Novice
Posties and Scooters
200cc-
250cc
500cc+
Aftershock

While the classes were much the same as in previous years, one factor was tested this year to keep competition contained to the track. This was the elimination of point systems, resulting in no class winners. If you’re a competitive character, and actually a decent rider, this is a shit go for you because you’d have a good chance of winning. But for the rest of the riders, this meant that you weren’t necessarily riding for first place, but to beat the rider beside you – even if you were both trailing at the back of the pack. This really brought out the spirit of Aftershock, and successfully helped lower the number of broken bones. This year saw a few close calls, but ultimately only Carina from Shed of Threads broke a toe after running Marcus over. The bloke is fine though; luckily he was wearing a one-piece bikini.

As with each year, a soap-slathered slip-n-slide helped cool and clean riders after racing, and the RFS were on-deck with quality tucker for breakfast and lunch on both days to make sure nobody went hungry – what bloody legends. After a feed and quick rest-stop, some felt the need to wash off the dirt crusting away on their skin, so they made their way into the Colo River. After a dip, the evening’s events kicked off with ice-cold tins and a show – that show being the traditional jousting tournament. It’s pretty simple really, pool noodles with broomsticks inside them are held by riders mounted on pit bikes. Ride – collide – don’t die. Easy. After crowning Champo as the Jousting Champ (see what I did there?), the bikes and jousts were laid to rest, and the party began with a Vivid-style light and sound show in lieu of the traditional Aftershock bonfire, due to a total fire ban being in place. Smoke still spread throughout the valley though, only rather than burning wood, our very responsible (and very sober) guests burnt rubber. The rest of the night gets pretty hazy after that, but I do remember a certain bearded gent giving a few barely-conscious Aftershockers a TED talk on the Mariana Trench – what a wild night.

The next morning was a tough one, battling hangovers, rivals and a difficult track. Lucky the RFS were there to load us up with B&E rolls and fresh coffee – they were the real heroes of the event. The highlight of the day, watching the legend himself, Scruff, and his trusty Goldwing with street tyres hammering and jumping the course; and seeing the wildly wonderful and crazy builds tearing the dirt track in the Aftershock class. Did I mention there was a chariot?!

As usual, Aftershock proved above all that getting together with a bunch of mates and being cock-heads just brings you all closer together. A huge shout-out to Ben Males and Dave Vale for really making this event come together, as well as the RFS, Young Henry’s and Sailor Jerry’s for their incredible contributions. And finally, thank you to all the Aftershockers in attendance; you’re a bunch of crazy fucking legends.

Photos by Faidon Christodoulou and Matthew Coleman

 

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
Uncategorized

Troy’s 1975 Yamaha XS650 Bobber

Troy is a man never lost, because if you want to find him he’ll more than likely be in his garage working away on one ambitious project or another. One such creation is his refined 1975 Yamaha XS650 Bobber that’s even better when you find out it’s his first build.

Having grown up surrounded by choppers courtesy of Troy’s father and uncle, the seed for a custom cycle were sewn early. Once Troy and his mates tumbled down the rabbit hole of checking out a few chopper and bobber builds online it was decided that one needed to be created for himself.

 

So with the idea set, Troy set about trawling the depths of trademe for his blank canvas of a bike. “It was then that I came across this ’75 Yamaha XS650. It was up in the North Island of NZ and was stripped apart ready to be restored. This all worked quite well for me. So when it arrived I basically got the frame, put the motor and wheels on and scrapped the rest of parts.”

The foundation of the build was now set as the bare bones of this XS650 sat in the garage awaiting its newfound glory. “I was getting a lot of inspiration from the nice low stance builds by Angry Monkey Motorcycles. I got started by ordering a “Ardecore Choppers” hardtail kit from the States. This turned out to be the most frustrating part of the build as it took 4 months to arrive! The wait ended up being worth it however. It’s a really nicely made piece of kit, and was nice and easy to fit on.”

With the new hard tail kit now fixed up on the bike, Troy got stuck in to cutting up the stock frame before welding on a new tail. The rest of the bike could now start to be pieced together like the world’s greatest jigsaw puzzle. “This was my first time build a bike, so it was a big learning curve. By the time I had got towards the end of the build I wasn’t happy with the early work I had done on it, so many things were redone until I was satisfied.”

There’s a lot of beautiful things on this machine, and one that immediately stands out when you see it honing down on you in the street is the springer front end. “That’s definitely one of my favourite parts about the bike. A mate of mine designed it on cad for a Triumph he was building. We ended up test fitting it on my bike and sure enough I had to have one for myself. I had some of the parts cut out and built one for myself. It’s a pretty important part of the bike, so it’s pretty cool to make the whole thing from scratch. Finishing up something that both looks good and works well is pretty satisfying.”

Not to stop on outdoing himself in firsts for this bike, Troy’s next target was the paintwork. In classic Troy form he wouldn’t be enlisting the help of any professionals but instead would give it a crack himself. “Again this was my first time using anything like flakes/candys/lace etc so it was a bit of an experiment. I just wanted to give it a go, and it turned out exactly how I had hope.”

 

“The thing I love most about the bike is all the little hand made parts. I tried to make all the parts look interesting while still doing their job, and also blending into the bike. It’s such a fun bike to ride, it’s so long and low it just feels good and actually handles really well around the hills where I live.”

Categories
Bikes

Brendan’s 1972 Yamaha XS650

Whether it be foot-powered, or motorised, two wheels have been a life passion for Brendan. The hunt for the biggest engine size he could legally ride on his learner permit led him to one particular machine, a 1972 Yamaha XS650.

Despite having always liked motorbikes, it took a nudge in the form of a breakup to get Brendan to pull his thumb out and finally book his licence. Not to do things half-arsed, he got searching for one of the biggest capacity engines the law would allow his restricted licence to ride. It was in this search that the different custom builds and bikes styles began to show up as well.

Being smitten with the brat style of the builds coming out of Japan, the Yamaha XS650 would be the weapon of choice. “It just so happened that a mate who was into bikes told me of one that his old mate was selling. It fitted what I was after, and I went over and picked it up.”

The bike’s general feel and look was the same as you see it today upon Brendan picking it up, however it wasn’t in running condition and had a lot of elbow grease to be applied to get this thing brapping down the streets. “I took the bike to a workshop to get it running, but it was still always breaking down. No surprise that this began to really frustrate me, until one day I cracked it. I stripped the entire bike down and bought new parts. I slowly pieced it back together over a couple of years until it was complete.”

The bike would require some new carbs, fuel lines, throttle and cables, and a battery. Some Pamco bars added a rude bobber style to the bike while the seat was changed for something more simplistic. The tank and fender would be repainted black before the bike was sent off to Mick from Brookevale Repair Centre who would rewire the bike and tune it up so it would be ready for the road. “I was so fucking stoked with his work, he is a legend! Strongly recommended.”

What is left is what you see, nothing more. The short chopped exhaust belts out a fat, rude dirty sound that should get most people into custom machines excited, and upset most grumpy baby boomers. This simple terror is built to run a muck through the streets all the while paying respect to Brendan’s love of pushies – all he needs now are the foot pegs to ferry a mate on a fridge-to-fridge. “I love how raw the bike is, it’s small size reminds me of hanging around on the BMX. It performs well and is far more nimble than it looks.” 

 

Categories
Events

Soldiering On To Lithgow – Ride Sunday

With the inaugural Ride Sunday event on July 2nd, we decided to make good use of the weekend by getting some free passes from the girlfriends and blasting out of the city for some much needed tomfoolery. To help keep our consciences clean, we also raised a bunch of money for the charity, Soldier On.

This is our Ride Sunday.

Coming from the same lads that gave us The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, Ride Sunday is a new global charity event that brings together riders of every make and style, and encourages them to ride on the same day for a good cause. These rides can be created yourself, or you can join one that someone else has made. What’s great is you can choose exactly which charity you would like to raise funds for, meaning riders can help out for the cause that they most believe in.

Having gotten the all clear from our better-halves to escape for the weekend, me and a bunch of mates got planning. We elected to raise money for Soldier On; a charity which helps defence and police force personnel who suffer with physical or psychological affects from their service. With it being winter here in Australia, we figured it be brilliant to ride over to the lovely warm (definitely not freezing) town of Lithgow. This is a town that has a long connection with the Australian Defence Force, so it seemed to fit the bill just fine.

Despite Ride Sunday officially being a 1 day event, we set out early on the Saturday morning so we could make the most of it and pull an overnighter in the local pub. Meeting at Deus Camperdown, nice and early, we fuelled up on bacon and egg rolls and coffee; and soon were ready to roll out. Quietly, the pack of about a dozen Harley’s rolled out, with a token Yamaha SR400 bobber, and my Yamaha XSR900 sticking out like dogs bollocks. But hey, at least my brakes worked.

This ride wasn’t going to be 12 hours of twisting fury, but a pretty laid back ride with stopovers at various pubs. It was glorious having no set time to be anywhere, and being able to relax when we wanted. After a delicious pie and schooner in Blackheath, our next stop would be the famous Lithgow Munitions Factory. The silent Harley’s were back on the road.

Lithgow is a town that has a very long history with the Australian Defence Force, with its munitions factory having created arms for every conflict Australian’s have been in for more than a century. Upon our arrival, we spied an excellent backdrop for some photos where the old factory used to be. The lovely Debbie, who works at the Small Arms Factory Museum, soon greeted us. She asked for a photo and we obliged, getting a photo with her in return before we headed in to check out the boomsticks.

After shedding some layers in the delightfully warm museum, we got a bit of history on the factory. Having been established after Australia’s federation, the factory went on to create ammunition and firearms that saw action in all of Australia’s conflicts. Even today, modern arms are created that still service our Defence Force personnel. We told the staff about our ride, and how we were actually raising money for Soldier On, which garnered us a lovely little discount upon entry. The museum has an incredible collection of arms, from every country and every conflict. For any history buffs or gun nuts, this is place is a must to visit. 

After we took plenty of tough guy photos with the guns, disregarding any forms of decorum or safety, it was time to head into town and check out our palace for the evening. The local pub would be our bastion of debauchery, with rooms that resembled Jackson Pollock’s work on the floors, a token porn magazine in the communal lounge room, and more than enough colourful locals.

After enjoying a couple of beverages in the afternoon sun by the ANZAC Memorial in Lithgow Park, we headed back to the pub whereupon the rest of the evening seems to be missing from our memories. A certain SR400 was put on a table by people unknown, which was definitely hilarious for all involved.

The ride home on Sunday was a very gentle one, but the weekend had been killer. We’d raised $6,133 for our charity, which smashed our goal of $5000. You can still donate to us at www.ridesunday.com/fundraisers/The-Lithgow-Lay-Z-Boys

  

Categories
Events

Birth of The Machine Show

The quiet country town of Braidwood played host to the inaugural Machine Show on the weekend – hundreds of classic and custom machines 30 years and older descended on the local show ground. Riders from all over heeded the call for pure bike viewing bliss, and the class of machines left none disappointed.

This weekend is the product of Australian motorcycle Generalissimo Matt Machine, who’s been creating some of the best custom builds mortal eyes have ever seen. The event would kickoff on March 31st, with the campground filling with a ton of custom machines that all had made the pilgrimage from up and down the coast. “That’s what a big part of this event is about – it’s the journey. Everyone riding from so many towns and cities, carving their own route. It’s also a great opportunity to get some country air, and chill out before heading back into the city and starting a new work week.” – Matt

The ethos behind this weekend would be for all 2-wheeled machines 30 years or older. No particular style or make, weather it’s a fairing-clad 2 stroke racer or a raked and lowered chopper death trap. The passionate blokes and sheilas that own and ride these machines could spend the weekend drinking and making new friends that all share the same machine addiction. The event was a translation of the personality and work that goes into all of Matt’s machines.

The crew from Throttle Roll along with a bunch of other misfits and degenerates made good use of the ride down on Friday, taking the long way through parks, dirt roads, and clay tracks. This would set the scene for the Friday night as bands of other riders all slowly made their arrival, some later than others due to the perks of owning old Harley’s. Young Henrys supplied an ample amount of grog to keep the weary riders festive well into the night. The next morning’s hangovers were also sponsored by Young Henrys, apparently.

“The event exceeded our expectations – we knew that a ton of great bikes and people would turn up but the final result was a fuckin’ ripper. We’re really pumped for next year, so we can add more to the event and refine it. It’s great letting people see all these bikes and machines that they wouldn’t normally interact with. It can help influence and refine what they want to ride, build, or own. We’ll definitely be getting a lot of the vintage and classic clubs involved in the future.” – Matt

Saturday would be the big day that all the various machines would be lined up in the gleaming sun of the Show Ground, being judged and perved on by punters and the official judges, with awards being handed out later that afternoon. This is an event that took a big step for its first year, with ambitious goals. The seed has been planted, and the following years will see even more machines make the journey for what will no doubt be a new stellar motorcycle event in Australia’s thriving and passionate scene.

Well done to Matt and his team for popping the bike show cherry for Braidwood – For more on Matt and his creations head to www.themachinefiles.com.au


           

           

     

  

  

  

Categories
Bikes

Little Bastard – Tom’s 1953 Triumph Bobber

Many years ago, it would be at the very first Throttle Roll event that Tom would find the motivation he needed to finally start a Bobber build of his own after what seemed like an age of wanting to get this project off the ground.

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A week after the event, once his hangover had subsided, Tom went for a visit to Trojan Classic Motorcycle Parts to get started on his build. Trojan are no strangers to classic bobbers, and have had a hand in many high quality builds over the years. After purchasing a Factory Metal Works frame, along with a ton of other parts, the build had officially started.

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“I love bobbers. The simplicity of them is great, there’s really nothing to them as it’s about taking away from a stock bike instead of adding additional parts.” Having built Hot Rods and Muscle Cars before, this would be Tom’s first motorcycle build. The approach was much in the same way as these previous machine builds, only with 2 less wheels. How hard could it be? “I fortunately also got a lot of help from Pete at Trojan’s – I don’t think I could have built the bike without his help and advice!”

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Once Tom had worked on the initial design of how he wanted the bike to look, the pile of parts were sent off to Ken over at Cobra Craft to get all the fabrication work completed along with welding. The 1953 650cc Triumph Engine was given to the capable hand of Pete from Trojan for a complete rebuild. Meanwhile, Harley from RB Racing was getting to work on the paint scheme, which would be a subdued grey, with a rich red for the wheels and tank motif. Kyle of Smith Concepts would delicately paint the graphics on the tank and lettering by hand.

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It would be an amalgamation of skilled and creative people that would help Tom achieve his dream concept for this machine, with heavy 1950’s inspiration being the driving force. Once their designated professional completed all the pieces, it would be time to put it all together. “I put the whole bike together in my kitchen an hour before Throttle Roll 2016, just in time for it to be part of the custom bike display. The build went fairly smoothly, with hardly any hiccups along the way. Thankfully due to having a reliable team at work, and taking my time in making sure everything was done right. I love the red wheels; the bike has this ‘50’s classic Hot Rod feel to it. The end product is what I had pictured in the very beginning, so I’m definitely happy with the final result!”

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Categories
Bikes

Sam’s 1950 FL Harley-Davidson Panhead

A bike sliding down the hard road doesn’t spell fortune for many, but it would be the catalyst for Sam to become the owner of this 1950 Panhead. If there’s one thing you could say about this machine, it’s that it’s bloody mint.

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Sam has been bike mad (and possibly mad in general, who knows) since he was the height of a tabletop. It was in these early years that his passion for wheels would be solidified. “I was 7 when my dad passed away. The guy who lived next door to us used to build and ride old bikes. I was that annoying little kid next door that just hung around him and his shed – and so have been into bikes ever since.  He built 2 Honda 750 Fours; we rode them to the first Grand Prix at Phillip Island in 1989 and camped next to the track at a rally site.  It was huge, and I’ve loved older classics ever since.”

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This love for classics would later result in a particular American engine coming into his possession. Sam and his Missus were getting about happy as Larry on their 1960 BSA Super Rocket, so an old Harley-Davidson was not on the cards at this point – or so Sam thought. After a bike his good mate had been working took on a slide down some cold hard road, this 66-year-old Panhead engine was removed from the original machine to make way for a more powerful heart. “There was some damage, but none to the motor. My mate Rob rebuilt the bike and a guy from Sydney, who’s also now a good mate, bought it from him.  This guy wanted a bit more power than the old Panhead had, so Rob installed a Panhead replica with a shitload more grunt. The original motor came out and just sat on the bench while Rob was tossing up selling it.  I just dig old engines – any old machinery for that matter. This engine was just a cool looking thing sitting on the engine stand on the bench. I was keen to buy it, just to own it, or even build a bike – under Rob’s guidance of course.”

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In the end, Sam’s mate Rob would start a new build with this lonely old engine that sat on the shelf for so long. The more Sam watched the build progress, the more he was convinced this would be the machine for him eventually. “I would never have thought of interfering with the direction that Rob was going as he made the build. That’d be like walking into the Sistine chapel and giving Michael Angelo a few tips on brush technique and colour selection.

The stance on this bike was tough, great lines.  The frame sat low with the shortened front end.  As soon as it was finished I loved it, and claimed it as my own.  It was the perfect setting for this grand old engine.  I’ve made a few cosmetic changes since, but time does that.  I went with a bling look, taller bars (originally had drag bars), brass risers, brass rocker covers, tank re-paint, shorter rear guard, and shitloads of other brass added.  Rear suspension is a matter of how much air you put in the rear tyre.”

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There’s a fuckload to look at with this bike, it’s a gleaming example of a top build. It’s got bling, but not too much. It shines where you want, and is rough elsewhere. The crowning feature on this rocket limousine is no doubt the sterling work on the tank. Originally gold, the tank boasted a thin dusting of gold sprayed with a clear adhesive. The seams and all the tank’s raw foundings would be shown off through this scheme, but this would not be the destiny for this fuel tank as rocks and stone chips eventually took their toll.

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“Over a few ales, Rob and I sat down at his shed and planned a respray.  Something red and bling with old school cream inserts and a couple of period racing numbers was the plan, we think.  Whatever it took to get a rich red 70’s flake look – and whatever Rob had laying around his paint room. After stripping the tank, Rob scuffed up the raw metal with a grinder to give it a textured look before applying the clear “primer” again.  Rob dusted each coat of colour to keep it as transparent as possible.  On went the red, and it came up pink, so on went some black and it came up dark pink… Then some orange and it started to go a weird olive/pinky colour.  We just kept going until we finally got it where we were both pretty happy.  Besides, we were running out of beer…

The flake was next, Rob had some different coloured flakes – so on they went!  A clear coat followed and we were both pretty stoked, it really popped when you looked at it in the sun. 17 coats of paint in all…”

One more coat and the tank could legally drink at the pub!

harley-davidson_panhead_chopper_bobber-276Once the fridges at the shed were rearmed with plenty of beer, the inserts were painted onto either side of the tank with some materials that had been left over from a recent 1937 Knucklehead restoration. “We tracked down a local pinstriping guy named Shack’o. We heard a bit of his reputation in the hot rod and old bike scene.  He came to Rob’s shed and we had a chat with him.  We all instantly hit it off, and he showed us his work.  His stuff is very cool.  He did the numbers on the tank, “50” for the build year of the engine and hasn’t left the place since!  He’s a great guy, rides cool bikes, builds cool cars, and paints killa shit.”

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This machine has genuine matching cases, original Panhead frame from a rigid built in 1950, original front end with shortened fork tubes, original front brake drum, FL style headlight, 14″ apes up front and rear drum, 16″ rear wheel with coker style tyre, and 21″ front with speedmaster style tyre.

It’s not just original parts that adorn this build, with some modern additions such as a 6 speed trans with kick and electric start, and 3″ open primary. The rear guard was once a vintage Ford spare wheel cover, which was split and narrowed to fit the tyre profile.  The pipes were hand made by Rob and suited the look of the build perfectly, and then wrapped to reduce the number of accidental tattoos.

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“If I ever get the whim to change the tank again, this one’s coming off the bike and going straight to the pool room!  A bike like this is always a work in progress; it’s such a great bike to ride.  Eventually you think of some way to make it better, or even just different.  I’ve already got a taller sissy bar in mind to strap a pack to.

My favourite thing about this bike is… it’s mine.”

Like Sam’s Held jacket? Well you bloody should, he was a lucky duck who won it at this year’s Throttle Roll Street Party. Head over to www.heldaustralia.com.au to grab one for yourself.

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Categories
Bikes

Clint’s 1948 Royal Enfield J2

It was in Post-War England that the Royal Enfield J2 500 first began to hit the streets. A rigid frame with telescopic forks and a 500cc engine, the J2 was to be the flashier version of its previous model. For this model, the 500cc single cylinder head would be boasting a fancy twin exhaust pipe system running out of either side of the bike. Rumour has it this gave the bike a whopping extra 2hp – however with period racers often opting for the single port model this may well be chalked up to marking charlatans.

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A far stretch from it’s original home in England, this 68-year-old machine somehow found it’s way to Australia – something many Pommie ex-pats seem to find themselves doing. This is where Clint would appear in this bike’s already colourful history, although now the bike would receive a whole new lease on life and be reborn into a new age of chopping and wrenching. Having restored an old BSA D7 Bantam, Clint decided he’d had enough of the seemingly relentless unreliability he was experiencing (paired with the joys of 7hp) and chucked the bike up for sale online. Not too long later, he was contacted by a bloke wanting to strike a deal to swap his Royal Enfield J2 for the Bantam that was also sporting a sidecar, the true prize this trader was after. “I figured why not, he could take the Bantam off my hands and salvage it’s sidecar while I’d have some new wheels to play with and customise to my liking.”

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After a trip up north in his Ute to grab the new machine, the bike was now in it’s new home by the coast to begin a new chapter on the road – albeit with more work than previously anticipated. “The bike had an amateur restoration from the previous owner, and the cracks started to show soon after arriving in my garage (literally- the bog was an inch deep on the tank!). It had a full chrome front end that was done some time ago, they are usually painted from factory. The bike was an absolute pig to start, the clutch was slipping badly and when it did fire usually it tried to launch me over the handlebars.

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Despite the bike’s stubborn persona, this would be the machine for Clint’s creation. The initial plan was to just tidy the bike up, keeping all of the original patina and wear intact while having a machine that still ran well. “I wanted it to look like a bike that was ridden hard in the ‘40’s, and then was stashed away for 70 years. This meant period correct style across the board, high pipes, vintage style tyres, bobbed fender and original type paint, cloth-covered wires etc. The bike was nearly there, but the process was not as easy as I had thought it would be. I didn’t want a restored bike – but I also didn’t want to break down every trip either (the bantam had scarred me for life).”

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The bike was nearing its destination in regards to Clint’s idea, but with all the unexpected hurdles that came up throughout the process the enthusiasm and drive began to wane. “About 80% through I had lost interest. There were so many hurdles, and so much skulduggery that kept being uncovered that the bike was left in the corner for a few years, awaiting motivation.” And motivation would strike – in the form of tweed and groomed moustaches. After seeing coverage of the 2014 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, Clint now had his motivation to complete the build

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“I was gunning for the 2015 DGR event but fell short by a week or so due to some gremlins in the bike. We did however make the 2016 DGR Sydney event and we had an amazing time. I sourced an original rear guard with a pussy pad that was fitted for my wife Kristy to sit on, A great feat for someone who has never been on the back of a bike before!”

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One of the crowning features of this machine would be its sterling tank, brimming with patina and history. “It took about a year of gently asking a lad who was restoring a 350 to part with his spare tank. It represents the feel I was after, and it still has the original hand striping and paint on it.

It’s a 68-year-old link to the past, the original painter is probably long gone but you can see where he has been.

Hand made and imperfectly perfect.”

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Once you’re done eyeing off the beautiful relic that is the fuel tank, your ears will soon be delighted with the sound of the 2-port exhaust that Clint fabricated himself. They belt out a thunderous refined aggressive tone that screams 1940’s. “I fabbed and tacked some stainless steel high pipes, which then had the welds finished off by a pro (cheers to Luke from Razorback Welding!) The sound of the uncorked pipes is glorious and quite unique.”

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“She rides fantastic but i have to send a telegram to the wheels from the brakes to get it to stop.
and when she gets hot changing gears can be like fishing for crabs- every now and then you find one.Sometimes she gets cranky and still tries to rearrange the bone structure in my feet when kicking it over.

The bike’s not for everyone, but it satisfies the both the hot rodder and restorer in me.
It’s my second road bike and wont be my last, I want to do a 1920’s flat tanker and a Guzzi cafe racer next – that’s after my 1964 fairlane and 1928 ford are done…”

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List of parts and work:

– Stainless high pipes
– Rear guard made from a 1936 ford spare wheel cover
– Rear light made from a 1935 ford tail light
– Headlight cover off 1954 pontiac
– Custom made  billet alloy clutch pressure plate to take twice as many springs.
– Custom made rear brake backing plate
– Solo primary gearing
– Rebuilt G/Box and clutch
– New brakes
– Dunlop gold seal tyres
– Every cable replaced
– Amal concentric carb rebuilt and rejetted
– New vintage spec cloth covered wiring harness
– Replica rubber exide battery to hide an agm battery
– Late model enfield air filter to replace the oil in gauze original( same housing)
– SS engine plates and chassis spacers
– Straightened and welded the frame

 

Categories
Bikes

Fenrir – Steev’s ’97 XLH 1200C

Two things that are evidently a huge part of Steev’s life are motorcycles and tattoos, and it would be one passion that would spawn another as he admired a ’98 Badboy Spinger when getting his first tattoo many years ago. Now he’s covered in ink, and balls deep in the world of bikes.

Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(168)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(214)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(219)Despite it being almost 2 decades ago when Steev first had his interest peaked for motorcycles, it wouldn’t fully be initiated until 5 years ago when he bought his first bike and started chopping. “I’ve always loved Harleys, but have been a car guy for most of my life. Back when I was getting my first tattoo in the ‘90’s I noticed that the bloke tattooing me had this incredible Badboy Springer – I fell in love at that moment.” – with the bike, not the bloke tattooing him.

Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(207)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(181)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(199)After buying a few bikes stock, chopping them and then flogging them off for a bit of profit, Steev finally got about to buying his first Harley. A 1997 XLH 1200C would be his beast – and so now the real work would begin. “The Japanese Harley-Davidson scene was a big influence on the overall look of the bike, I’d seen a lot of great work come out of the builders from there which gave me ideas. This is where I would begin in the initial build”

Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(190)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(162)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(173)This bike was originally bought with the intention of only using the running gear in a rigid frame, but quickly Steev decided to keep the rear suspended frame and just swap everything else. “I ran 14″ ape hangers for a couple of years, but changed to the lane splitter Z bars about a year ago, as my taste changed and they make for a far more comfortable ride. The biggest hurdle/pain in the ass was the front-end conversion to the springer. Things didn’t quite line up, and it took a fair bit of grinding, bashing, and swearing to get it all in right. That was after swapping out the movable front fork with a Three Two Choppers wishbone. That was fun without a spring compressor!”

Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(71)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(403)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(84)From here, the rest of the build would all be pieced together to get this ‘cycle to where Steev wanted. “All of the angles had to flow to achieve the look I had in my head. Thankfully I had my dad’s help throughout the build, which was all put together in his garage after fabricating and modifying parts at work, as I’m a metal fabricator by trade. I couldn’t have done it without him!

Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(33)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(55)Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(411)The bike’s namesake, Fenrir, comes from a wolf who played a major part during Ragnarök. The iconography on Steev’s jacket, bike and indeed body all reflect his background in being an Ásatrú (Norse Pagan) and you’ll find sacred symbols emblazoned on various parts of the bike. “They’re all for protection and the like, and after I’ve had two not-at-fault crashes, the certainly wouldn’t go astray!”Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(341)The crowning jewel of this bike would mostly likely be the tank for most, as it is indeed for Steev. “The tank is my favourite part about this bike. 100%. I ran a cutting disk down the guts of a new King Sportster tank and took out around 30mm to get the perfect width for my liking, and I added a riveted strip down the centre before fully TIG welding and sealing it all, and then going over it with my air sander for texture.

I usually also do my own tank art, but this time I sent a couple of concept images to Sindy Sinn to add his own twist to, which he then hand painted the onto the sides of the tank. A wolf head on the right, representing Fenrir, and a Valkyrie on the left to symbolise the ride to Valhalla.”Harley-Davidson_Sportster_Chopper20160728-(269)
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Categories
Bikes

Dean’s ’84 Yamaha SR400 Bobber

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“This old girl’s going to stay in pieces in the garage for sure”, this self-doubt echoed in Dean’s melon after taking on his first custom bike build, but the long road to victory paid off with a final product that is an elegant take on the Bobber style.

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Dean was on the hunt for a bike to start his first build, with the only condition that it had to be old. Sure enough, a 1984 Yamaha SR400 popped up for sale close to his home. The bike ended up being in immaculate condition, and was still stock to the bone. This would be Dean’s blank canvas, much to the hesitation of it’s previous owner. “The bloke I thought the bike off nearly didn’t want to sell it to me when I mentioned that I was going to be pulling the bike apart and breaking out the angle grinder!”

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After paying close attention to the chopper and bobber builds coming out of the US, Dean had enough creative juices ready to fuel the direction for this SR400 build. “I’m a huge fan of Kim Boyle, the bikes he builds are so clean and tidy, this was the direction I wanted to go with the SR. I’ve been riding since I was around 6 or 7, but this would be my first build – though certainly not my last.”

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Dean thought to himself countless times “This old girl’s going to stay in pieces in the garage for sure” during the elongated build process, but persevered and kept chipping away at it over the years. “My good mate Goaty welded everything on the bike, we spent a few late nights in his workshop bending up and welding. The build had taken me around 2 years in total to the day me and my mate kicked it over! Fuck I was so stoked to hear her roar to life, I was just as stoked to know I was soon to be riding this thing, especially after the wiring process which was prolonged for quite some time. The bike was finally ready to be out on the road!”

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The final product is a stand out as far as SR400 builds go. It’s an elegant take on the Bobber feel, replacing aggression with style and finesse. “I think the main standout feature of the bike is the alloy tank that has been brushed vertically and horizontally to give it some depth. The old fella Chris from Two Wheel Custom Paint & Fairing in Russellvale nailed it!”

Dean’s SR400 is currently for sale – Click here to find out more

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Categories
Bikes Reviews

Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer & Bobber

Europe’s oldest continual motorcycle manufacturer has come to the table with a new engine, and an exciting new bike. Well, two bikes technically. The Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer and its Bobber brother are a duo that is set to suit most personalities.

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Sporting a brand new 90-degree 853cc engine, the transverse mounted V-Twin is still very much the signature heart and soul of Moto Guzzi. Based on the popular V7 engine, the V9 has had both stroke and bore increased and provides a responsive performance with a good dosage of torque. Sitting at 200kg, it’s a low down and very manageable bike that can be enjoyed by most riders. Those short of stature or confidence can ride these bikes quite happily, while those that prefer speed and scraping foot pegs (and you will scrape these foot pegs) will also get good value from the V9 range.

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The V9 Bobber & Roamer, which very much are cruiser styled, have been chucked under the term “lifestyle” bike as they are set to appeal to a various groups of riders. It’s a bike that doesn’t ask a lot, but can give plenty. You’ve got just the right amount of modern pleasantries as far as technology is concerned, with ABS standard along with a two-level traction control system that can be set for dry or wet conditions.

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Moto Guzzi have been taking strides to get their bikes seen more frequently on the roads internationally, in the US in particular where their share of the market has been somewhat more humble in comparison to its booming foothold in Europe. With design input coming from the Piaggio Advanced Design Centre based in Pasadena, California, these bikes are something that certainly has an American flavour mixed in.

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So what’s the difference between the Roamer and the Bobber? A keen eye will instantly notice the difference in handle bars, with the Bobber sporting some low drag bars for that aggressive bobber-ish stance that encourages sportier riding while the Roamer has more upswept, relaxed bars that will whisper sweet touring thoughts in your ever impressionable ears. Other key differences include wheel and tyre sizes. Paired with the difference in bars, this makes riding these much more different than you would first expect. While not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things (the changing of bars on a bike can be done before your beer gets warm) the riding feel between the Roamer and Bobber speak for themselves.

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What Moto Guzzi has excelled at is creating a bike that has plenty of character paired with modern luxuries. The transverse V-twin idles happily side-to-side when you’re stopped; you know you’re riding a Guzzi. Once the revs are up and the wind is in your hair/beard/nose hair it smooths out and suddenly you’re riding a magic carpet made from velvet, it’s remarkably smooth. The riding stance is very comfortable, with mid controls and both sets of handlebars from the Bobber and Roamer meaning you can sit quite happily on the freeway for hours on end (if that’s your thing) while its light and agile build means once you hit the sweet twisty goodness of your favourite roads, you’ll be more than confident to chuck it around at speed. The use of top quality materials in these bikes such as steel and aluminium bolsters the elegant and stylish aesthetic, with plastic parts being used to the absolute minimal – which is fantastic to see.

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To cater to the custom inclined rider, Moto Guzzi offer a varitable treasure trove of accessories and parts that can be chucked on with ease to help personalise these bikes to suit their rider, along with two colour schemes for the Roamer – glossy Giallo Solare with black inserts or Bianco Classico with red inserts. The Bobber’s schemes both come in matte, with Nero Massiccio with yellow inserts and Grigio Sport with red inserts available.

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Categories
Bikes

Dave’s Triumph T120R Bobber

Dave started this build not wanting to go down the route of a traditional bobber, and any part that could fit on this bike was chucked on, but with intention. It’s an amalgamation of parts that form a one of a kind ride.

Bought as a roller, Dave got to work on this 1970 Triumph T120R Bonneville adding on whatever parts he could source for the bike – regardless of make or model. “That’s why the bike got a CBR rear mag – CR125 forks, and a Kawasaki tank just to mention a few. I basically bought every nut & bolt individually, which took hours of searching eBay for that perfect piece, like the Kawasaki Z1000 cable to hydraulic master cylinders to keep the bars clean.”

Dave’s build would slowly take on a unique look, as he incorporated both modern and traditional style to the aesthetic. A lot of hours went into fabricating parts and as Dave admits, more often than not some re-fabricating. “After 6 years it was finally on the road… 7km’s later I blew it up and the bike went in for another total engine rebuild. New crank and rods – by a professional this time (Paul Abdilla) and sure enough the bike was then (touch wood) back on the road a year later. I still had to work a few of the gremlins out, but she’s been a pleasure to ride ever since.”

“I love the oil tank on this bike, it’s an industrial inline water trap/filter turned upside down and gutted. I love the paintwork as well, my painter Joe Webb from Bad Image Painting had worked together on a ton of other bikes so I gave him a free pass to do whatever he wanted; I was shocked and amazed at how good the final product was!”

It’s not just bikes Dave works on, and one of the crowning features of this bike is the leather seat that Dave created himself. He’s been a trimmer since the age of 16, and in 2005 made the decision to branch out and focus on custom bikes – and so Bad Arse Trim Co. was created. “I’ve mainly been doing Harley seats over the years, but lately I’ve been enjoying doing cafe racers. I don’t really do other leather goods, but with my enjoyment of tooling leather have knocked up a couple of tool bags and Bell Moto 3 masks for open face helmets.”

Categories
Bikes

The Triumph Of Heritage – Jordan’s TR6R Bobber

Three generations have sat their arses down on this Triumph TR6R, each making their own modifications over the decades. It’s a bike that has only gotten better with age, much like a fine wine – and it’s just as intoxicating.

Back in 1975, Jordan’s grandfather happened across a 1970 Triumph TR6R for the sum of $300 ($2,025 in today’s dollaridoos) in the country town of Inverell NSW, little did he know this would become a bike that would be passed down the generations. “My Dad then had the bike in Sydney while he was a young fella through the late 70’s, this is when most of the mods took place. There’s not much left on it that’s stock, as he blew a con rod out the side of the cases, replacing them with a set of ’68 tr6p cases.” When you’ve got a bike that’s been owned and modified by 3 generations, that’s a machine that’s going to be something special no matter how it looks or rides – though fortunately for us this one is bloody immaculate.

The bike has undergone a myriad of changes since it’s humble country town beginnings, but we’ll do our best to cover them without tumbling too far down the rabbit hole. At the rear end we’ve got an M&F choppers bolt on hard tail made and bought at their Bondi shop back in ’78. “The forks and front wheel were sourced off a Norton Commando and they have 2″ over stock length legs in them, they were 6″ over but in the last make over we chopped 4″ off them. The seat is Bates seat, typical of the ‘70’s chopper and bobber scene. The fuel tank is off a BSA Bantom and again in the last make over, the centre was chopped out, narrowed and welded back together. The oil tank is off a Pre-unit Triumph and mounted on the back of the down tube of the frame with custom brackets.”

Now to get to the engine, the heart of this ‘cycle has come a long way from the 650cc she started life with. “It now runs a Bonneville head (Twin carbi) and a Joe Hunt Magneto. We also added some Waggot Cams, which was an Australian automotive engineering company that gained fame for the engines they produced for motor sport applications from the 1950s through to the 1970’s. The exhaust was made by dad and then chromed. It now has a Sonny Routt 750cc Big bore kit – Sonny was a hell of a drag racer in the 70’s with Twin Triumphs!”

“Local Moree fabricators The Partridge Brothers made the solid steel manifolds, along with some other parts such as the chain guard etc. The paint was done by one of dad’s old mates, while my mate Mick and I finished it off by gold leafing the Triumph logo on the tank.  As it is now, I feel it’s a pretty good example of ‘70’s chopper nostalgia but in really good running order. It starts first kick and with the racing heritage of the engine components its a beauty to ride, especially having a hard tail and being so raw, you can feel all the characteristics of the machine and it responds to the riders inputs amazingly.”

It’s not just bikes that Jordan is giving a revival to, but also classic style moto wear and merch with Hunt and Co. After selling all his bikes (bar the Triumph) Jordan headed off to waffle about Europe for a year back in 2013 where he would go to as many motorcycle events as he could, from the Isle of Man TT to Sideburn’s Dirt Quake. After returning home, the need for speed machines was still in his veins.

“Between my brother and I, we have competed in MX Nationals, Aus Supercross championships, Finke Desert Race, been on Carey Harts’ Hart and Huntington freestyle tour and also raced in the USA. It kind of felt like that part of my life was pretty fur-filed, and I wanted to make something where I wasn’t spending all my spare change on. This is how Hunt & Co. was born. It was something I created to bring my mates together to help make some cool and creative content, hit up events and make some awesome gear with a laid back feel.”

Jordan’s intention with Hunt & Co.’s gear would be to bring a timeless aesthetic feel to motocross gear, which is represented in their awesome moto jerseys. “I also wanted to bring a more youthful feel to the road scene, I feel my mates and I are skilled and capable on the modern bikes but really dig the style of older stuff, more so the ‘60’s and ‘70’s eras.” Nostalgia and nods to the past are something that just about every apparel and bike brand are dipping their toes into these days, with varied and creative results. It’s a mixing pot of old with new, creating it’s own unique aesthetic.

“We want to push the brand further and we want to build more bikes with the balance of speed and style. The brand at this stage is growing organically, but as we get through some of the early adult things we’re told to knock over first we’ll be able to push Hunt & Co. harder and basically make awesome products and insanely cool project bikes! We’d also like to get more involved in events, and to open a flagship store is also a dream. The passion for motorcycles will always be there so even though we aren’t making huge leaps just yet, I can’t see Hunt and Co. dying off any time soon.

Photography by Zeb Chapman @zebchapman

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Bikes

El Trineo – Chris’ Harley-Davidson 48

Chris bought his 2012 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight completely stock and with barely any Kilometre’s on it, but it didn’t take long for him to start ripping parts off it as soon as he got his new steed home. From there the bike would take on a new look, with its crowning jewel paintwork.

Chris has been riding for years, but mainly on dirt with motocross bikes. If he wasn’t bashing through the dirt and mud, he was on his street registered trail bike zipping through the back streets, hitting speed bumps, and as he says “other stupid shit”. Chris wanted something more however, and so was on the search for some proper road wheels. “I could have gotten a supermotard (and kept my licence for a fortnight at the longest) but I’ve always had an interest in stripped down custom motorcycles, and the ones that always peaked my interest were Harley Davidsons. Not the leather pant, bandana-wearing types, rather the minimalist bobbers with nothing more than a huge engine, no suspension and a set of handlebars with wheels. Ever since I bought one I haven’t looked back. I’ll always have a customised Harley of some sorts for a long time, I think.”

After grabbing his Forty-Eight still in it’s stock form, Chris got to work transforming it into the low down, loud machine he was after. “At first it was the usual simple stuff everyone does to a Harley – handlebars, pegs, intake and then make it antisocially loud. The bike had no direction and started looking like every other Forty-Eight around. Around that time my appreciation for old bobbers and choppers started to grow, the certain sub styles within the “cult” that is bobbers. I decided to take a modern twist on the traditional American Bobber and build something that would look cool sitting still, but still be 100% rideable, reliable, and maintain the good attributes that modern HD’s come with but combine it with an old school flavour.”

Jumping from dirt bikes to Harleys is quite a contrast in machines, but Chris gets to enjoy the best with both worlds as you find his Harley sitting next to his dirt bike in his garage space. “As far as differences in riding style, well they are chalk and cheese. For one, you barely sit down on a motocross bike; it’s a balance between being fluid on the bike and manhandling it to where you want it to go. Swap that with a bike that is 3 times as heavy and an engine the size of a small car and there isn’t a whole lot to carry over between the two, but when the rear wheel starts to come loose on the Harley the instincts kick in and it’s no problem.”

The first thing you’ll notice about this bike is the tank. Painted by Kyle Smith over at Smith Concepts, it’s an incredible work of art and truly the crowning feature of this machine. “Every time I go for a ride someone asks about the paint, in person it is a sight to behold.” It’s not just a visual treat, as Chris had some Bassani Pro Streets exhaust attached which create the best kind of audible V-Twin punch to the face.

You’ll always find this style of bike nice and low to the ground, though Chris was not a fan of the stiff coil suspension. “It would beat me up badly when riding any sort of distance, and it handled shithouse. I added airbag suspension, this allows the bike to be raised up for hitting the corners, or dumped to have the tyre actually sitting on the guard with a few additional modifications.”

“I think the most work went into the parts you can’t see, stuff like hidden wiring looms, completely re-wiring the security module to work with the airbag compressor and making a 170mm rear tyre fit where it clearly shouldn’t.”

    

 

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Bikes

Ross’ Suzuki RE5 M Rotary Bobber

The history of the Suzuki RE5 is an emotional rollercoaster. From claims that it was the best-handling Japanese bike at the time, to also being condemned as one of ‘The Top Ten Worst Motorcycles’ years later. This unique and misunderstood machine has found it’s home with Ross, and has been reincarnated as a low down, mean, rat bobber that you won’t see anywhere else.

Touted as the future of motorcycle engines upon its release in 1974, the Suzuki RE5 featured a Wankel rotary engine. This meant no pistons and no valves, and was a bold move for Suzuki to take. The seemingly straightforward rotary engine however ended up presenting more problems than expected. This bold new bike also required Suzuki to build an entirely new production line, with specially developed machinery. The bikes were only produced from 1974-76, and unfortunately were a hugely unsuccessful venture for Suzuki. With less than 7000 bikes sold worldwide, the company lost a huge deal of money, which almost sent them bankrupt. Rumour has it that Suzuki dumped all the tooling, machinery, and spares into the sea of Japan.

This pariah of a bike would not be forgotten, as Ross would enter the motorcycle world with intentions of doing something a bit different. After seeing so many bobbers he liked in magazines, Ross decided he wanted a bike to chop up himself. “I had a few old Vespas before this and I wanted to turn my attention to something Japanese. I’m a mechanic/fabricator by trade so the desire to build something cool was too strong to ignore. I didn’t even know what these bikes were. I was basically looking for a 70’s Japanese bike; but it had to be different. I’m not a fan of doing things like everybody else. I’ve also liked rotaries since I was a teenager and have been working on them for over 15 years, so when I found this bike I knew I was onto something good.”

Ross wanted to build something that was long, low, and ratty. It would have that “left in a shed” aesthetic that would only get better with age. “I didn’t really care how practical it would be, I just wanted something that I could take for a quick scoot with some mates on a Sunday. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money either and knew I had to do it all myself. I’m not into flashy paint or chrome, and I’m not into stuff that’s been done a million times. I also knew that any parts that I used had to be off other Suzuki’s – you can blame my OCD for that.”

The build started as a complete strip down, with Ross then cutting the whole back part of the frame off so he could make a hardtail section to suit. From there on, he got to work fabricating the parts he wanted to help achieve the look he was after. “The original tank was cactus so I made the first of many trips to the wreckers and found a Suzuki Marauder tank which l liked. A bit of mucking around with the mounts and it sat perfectly high up on the frame. The list of things that I had to make is endless but include the bars, seat pan, exhaust, suicide shifter, rear brake rod pivot, chain tensioner, number plate mount, the radiator and shroud, battery bracket, forward controls, indicator mounts, inlet manifold and the list goes on!”

The hardest part Ross found would be working out how to re-purpose parts from the bike to perform other functions, one example being the shifter handle was made out of one of the original rear footpegs, while also steering clear of anything that look too modern. I had to make a few parts a few times (the exhaust is the 4th) mainly due to me changing my mind or not having things work well (the fan shroud is the 2nd due to the factory fan not cooling enough). I rebuilt the engine, which required some special tools to be made, and I had a good friend help me with the wiring and another with the seat trim. I sourced the leather for the seat from a couch I found in the street, which really added to the ratty, weathered look of the bike. The trickiest part was putting the engine accessories together. I stripped it years ago and only took limited photos but my wife printed out the workshop manual for me, which was the most valuable thing that I had! Without it I never would have been able to put it back together.”

“I love the engine, it’s my favourite thing about this bike. It’s just so bulky in the frame, and in itself is a marvel of engineering. Coming in 2nd is the cylinder just in front of the rear wheel. I always get asked what it is. It’s the original rear taillight, which I hinged and turned into a tool/wallet compartment to fill that otherwise empty area.”

       

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Bikes

Bonestorm – Zac’s SR400 Chopper

When he’s not slamming tinnies of the Very Best, you’ll find our mate Zac scootin’ through the streets on his rude SR400. You won’t find clip-ons or a nitro seat on this thumper, and certainly not a bearded coffee-sipper riding it.

Zac’s been squirting about on bikes since he was a young lad, fanging it around Pacific Park on his 1999 Suzuki RM80X or on trail bikes on the family farm. “I got my road licence when I was 17, but never bought a bike or did anything with it. I then moved to London for a few years and my licence expired. I had to redo the whole LAMs thing again, which was a total bummer. I’ve had a few cool bikes since however, including an ’89 Yamaha SRX250 café racer, a ’79 Honda CB250T hardtail bobber and a nice ’08 Kawasaki KLR650 street tracker built by Kyle Jones at Rene9ade, the man behind this bike.

I guess the main reason I got into bikes is because my parents said I couldn’t, but they also said I couldn’t get any tattoos and now look at me.”

Zac’s current thrill machine is a 1982 Yamaha SR400, dubbed ‘Bonestorm’. “I got the name from one of my favourite Simpsons episodes, the bike is a hardtail so it feels like your tailbone is going through a proverbial shit storm every time you ride it.”

The bike had been originally purchased off a member from Sydney Café Racers in a basket case state, as it spent a generous amount of time sitting in a dark garage collecting dust. These were tough beginnings for what would be a tough looking final product, but this was just what Zac was after. Having seen so many single cylinder choppers and bobbers coming out of Japan, particularly the Yokohama scene, Zac had the inspiration set for his build. “Even though there is a huge Harley vibe over there, not everyone can afford a nice old Pan or Shovel and build it into something great on a budget. You don’t see many SR400 chops around in Australia, since most people go the café route. A shit load of work had to go into this bike to bring it where it is today, it may not seem apparent as it’s still well and truly a rat but hats off to Kyle at Rene9ade for persevering when the chips were down.”

It wasn’t an easy start to get Bonestorm to where it is today, as Zac admits the electrics were an absolute headache. “The guy who had the bike before me had unplugged nearly every part of the loom and left it for dead, a giant spaghetti mess with no end in sight. We basically had to start from scratch, and with a hell of a lot of trial and error we finally got there in the end. I bought a universal loom, but when it arrived it was only the bare minimum basic lighting loom with nothing else attached. So even with a plug and play loom, it was far from simple.”

“The end result is what I pictured in my head. From a bucket of shit to what it is now is subjective; but I think it’s awesome and I couldn’t be happier. It’s not powerful by any means, but it cuts through traffic better than any bike I’ve ever ridden. Nearly every bit of the bike, bar the muffler and lighting, were hand built and fabricated right here in Sydney on a workshop bench, by someone who I trust time and time again with my bikes. It always gets a look and a thumbs up no matter where I am, people seem to love it and whoever doesn’t can go and suck on me tits.”

It’s definitely refreshing to see someone take a different approach, both in regards to an SR400 build and a chopper build. It’s not a café racer, and it’s not a Harley. It’s a stand-alone little rat bastard of a bike. “I love the damn thing, it’s a perfect fit for me and she feels comfortable every time I sit in the saddle. Until you smash it over a pot hole that is…”

     

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Bikes

Resurrected – Yamaha SR400 Bobber

Imported from Japan as a parts bike, this SR400 was given a major overhaul and has been reincarnated as nice clean new bobber. Every bike deserves a second chance, and this one won the jackpot.

The bike started out life being shipped over to Australia from Japan for parts by RB Racing. It was incomplete, and had all of its parts scavenged off it for other projects. It from then on sat in the corner of the workshop for over a year, completely bare and unloved. It was a lonely SR that was in need some of attention. That attention came when ideas of a hard tail project swirled around the workshop, it would be something different for RB but they eventually got into it.

After acquiring a hard tail kit from Trojan Motorcycles, the team got to work. They made up a jib, cut and shut the tail to suit the SR frame and then fabricated it on. “We used some new wheels and tyres we had for another projected that changed direction, and then picked a peanut tank out and made it fit.” The engine was then redone and prettied up with some nice polished parts. “All the paint was done by our great friend Ron Keed, who although is retired was keen as hell to do it for us, and it turned out incredible.”

This bike is currently up for sale, contact RB Racing  or head to their website to grab yourself a kickarse ride.

 

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Garage Sessions

Hicks Boys Customs

Jesse bought is first bike when he was 18 off a mate – a 1992 Kawasaki 125cc. It boasted no exhaust, brakes that didn’t work and no mudguards. Somehow, Jesse is still alive to this day, and thankfully so as he’s got some much nicer (and safer) bikes coming out of his garage at home.

This first bike of Jesse’s (read: Deathtrap) would get itself a makeover however, “Me and my mates, Daniel and Pat, tore that bitch down and painted everything black. We used old parts I scabbed off my brother-in-law’s Yamaha. We had it all ready for a camping trip we were going on, so we spent the whole night putting this bike back together, but we made a big mistake. We didn’t have our own utes or trailers back then and the bike wasn’t registered, so my mate Pat rode it down all the back streets and across the ferry in Port Macquarie. We were all set, driving ourselves in a car happy as larry when we get a call from Pat. He was ringing the bikes neck when the black beauty of a bike blew up! We had forgot to put water in the radiator!”

This didn’t matter to Jesse and his mates, they all had their fun in building the bike and creating something themselves. This would be what drew him to bikes and working on them – “Every time I pick up a socket or tear a bike down, it reminds me of the great memories when I first started on bikes with my mates”

Jesse stepped it up a notch after this, and got to work on a 1948 BSA C11 he got off his Dad upon moving to Canberra 5 years ago. “He found it in the back of a shed on a job he was doing, I was gonna make this a badass matte bobber. I started ripping apart this beast but soon I realised I bit off more than I could chew. Before my Dad had found the bike, it spent most of its life on a farm and had never been registered. It was full of leaves, dirt and old wasps nests. It would have been a great bobber, but it was a nightmare getting the parts for it. I ended up selling this bike, and got my first Yamaha XS650.”

Normally Jesse’s garage is, as he admits, an absolute mess. There’ll be tools everywhere, parts thrown around, and mold growing in old discarded bottles of Corona but all that is changing. “I’m starting up my own business with my Dad, so the shed needed a make over. My missus got me some shelves and I cleared out all the useless shit. I try to spend every afternoon in the shed working on getting my new bike mocked up so I can ride, but as most people know it doesn’t always work out like that. I’m an apprentice plumber so I’m tired and broke for a lot of the time.”

Jesse’s had his fare share of learning curves and new skills since first pulling bikes apart, but perhaps one of the biggest he’s learnt is patience… well, that and grinding. “I’m really good with a grinder these days, and my metal working and designing skills are so much better than when I first got started. I can’t stop thinking of different things to do with my bikes!”

The crowning glory in Jesse’s shed is his purple XS650 Bobber which he got off a mate. “He had it sitting in his garage forever, I finally got it off him about a year ago. I’d seen some pretty awesome bikes built from XS650’s, so I was keen to rip into it! After I tore that baby down, I took at it with the angle grinder to trim the fat and clean up whatever I could. I went for the drop seat hardtail, added a 5-inch stretch and lowered it 3 inches. The bike is now over 2 metres long, and sits 130mm off the ground.”

The next project on Jesse’s list is, of course, another XS650. “This one is going to be a crazy brat with air bag suspension. I have already stretched the swing arm 3 inches and welded on a brat kit. Everyone keeps saying “Why air bags?” And the answer is basically I don’t want to have a kickstand on this bike. I’m going to put some rubber stops on the bottom of the frame and when I’m ready to stop and park, it’ll drop the bike on it’s belly. It’s going to look sick with the 18” cast rims I’m modding to fit this long schlong of a bike!”