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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”

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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
Events

The Shelia’s Shakedown 2018

The Sheila’s Shakedown is an annual female-only moto campout organised by three Melbourne motorcycle enthusiasts – Jaz Andre, Remmi Aloni and Riley Tyler. It is a celebration of motorcycles with the goal of empowering and uniting women across Australia and beyond. The roots of the Sheila’s Shakedown have been growing since 2015 at King Parrot, north of Melbourne. A campout that brought together 30 girls and helped form friendships that kick-started the female motorcycling culture in Victoria, and that ultimately led to the first ever camp out of its kind in Australia.

In its second year, Camp Eureka in Yarra Junction, 70km east of Melbourne, began the transformation from a usually quiet camping space into a petrol-fuelled frenzy, attracting rev-heads with ovaries. This years’ event saw female riders take the pilgrimage from as far as Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane! Needless to say, Jennifer Butt; the dedicated Brisbane rider took out ‘The Iron Butt’ award for most kilometres travelled. That is a total of 1700km!

Despite having organised the event from the ground-up, the ladies behind this mass-exodus of two-wheeled women remain humble about their impact, and give a little insight into the values and vibes of this fun-filled weekend. “Us 3 organisers really just set up the framework for the event, and it’s the women in attendance that make it the most friendly, supportive and fun environment. By no means are we a professional events company. Just 3 Aussie sheilas who love riding, good times and bringing people together. This year we had a lot more sheilas in attendance and we feel the numbers may grow into the future. Every event we will add something new to the space or the activities but the philosophy of community, bike riding and women’s support for one another will always be what Sheilas Shakedown is about”

Come midday, the camp grounds where rumbling with the noises of all types of motorcycles; from choppers, cafe racers, dirt bikes and everything in-between. The silence was now replaced with loud pipes, roaring engines and above all, the laughter and smiles of 170 women. The Sheila’s Shakedown was officially in full swing with the eye-candy of over 80 two-wheeled machines filling out the site. For those not ready to start the process of drinking too much and then trying to remember what happened the day before, there was a heap of festivities on offer. Stalls by Shed of Threads, Motofemmes and Black Arrow Label showcasing the best in female moto-wear, coffee by the Innocent Owl, tattoos by the talented Meighan Mary, and a meet-and-greet with Piston’s and Pearls.

Nipples were freed in support of the #freethenipple movement, and bodies were painted by Erin Frances (@garage.hearts). Donations were gifted for the artwork by every person painted, with all money raised going to a shelter for women and children seeking shelter due to domestic violence.

Now, onto the events of the afternoon! The Olympics might be mildly important, however the Sheil-ympics is considered the holy grail of female sporting activities. It was a test consisting of slow speed manoeuvres, the placing of tennis balls by pillions while the rider navigates through witches hats, and (by far the most important motorcycle game of all time) the eating of the wiener. A technical game, which takes extensive practice between both pillion and rider. The goal is for the rider to steer their steed, while the pillion is responsible for clenching their teeth around a weiner, which is being held by an official at the end of a fishing rod type contraption. The winning team gets a free sausage! However that was not the only food on offer. Screaming Jimmy was the resident food truck with a difference. A crowd next-day favourite being the well needed (and well deserved) $5 Hangover kit; consisting of a Powerade, 2 Panadols, 2 Nurofen and a Cigarette – just enough to get your body kick-started and back in the action. As day turned into night, and sailor to turned into Jerry’s, the bands kicked off and the girls started to put the shake in shakedown. The Body Parts and Bitch Diesel had the crowd dancing, and The Throttle Moles DJ Set had the party leading into the early hours of the morning.

 

Photos by: Lucia Braham for In Venus Veritas

Words by: Denise Widjaja

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 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

Jennifer’s 1974 Honda CB550

This is the story of a girl named Jennifer and her entry in to the world of motorcycles, courtesy of a boy named Blake. This wouldn’t just be motorcycles, but the classic and custom world of motorcycling and the richness that it’s so famously known for.

My name is Jennifer Bailey and I live in the beautiful river town of New Braunfels, Texas.

This whole adventure began when my partner in crime, Blake Bailey, a recreational bike builder and lover of all things engine related and founder and owner of Motobailey Shoe Co., had the audacity to bet me that I wouldn’t get my motorycle license. So after he was proven wrong, I bought a Ninja 250, and was instantly addicted, which legitimately surprised both of us. The combination of the adrenaline I felt pumping through my veins along with the peace that came with being completely alone and free on a bike, is one of the most incredible feelings I’ve ever felt. From there, I said forget yoga… and a life passion was born.

Shortly after moving to New Braunfels, we made some great friends in town, Karly Kothmann and her husband, Tanner, who built her renowned CB550. Blake and I both rode her bike and had one of those moments where both of us realized her bike was one of the smoothest riding and sounding vintage bikes we’ve ever encountered. Her vintage replica Yoshimira race exhaust sounded so similar to a mid 1960s Ferrari v12 Formula 1 car. It truly was one of those instantaneous passionate sounds that you only have to hear once and you fall absolutely in love. It didn’t hurt that Blake and I were both big fans of the Isle Mann TT and the history of Honda’s involvement in it.

So naturally, the literal next day, Blake showed up to our house with an old beat up 1974 Honda CB550 he bought for me that only ran on 2 cylinders and was leaking fuel and oil out of everywhere, it was a freaking disaster. However, it did have a pretty dope Mad Max style to it.

Our inspiration for the bike truly came from the vintage Isle Mann TT era along with the Ferrari v12 sound, and to be honest… a little bit of Tron to top it off.

To achieve this look, we removed the sub frame and all unnecessary frame tabs with a grinder. Then we fabricated a rear seat pan and hoop from flat steel. We had a custom diamond pattern seat made from some shifty internet guy in Thailand and replaced the triple tree with a new one from Dime City Cycles. We installed new clips on’s, a new headlight and rear led brake light. We had the tank and wheels powder coated in Black Chrome by Overland By Design. We replaced the tires with Firestone vintage replica race tires, switched to a Carpy 4into1 race exhaust, added pod filters, and hid a single anti-gravity battery (yes, it is fully capable of starting the bike every single time) and all the electronics under the seat with a hidden electronics tray from Cognito to get the empty triangle look.

Near the end of the project, I was getting antsy to finish and ride my new bike, and Blake was crazy busy with Motobailey, so we enlisted our dear friends, Tyson Carver (@txrenegade) and Tanner Kothmann (@t_kothmann1) to finish out the rewiring (the most challenging part of the build) and random reassembly needs to complete the bike. They did an excellent job. When they finished, I heard the most beautiful sound out the front door and wondered…could it possibly be…the bike with the most beautiful sound that I had envisioned…sure enough, I opened the door and saw my incredible new motofamily all standing outside with their cameras rolling to see my reaction….and to no one’s surprise, I was balling and grinning from ear to ear.

Introduce my bike’s name, Felicia (Youtube “Bye Felicia” if you’re not our age and have no idea what we’re talking about). She is now a top-notch highway screamer that looks as beautiful as she sounds.

We’re not bike builders or out to dazzle anyone with crazy bike builds, we are simply enthusiasts that want to ride, drive, or have a beer and talk over the things that make us happy. If you have questions about our builds, great places to ride in texas, or where to grab a local beer and burger, just shoot us a DM on insta @jennifernicholebailey and @motobaileyshoeco

Categories
Bikes

Mostro Brutale – Lee’s Ducati Monster

It wasn’t long after entering the world of motorcycles that Lee would catch the custom bug, as he tumbled down the rabbit hole of Café Racers and their history. This passion would be expressed in the custom Cafe Racers he’s created since, and this 2003 Ducati Monster 1000S is no exception.

Lee was originally belting about on the roads with scooters, going for big trips with mates around New Zealand while having a complete blast. “It was during one baking hot day north of Kaikoura in 2009 that I thought “How cool would it be to do these trips on a big bike?” But I wanted something that had the same retro feel as my old Vespa. So it was a couple of months later that I bought myself a stock Triumph Bonneville.”

Owning this new machine, which suffice to say certainly had a lot more power than his 150cc Vespa, was great but there was a little something missing for Lee. It was upon looking into the rich history of Triumph Motorcycles that Lee came across the Café Racer scene that was flourishing in the 1960’s. “I was hooked from the start – the bikes, art, fashion and lifestyle. It was just before the big earthquakes of 2010 that I customised the Triumph into my first Café Racer and loved it.”

The custom bug had now firmly attached itself to Lee, and a 1998 Yamaha XJR1300 would soon find its way into his shed to receive a modern Café Racer makeover. “Its very rewarding transforming something standard into something unique that represents the art and lifestyle of the Café Racer. I enjoyed riding the XJR during the summer, and I sold the bike back in March 2017. With the proceeds from the sale I was in a position to purchase a different bike. I wanted to create a 3rd Café Racer and decided to purchase a 2003 Ducati Monster 1000S. I wanted to get away from the usual Japanese customised bikes.  As long as the servicing is kept up to date, these old Ducati’s are fine and are simply amazing to ride.  There really is something special about Ducatis.”

As with Lee’s previous projects, the Ducati Monster would be a naked bike to start off with. After some rough preliminary sketches, he would attack this new project with the same battle plan as is previous builds. “The most complicated part in this build would be the rear of the bike, and trying to get the seat pan right. There are many angles, and not having all the required tools at the time proved too difficult. So after many failed attempts I enlisted some professional help. I used Corey Taylor of Da Vinci Steel Craft in Christchurch to help with the seat pan and rear frame chop.”

Some much sleeker, more stylist DanMoto Twin XG pipes were added in favour of the very uninspiring stock system. “I chucked the new pipes on and took the bike out for a test ride, and the noise was obnoxiously loud. Out on the country roads it sounded amazing and open when letting off the throttle and changing gear. But for everything else it was simply too loud. The solution was simply ordering baffles from DanMoto, as riding the bike for any length of time without was a nightmare.”

“The paintwork was completed by Muzza’s in Christchurch. The tank threw us some unexpected issues that resulted in a complete restoration on the inside of the tank, with replacement fuel pump and filters. Muzza was great at fixing these issues thankfully!”

“These old school Monsters are great bikes and provide a great canvas to work with. My aim for the bike was to transform the Monster and accentuate its amazing engineering details and attempt to give the bike a mean, brutal yet stylish look.  Which in my opinion these amazing machines truly deserves.”

You can check out the entire build process on Lee’s website HERE

Photography by Stacey Cavalier Photography

Categories
Bikes Reviews

2017 Ducati Scrambler – Cafe Racer

The one the newest babies from the Scrambler Ducati line is somewhat of a black sheep of the range. It’s definitely a black bike, there’s not mistaking that. Introducing the Scrambler Café Racer – don’t let the name confuse you.

 

With the booming success of Ducati’s Scrambler range that pounced into the motorcycling market in 2015 we’ve been seeing slight modifications in this line of bikes, be it in engine capacity with the Sixty-Two, or styling. The brand new Café Racer breaks away from this in a much more nimble, corner-hungry, little demon-machine with a serious face-lift kind of way.

While the Scrambler Icon and its subsequent models have proven to be a great base for a custom build, some folks are opting for a more café racer style, you can now get that aesthetic straight off the bat. It’s not just the aesthetics that have been tweaked of this pocket-rocket, but a few subtle yet great changes that make this an enjoyable little ride.

While the name can be somewhat confusing with Scrambler being alongside Café Racer, which could seem like an oxymoron (actually that’s exactly what it is), this is much more than just a few changes to the Scrambler Classic. Harking back in Ducati’s own history, the iconic black and gold scheme is a throwback to the original Ducati 900SS. To add to the Ducati heritage of this machine is the number 54 emblazoned on the side, a nod to Bruno Spaggiari who used this racing number when he rode the Mototemporada Romagnola in 1968.

The Café Racer model features the same 803cc L-Twin engine as the previous Scrambler models, alongside many other parts including tank, headlight, frame, and the same Termignoni exhaust set up that the Scrambler Full Throttle comes standard with. There are new bits though, I mean, this is a new bike after all. The new 17” wheels come with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres, radial-mount front master cylinder, new suspension and of course, some clip-on bars to complete the café racer look and feel.

Riding this bike you’ll instantly notice what makes it stand out in the Scrambler pack. The rack has been adapted to suit a more racing nature, with the angle of the steering head and the frame being tweaked to a rake of 21.8 degrees. This results in the bike cutting into corners like Anakin into a room full of Younglings (See: Revenge of the Sith). The bike is incredibly manoeuvrable, it isn’t a machine that has had clip-on’s attached and claims to be a Café Racer while struggling to perform its goal. This bike lives up to its name in both look and performance.

The Termignoni exhaust, which the bike comes standard with, looks good, and sounds good – to a degree. These are completely legal pipes, which means just as you’re starting to hear those sweet tones and notes, it cuts out and becomes friendly to even the sookiest neighbours. This is a fairly small bike, with a shorter and lighter riders loving the clearance and handling. I’m not a particularly tall person (read: bit short) so I asked Scrambler Ducati Ambassador Danny Clayton, who is a bit of a tall boy, what he thought of the machine after hours of riding. “As a taller gentleman I’m not usually drawn towards café styled bikes, but found this model to be incredibly comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable.” And there you have it.

The new Café Racer model also features a new Brembo braking system, with a Bosch 9.1 MP ABS system and pressure sensor. There is also a radial-type front brake pump, which is the result of a decision to mount a power single-disc front braking system. The market is still hungry for heritage and classic styled bikes, and it’s not an easy thing to pull off when you’re trying to mix vintage with contemporary. If you get the ratios wrong, you can end up with a bike that fits neither bill. This bike ticks off a lot of boxes. It looks fuckin’ great straight out of the factory, with plenty of room to customise it yourself.

It’d be nice to see the side number plate come blank, with the owner being able to add their own number in (shotgun 69) but Ducati have pulled off a lightweight, nimble as hell bike.

RRP for these badboys is $16,990 AUD

Ducati Scrambler Café Racer

o Black Coffee with black frame and gold wheels

Equipment
o Desmodue twin-cylinder engine, EURO 4-compliant, with black finish and machined cooling fins.
o Termignoni exhaust with dual tailpipes and black anodized aluminium cover
o 17” Pirelli DIABLOTM ROSSO II tyres, 120/70 ZR 17 up front and 180/55 ZR17 at the rear
o Dedicated seat with cover for passenger section
o Lateral number holders
o Separate aluminium handlebars
o Fully adjustable upsidedown fork with black anodized sleeves
o Sporty front mudguard
o Rear-view mirrors mounted on aluminium handlebars
o “Caféracer”nosefairing
o Frontradialbrakepump
o Steel tear drop fuel tank with interchangeable side panels
o Dedicatedlogo
o Lowplateholder

 

      

Categories
Bikes Culture

The Great Scrambler Heist

While Papa Ducati slept, a crack team of reprobates snuck into the Scrambler barn to rustle up a herd of machines for 2 days of riding. With the new Desert Sled and Café Racer amongst the mix, a good amount of varied hoonery was definitely on the cards.

It was a mongrel team of riders that all turned up on the day, a good mix of blokes and sheilas who all seemed to hit it off instantly. This would be the foreshadowing of an excellent 2-day riding adventure across roads and twistys, dirt and water. The plan was remarkably simple – gather all the Ducati Scramblers that we could, ride their brains out, and enjoy it all the while. On the menu were the Scrambler Icon, Classic, Sixty-Two, and the brand new Café Racer and Desert Sled models.

The battle plan for day one would be to all ride together until we broke free of the traffic confines of Sydney. After a pit stop, and many coffees, two groups would be formed and broken off for the day. One would be on the Café Racers for some road and cornering action, and the second team would be snatching up the adventurous Desert Sled options for some fire trails and water crossings.

First we’ll touch on the naughty, dark little number that is the Scrambler Café Racer – a bit of a contradictory name, but we don’t mind. This is a standout from the new Scrambler line, and has gone for a more road savy/urban approach that has tapped into the ever-popular café racer niche. With it’s forks brought in, compared to the rest of the Scrambler line, and clip-ons attached, this is a remarkably light and nimble machine. It’s begging for corners, and a lot of joy is brought to your soul once you tuck over and lean in.

The Café Racer is a little bike, make no mistake. Though the taller riders of the day didn’t seem to have many complaints, so it’s not just us short bastards that can enjoy such machines. Riding close in check were the more standard Scrambler Icon and Classic models, eagerly keeping up with the dark Café cousin. Riding out through to Kurrajong and Wiseman’s Ferry was great in itself, but once we remembered we had escaped the office and work obligations, the fun really set in.

The on-road and off-road teams finally rendezvoused after hours of fun and swapping bikes. The local pub would be the victim for our hungry bellies, although upon arrival we were told the kitchen was closed “5 minutes ago”, now I’m not one for conspiracies but this seemed awfully suss. Maybe they didn’t like our haircuts? Maybe they were Harley riders? Maybe the kitchen actually was closed and I’ve got issues? It’s hard to say really, and maybe it’s all true. Regardless, the local pie shop up the road filled the spot just right. How good are pies but?

With the pies tucked away safely in our fat little bellies, we got wind of a beautiful lookout spot out near Blackheath. With the sun slowly making it’s way down, this seemed like a great way to finish the day and so the entire gang of Scramblers set out once more. We made it to our picturesque location with time to spare. The sun gave off dividends as we soaked up the incredible, albeit freezing, scenery.

Once the sun was gone it was a unanimous decision of “fuck it, it’s freezing, let’s get the fuck out of here.” To retreat to warmer housing, which also happened to have plenty of booze. Go figure? A big cook up was just what we needed, with everyone jumping on board to help with the feast. Young Patrick even learned how to chop vegetables for the first time, with L’Oreal from Ducati being very proud. The rest of the evening was very uneventful, with no one doing any creepy or sexual dancing at all.

Definitely not.

The following morning saw everyone rise with only mild hangovers, probably from too many finely sliced vegetables. Today would be the same riding, however with each group swapping bikes. This is where the very exciting, very new Desert Sled model would come into play.  This incarnation of the Scrambler series might be what should have been originally released years ago, it’s got plenty for hitting the beaten track and applying a bit of mischief and adventure into your rides.

This bike is in true retro form, throwing back to the stripped-down machines of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s that would be tearing up desert of the famous Baja desert race. With plenty of suspension, seat height, ground clearance and MX-styled bars, this is a much different riding form to any of the other Scrambler line. A completely different machine to the Café Racer (duh) and a much more dedicated off-road feel than the standard Scrambler line.

The Desert Sled is the heaviest of the Scrambler line, thanks to some much-welcomed additions. The frame has been reinforced to deal with the abuse of off-road riding, along with bigger suspension and a longer swing arm. The air-cooled 803cc L-twin engine that is in all these Scrambler models has been minimally changed, although with some welcome and subtle ones. The snatchiness of the previous Icon series has been eliminated, courtesy of a more progressive throttle opening and some work on the ECU. This hasn’t taken away any of the fun, but means you can control it when you want.

We took two of these Desert Sleds down some fire trails, across dirt, gravel, and the odd water crossing. They held their own, and, while not a completely dedicated dirt or adventure bike, it definitely performs well and is a tonne of fun both on and off road.

Despite the flashy new models of Scrambler taking up a lot of the attention for the day, the previous models held their own and maintained their stance as a versatile and enjoyable bike. Even the LAMS Sixty-Two model kept up, once it caught up on the straights mind you.

With dust having entered just about every crevice in our souls and hundreds of kilometres smashed out, it was time to return our faithful steeds back to the Ducati barn. Heading back east, the traffic began to return. Congestion, beeping, and the usual not-very-good-people you find on Sydney roads.

Back to Sydney.

Back to the office.

A special thank you to Ducati Australia for the bikes, and for all the cheeky boys and girls that made it such a great time.

Photography by Josh Mikhaiel and Throttle roll

 

Categories
Bikes

Lars’s 1975 Honda CB750

While working in his grandfather’s factory, a love affair for old machinery would begin for Lars. Throw in a 1970’s Honda, and the marriage would be complete.

Being surrounded by the old machines in his Grandfather’s aircraft factory would form an important part of Lars’s life. It would be here that the simplicity of some of the old machinery would turn fascination into obsession. “Upon discovering that a machine output speed was adjusted by manually changing the gear ratio by movement of a belt, this led to me counting the number of teeth on each gear, and calculating the speed of each combination. Needless to say, I wasn’t very productive.”

Teeth-counting aside, some more productive things would be in store for Lars. Having picked himself up a 1975 Honda CB400F, the simply air cooled engine which was laid out bare and on show would be something that suited his tastes perfectly. “I had picked it up just wanting something for convenience, riding it to Uni and making the parking around Bondi easier. At first the bike seemed too heavy and fast, but that didn’t last long and soon I had developed a new obsession with speed – something I’d never had when driving a car. The more my skills improved, the smaller and easier this 400F was to throw around. I needed something bigger.”

Keeping true to the Honda CB family, a CB550 would soon follow as Lars outgrew the CB400. This too would, for a time, feel almost too fast. This of course would not last – and so it was time for the hugely successful Honda CB750 to flex its muscles and become the bike of choice for Lars in both riding and wrenching.

“I got my first CB750 from a bloke down the coast. It had been sitting in a garage unregistered for 25 years, but had a recent engine rebuild. It was exactly what I wanted – a clean, healthy engine with a rusty exterior. I wasn’t planning on keeping much of the stock shell anyway. I completed the build and it felt so bloody heavy compared to what I’d ridden before. After a couple of weeks I’d gotten used to it and was comfortably throwing the bike around (courtesy to a handful of performance upgrades) and now have been riding a CB750 daily for over 2 years. I don’t think that this is a bike that I’ll outgrow anytime soon – I love its weight and power.”

This is the part where Lars’s latest CB750 build comes in. This 1975 Honda CB750F was found on the Sydney Café Racers page, advertised as a complete bike with a recent engine rebuild. “The previous owner said it ran well before it was taken apart, but needless to say, I was sceptical. I picked the bike up on a trailer, the engine was in the frame, but the carbis and exhaust system were in boxes, along with the brakes and everything else. I spent the following day giving the engine a once-over so I could get it running and start troubleshooting. I did valve clearances, cam chain tension, ignition timing, changed the oil, rebuilt the carbis, fitted the exhaust and hooked it up to the battery. 6 hours later and she was alive! I ran it through the gears and checked the clutch and compression; the engine was in great condition! This meant it was time to pull the engine back out and get to work on the rest of the bike.”

Despite not having a complete vision of just exactly what this build would be in the engine, some parts were already figured out in Lars’s head, and so that’s where he attacked first. The wheels would be removed and the spokes hacked out with a grinder. The wheel bearings would be replaced as new stainless spokes would be added into the shouldered aluminium rims. “Upon removing the wheels I discovered the swingarm wasn’t performing so well, and the front fork tubes were bent. I made a few modifications to improve grease flow to the swingarm and replaced the fork tubes, adding a bit of preload. I extended the rear shocks and the suspension was sorted.”

“I bought a new loom and rewired the whole bike with electronic ignition, new coils, regulator / rectifier, new handlebar controls, a motogadget speedo, all new lighting and a few little hidden switches.”

“Next step was cutting the subframe and making the necessary welds to mount the seat, pillion pegs, remote idle screw and side covers I had welded up with stainless steel (I was sick of burning my right leg on the oil tank).

I bought a set of stainless headers, but to increase the scavenging of a 4 into 1 system I welded up a new merge collector with a smaller outlet diameter (1.75″ instead of 2.5″). I then decided where I wanted the muffler to be, measured up a few pie cuts to get it in position and welded it all together to a 1 1/2 straight through reverse megaphone.

I built a seat, mounted the blank front and rear fenders, made a tail light / license plate holder, shortened the clutch and throttle cables, fitted some rear sets, and wrapped some leather around the new clip-ons. I now had a functional bike.

Everything was now decided except the paint scheme.”

“I was at the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed when I decided on the paint scheme for the entire bike, it was going to be a vintage race bike. I drew up a few designs and decided which parts were going to be raw metal or painted black, then got to business, I like to finish the build before i start on painting and polishing. I took the entire bike apart and removed the engine, I painted the frame and all its components in a day.

It all came together at once I assembled the bike and fitted some new Keihin CR29 carburettors with K&N filters and fired her up. It was running rich in the low end, perfect at 1/4 throttle but lean upwards from about 3/8 throttle.

A fiddle with the idle mixture screw, needle clip down two positions, main jet one size up. Half an hour later it was running well through the entire rev range, got to love these new carburettors and how easy they are to adjust.”

“It is an absolute pleasure to ride with the suspension height, seat shape and handlebar positions tailored for me. The engine sounds amazing and it takes off like a rocket. Cosmetically I designed the bike to look (in my opinion) classy and understated rather than flashy and asking for attention, no chrome, no bright colours, no cheap parts and nothing that will rust.

I don’t like to remove functional parts of a bike to make it look less ‘clunky’ or drill holes in things for ‘weight reduction’. I’ve seen bikes with no mirrors, speedo, side covers, fenders, chain guard, poor tyres and clip ons without rear sets.

The top priority is getting the bike to function well, cosmetics always come second. That’s often where the challenge lies, designing a beautiful yet functional machine.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Mark’s 1985 Yamaha SR500

Yamaha SR500 Café Racers are purely for show. That’s it.

Or so the tired stereotypes would have you believe. After catching the café racer bug in Japan, among a few other diseases, Mark returned to Sydney with the need for one of these quintessential machines. Not knowing anything about bikes except that he wanted one, Mark snatched up a 1985 Yamaha SR500 that was for sale. The love affair was now balls deep.

With most first bikes you own, the moment you get on you’re in love. And for Mark, that was exactly it. This was the best bike ever. But as your skills improve and you get to realise just how restricted some machines are (for those riding LAMs, you know what I mean), thus begins the need for more balls. “The bike was great, it was light and nimble to chuck around, but it’s performance began to wane as my ability improved. In went a Keihin FCR 39mm which, once tuned, had me get the front end off the tarmac as I exited the mechanic’s.”

This mighty 37hp machine would prove a mighty ally for Mark battling Sportster boys off the mark from the lights, and making long trips up and down the coast. Some folks would say that this small thumper wasn’t made for the long journeys Mark was taking it on – and they may be right; but that hasn’t stopped him. “Just about every part on the bike has been chipped, broken off or lost somewhere along the way. Over the years I was constantly changing and modifying the bike to be faster, stronger, and more agile.”

Fate had something in mind for this punching SR, in the form of tragedy and rebirth. On one of the many Sydney Café Racers rides, a friend who was riding the bike flipped it – presumably mistaking the bike for a skateboard. The machine was a financial write off. This special bike that was Mark’s first 2-wheeled love was ruined. Or was it? Plot twist! “Luckily I was insured, which meant I was able to buy the bike back at a good price. The bike still had a lot of good parts on it that were still intact, so I decided I would rebuild. Only this time it would be better, faster, stronger.”

Part of running Sydney Café Racers for Mark means he meets an unimaginable plethora of passionate people that work on bikes, boasting skills from just about every avenue. It would be calling upon these passionate individuals that would help form the reincarnated SR500 into its new, ball-tearing form. The frame would get some love first, being modified to suit Mark’s needs by Evolution Custom Industries and Paul Stanner from Drifter Bikes. The rearsets would be handled by SDG Moto from the Central Coast, and DnA Customs managed the mounting of the fairings, side covers and the rear hugger. This bike would again take the long journeys that it once took up and down the coast to far-off cities, but this time, rather than losing its parts along the way, it would be rebuilt and returned to Sydney as something completely new – and completely different!

This bike would epitomise the growing custom motorcycle world that has exploded across Sydney over the past 6 years, with the help of so many who were carving their own stake in motorcycling and have also grown over the years. Adrian from Rising Sun Workshop would take care of the wiring with the bikes new Motogadget system and Rene9ade Custom Motorcycles would take on the BSA-inspired fuel tank, chain-guard and seat. “It literally took years to get to this point. Hours of racing and road riding determined that it needed even more work, so RB Racing bored it out to 535cc using a hi-comp Wiseco piston. Compression is 11:1 and goes like a little rocket.”

Not bad for a thumper. This SR500 breaks the stereotype of only being for show, and is certainly no stranger to the track, with its Gazi rear suspension allowing Mark to get the knee down once or twice. The drag strip wasn’t safe from the bike either. It would belt out 13.7 seconds down the quarter mile, but this wasn’t good enough. SS Scooter would heed the call for more speed, and a nitrous-oxide system would be installed to bring the bike up from 45 to 60hp with the click of a button. “This would change that 13.7 seconds to a flat 13, which isn’t bad with my 105kg arse on it. It was a ton of fun, especially since the engine didn’t explode.”

“I don’t know if this bike is even a café racer anymore – with so many different definitions and opinions it’s hard to tell sometimes. I don’t care. It’s got what I love, which is classic styling mixed with modern performance. I loved taking this simple, single-cylinder bike and turning it to 11 to try get every ounce of goodness out of it. For me, this is the bike that bought it all together. It brought people together from across the globe, it created Sydney Café Racers, Throttle Roll, and invented The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.”

“This is more than just an SR500 to me – it’s the bike that I’ll never be able to let go. When I have the time, I want to push this bike even further, and take it on more great roads across Australia. For now, it’s lane splitting in Sydney, hitting the track, and having a crack at drag racing.”

The bike can also go 270kph, or so Mark insisted.

Modifications –
Aprilia RS125 Front Suspension, wheels and brakes
Aftermarket Speedo
Aftermarket clip-ons
Twin oil line feed
Ducati ST2 oil cooler and braided lines
Custom engine side covers and sprocket cover
Custom chain guard
Custom rear hugger
Rizoma indicators
Aftermarket headlight
LED tail-light
Custom stainless steel exhaust with Dime City Cycles muffler
Keihin FCR flatside carburetor
Custom rear hoop and frame modifications
Joker Machine rearsets
Aftermarket bashplate
Wiseco piston 535cc conversion
Motogadget electrics and switchblocks
Custom front fairing
Nitrous-oxide system
Custom battery box
Aftermarket fiberglass side covers
Replica BSA fuel tank
Gazi rear suspension
Extended swing arm

Categories
Bikes

Chris’ Laverda 1972 750SF

7 years in the making only for it all to be turned into ash. Despite the disaster, Chris wasn’t beat. Like a Phoenix, this Laverda would rise from the ashes to be born again.

Chris is no stranger to Laverda’s having owned a fair few 1000 triples in his time. It would be time for a change however, albeit not too drastic – keeping to the Laverda brand, which he was so passionate about. “One of the NSW Club members had a 750 twin for sale that was in thousands of pieces. I bought it with the intention of building up a special. I had the motor for about 2 years, but had no contacts that could build the motor to my specifications, so it sat is boxes waiting to be completed.”

Meanwhile, Chris was trawling through the good ol’ Trading Post, whereupon he came across an advert for tons of motorcycle parts for sale. “I gave them a buzz and asked if they had any Laverda parts. A call back in ten minutes confirmed they had a 750SF2 frame. I was living in Sydney at the time, and picked it up 4 hours later for $50. The frame had some history to it as well; it was raced as a sidecar at the local speedway track. It still had the chair mounts welded to the frame.”

Work on this project was now underway, however still without someone to do the engine work, a GSXR750 “Oiler” was transplanted into the frame. It would be a long road completing this project – 7 years in fact – but Chris was persistent, chipping away bit-by-bit in his workplace workshop until it was finally completed and brought home, just in time for Christmas.

This is where disaster would strike. The day before Christmas, Chris found himself doing some work outside his shed where he kept his bikes – this newly completed project having just joined their ranks. “I had gone in to use a metal cut-off saw. A silver bike cover blanketed the Laverda – the kind most of us have. With the freshly cut metal posts planted in the ground, my daughter pointed out smoke coming from the shed. I ran in and saw my seven-year project bike on fire! Sparks had set the cover ablaze. I grabbed a fire extinguisher from my boat, but to no avail. My wife managed to bring a hose, which I used to douse everything as I tried to save the other bikes from catching fire. The bike was cooked. What a great Christmas present.”

It will no doubt pain you to read that story. Countless hours put into a project, only for it to go up in smoke. It’s every builder’s nightmare. This wouldn’t be the end for this machine, however. The box of pieces that would form a Laverda engine was pulled out, and Chris’ determination set into overdrive. He wanted to take this machine to the Barry Sheene Festival of speed. Only he wouldn’t have 7 years to build the bike, but 3 months. Having relocated to Queensland, Chris was able to find the folks at Redax Engineering who could rebuild this engine for him, which would be the first step the next reincarnation of this machine.

Bore 880cc Piston/Liner/Gasket set for 750 twin, ex Andy Wagner
92mm liners
Oil Cooler provision, Nipple adaptors
Bore and hone barrels Machine top of barrels
Machine 8 x Engine studs, wasted to 8mm
Bored and Honed barrels
Machined primary drive sprockets, crankshaft and clutch to 2 row teeth
Carrillo Conrods
New Big End Bearings & cages
SFC Crank middle section, 35mm big pin
Rebuilt crankshaft, pressed together at 270 deg
New Oil Slingers
New Big End pins
Carbon Fibre Clutch plates
Drilled oilways in Clutch Basket
SFC type clutch springs
Gearbox rebuilt
Set new dual SFC Valve Springs 4
Custom Valve Collet retainers to suit 7mm Valve stems, CNC machined
Hardened custom Valve Collet retainers
7mm Valve collets
Set SFC Rocker Arms
SFC Rocker arm adjuster screws
Custom 7mm Manganese Bronze Valve Guides
44mm Inlet Valves, coated Stainless, hardened tips
35.5mm Exhaust Valves, coated Stainless, hardened tips
Ignitech electronic ignition and a shitload of machining too.

The “Lavuki” would now feature its complete Laverda transformation; boasting a full carbon fibre SFC bodywork, SFC exhaust, Gazi shock, SV1000 forks, shortened XJR1100 swing-arm, Digital tacho/speedo, Ducati 1000 Sport Classic wheels fitted with stainless spokes, and a smaller 4.25 rear rim.

“I did all the modifications to the bike myself, bar the engine and the wheel lacing, and carbon bodywork, which one of Laverda Club members does in Slovenia.

But, as I’m OCD, it took many times to do, re-do, and re-do things over and over. The Laverda Ghost carbon front guard, as an example, was modified over a two-week period, and I’m still not happy.

“The 270 degree crankshaft makes the bike sound Ducati-ish. There was 5Kg taken off the crank, so it’s very peaky, and is limited to 9,500 RPM – that makes about 5,500RPM of usable power.

It’s actually a lot of fun to ride. It’s not as fast, nor comfortable, as a modern day bike, and gear changes are slow, but we have to remember we are still talking ’60’s and 70’s technology in these gearboxes.

But unless you’ve ridden a Laverda, you just wouldn’t understand.”

Categories
Bikes

Joseph’s ’78 Yamaha SR500

The Yamaha SR, a staple for home wrenchers throughout garages, living-rooms, and sheds across the country. This machine would be the foundation for Joseph, as he poured hours, dollars, and beers into a project that may never end.

Having caught the motorcycling affliction later in life (if you could call 24 “later”) Joseph got his first set of wheels, an SR400, and was instantly hooked. The single cylinder thumper that had grown to such infamous popularity had claimed another victim. On becoming more familiar with his machine, the realisation that customisation was not as far-fetched as he had initially thought prompted some devious thoughts for some more ambitious work.

The time was nigh for a complete custom build for himself. His first SR was now sold, with the funds going towards a stock machine to chop, change, and make his own. “The plan was to purchase a cheap SR500 which, after a service and clean, would be worth more than I paid. Why I thought this made no sense at all, as all I did with my previous SR was paint a few covers and fenders black.” The plan for a cheap SR500 was fulfilled, as a longstanding listing at a wrecker accepted the price that Joseph offered. The intentions to simply service and clean this machine were now thrown out the window, and the gremlins would show their faces.

The reality of this thrifty bike purchase now began to set in, as a complete engine rebuild was put at the top of the growing list of work to be done to get this bike going. “With my knowledge still limited on these bikes, and the only bike mechanic known to me being from where I purchased my first bike, I returned to him for some help. I picked up all the parts I needed for the engine rebuild and got researching for the next step.”

It would be a long awaited year for the rebuild to take place – so much for a quick fix and clean. “This has really become the overall story behind this bike. Nothing has ever been quick/cheap, but I haven’t been able to stop. Deus was definitely at fault for putting this idea in my head. I purchased a ton of bolt on bits & eventually finished. It looked like a simple typical Deus SR with my own colours, but with my obsession growing & constantly seeing what could be done, I was far from done.”

Back from the engine rebuild, this once dead stock, worse for wear machine was running once more. Now for the fun part – the chopping. Having poured through what must have seemed like hundreds of custom SR builds, in a huge array of styles, the plans for this build became grander. “Unfortunately I realised that everything I wanted to do to the bike needed to be made to measure and custom in every way. In addition to that, I was informed about power upgrades, which was something I just couldn’t Ignore. Did I need these upgrades? No. Did I want them? Yes. I sourced parts from all over the world, setting up a MyUS account so that nothing was out of reach. The funny thing is that the only thing currently on the bike now that was on the initial build (minus the engine) is the fibreglass JVB headlight. Every part chosen was to provide a look and overall performance and handling.”

The balance/battle between form and function was rife throughout the build. Parts to improve performance, while others to fit the goal aesthetic were applied and sacrificed along the way. “The look of the bike definitely took priority, as I know it’s only an SR and I’m not a track guy. From the GSXR front end, the mono shock, the CB250 gas tank for the perfect line, custom exhaust, Dellorto 40 Carb, everything came together to give me everything I wanted from the bike and much more.”

“The major hiccup with this bike was me constantly changing my mind. The bike has had 3 very similar looks, but it was always missing something. Not something to anyone else, but to me and how the bike should look. I would try to do as much as possible, minus any machining, engine work, and brakes. Other things I would try, I would usually fail or mess up & have to send it off to reset my mistake before trying again. After a while I realised that there was no time limit, and that things would be done in due time. In the 6yrs of owning this bike I would say its’ been ridable for 1 year, and that’s me being generous! I constantly get laughed at by friends with that piece of info. It’s now become a known thing that this bike will never really be finished.”

Categories
Bikes

Rob’s ’76 Honda CB750

The need for 2-wheeled hoonery kicked off 24 years ago for Rob, from humble mopeds to more adventurous dirt bikes with mates he ascended the motorcycle hierarchy. It would be classic Hondas that would really drive his passion for riding and customisation, with his latest being a classic cafe racer styled machine with that famous CB750 charm.

Fond memories of Rob’s first bike, a 1978 Honda CB400, still illuminate his mind as a much younger version of himself would ride this machine till he could ride no more. “I can remember the first time I ever took that bike out onto the Highway. I rode straight to Connecticut from Long Island NY. I was truly addicted from that moment on.”

This addiction was not simply for motorcycles, but 1970’s Hondas it would seem. This current fix is a 1976 CB750 Supersport, the 6th classic Honda Rob has owned and what will no doubt be among the ranks of many more. “I owned a ’77 CB750 before this one, but it got totalled in a hit and run accident – I was very lucky to have walked away from that. I knew I wanted another ‘70’s CB750, so was on the lookout for just the right one. I always like to buy a bike as stock as possible. This means I can start with a blank slate and change or customise things to really make it my own.”

Hours of trawling through adverts of CB750’s for sale would provide with him a win. An orange Supersport, that was (mostly) stock, just what the doctor ordered. “This would be the first Super Sport I’ve owned. I liked the idea of the longer wheelbase and tank, which I felt would provide a really great basis for a café racer build. The second I saw this machine I knew the design I had in my head would fit it perfectly.”

The work behind getting this orange stock CB750 to a mean green café racer machine would start with a major top to bottom engine rebuild, some exhaust work, tidying up the electrics and switching out the pod filters that had come with the bike. “Most of the work would be aesthetic. I cleaned up the whole front end, removed the gauges, lowered the ignition with a spacer, chucked on some clubman bars and ran the blinkers out of the headlight to keep things tight. I removed the entire seat and rear end to add a single cowl unit. Next would be the knee indents in the tank and a few other fun little tweaks to get it how I wanted, but nothing too crazy. There was no need for rear sets as the position fit me perfectly.”

The end result is a culmination in very British cafe racer aesthetic mixed with Japanese super bike legacy. A massive nod to some iconic ’70’s design and performance. “I think the design of this bike is really simple. That’s what’s so great about these machines. It took a few months to really get it dialled in mechanically, but it looks and rides and exactly how I envisioned it.”

“I love everything about my bike. I feel like it’s an extension of myself in so many ways – I just love riding in general. Riding forces you be present, be in the moment. There’s no better feeling than that.”

Photography by Sam Bendall

Words by Pete Cagnacci

Categories
Bikes

Bruce’s Norton Cafe Racer

Café Racers come in a huge array of models and forms today, from cutting edge modern custom machines, to the more traditional classic bashers. This Norton Roadster is a remarkably British, classic machine that’s the perfect marriage between customisation and modification.

 

The Norton 850 Roadster (or Commando as it was also more commonly called) is a machine of legend. Being produced by Norton from 1967 until 1977, they initially had a 750cc displacement which was then boosted up to 850cc in 1973. Note: actual displacement was 745cc and 828cc, respectively. The Commando saw various upgrades and incantations over its hugely popular lifetime – with the ’Roadster’ making it’s debut in June of 1970.

And so we come back to this particular Roadster – a 1974 model, to be precise. Our mate Bruce had picked up this machine back in 1981, off a mate’s brother. From the day the bike was picked up it was destined for finer things, with a hearty dose of customisation and modification spinning in Bruce’s head. “I had only ridden the bike for a week before the motor developed some lower end noise, and so we stripped it and then rebuilt it as a 920cc.”

The bike would remain somewhat unmolested for now, with Bruce enjoying its extra bit of chutzpah until 2010 when some custom gears started turning in his head once more. This time the bike would receive an aesthetic injection of work paired with performance upgrades, making it walk the walk and talk the talk. With plenty of Café Racer builds popping up all over the globe, inspiration was rife. “Wanting to convert the bike into a complete custom café racer, I got to work completely stripping it down so that I could then rebuild it to suit.” The engine is a complete Steve Maney 1007 engine. Forge Pistons, Carillo rods, S3 Cam upgrade push rods and head work.”

This is where the marriage of customisation and modification shines in its greatest form. A machine that is created not only to look like something new, but to perform an equally different way. The 1007cc engine would certainly do that. “I changed the Carbi to a Mikuni flat side 40mm pump action system, modifying the intake manifolds to suit. The gearbox is a TT extra heavy duty 5 speed, and a primary belt drive which is a 40mm race pulley and belt kit. The front braking system is a Norman White twin disc and A.P calipers, with front forks being upgraded with improved internals. The faring, seat, and foot peg assembly is a Mick Hemmings kit. I had the alloy fuel tank handmade in Scotland which really bolsters the British racing vintage that machine shows off so well.”

“The thing I lost most about the bike is the exhaust noise, along with the combination of the torque, handling, and braking. It’s great fun for an old bike! The Norton is now famous, as I had Giacomo Agostini sign the backseat housing that I have had clear coated.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Julian’s Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

When you think about someone’s first custom build, images of a more humble job will probably first come up, with the odd bit of tape and cable ties making appearances. For Julian, this 1974 Honda CB750 K4 café racer build is an incredible start for his re-entry into the riding world.

After a long sabbatical from bikes, Julian got the bug back and decided to create a custom machine for himself. The perfect project would be a big 4 build, a throwback to the bike’s he rode as a youngen with plenty of the café racer style that he loved. “I found a stock Honda CB750 K4 import from the States on Gumtree and decided this would be the perfect base for my project. I already had a Honda CB250 I’d been working on, so I decided to go big for this one.”

The Honda CB750’s are a popular base to turn into café racers, brats, and just about everything in between – and for a good reason. They’re machines that have stood the test of time, being one of the first superbikes, they punch out some great performance, an amazing sound and a look to kill. Julian’s Café Racer CB750 is no exception. The 4 into 1 exhaust lets out a truly aggressive roar that’ll offend old ladies streets over. The fat tyres accentuate it’s stocky and mean aesthetic. It’s the Staffordshire Terrier of the Cafe Racer world.

Upon the stock bike being delivered by bike transport, Julian found that it wouldn’t kick over. “Fuck, I’ve been duped!” he thought. Fortunately a complete strip down and rebuild sort out any gremlins that had taken up residence in the machine and she was now purring first kick. “The next few times there were some more teething problems, but nothing that more work wouldn’t fix, along with lots of alcohol.”

“The build took about 6 months to complete. I told the wife it’d probably take about a year, but once I start something I can’t stop. I spent a lot of time researching what I wanted for the build, sourcing parts and inspiration from around the world. It’s like Christmas every time packages would arrive at the door from various places. I did everything on the build myself, I even built a sand blaster in garbage bin to help clean everything back to bare for the rebuild. I found a great supplier in the US for the parts I needed so decided to replace nearly everything. I then repainted it all, which taught me to slow down a bit so I could do it once and do it right. There was a lot of standing and staring!”

“I love its low, bulky, mean look – and the raw grunt it makes. You hop on it, start it up and get that smile back on your dial. There’s no better therapy than going for a ride, and there’s nothing quite like the sound it makes.”

Categories
Bikes

Beach Moto’s Ducati GT1000 Sport Classic

On a strangely overcast yet humid morning in Southern California, I am sitting outside the Shack Cafe in Playa Vista sipping on a much needed cup of coffee. In the distance, I hear the unmistakable rumble of a Ducati from down the block. Dennis is stopped at the lights. With a fervent and throaty roar, he approaches, pulls into the lot and parks 4 feet in front of me on this beautifully customised 2009 Ducati GT1000 Sport Classic.

We got to talking as motorcyclist’s do about the machine before us. Dennis acquired the bike originally from a friend out of state after trading a Moto Guzzi V7 for the GT1000. It turns out the owner of the GT1000 had a soft spot for the V7 and it became a win-win for everyone involved.

Ultimately I asked Dennis, “What compelled you to buy this bike and use it as a base for a custom project?” His answer was simple and to the point, “The GT1000 Sport Classic is by itself a beautiful motorcycle which retains a modern classic look. I like the simplicity of the air cooled engine and feel like the engine has loads of character.”

Dennis stressed to me that he himself is not a “bike-builder” however, he is fairly mechanically inclined. “There are always times in building or customizing a motorcycle where some custom fabrication is needed to really pull the bike together. Sometimes parts do not fit, screw threads need to be re-threaded, or a part made. This was case regarding a few design elements on this build.” To make it all work, Dennis sought out the assistance of StradaFab for custom fabrication and design troubleshooting.

Their first and largest contribution was a full custom exhaust system which produces a lovely deep-throated tone at speed. The rear turn signals were elegantly mounted and the rear brake reservoir is completely hidden due to a custom mounting bracket. While it took a ton of research and time to design, the results are undeniably beautiful. The GT1000 has a classic vintage appearance without tasteless mods and unnecessary shiny bolt on parts. Everything on it manages to be functional and practical.  A full list of aftermarket additions on this lovely machine can be found at the end of our article.

What also sets this bike apart is the paint scheme. It retains a level of flash without looking overtly flashy. “To achieve this we sought out our friend, neighbor and tattoo artist, Zach (@themachine13). Zach too builds wicked motorcycles and we really wanted to utilize his amazing artistic and creative talent for our bike.”

While a lot of work can go into designing and creating a custom motorcycle, none of that matters outside of the ride. The visceral feeling of being in the saddle. “This bike was never meant to be a track weapon even though it’s probably really capable. We were able to strike some weight with the removal of some of the stock parts and the addition of a light wheel set and awesome suspension,” Dennis tell me, “It is mostly used for city riding but the the power delivery makes this bike very fun. I mean it’s under 400lbs and has nearly 100bhp on tap, that always manages to put a smile on my face when I twist my wrist.”

FULL PARTS LIST

OZ Racing Piega forged aluminium wheels

Brembo 4 piston front calipers custom painted black

Brembo 2 piston rear caliper custom painted black

Brembo T-drive brake rotors  

Brembo RCS19 brake master cylinder

Brembo RCS16 clutch master cylinder

Rear brake reservoir hidden custom mount

Oberon clutch slave cylinder

Custom brake and clutch lines

Corse Dynamics under swing arm rear brake caliper bracket

Corse Dynamics 7” headlight

Corse Dynamics upper and lower triple clamps

Andreani front forks inserts

Ohlins rear shocks

Ducati Monster 1200 brake and clutch reservoirs with Rizoma custom mounts

Driven clip-ons

Rizoma mirrors

Biltwell grips

Beast-R high inflow intake kit with K&N filters

Custom blacked out valve covers

StradaFab custom belt covers

StradaFab custom exhaust system

StradaFab custom exhaust hangers

Ducati Hypermotard oil cooler

Ducati Hypermotard oil lines

Diopa tail

Custom seat

Custom Woodcraft rearsets

Rizoma turn signals with custom mounts

Biltwell brake light with custom mount

Words & Photography by Sam Bendall @livemotofoto

Categories
Bikes

Damien’s 1982 Honda CX500

Starting out as a light hearted project, Damien had saved this Honda CX500 from a previous owner who had tried – and failed – at doing a café build. Luckily for this bike a firm idea and plenty of inspiration was on hand, and she would be riding once more with a killer new look.

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In High School, Damien had met some new lads that had a bunch of trail bikes. “They’d told me that trailies were heaps better than riding pushies so that’s where it all started for me. I couldn’t afford a dirt bike straight up, so the next best thing would be to get a Honda CT90. It was so much faster than my pushy, but still couldn’t keep up with my newfound friends. After saving all my paper run money, I got myself a Yamaha YZ80. Power bad – woooohoo! I then got my licence and went through a handful of road trail bikes, but it wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I got started with road bikes.”
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Despite having a busy schedule with lots of things on the go, Damien was after a project. It would be down the coast in another city that he’d found a 1982 Honda CX500. “I bought the bike off a young bloke who tried to café it up, but did a shit job. It had an ugly looking brown homemade seat, the battery box was poorly welded to the frame and the auto electrics were disastrous. But it was enough of a starting point for the build I was after.”

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Inspiration for Damien came mainly through his mate Brad, who also had a CX500 project. “I drew a lot of inspiration from him as I was very time poor and he would show me shit he found on the net, tagging me in shit on face book. We both had the intention of having good looking bikes that would one day get to show in mags or on the net.” And so his hopes were answered (you’re welcome).

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With the electrics in a state of complete uselessness, the bike was taken to Liam at Butler’s Customs. An auto electrician by trade, Liam would be the perfect man for the job. Everything from mounting the battery under the seat, to making a new wiring loom and installing all the instruments and lighting – Liam had it sorted. “He then cut the rear end back, made a new seat pan and organised a new custom seat for it which looks great and is also super comfy to ride.”

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The tank was then painted black using the same paint used on the older hummers. “Since the spray, I’ve managed to take some of the paint off where the bars hit the side of the tank however. Changing to clip-ons will hopefully prevent this.” We’ll call it patina. “The only bump in the road so far on this build I’d have to say was when I ordered a 16” rear rim from the States to suit the new firestones, it wasn’t till I took the bike, rims and tyres to get fitted that I realised I’d been sent an 18” instead. This got sorted out after a few emails and I got to keep the 18”.”

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“I love the reliability of Hondas. With this bike, the seat and the big tyres are favourites of mine. It makes for a stocky and aggressive profile. I’m still working on the bike, rebuilding the motor and perhaps painting it black. Some new mikuni carbs will be added along with some clip-ons most likely. I can’t wait to keep working on this bike and see where it goes.”

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Categories
Culture

10,000kms With An SR400

5 weeks on, and 5 weeks off. That’s 5 weeks working on boats out at sea, and 5 weeks to do whatever you wanted once home. This was work and play for Rory, and for those 5 weeks play he decided to make good use of the time he had. When you mention riding from Sydney to Perth, you’ll no doubt instantly think of more Adventure or Touring styled machines, with panniers and plenty of luxuries. Not for Rory – his trusty 1988 Yamaha SR400 would be his adventure machine. Some say his bones are still vibrating to this day.

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Long before he was belting across the Australian outback on a single cylinder café racer, Rory was first experiencing motorcycling as a young fella sitting on his Dad’s old race bikes. “Dad used to do the Irish Road Race Circuit back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. He always loved bikes, but when we moved to Australia he was more into surfing and hanging around the beach. A bit later on Dad would get back into bikes when he bought an MV Augusta, and a few of my mates started buying bikes so that was all I needed to get back into riding for myself as an adult.”

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Now a seasoned rider loving life on two-wheels, Rory and his brother had just finished a ride from Sydney to Byron Bay. This kicked some inspiration into Rory’s mind as he enjoyed his well-earned time off from working on boats out at seas for weeks on end. “I always wanted to do a long ride, and so I did a short blast up the coast to sort out any gremlins in the bike. The SR400 handled well, except for a chain guard breaking (who needs one anyway!)” An idea now kicked up – why not ride from Sydney to Perth on this reliable SR400? He had the time off work, and could say, “I love you” to a certain girl in person. Without much more though, Rory had a brief look at a map online, packed some socks and undies, tools, a spare clutch cable and off he went – to ride across Australia.

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This kind of trip is a dream for many riders. It no doubt has either been done, or is floating about in the heads of many that fantasise of a spur of the moment adventure, taking barely what was required. This care-free take on a great adventure is not doubt itching many from their desks right now. Why on the the SR400? “Well, it’s my only bike! I thought it would be part of the adventure, a test for myself and the machine. Every bike I saw along the way was a tourer with panniers, trailers, comms etc. I thought “What’s the point? They might as well be doing it in a Range Rover!” My brother had a good laugh when I left on the trip, as our bikes could barely make it out of the city without something going wrong back in the day.”

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And so, after some digilent preparation in the form just tightening every nut and bolt and performing an oil change, Rory began thumping off across Australia. “The ride from Sydney to Perth was a dream – apart from the heat in outback NSW and coming into Perth. I had a minor issue with my tail light which was easy to fix, but the ride there was great!” Riding back to Sydney from Perth would be a different story, however.

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“The ride back was different, as I was pushing to make it home. Instead of sitting on 100kph as I did on the way over, I sat on 120kph which is where it all went pear shaped for my 28 year old Yamaha SR400. First, I lost my entire tail light and number plate assembly somewhere between Ceduna and Kimba. I made it into Port August just as it was getting dark, and got up early before dawn the next morning and hightailed it out of there as Port Augusta was the only palce I saw a cop on the whole trip on the way over. I stopped for a ciggy and could smell petrol, I then realised my fuel line was split. I knew there was a mechanic in Peterborough, so I gunned it through the Flinders Ranges with fuel pissing all over my leg. I made it, got the fuel line fixed and was on my way.”

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“I had stopped in Broken Hill, and made up a shitty number plate out of cardboard. I figured I’d stay the night before the final leg back to Sydney. 63kms out of Cobar, my left food slipped off the peg. I looked down only to see everything covered in oil. I thought “Well, that’s the end of the trip for me” I thought the engine had let go. I pulled over, but with no phone reception to call motorcycle alliance. So I sat on the side of the road, waiting for someone to drive past. To my luck an hour later a ute pulled up with 2 young ladies in it who gave me a lift to Cobar, where I organised to get my bike towed into town. I got the oil-covered machine to the mechanics and started pulling it apart. I realised the leak was coming from a tiny hairline crack in the frame (oil in frame bike). “

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“I had to wait until the next day to get the crack welded up, so the boys at the mechanics invited me out for a beer. After some beers, I was suddenly there in a ute full of pig dogs, beer, whiskey and a massive spotlight on the hunt for pigs out in the middle of bloody nowhere. We couldn’t find any pigs, so we stopped by the Tilpa Pub for a few beers… where we found that the local sheep shearers didn’t take too kindly to us hunting on their land. The next day the crack in the bike was fixed and I powered on home to Sydney, a broken but incredibly happy man.”

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“It was incredible just seeing how vast this massive continent really is, the way the scenery changes every few 100kms out on the Nullarbor is insane. The wildlife is equally as impressive, I think Australia has more feral goats than any other animal, I saw thousands of them! I rode past a wreck from the night before and it was a camel that hit a 4WD; absolute carnage. I would highly recommend to anyone that’s considering it to just do it, get on your bike and just ride and enjoy the adventure. If I were to do it again, I’d maybe take my time and go with another rider as it can get very boring, but I wanted to push myself mentally and physically. 1000kms a day for 4 days in a row in 30+ heat and on an SR is not the most comfortable experience, but an experience all the same.”

And the girl Rory had ridden thousands of kilometres to say “I love you” to? Well, turns out he didn’t tell her. Rumour has it that he has whispered it to his SR400 on a few occasions however…

To have your own adventure simply pull your thumb out, jump on your bike, and get riding. Go on, do it.

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Categories
Bikes

Lone Ranger – Cam’s Kawasaki KZ650

Growing up on an acre property with nothing but flat dirt as a kid was life for Cam, and when his old man brought home an early ‘90’s Kawasaki KX60 one Christmas – bikes would be firmly cemented into his life. Cam’s veins now ran Kawasaki green.

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Despite this early introduction to bikes, a change in direction happened as Cam spent more time on other passions like Soccer, Powerboats, and Ski racing. He’d lost touch with 2-wheels, but this wasn’t to last. “At around 16 I got back on the horse, racing around on 2-stroke Yamaha IT175’s out at Mudgee. Something fast, and the smell of burning fuel always got my attention. About 3 years ago, my mate Chris drew me into the old school motorcycle scene. The sleek, retro “less is more” approach got me hooked. Countless Youtube videos, magazines, and after attending Throttle Roll, a trip to “Old Gold” was in order. Chris ended up with a Honda CB250rs, while I of course went for a Kawasaki KZ250 so we could both get started out.”

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Time in the shed for Cam is time well spent. It’s an outlet, and something he can tell the kids about later in life. Pulling back and switching off while you work on your machine is a unique and highly effective form of meditation. “The feeling of working on your own motorcycle is so satisfying – I really haven’t looked back ever since!” It would now be time for an upgrade from the 250 he and his mate had grabbed. The search for something different, something new, was now on.

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Settling on the ‘80’s screamer, the KZ650, Cam soon realised there were bugger all of these machines actually in Australia. “eBay, Gumtree, Trading Post – nothing! I dug a little deeper on a Kawasaki forum and found a complete bike in NSW. I sent out a message on the Thursday, and early on the Friday I had picked up my Grandfather’s bluebox trailer and was on my way to pick up the bike.”

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The bloke Cam had purchased this 1981 Kawasaki KZ650 from had originally bought it brand new in England back in 1981. After moving to Australia, the bike sat in a shed for nearly 20 years. “He was also a Kawasaki man at heart, so it all felt pretty right. To be honest, this was the first time I’d ever touched a motorcycle mechanically, I really had no idea what I was doing! It was a challenge, and a really big learning curve. A lot of photos, and bagging and tagging of parts kept me honest.”

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Cam soon got to work stripping this neglected old Kwaka down, his vision for this machine was to keep it clean and simple. Staying true to the style that had originally peaked his interest in this aspect of motorcycling. “I wanted a bike I could ride overnight with the lads, and turn up the next day to a show and shine – a reflection of myself.”

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“I completed all the detabbing, welding and grinding to get a base ready for the build. I then started to play around with fitting up parts that I liked, getting a more visual idea of what it would look like in the flesh. I folded up a new electrics tray, splashguard and new bearings all round. Next up I grabbed a set of Vance & Hines 4-1 exhaust, HID headlight and set up the electronic ignition. With a chance meeting at Rene9ade Workshop, I found a seat that matched the flow of my tank perfectly. Kyle was up for the challenge and got to work mounting it onto the bike for me. Darren at DNA knocked me up a one-off engraved triple clam and rear sets for me. As they say, and 6000km later, the rest is history!”

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Despite Kwaka green running through Cam’s veins, he decided to take a risk and do something he felt was left field and so painted with a purple scheme. “It was a learning process, and certainly a challenge, but the end result is a machine I love that has plenty of character, and many hours behind it.”

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