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

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

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
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
Garage Sessions

Keeley’s Chop Shed

Tucked away in a space just big enough to fit a bike sits Keeley’s current project. A rude, ball-breaking Yamaha SR500 that will no doubt be an absolute pig to ride, and for all the right reasons.

We caught wind that a young fella by the name of Keeley had himself a good little corner in his yard where he and his housemate would wrench and work on their machines. We also heard that he had a goat, which is pretty neat. Who doesn’t like goats? They’re a damn good automatic lawn mower, that’s for sure.

Enough about the barnyard animals (for now) and more on Keeley and his work. Tucked away in a tiny room sits his SR500 (formally a 400) which started out as a rat chopper over in the UK. Now it’s undergoing major surgery to become a backbreaking suicide machine as Kelley chops and modifies it for his nefarious needs.

In between his full time job as an apprentice bike mechanic, whenever there’s hours to spare you’ll find Keeley wrenching, chopping, and fabricating away on his current project, the SR500 Chopper. “I’ve chopped the rear end off, and made do with some steel from work as a jib. The bike now has forward controls which I built from scratch along with a foot clutch which has linkage instead of a cable. I’ve also cut the tank to pieces and go to work on modifying that. All that’s left for now is wiring and an engine rebuild. I’ve got recycled cases with clear acrylic see-through portals. I’m just praying that they’re oil tight!”

Growing up on a farm in Northern NSW, Keeley’s still changing pace to his suit his new set up living in the city. He’s had a good kickstart, with his apprenticeship as a Harley-Davidson mechanic meaning he’s tucking new skills under his belt which can then be applied to his homemade creations. The bug started long before any of this however “I grew up riding dirt bikes, rebuilt pump motors, and axed up pushies. I chopped a ‘30’s Francis Barnett and a 110 pit bike back when I was 13-14. My first bike was an ’80’s peewee when I was 6, it all spiralled from there. I’m now 20 and just reeling at how much bike and custom culture there is now that I’m living int he big smoke!”

Outside the SR chopper den is a Yamaha Virago Chopper that’s being put together by Keeley’s equally as chopper mad housemate. Between them there’s a hefty amount of work being done, enough to keep them out of trouble at least. “I do everything from painting and striping, panel work is my smile face time, and of course lots of mechanical work while my room mate upholsters. I want a lathe, but in turn need a bigger space. I’ve got the English wheel which has taken a lot of what I do to another level, though I’m yet to perfect the tug. I learnt it back building Hot Rods back in Yamba and I’d really like to take it further.”

“I get home at 6:30 on the train because I don’t have another mode of transport, because every moment goes into this build! I’ve got a flood light to work with till late, while weekends I can’t start till 9am because of hungover roommates. I’ve annoyed all my neighbours, which isn’t hard with how loud my bikes are. Having this space, even though it’s tiny, is still my own -there’s no one else’s stuff in here. It’s my world.”

“What I like most is metal fabrication, it isn’t my trade anymore and I miss it dearly. Having the opportunity to work on bikes every day and get training from Harley UNI is no less then a dream job.” We’ll be back to check in on Keeley and his SR Chopper once it’s completed to take it out for spin, and no doubt to piss off some oldies.

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

Rob’s ’47 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

Life for this bike started out as a 1948 Panhead, however an identity crisis was ahead and a change was to be made. For Rob, everything that he’s wanted to do in a Harley build was going to be in this bike. The end result is a testament to Rob’s excellent skills and finer taste.

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You may recognise this beauty already. This isn’t the first time we’ve gone to have a sticky beak at the amazing machines that Rob and his good mate Sam have in their Shed, including Sam’s 1950 Panhead.  We returned again, to make sure these two were behaving themselves and also to get another, closer look at Rob’s incredible 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead.

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Initially purchased as an unfinished restoration project, this 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead was to be given a new heart from its now new owner Rob. Having sold the ’48 Panhead motor, Rob got to work hunting down his dream engine. His search would be successful, finding a set of genuine healthy ’47 cases – the last of the Knuckle’s before the introduction of the Panhead in ‘48.  Search successful, Rob had the job of putting the bottom end together and the blueprints were given to the guys at Redgraves Motorcycles down at Hornsby.

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This build was to encapsulate everything Rob wanted in a Harley – this would be the one. Grabbing a set of original Fatbob fuel tanks, Rob narrowed and joined them together, adding some round bar as a backbone and relocating the filler cap. This would be a much more stylised and cooler version of this quasi-original tank. With his good mate Shack’o behind the brush, the pin striping and numbers would be completed across the tank.

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The next step would be modifying the stem of an original VL springer front end, which would be a long-term ambition in itself. An older styled oval shaped headlight from a long forgotten vintage car was sourced from the States. Next, Rob laced some “mud catcher” style alloy wheels with stainless steel spokes. The rear guard would be fabricated and painted to match the customised tank – tying a sleek style across the body of the machine. A brass rod was given to a local engineer who machined it before Rob set about mounting it alongside the fuel tank.

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Keen to keep experimenting in this build, a rock’n’roll foot clutch assembly was created which works fantastically. The pipes were purchased as-is with plans to chop them up, but after demoing them on the bike the sound and look was too good to change anything. This bike wasn’t just built to look pretty, but to ride. With plenty of trips with mates up and down the coast to various festivals and events, this bike needed to perform on the long haul. After a few runs with a few mates, the only improvement this immaculate machine needed was a bottle opener affixed to the handlebars.

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“I love Harleys, they’re the Hotrods of the motorcycle world. It’s in the blood. My favourite thing about this machine is even on it… yet. I’ve rebuilt a pair of original Linkert carbs, but after many different mods to the manifold I haven’t been able to get them to run properly. But fuck, they look cool just sitting on the shelf!”

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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

Love & Shovel – A Romance Story

Meet Andrew and the love of his life, a 41-year-old American cougar who despite being a bit older than her partner, still has it going on where it counts. Theirs is a love story that no Disney film could create; truly a romance for the ages. We took an endearing stroll by the water to find out just what makes this relationship work and what their secret to love is.

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So let’s start at the beginning of this beautiful tale. How did you two meet? Was it love at first sight?

I guess I am a little old fashioned when it comes to this. We didn’t go in for this ‘try before you buy’ living in sin type thing you see so much today. Sight unseen, out of the classifieds like she deserved is how our paths crossed.

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What made you realise that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?

She was coming out of a bad relationship with this guy up the coast. One of these real nasty types, he made her dress all slutty and do things she still doesn’t talk about with me… I get a bit angry thinking about it. He was still hanging around and her confidence was pretty fucked and I thought “hang on, I am always going to look better then this bloke” you know, because her expectations were so low.

I will never forget the day she arrived, it was coming the end of winter and we had just had a few warm days. You know, real motorcycling weather. I had been getting my place ready for her and was a bit toey. Pulled a sickie at work and was waiting for her… and there she was in the back of a truck – the last one to be unloaded. The driver said he didn’t worry about going over the inspection report; instead he just circled the whole bike and wrote “fucked” with an arrow. Despite this, I knew she was the one for me.

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How did you know your motorcycle was the right one for you?

I don’t think you ever really know, with ’The Suburban Chopper’ as she’s affectionately named, we didn’t have much time to think about it. There was work to be done, her starter was cooked so we had to ride around with a spare battery strapped to her sissy bar – you know early relationship type stuff. We got her registered and fixed the starter but she was still in a pretty bad way, and not really adjusting to life in the city. We took a holiday to the country together so we could get to know each other. When we were away she got pretty sick, but I helped her get better and we really bonded.

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What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mrs. Right Motorcycle is really out there? 

Try not to think about how many others she has had in 41 years and just enjoy the time between breakdowns. Also if your suspension is blown out so your wheel locks up in corners, you can just get stiffer suspension. It makes sense when you think about it.

What was the best piece of marriage/motorcycle advice you ever received?

Shift your weight in corners and don’t use your front brake, also “have fun, don’t die” and “you can probably go faster than that” was also good advice.

What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?

To be able to listen to the 1000 strange noises and know which ones to worry about. Also the ability to ignore the noises and give her some anyway.
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What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?

When my buddy Trent and I rode her together on a secluded beach near the national park, it was hot and we were wearing chopper shorts. She’s a bit kinky like that, letting two blokes have a go on her at once – but that’s what you get with someone from the ’70’s. We like to explore our relationship, and it’s not uncommon that her and a mate of mine will go off together for a bit of fun.
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What is your fondest memory of your marriage?

There is so many – not being able to start her with 50 people watching – sleeping at my mechanics place after working on her all night. The first time I started her and she back fired so loud that my son cried every time I went near her… so many good memories.

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Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?

It definitely gets easier. Before, she used to try to tell me things and I would not understand and would start to get angry. Now, when she says “I have a short from a crushed wire” or “have an exhaust leak” I know exactly what she means.   

How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?

It does not go well. I get all angry and frustrated, and she gets all broken down and wetsumped. We keep it fresh by going at it at least once a week.

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At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?

I have a cute little list of things we could do together. Things like “replace the exhaust rocker arm in the front cylinder” when we have a bad day I do one of those things and make her feel special.

Is fighting important?

 I try not to fight. I am quite interested in not dying so I make sure she is happy.

What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?

 I like to tickle her points and she likes it… it’s our special thing.

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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
Culture

Smith Concepts

If you haven’t heard of Smith Concepts, you’ve at least seen his work. You’ll be scarce to find a suburb that doesn’t have a machine with his mark on it, as bikes, cars, helmets and anything in between receive the Midas touch.

For Kyle Smith, it all started in the early days at school, drawing the typical flames in school books most teenage boys would do, along with a dappling in graffiti. “I was about 15 when I enrolled myself into a Fine Arts course at TAFE. I wasn’t sure at the time if that was something that I wanted to pursue and make a career out of, but my Mum was keen for me to do something if I wasn’t going to be at school – gotta keep your Mum happy! I loved art, design and drawings, so it was something I really got into. After 3 years at TAFE, I went straight into window tinting, which is something I still do today.”

From here, Kyle would begin dappling in various mediums and techniques, flexing his creative muscle and passion for creating something visual. “I started doing signage and vinyl cut letters on things like race cars and trucks, which in turn opened up other avenues for me as I would then be exposed to traditional sign-writing.” There would always be something new Kyle could learn, and this would form part of the driving passion and constant progression in his work. Nothing would be stagnant as the moment to learn new styles and techniques would take him to places that 15 year old him would never have imagined.

A chance encounter would have Kyle introduced into the world of Pinstriping while at a Ratbags car show with some mates. “We saw this bloke named Tony laying down some amazing lines, and I new instantly this was something I wanted to try. I got chatting to him, asking about the trade, how to get started, what brushes to use etc and then went off to find the gear I’d need to get started. I tried my hand at pinstriping for hours every night for about 6 months but didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. Fortunately I received a ton of support from my friends, who kept pushing me to keep at it and who believed it was something I could do well and have a future in so I stuck to it. I’ve been pinstriping for years now.”

Now that Kyle had ticked off another box on his list of skills, his mates got badgering him asking how his skills on the airbrush were. “This was something I always wanted to do… so we did it. We started stripping down bikes and car panels, and got started airbrushing and painting them.” After 6 years of business, Kyle can proudly boast specialising in Harley-Davidsons, Hot Rods, helmet art, skateboard art, custom metal flake roof layouts – any surface is a blank canvas ready for the brush.

“We have a team of four of us at Smith Concepts, and we all play a massive part in make this a reputable business. I’m passionate about my work and how I run my business. I live, eat, breathe and sleep custom. Day in and day out.

Every day goes by and something new is put in front of me, whether it’s a new bike, a new helmet or a different can of paint. There’s always something new to do, and a constant learning curve – but I love it.”

You may recognise Smith Concepts work from previous Throttle Roll posts, including –

The Forever Bike – Brendan’s Honda CB900F

El Trineo – Chris’ Harley-Davidson 48

The Hot Rod & Custom Auto Expo 2016

Tommy’s Mongrel Harley Sportster

To get in contact with Smith Concepts head over to their website, or follow them on facebook or instagram @smithconcepts

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

Categories
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…”

     

Categories
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.

 

Categories
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!”

       

Categories
Bikes

Brad’s 1975 Harley-Davidson XLH1000 Sportster

Plenty of blokes start riding from a young age, and that was certainly the case for Brad – however what sets him apart from most is he also started building and customising his bikes from a young age. If only we could all say we rode our own custom bike during our High School years.

Brad started his life of bikes bashing around his family’s property with his Dad on an XR250 ever since he was a toddler, and as soon as he was big enough he was then riding on his own. “What got me into bikes was the fact that I could roam around freely on a motor powered vehicle as a child, which is something pretty special. One bike in particular that I first rode was a Deckson mini bike – it’s been in the family since the 80’s. Ever since I can remember I’ve been into bikes, whether it’s dirt bikes, sports bikes or Harleys.”

This addiction for bikes was given a kickstart when he started searching for his first road bike, “I was able to get my bike licence sooner than my car licence, so Dad suggested I keep an eye out for a classic Japanese bike to turn into a Café Racer” And sure enough Brad came across a 1979 DOHC Honda CB750 for cheap that was just screaming for a makeover.

“It took me just under a year to build the bike, but not without with plenty of sound advice and a little financial help from Dad (let’s face it, I was making about $100 a week when I was 16) Dad and I did everything on this bike, from powder coating the rims, new S/S spokes, I even made my own fiberglass seat using plaster of paris to make the shape, to then moving all the switches. We did all this in the pergola out the back as we never had a garage in our old place.”

This was all great fun, and important, in learning more about bikes and what Brad wanted from his speed machine. It would sure enough be time to step up again in the bike world, and a trip to Canberra Harley-Davidson would prove more fruitful than he’d expect. “I got rid of the Honda when I was 18, checking out an old Evo Softail which I took out for a test ride. As I was riding around, the bike salesman fancied my Honda chopper sitting out the front and made me an offer on it as soon as I got back, and so this became an instant trade in and off I got with my first Harley!”

This would be the first of what will (no doubt) be many. Brad’s current bike is a 1975 Harley-Davidson XLH1000 Sportster he picked up in Wagga Wagga earlier this year. “Although it was already set up as the bike of my dreams, I couldn’t help but make it my own. This bike in particular already had a rigid frame, wheel combination and other small parts that fit the bill for the style I was after so it made for the perfect base for a complete ground up rebuild. This would be my first real Harley.”

“Why do I love Harleys? Because choppers… I’ve always had a love for vintage bikes and cars, but never jumped too far out of the box as far as having one for myself. This all changed when I picked up the Sportster and the disease is deeply embedded now. Building a chopper is the hot rodding of motorcycles, the ability to build a totally unique bike using parts you either have lying around or find, and making a lot of things from scratch is a totally life changing experience. The thing I love the most about an old school Harley is their simplicity and characteristics – they can bring you so much joy and so much frustration all in the same day.”

Brad’s garage is a mix of bikes, frames and parts. All projects he’s working on are either for others or himself. It’s not all choppers however – “The kind of work I might do for other people’s bikes would be stuff like café racer tail loops and exhausts and 5 foot sissy bars. I’m also working on a couple of complete bikes for either friends or for me to sell so I can fund the next project.

A lot of angle grinding goes on in the garage, the bike work is never limited to Harleys and I’ve got a passion for all things motorcycle – as long as it’s built before 1980. I have a few years left yet before I start worrying about comfort and electric start”

         

Categories
Events

End Of Year Brap – Sydney Cafe Racers

With the last Friday of the year falling on Christmas Day, the Sydney cafe racers end of year ride had to be brought forward a week, but that had no effect on the fantastic turn out.

The last ride of the year is always a huge hit with Sydney Café Racers tightening the rules and staying true to it’s roots. This specific ride is only for the customs, the bobbers, the cafes, the trackers and all the classic, weird and wonderful machines that the group was founded on. After a sweltering 30-degree day, riding through the beaches of Sydney naturally sounded like a sterling idea.

It was an amazing turnout on the night leaving from Harry’s Cafe in Tempe, with over 100 unique looking bikes and owners. Everyone as always was more then happy to talk about their build and what they have planned, with there being plenty of fresh builts and mods planned for 2016. There were plenty of fresh faces to SCR, and hopefully faces that will become familiar at more of the rides and events in the coming new year.

From the starting point Tempe, the mass of mixed bikes ventured through the busy Christmas traffic of Sydney city towards the harbour bridge. Riding into the night the group headed north along the Northern Beaches suburbs of Manly, Dee Why and Narrabeen, through to the awesome and famous bendy roads on McCarrs Creek.

The finishing destination would be Terrey Hills Tavern, with everyone earning themselves a mighty thirst some nice cold beers were poured for all, responsibly of course (it is Double Demerit season after all!) A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from the Throttle roll and SCR

   crew, we look forward to all the amazing builds, rides and events that 2016 has planned.

Words and Photography by Matt Coleman

 

Categories
Culture Events

Bikes & Builders – Throttle Roll 2014

Categories
Garage Sessions

Nev’s Shed

You’ll find a lot of interesting bits and pieces in most people’s sheds, but Nev’s has a cumulative history attached, stretching back past all of the major western wars of the 20th century, and having links to generations of family.

Nev grew up spending time with his old man in his shed, working on whatever needed working on. “My dad was in the Navy, and then the Army for a total of 35 years. He grew up in Wagga during the depression and was a horse breaker, transporting sand and rock for the construction of roads around the local area. My old man was the smartest bloke I have ever known for CDF. It was fucking amazing at what he could fix with a piece of No.8 fencing wire and a pair of pliers. He never threw anything away – he did all his own repairs on everything from the car to leather shoes, he did some blacksmithing, electrical repairs, built his own dark room, he could fix or build anything.”

Having a Father that was so resourceful and handy meant that Nev had just about no choice but to have his own shed one day, where he could build and create for himself. “Over the years I have repaired and made countless things in my shed, from fixing IBM golf ball typewriters to making knives, leather work, making stock whips, building motorbikes to tightening eye glass frames.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was a mechanical engineer for a radio station in  Melbourne (3AW) for years, when he passed away I ended up with a few (don’t tell the wife, it was a lot) of his tools and machinery and my father passed away almost two years ago now and I still have to go through more of his stuff, the end result is that I have ended up with a collection of hammers among a lot of other tools.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Nev was also in the Navy. This service would end up providing itself as another outlet for the accumulation of tools, “Back then it was pretty easy to order any tools you wanted whether I needed them or not. So I had a fair collection of tools before I received all the others.”

“The German WW1 helmet was bought back by one of my father’s uncles. I also made the display box for the rifles that were my grandfathers on my mum’s side, and the knives are my fathers and his fathers that have been handed down.

I have owned a few motorcycles over the years. DT250, RD250LC, XS650, (my Yamaha years) CBX650f2, BSA’s, Triumph’s, James and Moto Guzzi to name a few. I once owned and had 8 bikes in my shed at one time.

My shed to me is a heritage, a place of memories , past victories and also failures, a refuge from the crazy ass people in this world as it is just a tin shed.”