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Bikes Cafe Shit

Wenley’s Triumph Thruxton

Early in 2017, Wenley (with the support of Pipeburn, Stories of bike, Throttle Roll and Gasoline Motor Co.) embarked on a journey to be one of the first builders in Australia to go absolutely wild on the new Modern Classic base from Triumph Motorcycles. Having always been a Triumph tragic, Wenley chose the Thruxton R as the bike that he would put his pennies, and complete attention to, for 2017.

Triumph Motorcycles Australia loved the idea so much they threw their support behind it immediately. Wenley was to build a killer custom Cafe Racer to be specifically showcased at The Throttle Roll Street Party. But thats not it – once completed, this bike would burn through the marketing circuit around Australia; having more media commitments than Kim Kardashian.

The new Modern Classic range comes with ABS and Traction Control as standard, but for Wenley, that wasn’t going to stay around for too long.  “Yeah fuck that, we immediately took off abs, traction control and put it in sports mode. I was ready to ride, then I shit my pants on second gear when the bike did a wheelie and I almost died. But that being said, with the amount of adrenaline running through my system, it was actually fun. This was a new rush of power from the previous Thruxton and my love of the looks was now on par with my love of its performance.”

Having recently moved from Perth back to Sydney, Wenley, like most of us here in Sydney, had no where to build the bike. Luckily, Gasoline Motor Co. came to the rescue offering their space, tools, hands and brains to ensure this build was on display at The Throttle Roll Street Party.

Trying to navigate through all the different ideas bashing around his brain, Wenley had to somehow simplify these ideas into one clear concept. “At first, the intention was to build something simple as I only had 8 weeks to complete it – while maintaining a normal day job. It wasn’t much time at all for a build at this level. The fibreglass seat took the longest to fabricate, it was all done by hand. I hunted around for a week looking for something that would suit. I ended up buying 3 seats, however, I ended up using what was right under my ass the entire time. Instead, I used the same design of the standard seat; creating it smaller and in one piece. It took a lot of moulding and shaping to get the lines right. I am super proud of it, and it’s great to pay homage to the original vision by Triumph Motorcycles.”

As with all custom builds we feature, there are tens-to-hundreds of aspects changed throughout a build. It doesn’t start or end with just some cushion for your tush(ion). Next up on Wenley’s agenda was the air box and electrics. Sounds like fun, right?

“The air box had to be removed, surprisingly that wasn’t too hard. The main challenge was the speedo! The bike would not start if any wire was missing, so here the real challenge began – figuring out how to connect all the Motogadget gear while maintaining the electrics. A lot of the details are a blur while I tried to balance work, sleep and building, but I made it work, and it works amazingly”

However, this is just the start – the challenges kept throwing themselves at him, hard and fast!

“My next step was to make a cool surround for the new speedo, drawing on inspiration from race cars like Lamborghini, Ferrari etc. I came up with a design which included a start button with a race inspired CNC triple clamp to match. I then focussed on the heel guard, sprocket cover, number plate holder and custom internal throttle cable kit. Running an internal throttle cable in conjunction with the Electronic fly-by-wire took a stroke of genius that I do not wish to explain just yet.”

With only a few weeks until the star of Throttle Roll Street Party was born, the tins still need paint! Wenley is a huge fan of the Satin Grey Mercedes AMG C63, so needless to say he chose a similar colour. Following the lines of the C63’s paint job helped him form the lines for this amazing build. If there is one painter in Sydney always up for a challenge, it’s Kyle Smith of Smith Concepts. Kyle jumped on board, laying down his skills with the gun across the tank, seat and cowl.

Next up – wheels! Not just any wheels. The original wheels Wenley wanted for his creation were carbon, however, the wait of 6 months just didn’t cut it. Kineo Wheels came to the rescue after learning of his crazy 8 week build. He also had to sell a Kidney to afford it, but we both agree it definitely makes the bike.

Wenley is known for some crazy exhaust concepts, and this was to be no different.

“For the exhaust I wanted something pretty wild; something looking like fat ram horns at the front and continuing through the chassis to pop out just underneath the seat. I knew I needed someone with amazing welding skills, so went on to visit my mate Nick from Hi-Tech Mufflers. I was running short of time. Literally 2 days left until the launch! Nick made it happen. He brought the weld porn I needed.”

With the exhaust finished and air pods customised, the bike was tuned by the folks at Bikebiz Granville (Australia). The torque curve was exactly what Wenley had wanted, giving him amazing low end torque which is perfect for the streets of Sydney.

And as this fairytale comes to a happy end, silence falls for Wenley’s final words.

“This was quite a fun build. All up, close to 250 hours went into this with no expense spared. It was a huge amount of work with a high level attention to detail. All the tabs were removed, re-sprayed frame, swing arm and springs. This build was sheer blood, sweat and celebratory beers. The fabricating of one-off custom parts took up a heap of that 250 hours. The electrics with the Motogadget speedo and switches may be overkill, but that is the point of this bike. Its built to perform, grab attention, win trophies and above all – its built to be ridden. The attention it received at The Throttle Roll Street Party warranted the hours I put into this build, along with the hard of work of all the individuals that helped out. A massive thanks to all of them”

The ‘Phantom’  Thruxton R is now for sale at (AUD)$39,900 For more information head to wenley.com.au or call him on +61416099274.

Special Thanks to The Commune for the their ongoing support and amazing space.

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Categories
Bikes

Glitz – Fleur’s ’69 Vespa 150 Super

Take a trip on Glitz, a hyper-psychedelic scoot from 1969 that cuts through the gloom while leaving behind a magical colour haze.

Classic Scooters are something of a passion for Fleur, a woman who is as colourful and wonderful as this super-sparkled 1969 Vespa 150 Super that she zips across the grey concrete on. The mod gods planted the seed for scoots in her soul back in the 1980’s, as a young teenage Fleur would happen upon a photograph that her father had taken on a camping trip in the ‘50’s. This image of adventure, with luggage to last the apocalypse festooned about these little machines, sparked a passion upon Fleur. “It was then that I declared that I wanted a scooter. My parents were only too happy to oblige, and I received my first scooter for my 16th birthday. It was a 1961 Vespa VNB 125 that had seen better days, but I loved it all the same! I still have that scooter and restored it in 2009. It maxes out at about 48kph but it’s so small on its 8 inch wheels you feel like you’re flying!”

It would be after this restoration in 2009 that Fleur decided to grab herself another machine. “My ’61 Vespa VNB 125 was now is such pristine condition that I didn’t want to let it out of my sight! It was only good for riding to cafes and watching people admire it. This meant that I didn’t have a classic scooter to get about on, so picking up a more common classic such as this 150 Super filled the void. They’re probably the most common models in Australia, as Aus Post used them in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. I picked the scooter up and it was completely rubbish. It had lived its life in SE Asia, and the front end had a mysterious wobble that was terrifying. We tried to eliminate the death wobble by a process of elimination that ultimately saw the entire front end being replaced. Oh, and the engine kept seizing…”

In the process to get ‘Glitz’ on the road, she was fitted with a 12v Vespatronic (as opposed to the 6v candle power of the original points system), a Pinasco 177cc performance kit and a sports exhaust. “ There was a definite performance improvement – now she does 100kph easy compared to an asthmatic 70kph flat out.”

This would be no easy task getting the every day rider up to spec. The list of issues seemed to grow, but passion and determination would not falter. The once troubled machine would now be roadworthy, but was it worthy of joining the stable of other unique classic scooters that Fleur and her partner shared? “While I decided what to do with the scooter it became my daily rider over the Sydney Harbour Brudge to work. It was so m,uch fun to ride that I couldn’t part with it; I couldn’t leave it looking like it did (an obvious SE Asia resto) but it wasn’t worth of a complete restoration to its original appearance either. So it actually became a folly, with me declaring “right, it’s going to be covered in glitter and lime green flames!”

And so what it was.

Now would be the time for the scooter to receive a mammoth dose of personality. Who better than Kyle from Smith Concepts for the task? You may remember his work from such articles as El Lujo, The Forever Bike, or just about any great paint job you’ve seen on the streets to be honest. “The timing couldn’t have been better. Just as I was looking at glitter hotrod paint jobs on the Internet, Sandy at SS Scooter Engineering showed me a helmet he’d bought off Kyle. It was funny, when we dropped the bike off as he was working on a Harley tank and guards that were only black and skulls, quite the opposite to what I wanted. So here he was handed a little old scooter with only the guidelines “no black, no skulls, happy colours, lots of glitter, lime green flames, stars, bubbles, and fun. Kyle was great to work with, and very patient with me considering my ideas were forming as he painted.”

Something magic happens when riding this scooter through the streets. Despite grim day, with rain and grey skies, there was nothing but fun and happiness surrounding this scooter. As we rode past pedestrians, dull faces were swapped with smiles and eager looks.

“There weren’t any major hiccups in getting Glitz to where it is today that I can recall – I do have a funny though. . I decided to take the scooter up the the 2012 National Classic Scooter Rally on the Gold Coast; we were still assembling it in the van on the way to the rally but we made it just in time. The show ‘n’ shine was the first day of the rally and I wasn’t planning on entering as I thought people would simply laugh at me. But as the crowd formed around the scoot at the muster point on the ride out to the venue I realised people liked what they saw, so I decided to enter.

Glitz won Best Custom Scooter and Best In Show! 

It also won the once-off Rambo Award presented by the Wild Dogs Scooter Club in recognition of my achievement of going in to SE Asia and making something beautiful happen.

Given I’d used some of my pocket money from an overseas deployment to fund the project that seemed even more appropriate!

The trophy fell apart on the way home. “

“No one single favourite thing, but a collection. My favourite part of the paint work is the front mudguard, that’s the part the helmet was painted to match. I love the sound it makes and I love that it’s unique.

But I guess the best part actually is that it makes people  smile and I get lots of waves as I ride by. That’s nice.”

Categories
Bikes

El Lujo – Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

Vicla style motorcycles were born from the Mexican Lowrider scene in the US. They’re completely blinged out pavement pounders that are all about personalisation. They’re none too common on Aussie roads however, but Smith Concepts and their mate Rob have chucked their own interpretation of this niche style bike onto the roads of Australia – just make sure you’ve got your sunnies on.

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For some time now, Kyle and Rob had been talking about building a bike together, with this particular Mexican Lowrider style in mind. This is a bike you’ll find not too uncommon in the US from Texas to California but scarcely here, so when the bike that would be their blank canvas first popped up on eBay they jumped at the chance to get started. It would then receive the special treatment Smith Concepts are famous for, with some new bling parts to complete the Cholo look.

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This is a bike that has had every part of it turned up to 11. The 18 inch ape hangers will give your stinky pits plenty of air riding this bling beast around. The rear is equipped with an air bag that makes the low rider stance super low; ants will have to duck to get under this thing. The bars are high and the bottom is low – everything has been exaggerated.
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The incredible custom paintwork by Smith Concepts displays a different look depending the way the light hits it. The more light that shines on it, the more you’ll find. Though this was a joint venture, Rob admits his part was somewhat less time consuming “ Personally, I did bugger all except go to the ATM to withdraw money haha! Kyle ripped the bike apart and then resprayed it with the amazing paintwork you see today. Flake, gold leaf and pin striping, the man’s a genius.” From here some new fish tail pipes would be added to give a low, long sweeping profile to the otherwise high bars that stand out at the front of the bike.

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“The paint is what makes this bike in my opinion. From every angle here is something new to look at, and in the sun it looks insane. Adding the air bag to the back gives it the cool low rider stance we were after which then contrasts with the 18” ape hangers which makes it look even lower. The other part I love about this bike is that some people hate it while others love it – that’s what good motorcycle design is in my opinion.”

‘El Lujo’ is for sale, so if you want a piece of ultra-bling Click Here.

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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

The Forever Bike – Brendan’s CB900f

The Forever Bike; named in justification of all the work that was put into it, the paintwork alone is enough to stick around in your thoughts forever.

Despite some infrequent bush-bashing on bikes as a younger feller, this monstrous CB900F is actually Brendan’s first bike. Not a bad start, that’s for sure. The blame for the motivation of this purchase falls on a familiar face, Stephen Broholm whose XS650 we’ve featured before. “Mr Broholm, who was dating one of my wife’s friends and started showing me photos of his build… immediately I knew I need to get a bike!”

And that bike, of course, would end up being the 1982 Honda CB900f. “I loved the CB900 due to it looking so impractical, 4 cylinders wide and a piston’s width sticking out proud either side of the tank… and as I couldn’t justify buying a CBX1000, it was the next best impractical thing to get for my first bike ever!”

After calling the owner of the CB900F without the intention (yet) of making the purchase to find out some for information on the bike, Brendan found himself on the phone for two hours chatting. After coming back into the family dinner he was supposed to be attending, Brendan made his first bike confession “Argh, I think I just bought a bike!”

Simple intentions came with this new purchase; it was to be a daily ride with a café racer vibe added bit by bit. Nothing over the top, but of course once one task is complete it’s time to find a new one. “This worked well for 6 months until one day I was riding home and the carbies start to overflow. My intention that night was to just pull the carbies out to get ready for a rebuild, then the next thing I know it was 2am and the bike was completely stripped!”

A freak, sudden occurrence I’m sure a majority of you have found yourself in.

The following work on the bike had a myriad of turning points and influences that were driving the design; two decisions stood out however. When Brendan took the bike to RB Racing, he and Harley decided that this was a “Forever Bike”, the method of doing things right the first time was applied, opting for the CBR1000RR front end and a CBR600RR rear wheel. “From there on all the decisions were made with the context of “well we have already gone this far, there is no point in cutting corners now”

The second decision came after sending the Throttle Roll team some photos of the bike in progress. “They suggested I do something different with the seat… this is when things went from the bike being a raw metal ratty finish to what it is today.”

“I love the aggressiveness of the power delivery, with it being closer to a 2-stroke hitting power ban in comparison to how it behaved prior. It’s just a throttle roll (ha ha get it!?) and then get ready for a combination of noise, tyre spinning and everything around you blurring into light speed… well that’s how it feels for me with my amateur hour riding capability.

Also the fact it looks like it was built with purpose and track performance in mind, but was then schmick’d up with the awesome Smith Concepts paint work.”

The hardest part about this bike (apart from paying the bill) was the realisation that Brendan might not have the time or skill required to finish the bike.

“Which wasn’t all bad, as it forced the decision to bite the bullet and send it off to Harley at RB Racing and Kyle at Rene9ade to avoid it ending up as another unfinished project for sale on eBay.”

The paint job on this bike is stunning, with a deep red covering the bike and a myriad of colours floating around inside the gold trim. “Whilst at Rene9ade, Paul brought in an old Kawasaki tail to see how it looked on the bike, it was in original condition and looked like a good period match. So after deciding it had the right form for the job, I asked the guys what colour it was (due to my severe colour blindness) and it was then we decided a red and gold combination was on the cards. However that’s as far as my styling input went. As a colour blind engineer, I knew design and colour coordination was best left to someone else. Luckily for me, the two K’s (Kyle at renegade and Kyle at smith customs) were able to come up with the goods after being given full control over the design.”

“Believe it or not it took me about an hour staring at the finished bike in full sunlight before I walked on a certain angle and was able to see all the detail that was ‘subtly’ painted in. Things like the Honda writing, the shading and highlights and even the bottom of the tank painted out in black, which is apparently easy to spot for most normal people.. .well according to my eyes and brain these are details I only get to see on special occasions!”