Categories
Bikes Reviews

Royal Enfield Himalayan

From strength to strength, Royal Enfield has been kicking ass in expanding their name in the international motorcycle market. This heritage rich brand has now released the first of a more modern machine to our brave new world- meet the Himalayan.

Royal Enfield is a brand that is well in touch with their history. Their bikes today are a reflection of that single cylinder madness that ruled the roads of yesterday. They’ve found incredible success in their machines year-on-year production increasing to a forecasted 900,000 bikes in 2018.

  

Casting aside any form of a heritage throwback, the first modern adventure machine from Royal Enfield has been aptly named, The Himalayan. Slugging Royal Enfields around treacherous terrains is nothing new; it’s something my mates and I experienced on a Himalayan Heroes tour of Nepal in 2015. This new step in the Royal Enfield journey features their new LS 410 engine, and an ethos about accessibility and a break from the extreme.

 

To kick off the launch of this bike on Australian soil, I was invited to Melbourne, to get my bum on the seat and knees down. The group of us that had gathered was greeted with a bit of a history-pep talk on Royal Enfield. It was a nice little introduction on not only where this heavy-hitter hailed from, but also where they were headed. Hearing their history, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement. But I was even more excited about the opportunity to test this new Himalayan in some off-road conditions – although it wouldn’t all go to plan.

Wind back to 2015, where a group of us had hit Nepal to ride from Kathmandu to Pokaha, Muktinath and back again. This trip was truly amazing, and was all achieved on our single cylinder Royal Enfield 350 & 500 Bullets – they withstood it all. River crossings, mud, loose rocks, boulders and cliffs. I was surprised we all lived to tell the tale of those 12 days. Fast-forward to 2016 and some leaked images appeared of a motorcycle built by Royal Enfield for the exact conditions we rode through in Nepal. It’s now 2017, and I’ve been handed the opportunity to test ride the all-new Himalayan. This is no street bike draped in adventure. This is an all round bike built for whatever you want to throw at it.

We started off in Melbourne city, heading to beachside town of Torquay for the start of the Great Ocean road. Along the way we snuck in some off-road action give me the ability to test the bikes mono shock suspension, Harris Bros frame, the 21” front wheel and absolutely everything in-between.

From tarmac to dirt, this bike is an adventure machine. It is far more capable than my skill level, having (tried to) negotiate a steep decent with a mix of loose rocks, dirt and trenches, I stalled the bike and with no power to accelerate out of a ditch, I lost control of the bike and dropped it. Embarrassing? Yep. On top of that I spent hours the night before, ensuring I don’t fail to bring any of the items I need for the 2 day ride; however – I forgot my kneepads, which as luck would have it, is exactly what I landed on. With bent bars, a bent ego and unable to bend my legs properly I continued to watch the rest of the experienced crew ride off into the distance as I cautiously rode, knowing my body can’t physically deal with another incident.

The ride continued and we transitioned from off-road to tarmac. Day turned to night and we ended up at Wye River for the night. This was the perfect opportunity to hold my hat out as I collected all the drugs (for pain…) on offer. Come 10pm, I had collected enough for a mini party in my cabin, by myself. Party favourites like the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys played as the pain disappeared. I woke up feeling fresh as fuck on the Thursday and ready to tackle the world. Bright and early we caught the sunrise on the beach as we manage some slow runs alongside the water, making sure we didn’t awaken any little snoozing mermaids. After breakfast we tested the bikes in river crossing conditions, and the rest of the day was spent hitting the fire trails along with some of the wonderful twisties of the Great Ocean Road, sparks flying as I try and get my knees as close to the tarmac as possible.

You can’t compare this to anything on the market; it stands in a class of its own. It’s a lightweight, versatile machine. This is the bike you can afford without breaking the bank, yet what you get in return for that $6999 is HUGE. You get a bike that is capable of inner city riding, sweeping corners, hairpins, but more importantly you get a bike that you can explore with. You get a bike that you can hit fire trails, hit the beach, hit more complex scenarios and go camping with. It’s an adventure machine that won’t have you battling 250kg of bike once you start to lose control. It’s an adventure machine that’s not going to cost you a kidney to repair if you have an accident. It’s an adventure machine that will get you where you want to go regardless of what surface you are riding on. It’s a very capable bike that deserves your attention.

Now, lets be realistic, if you are a horsepower hero, please don’t buy one; you’ll be disappointed. With my 100kg frame, I could not hit the Ton, I got to 140kph, and that was downhill. On a flat road the fastest I could whip this little horse was 135kph. But that’s not a bad thing. At least you would never lose your full license if highway patrol nipped ya!

The bad parts: My flat track boots didn’t fit between the foot peg and gear shifter, which made for some awkward back of boot up shifts, which actually pissed me off a lot. Easily fixable if I had a piece of metal and a welder on hand, but I also forgot to bring that with me. Brakes are adequate, yet the front need a fair bit of squeezing until it really bites into the discs. The back brake locks up fairly easily, which made for a lot of screeching fun times.

The good parts: Everything else. With ample room for luggage, it still looks fucking rad, and is less then $7k on-road. It’s a smooth ride; even at top speed. It’s comfortable and can happily do 2-up. The pegs have removable rubber covers for when you want to get hardcore on dirt, river crossings, etc and it has a horn, which is great for attracting attention when you get bored and want people to watch you on your adventure machine. All around I would actually be happy to buy one and personally don’t understand the need for a $30k, 50000cc Adventure bike that weighs 4.5 tonne, especially at my skill level.

LS410 – TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

Displacement: 411 cc
No of valves: 2
Camshaft: SOHC
Max Power: 24.5 bhp @ 6500 rpm Max Torque: 32 Nm @4000-4500 rpm

DIMENSIONS

Length: 2190 mm
Seat Height: 800 mm Ground Clearance: 220 mm Wheelbase: 1465 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15 ltrs Kerb Weight: 182 Kgs

TRANSMISSION

Gear Box: 5 Speed, Constant Mesh Clutch Type: Wet, Multi Plate

SUSPENSION

Front: 41mm Telescopic fork with 200mm travel Rear: Mono-shock linkage with 180mm travel

BRAKING

Front: 300mm Disc, 2 Piston Floating Caliper Rear: 240mm Disc, Single Piston Floating Caliper

TYRES

Front: 90/90 – 21” Rear: 120/90 – 17’’

Categories
Bikes

Samson Royal Enfield Special

David’s fascination with weird and wonderful contraptions is no secret. We’ve peeked and pried into his incredible dimension of vehicles. One such creation caught our attention – and so here it is.

The story behind this machine begins with another. David was finishing up some work on his Rolls Royce Merlin Hydroplane Aggressor (as you do). The fact that David has a boat with a WWII Spitfire engine in it says a lot about the kind of stuff he’s into. An issue had arisen in running this wartime water-basher. “Getting the Avgas required to run it was a major issue. It simply guzzles the stuff, and buying it at $650 per drum is simply unaffordable.”

Fortunately for David, he’s remarkably resourceful. He began inquiring with a mate who was a pilot – pilots get charged less for Avgas. Avgas has a shelf life. Cheap “expired” Avgas is the ticket for his fuel guzzling Merlin. “So this was about 10 years ago. My mate found me some cheap Avgas so we went to this guys place to pick it up. It was in the corner of a shed amongst old motorbike parts – and this weird looking little racer.” David instantly gravitated to this mysterious little machine. The aircraft fuel would have to wait, some treasure has been found.

Not much could be told about the history of the bike from the owner, who had picked it up from a deceased estate sale. “He said it hadn’t raced in at least 50 years. I asked him if he was attached to it and he quickly replied “Not really”. We agreed on a price, and a few weeks later I brought it home. It sat at my place for several years. I spent a lot of time asking anyone who would listen if they recognised this little bike so that I could find out more of its history. Unfortunately life then got in the way and although I still very much loved this bike, I didn’t take much notice of it.”

What had attracted David to this little forgotten-about machine was the fact that it was someone else’s creation. It was a handmade machine that wasn’t born in a factory and mass-produced. “Every part on this bike was built obviously from trial and error over many years. It absolutely evolved. The frame is hand made. People who know a lot more than I do can’t even identify the several different bikes that complete it. The modified 1936 Royal Enfield 250 engine and the Sturmy Archer gearbox are the base of this machine. We think the front forks are Norton. The brakes are BSA (and hopeless).”

 

The Akront alloy rims and GP Dellorto Carb must have cost the original owner a fortune back in the day. “The open dry clutch with double primary chain and the home-made exhaust complete the picture. Every other metal part is hand made from scratch, complete with the mandatory “Swiss-cheese” lightening treatment. The final touches are the extra low clip-ons and the Yamaha trials tank with “SRES” painted crudely on the side – Something Royal Enfield Special. There is absolutely no known history on this racer but the general consensus, especially after riding it, is it probably was a time trials bike raced in a straight line on beach tracks. One day, I’ll be able to replace the Samson name I have given it with the name of the original builder, starting with an S. Gee, it would be nice to bring him back to life and give him the credit he deserves for an amazing backyard build!”

David is no stranger to bringing old machines back from the dead. He’s a bit of a Techno-Necromancer (that’s definitely a thing) and is always finding new skills to acquire – one such skill was how to shape sheet metal into a desired form. After a lot of dreaming, a Dustbin fairing was in the works and this little racer would be the guinea pig. “I hand-formed the alloy skin over a wire buck, oxy welding it all together. I was feeling pretty good with the results, so I went ahead and made the streamlined tail section and seat. My aim was to run a bike at the Sydney Café Racer ride day at Eastern Creek, as yet the bike had never run.”

This bike now had a goal, and it was fast approaching. Days crept closer to the SCR track day as David burned the midnight oil, pushing this little racer to be in riding condition. “I pushed the little bike out of the shed, primed the grand prix Dellorto carb, and in the pitch black night pushed it for all it was worth. I dropped the clutch and was surprised that the little fucker spluttered and fired! Needless to say it took off and I fell arse overhead. Luckily, and wisely, I executed this procedure with the fairing removed. One more go and I was doing a midnight run, the first one for this bike in almost 60 years.”

With a smile on his face, the long hours into the night had truly paid off. And the big day approached. At the SCR track day, Samson the little Royal Enfield Special garnered a tonne of admiration, adoration and attention. Unfortunately though, the fairy-tale ending was not to be. After a lap and a half, the little racer refused to proceed. “After a while I gave up trying to get it to run right, and spent the rest of the day riding my ’71 Ducati 450.” Despite the shortcoming, the bike still had a taste of its glory-days on the track, one that David knows the previous owner would be cheering about. “I’m so proud of what the two of us, 50 or 60 years apart, have created.

For now, the Samson Royal Enfield Special takes pride of place in my man cave.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Carl’s Royal Enfield Board Tracker

This is a machine that is Frankstein’s monster in motorcycle form – which is definitely a good thing. With parts being borrowed and wrenched from a variety of machines that is wider than  Oprah’s pant suit size, Carl’s is a patchwork bike with a ton of character.

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Starting life as a bicycle, this was once simply a pedal machine with beach bars, cream coloured tyres and simple, flowing lines. “I had found it on gumtree a couple of years back with the intention to turn it one day into a board tracker. I figured an old style bicycle would be a good start.” At the infamous ‘Chopped’ festival that Carl would source the majority of his inspiration for this ambitious first build. “I did look into buying a completed old bike, but that wouldn’t have been anything new. I wanted something that stood out. It was around that time that I had discovered Board Track racing. I loved how simple, raw and elegant these machines were. There’s nothing like it! Essentially a bicycle with an engine, no brakes, no gears, and a kill switch. It’s no surprise that they don’t race these anymore.”

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And so the would be board tracker build gained traction. This version would have more luxuries added to it than it’s inspirational counterparts – such as brakes and gears. “I wanted a bike that was reminiscent of this old-style racer, and one that could fulfil my dream of racing it at Chopped. I wanted to embrace the rawness of machines with this build, with plenty of patina. So much of the bike would be left raw, or with only a little clear coat.”

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This vintage inspired machine would slowly take form as parts were gathered from whatever Carl could get his hands on. The wheels came from a DRZ400 and a TS185, whilst the frame which was once a bicycle ended in being a complete custom job. The engine/power house would be a 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 – and so the bike might as well be dubbed a Royal Enfield Board Tracker.

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Carl chipped away on his ambitious project in his spare time as he juggled the luxurious working student lifestyle. “There were many hiccups along the way – mostly on account of the Royal Enfield engine becoming the power plant. The original mock-up of the bike had the intention of putting a smaller 250cc engine into an extended bicycle frame, which would’ve been much more simple and easy, but not the path I would go down.”

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It would now be 4 weeks until Chopped festival, and so to make his dream a reality Carl worked away late into the evenings. Initially wanting to cram his Bullet engine into a bicycle frame, this proved to not work out as he planned and so most of the bicycle frame was scrapped as he welded together something more appropriate.

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1 day to Chopped, the pressure was now on. “I was supposed to be leaving by now for the festival, but I still didn’t have my front forks or even a tank! I spent most of what little time I had by making the front works, while a mate of mine helped make a timber tank with some ply. In the end we did it – we finished the bike, and I raced it at Chopped. I haven’t stopped smiling since. It’s a great thing saying you built a bike from scratch!”

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“That’s what I love most about this bike – I built it from scratch. The only parts purchased were the wheels and the engine, everything else I fabricated. I’m no tradesman, but all the work I’ve done on the bike I taught myself. I learned how to weld and how to machine metal.”

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Categories
Culture

Royal Enfield – British Roots, Indian Soul

In the ever growing and changing world of motorcycling, it’s interesting to observe how each player contributes and works with this fluid world. One of the most successful brands of the current day is Royal Enfield – a company that goes back 115 years and with it a sea of heritage and change. Recently, Royal Enfield sent over their team along with President Rudy Singh for a face to face interaction with motorcyclists from many walks of life.
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When you think of motorcycling, your first thoughts may be of the one of the big players who are pumping out exciting, fast and high-tech machines. A somewhat more humble brand is making big movements in this forever changing world, with Royal Enfield enjoying remarkable success over the past 5 years – a success that is being seen in countries across the glove. With the sales of the brand growing by 50 per cent in each of the past 5 years, demand for these classic machines is growing and reaching new markets. Having set up a new plant near Oragadam in India, the production capacity for 2018 is being increased to a massive 900,000 units. The ambition isn’t stopping there.

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It wasn’t just a trip by the Royal Enfield team to exchange pleasantries, but also to launch their the first Royal Enfield concept store at Mid Life Cycles in Melbourne. A fantastic building filled with bikes, a ton of excellent Royal Enfield gear and accessories, and a dedicated team behind it all. The new adventure tourer bike from Royal Enfield, the Himalayan, was also on display. This bike marks a new avenue of motorcycle from the very classically driven brand, and is an exciting step forwards. Speaking with Royal Enfield President Rudy Singh, we discussed this new motorcycle and it’s roots.

“The Himalayan has been in the making for almost a decade now, it’s a bike that was inspired by the people that traverse the Himalayas on their Royal Enfields. The objective was to bring all of this together in an accessible product that more people could use, without having to customise their motorcycle for off-road use. In our view, and when I spoke to the chief designer of the Himalayan I asked him “Do you think this is different to the other Royal Enfields?” and he said, “All Royal Enfields are different, and this is also different” So this is still very much a Royal Enfield, but from a different point of view. I think, whether it’s the character of the motorcycle with the long stroke nature, whether it’s the purpose of riding into the Himalayas, we felt it was a really cool way of bringing together the essence of Royal Enfield and the rider narrative which is so closely associated with travels in the Himalayas. It’s the higher ground of riding.”

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This 410cc bike has proven to be a very attractive machine for many across the globe. With 20% of the sales of this bike being for people who are new to motorcycling, it’s a machine that’s proving it’s accessibly and approachability that Royal Enfield strive for. “It’s a bike that’s very accessible, non-intimidating, great ground clearance, very responsive, and has very decent off-road capabilities while also being great on road.” This adventure machine has been seeing incredible interest as it hits motorcycle expo’s and the demand for test rides grow. The bike boasts functional simplicity, and should be hitting Australian shores early in the new year. Reviews coming in across the globe have been very positive, and we’re keen to get our hands on one and see what this pony can do!

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We were treated to a day of riding throughout Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, a beautiful area with some enjoyable roads. There was a selection of just about every Royal Enfield bike for us to ride (bar the new Himalayan, unfortunately!) which was an excellent hands-on experience. The ethos behind these motorcycles is apparent once you get going, with the very classic and non-aggressive single cylinder engines thumping out an enjoyable ride. Constantly riding fast, exciting new machines is by all means an excellent time to be had, but as is pulling back a bit and taking a different approach to riding – something that is talked about too much in the motorcycling world, but something that certainly has its place.

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Speaking in regards to Royal Enfield’s place alongside more high-performance brands and machines, Rudy and his team have looked and listened at areas in the market that can often be missed. “I think we are seeing a post-performance, post-testosterone moment where people are seeking simple pleasures that are accessible. All that is needed is commitment, while not necessarily burning a hole in your pocket. Legacy and authenticity are things that people want more of today, and it’s a larger narrative than just motorcycles. We see this across us and around us, people are choosing to use Air B ‘n’ B instead of taking a tour, and creating their own experiences verses cookie-cutter experiences. What I see more of in people’s definition of success is about chasing experiences, and not chasing success itself – their own unique experiences. It unlocks discovery and exploration of self. I believe that authenticity does not need to become inaccessible, and that’s really what Royal Enfield is all about. It’s a bike for those who are trying to find who they are, or why they are.”

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It’s interesting to observe such a different take on motorcycling, it’s a reaction to what the rider and non-rider are after in a machine. There’s nothing being pushed on anyone or shoved in anyone’s faces – but more laid out for those to pick what they want and make their own decisions. It’s this personable and accessible approach that is seeing such a flourishing success for Royal Enfield, which is gaining momentum day-by-day.

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“I’m here to learn. I get more out of these interviews and conversations than those who are conducting them. I learn so much from enthusiasts and others who are much more seasoned than I. It’s a privilege to be able to listen, and understand what more can we do for our riders. That’s in some ways the trade secret for Royal Enfield. When we were not very large, we were still always approachable and accessible – and this is something that I hope never changes.

I think our future is linked to expanding the motorcycling market, instead of snatching shares. We are all trying to grow the riding segment; we’ll do it our way. We want people to ride more, and we want them to ride pure. We have a very simple mantra. For people who are riding, we will encourage you and nudge you to ride more. For people who are riding more, we will tell you to ride better and ride pure – to charter new courses for the others. That’s our narrative, and we will stick to that. We firmly believe that we will expand the motorcycling segment, which is why we are here. Royal Enfield will only operate in the middleweight, 250cc-750cc size motorcycles. We don’t see ourselves moving beyond that.”
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Categories
Bikes

Clint’s 1948 Royal Enfield J2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hand made and imperfectly perfect.”

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

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

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

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List of parts and work:

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

 

Categories
Culture

Motorcycles & Murals – Jamie Preisz

In Post-War Eastern Europe, a Nun was swept off her feet by an adventurous gent and his 1950’s Simson motorcycle. It would be this story of adventure and romance that would inspire and ignite a passion for motorcycles many decades later in their Grandson, Jamie. This expression is not only limited to the road, but has found it’s way onto canvases, walls and garage doors around Sydney as art and motorcycling are amalgamated into an exciting new form for resident artist/motorcyclist/all-round top bloke Jamie Preisz.

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As a young lad, Jamie would be asked by adults the age-old question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – a question that would be answered with glowing enthusiasm “I want to be a vet!” by Jamie. This would not be however, as with everyone our passions and path in life is fluid and forever changing. “I would say that because adults want to know you have goals. I never really wanted to be a vet, I would just say it to keep everybody off my back. Even when I finished school I still didn’t know.

It’s fine not to know these things right away; it is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone so young would be ready to commit the rest of their life to something. I would stay in the art rooms at lunchtime to draw or paint, so I thought “if I am giving up my lunch for this I must like it right?” I got into art school and from there I steadily learnt more and more about art and began practicing. I don’t think being an artist is something you decide, I think it’s a passion that continues to grow.”

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Growing up with immigrant grandparents from Hungary, Jamie heard all the stories of how his grandparents met, and of their adventures around Europe. “My grandfather owned an old ‘50’s Simson motorbike, and my grandmother was a nun before she met him. My grandfather swept her off her feet and took her on an adventure across Europe on that motorbike. I think those stories of romance and adventure is what sparked an interest in bikes at a young age.”

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This interest in motorcycles would be firmly kickstarted while traveling across India, as Jamie would be fascinated with the bustling and vibrant chaotic culture compared to back home. It would be here that he would discover the culture surrounding the Royal Enfield. “This is a symbol of both national pride, history and rebellion all at the same time. It’s such an interesting mix. I resisted the urges for a couple of years but eventually the right bike came up at the right time, and that’s when I bought my own Royal Enfield 500 Classic.”

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The new addition of bikes into Jamie’s life would add a new dimension of enjoyment into every day happenings. “Even mundane things like travelling from A to B changed for me. Riding a motorbike puts me in a great mood; perhaps it’s something about the combination of focus and feeling of freedom. For those brief moments nothing matters more than the next gear change.”

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Motorcycling added yet another element to Jamie as he now began to experiment and mix this 2-wheeled passion with his other love of art. “I think your artwork is always going to reflect what you are thinking about. With my grandfather passing away recently I had been looking up the motorcycles he rode, and began researching the artwork on the posters associated with them. I really liked the way it had this blocky use of bright colours but with a limited palette. I painted my first one in a great little bar called Bulletin Place at Circular Quay, and thought it might work on the street. I am interested in using these artworks more visible to the public. In places like India or South East Asia drivers expect riders to be around every corner, so they often make sure to slow down. I think in reminding drivers of motorcyclists in public art that they might remember to keep an eye out on the road for them.”

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The future for Jamie’s motorcycle based artwork has bright aspirations, with his aim to have artworks displayed on all the hoardings of construction sites around the city with the backing of the City of Sydney as an initiative to make motorcycling more visible and aware to the public.

For more of Jamie’s work head over to – www.jamiepreisz.com

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Categories
Culture

Himalayan Heroes – Nepal 2015 Video

Himalayan Heroes are back, and this time armed with a video that will make you want to ditch your job, family and pets to get out there and adventure on some Royal Enfields. Throttle Roll was fortunate enough to go on the Nepal trip in 2015, and it was truly a remarkable experience. Check out the video below to get some excitement in your life!

To find out more, and book your own adventure, head to their websitefollow them on instagram @himalayan_heroes and Facebook.

Categories
Culture

Himalayan Heroes – Nepal

Everyone that has ridden a motorcycle has loved the sense of adventure that comes attached to it – be it with a days worth riding or a week long trip to a far away destination. Himalayan Heroes was born out of the need for adventure, and the desire to make the most of life.

They say it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission, and for Rex this was certainly the case after a friend had passed away and a last minute trip to the Himalayas was booked.

“It all started while I was working in Sydney and my wife was in hospital in Perth under observation with complications before our 2nd child decided to enter the world 3 months early. I got a call from the wife of a friend who I knew was in hospital with an unknown illness to say that he had passed away. Allen’s unexpected death hit me hard. He was the same age and had a couple of young kids like myself. I decided to start crossing stuff off my bucket list instantly. I booked a trip to the Himalayas that night and posted on Facebook that I was going and that if anyone wanted to come they could join me.

That’s when my wife called. She asked what this thing about me going to India was about. I knew it was best to just book it and ask for forgiveness. If I gave myself time to think about it, I undoubtedly would have talked myself out of it. A year later and I was on a plane for the best two weeks of my life, motorcycling through the Himalayas with 15 mates. That trip changed a few people’s lives so I was motivated to do it again the following year and in 2015 we expanded to Nepal.”

In 2015, a bunch of the lads from Sydney Café Racers answered the call for adventure and headed to Nepal with Himalayan Heroes. They would all be jumping on Royal Enfield Motorcycles and trekking their way across Nepal and into India. The terrain they could be tackling would be a challenge for all the riders, despite the varied experience levels. They smashed through river crossings, a ton of gravel, rocks and mud – all the while on street tyres. There were stacks, broken bones, and plenty of nights that couldn’t be remembered as they nursed headaches in the morning.

Rex and his team run a bunch of different adventures to choose from, depending on skill level and what kind of trip you want to take –

“Our Rajasthan adventure is very much a site seeing tour that is suitable for all levels of riders. The palaces and forts, camel fairs, markets and villages that we travel through have people wishing they didn’t have to go home.

The Nepal adventure has 5 days off road that can be quite challenging to an inexperienced rider but the views and smiles from the locals is certainly worth it.

For 2016 we have changed the dates of our Top of the World adventure so that it coincides with the now infamous Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. This will see our adventurers riding the highest motorable road in the world dressed in their finest suits on the same day as tens of thousands of riders around the world participate in DGR. Every day has an off-road component and riders should have a few years under their belt before attempting it.”

“The adventure that I’m most excited about is the Himalayan Scramble which is for experienced riders only. It’s part Dakar, part AFTERSHOCK, 100% crazy. We’ll tackle the highest mountain passes, deepest river crossings and roads with more corners than any other road on the planet over an action packed 9-day period. We start early, complete a set of fun tasks throughout the day before finishing late in the afternoon in time for night time entertainment. If you aren’t completely buggered (but refreshed for another year) at the end of the adventure, we’ve failed.”

Himalayan Heroes has something for everyone, and isn’t just for experienced fearless riders. “We’ve had riders, male and female – who are in their early 20’s right through to a gentleman who had just turned 70 tackle our adventures. Riders from Germany, UK, NZ and the US have made lifelong friends with the Aussies that come on the adventures.

We were stoked that Sydney Café Racers chose to travel with Himalayan Heroes to Nepal in 2015 and would love to hear from other motorcycle groups/clubs that want a custom adventure just for them.”

For more information and to book your own adventure head to www.himalayanheroes.com