Categories
Bikes Cafe Shit

Kent’s Yamaha TR1

As a young whippersnapper, Kent started his two-wheel journey like many of us – on his trusty BMX push bike, naturally progressing through to Motocross on an YZ125. Motorcycling came as second nature to Kent, however, it would be years later that he would officially get a license that allowed him to ride through the concrete jungles.

Born in the picturesque New Zealand, bro, Kent moved to the UK when he was 13, and joined the Sydney motorcycle scene 5 years ago. Being a fan of Aussie-based builders such as Renegade Custom Cycles, Kent decided it was time to build his very own custom cafe racer. For his base-of-choice, he was drawn to the horizontal cylinders of a BMW R65. From a learner legal bike, he progressed to a completely customised BMW K1100 and, fast forward to his 3rd bike, and the one that he calls “a keeper” – his wild, daily ride – the TR1, originally built by Yamaha in 1981.

The Yamaha TR1 of the early 80’s was in fact more cruiser than café racer, more chill than aggressive, and to be frank, more ugly than Ms Universe (or Mr Universe for those who will claim we are sexist).

It is a 75-degree V-twin engine with a capacity of 981 cc and a top speed of 184kph. The engine is a stressed part of the frame, which makes for a bike that looks all-engine. Now, I know a lot of you are sitting there thinking “A TR1? Fuck off, that’s just a fancy way of saying XV or Virago!” Well, settle petal, the TR1 is chain drive with the XV being a shaft-driven machine. The TR1 was never going to be the bike that shifted Harley-Davidson riders to Yamaha, however in more recent times it has been a cheap second-hand bike that has proven to be a strong base for some pretty wild custom bikes.

An authority on the XV, TR1, and Virago custom build front, is Classified Moto. Possibly the first to start using this base to make custom trackers and cafe racers, Classified Moto have inspired a whole wave of these unique Yamaha customs over the last 6 years, including this one.

“The work of John Ryland was the inspiration for this project. I wanted a bike that was low maintenance, low tech and wildly customised while still being used daily through city streets.”

Kent chose a path not taken by many when modifying these cruisers, he took the somewhat dusty path of turning it into a machine that is competent on-road and, if required, off-road. Aesthetically, he wanted the flat-tracker look with a touch of the carbon fibre modern bike world. He purchased the tank and tail from BOTT POWER, a small Spanish motorsport engineering company. When deciding to use ARIAS pistons, custom cams, custom springs and bringing the bore from 980cc to 1065cc, coupled with the Mikuni TM40 flat slide carburettors, Kent quickly realised his 7L tank wasn’t even enough to do a Macca’s run.

This led to even further work for Darren Millichamp of DNA custom cycles, who was in charge of creating the bike of Kent’s most-recent dreams.

“I understood the tank was the tank and that wasn’t going to change, so we started to look at options to create an additional overflow tank running its own pump back to increase the capacity. Being a TR1 there wasn’t much space to play with, and this part of the build was probably the most frustrating part, however, we settled to slide it under the tail and in-between the swing arm and exhaust, giving the bike an additional 5L capacity.”

Next up were the wheels, suspension and swing arm. Wanting to shift this bike from cruise to sport, Kent opted to stick to the Yamaha family, and breed internally. He chose a R6 swing arm and wheel set up, utilising all the R6 discs and brakes; and R1 forks, wheel and brake set up on the front end. To ensure the bike had a similar rake and trail, Darren customised the rear to fit and created the CNC triple trees needed to marry this inbred together and finally, the wheels are wrapped in the Pirelli MT60RS specially designed for the Ducati Scrambler.

The exhaust was built in house by Darren, and upon asking him the question of how many pieces make up the exhaust, he put the phone down, went to the bike, and started counting.

“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82. Yep, 82”

Being a daily bike and wanting reliability, Kent settled on using Motogadget for the electrics, surrounded by a custom DNA housing which is the actual M-Unit on display to the world. This is possibly the first time the unit has been shown as a feature-piece on a bike build. The bike also uses the M-Lock, Motogadget speedometer and indicators; however, Kent shifted away from using the matching buttons and used the switchgear made by Ben at Extreme Creations.

To finish off the bike, Kent chose Renthal bars, R6 rear sets, ASV levers, and Extreme Creation brake reservoirs.

By far, this is the craziest TR1, XV, Virago we have featured, and possibly one of the only bikes with three names.

 

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

Minabear – 1983 Yamaha XS650

“Don’t call me Minabear!” screeched the fire-haired young lady at James. She was clearly blessed by some recreational substances – but none the less, with that name James’s ’83 Yamaha XS650 had now been dubbed. This chance encounter with a stranger on the street would be the perfect match for this vagabond machine and it’s adventures.

Growing up in Illinois, James had a ton of space to kick about on as a kid. With his buddy next door owning two Honda Express 50cc mopeds, the opportunity for adventure was ripe. “We’d race those things around our connected yards, jumping into the ditch off the drive way and bashing into each other along the way. We’d break these machines; then scavenge parts off of a donor moped, fix them up, and get back to race bashing.” Bigger bikes would now follow, as nature intended. “Left to my own devices, I scored a sweet deal on a `71 Suzuki 125 Enduro for 25 bucks at a garage sale down the street. It was caked in mud and grease, and had been sitting for nearly 20 years with flat, rotted out tires. Naturally, I forked over some of my lawn mowing money I had made that summer and dragged it home.”

With this truly decrepit new (read: old) bike sitting sullenly in his family garage, new skills were to be learned in order to get it running – if it would ever run again. Fortunately for James, his Dad – like all Dads, was handy and was able to donate some knowledge upon the young wrencher. “My old man showed me how to rebuild the carb. I then put some new tubes and tyres on it, a fresh spark plug and oil. Sure enough she fired right up! I rode that beast for the next seven years or so. I kept up on maintenance and fixed things as I broke them, pushing that old bike harder than it was ever intended. I ended up selling the bike to a friend and moved out west. He still has that bike, and rides it to this day around his farm.”

Since this James has beaten about on just about all styles of bike. Everything from Modern moto cross bikes, vintage enduro’s, sports bikes, you name it – he’s fanged it. Then he came across this particular machine in question, his 1983 Yamaha XS650. “This bike has been a group effort between a very close friend of mine and myself. I had wanted to do a full ground-up custom build for a while now, and my best friend Luke had this crusty old 650 he’d been riding around for the last few years that was in need of some TLC. Having just moved to the city, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to put together a custom motorcycle to showcase my work, and help my friend get his wheels done up the way he had always wanted at the same time. So we went over everything he wanted, set a budget, and I got to work.”

This bike had originally been picked up stock a few years back, before having some brat style mods applied to it. “He swapped his factory tank straight up with a friend for that cherry XS400 square tank that sits on it now. I keep saying he stole it. He changed out the bars, rims, and some bits here and there and basically rode it. He wanted a dual purpose type of bike that he could commute to work and hop around the city on, but one that would also keep up on the dirt trails and fire roads we often find ourselves tearing down on camp runs. So, staying in line with his needs, I kept the build in the direction of more of an urban scrambler.”

“My main goal with the bikes I work on is to preserve these vintage moto’s that are often either cannibalized for parts, or left to rot somewhere. There’s a great satisfaction I get out of taking rusty old metal that has been forsaken, and putting my blood, sweat and time into it, transforming it into something new again. I’m a big ‘form-follows-function’ guy and don’t put anything on a bike unless it serves a purpose. I feel like that creates an honest, and clean looking motorcycle. I also like to retain as many original parts as possible for sake of not simply buying a bunch of modern parts and bolting them on, but also it preserves the character of these classic machines. So things like progressive springs and heavy racing oil in the forks updates the performance of an otherwise unassuming front end.”

Despite staying true many of this old bike’s sensibilities and style, it would still receive some kick to make sure walked as good as it talked. A complete top to bottom rebuild on the motor would be completed with performance firmly in mind. The engine would be rephased, a big bore kit, port and polish the head, hot ignition, upped the jets – all the things that could be done to squeeze the most out of this road and track basher. “I’ve built exhaust systems for hot rods before, but never one for a motorcycle, so this was a first for me. Many hours of cutting, grinding, and welding later, and the exhaust was able to move from the head out to the rear in a manner I felt was aesthetically pleasing.”

“This bike represents a lot of firsts for me. I’ve been restoring cars with my old man, and maintaining and modifying my bikes in my garage basically my entire life, but always on the side. The last few years or so I’ve been operating under the name L`Moto Designs. It’s a mash up really, the L for my last name (Licari), and my lineage coming from Italian craftsmen. I just moved to LA, while still very much a garage builder, I’ve dedicated full-time to building these custom bikes in my home workshop. With my background in engineering and manufacturing, I decided to apply my skills and experience to reviving vintage bikes with a modern twist for myself, not some corporation. While I’ve built many engines, done plenty of performance and fabrication work, made complete wire looms from scratch, and painted more than I care to recount on one bike or another, I’ve never had a chance to do all aspects at once on a single bike as a major project like this. I will say though, it is far less time consuming than restoring an entire car! This was my first ground-up, frame-off restoration on a motorcycle, and it was my first fully commissioned custom build to suit someone else’s needs. I thoroughly enjoyed building a performance oriented XS650 engine, and will continue building these killer motors in my home based shop here in LA. I’ve already started on the next one, actually. My goal is to turn them out, offering engine building services locally as well as to continue building one off bikes, resurrecting rotting 40 year old motorcycles so that they can once more rip down the streets to cafes and bars.”

“In the end, I’m really happy with the way the bike turned out. It has the aesthetics and design cues both my buddy and I drool over, and it meets the needs originally intended for it, making it a very functional machine that gets ridden daily. I’ve owned XS650s before – have one now, and worked on plenty. However, this was the first XS650 motor I’ve built from scratch, and I’ve never done a rephased crankshaft before. So I was beyond stoked when the engine came together so well and fired right up without issue. It didn’t take much tuning to get her dialled in which was nice, that’s thanks to the fact that I’ve been playing with these Mikuni BS series carbs for a long time. They transform way this bike performs, it’s one of those things where you just have to ride it to understand. Before it was torquey, but it was harsh, and it vibrated so bad it would just shake itself apart, no matter how much thread locker you squirted on. Now, the thing has the smoothest power curve, just roll on the throttle and she rips, “gobs of torque” as the Harley guys say. It idles perfectly; you get that front tire shake at stoplights, but its not jarring your teeth. Then there’s the exhaust note, perfect for in the city. Its quiet and tame at idle, just a subtle lope to it. When you open up the throttle though, the beast roars to life and everyone notices. Its deep and throaty, yet refined, not obnoxious. Hearing that gets me excited every time.”

Photos – Sam Bendall

Words – Pete Cagnacci

Categories
Bikes

Nils’ ’86 BMW K100 RS

It doesn’t get more badarse than appearing in juvenile court at the age of 16 for putting a 100cc tuning kit in your MTX80. Or maybe it does – actually it probably does. But resident fugitive Nils has served his time, spending a day planting trees for his social service. Now this hardened criminal has a new machine.

After fleeing his home country of Germany due to his life of crime (or just moving for a change of scene) Nils tricked out a Vespa PX200. Not the meanest of machines, but Nils changed this scoot to suit his needs.

“I customised this scooter and really loved it, but was after something I could ride a bit further than 20km so I started looking around for a new project. I usually buy things pretty quickly – more out of a gut feeling than tedious research – I then end up dealing with any problems later. The original idea was to customise a BMW R series bike but I couldn’t afford it. A friend of mine then told me about the K series, and how reliable the engine is. Not being very mechanically minded, and the bikes going fairly cheap I thought this might be the best option for me. A week later, I saw one for a good price and bought it sight unseen. Luckily for me, it turned out to be in good nick, so the next step in the journey had started.”

And so Nils hit the great tech oracle that is known as Google, searching for some custom K inspiration. “There wasn’t too many builds, at least nothing I liked. I then came across a build from Puzzle Garage in Italy, which struck a chord. This would be the basis for my inspiration, with my own twist to make it exactly the machine I was after.

Once the build was under way, the learning curve also began. Many hours spent on the Internet working out each step, what materials were needed and the correct processes. “There was a lot of trial and error, with the build process taking longer than I expected as I really had no clue about anything. “

“I pretty much took the whole bike apart, and then chopped the end off. From there I worked out the electrics, and created the look I wanted. Quite a few foam seats and wooden seat bases were created during that time – syphon jigglers make great tail loops by the way! With the help from Internet forums and friends I got it to a state I was pretty happy with aesthetically.”

“There were things l wasn’t able to do myself that I outsourced. The welding, seat shaping and the front fender were all done by Kyle from Rene9ade Customs in Brookvale. He’s been a huge help along the way and did a great job with all the bits. He’s also done other little things when I got stuck or couldn’t deal with it anymore.”

“The tricky bits for me were to create an overall shape that flows nicely. The K front end is quite high compared to the back but putting in different forks seemed way to hard for me then. Drop bars would have helped the shape a lot but I opted for the comfort with the nearly original seating position of the K100 so I just pushed the forks through a bit. The handle bars are also original but were widened by a couple of inches.”

“Once the bike was all together and I’ve ridden it for a few weeks it really grew on me and I got quite a lot of positive feedback so I took it apart completely again to have the frame and other bits painted properly. That was my biggest learning curve and a good process to do. It also made the bike “pop” a bit more.”

“I am never really satisfied and am always thinking about ways to improve things but overall I am pretty happy with the outcome of my first build (with the help of other people).

I love the engine of the bike, it’s very smooth with enough power but also very forgiving at the same time. It doesn’t feel like it wants to throw you off and falls nicely into corners. Keeping the original riding position was a good choice and I absolutely enjoy riding it.”

Categories
Bikes

1946 Harley-Davidson WR Flat Tracker

Owning a piece of motoring history, a machine that’s restored to its former glory, is something many can appreciate. This 1946 Harley-Davidson WR – by all means a rare machine – is still hitting the dirt, mud, and sand. This creature was born for racing, and 71 years later it’s doing just that.

The Harley-Davidson WR was created as an answer to the successful Indian Scout that dominated the tracks of 1930’s America. The racing brother to the WLA and WLC, respectively, the bike proved itself well on the flat track. This particular WR750 doesn’t spend its life tucked away under cover to only be taken out for special days. Ross brings his WR to all kinds of events. Most recently, Aftershock Sydney 2017 – a notoriously unsafe time if motorcycle preservation is concerned. Regardless, this old Harley belted around the muddy flat track in the rain, dodging dodgy builds, and giving these young whippersnappers a run for their money.

Ross is no stranger to this style of Harleys. Wind the clock back nearly 50 years to Ross buying his first motorcycle – a 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA. ‘I purchased the bike from a guy at school for $50 to satisfy my obsession with motorcycles. It wasn’t a runner, but over time I managed to learn enough to get it going to bash around the farm on with my mates. This machine soon became my only mode of transport when I got my licence. With many stories of breakdowns and walks home, I stuck by my first Harley. This was the early ‘70’s and Japanese bikes had hit the scene hard, but I was not moving on.’

Over the years, Ross would acquire himself a few more WLA’s to act as parts bikes to keep his first machine running. As adult life kicked in, the bikes were kept in the shed while Ross got busy moving around the country. His loyalty to old Harley’s would stay strong, and it would be some years later that Ross would find himself working on these bikes again, this time getting properly stuck into the rich racing history side to Harley-Davidson.

‘My intention was to build another bike from my bits into a board racer/flat tracker style, which I had always loved. This sort of happened, building a hill climber special to compete in a private hill climb that was Harley’s vs Indian. It was at this event that I was introduced to a Harley WL race bike, owned by a now friend who raced historical events around Australia. The bike had the hottest cams, looked fantastic and ran on methanol – I was hooked.’

It’s through these decades of passion and dedication to Harleys – paired with the racing history – that leaves little to wonder about how this remarkable WR Racer came into Ross’ possession. Originally put on the track by a private racer back in the States, this machine found its way to Australia and into Ross’ very capable hands. Not much was to be changed on the is machine, aside from a bit of work to the magneto and replacing the original racing carbi. ‘Most of the information on these bikes was limited, so my intention was to purchase this bike and get it on the road racing track. Realistically the bike was set up for flat tracking, which required different engine performance (i.e. wide open throttle, having a heavily modified carb, low gearing, no front brake) I decided to maintain the bike in its current guise and just ride it occasionally. It had seen the Broadford Speedway track for some demonstration laps of harley flat trackers but that is about it.’

‘This year I have decided to not just go road racing, but try a few different things. I entered the Sellicks Beach Racing in February and decided to take the WR as this is what it was intended for. For the first time since owning the bike I removed a barrel to check out the state of play before I used it in anger. It’s in great condition; only one size up from standard, and the bottom end seemed solid. It also revealed some of the factory secrets of getting these motors going and whilst the outside looks no different to the WL model, there is a bit of stuff going on there. I tipped over valves to improve breathing and compression, drilled connecting rods, ball race bottom end along with many other trick bits. I had a great time on the beach and the bike performed admirable, the rider not so outstandingly.’

Once the sand of Sellicks had settled, Ross got home and after a week of cleaning, preserving, cleaning, preserving and cleaning it was time to do it all again. This time, replacing the sand with mud. Despite the ridiculous variety of machines with equally ridiculous modifications that makes Aftershock what it is, the WR stole the show. Truly a remarkable feat considering what is going on that chaotic weekend. Seeing it actually belt around the track, getting covered in mud and grass, was a site to behold. A glimpse at a different time for racing and machines.

‘I went OK at Aftershock, as at least the bike stayed upright! (just…) I had a little trouble with the forward mounted magneto getting drowned, but a plastic bag slowed that down. I am so pleased the bike did the both events without any major issues and the rider lived to ride another day. I would assess I am not that flash a rider on loose surfaces, and look forward to returning to the race track next month.

The last month has been great in the fun stakes and using the WR as it was intended. Thank you to all the people who took the time to say hello and pass some flattering comments about the bike.’

  

     

Categories
Bikes

The Hand-Me-Down – Ross’ BMW R65LS

16,000kms, an Uncle, a Dad, and a Son – this marked the journey and the history for this 1984 BMW R65LS that has been given a new lease on life courtesy of Ellaspede (and the wife saying no to having 3 bikes in the garage).

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Ross grew up around motorcycles. With his Grandfather having owned a motorcycle shop in Rockhampton QLD for many years, he had very little choice as his father and uncles tore about the streets on 2-wheels from a very young age. One particular bike would become something special however. Sold brand new in Alaska USA in 1984, this BMW R65LS had made it’s way down to warmer climate in San Fransisco to where Ross’ Uncle Rod lived. “Rod then bought the bike, rode it for a few years and then garaged it. My parents were in San Fransisco in the early or mid ‘90’s when my Dad showed interest in the bike. Sure enough a few months later it was packed up and on a ship heading for Sydney.”

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Over the following years, Ross’ Dad would ride and enjoy the R65LS until he decided to swap out for something bigger for the long rides he did with his local club. “I had just sold a Kawasaki GPX600 and Dad had asked if I wanted to keep the R65. I figured why not, and have owned it since about 2001. I rode it stock until 2012, where it sat unregistered for 3 years as I was busy with work and family. By 2015 I was thinking of getting a newer bike to get back into some weekend rides, but didn’t really want to sell the airhead as it was a great bike to ride, my partner unfortunately put an ended to my idea of having 3 bikes in the garage (I also have a 1948 Stroud Panther) so the option was either sell, or customise.

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Fortunately, what was now becoming somewhat of a family heirloom was to be kept; albeit with a major makeover on the cards. This is where the custom bike magicians at Ellaspede in Brisbane come into the picture. After a referral from a client that these wrenchers from Queensland were worth checking out, Ross was soon on the phone to Leo from Ellaspede. “Straight away I knew these guys were right for the job. We spoke about what I wanted from the build, which was to basically strip it right back, with flatter bars and shorter pipes. I wanted to keep the original tank, carbs and wheels as I hadn’t seen many airheads with snowflake wheels.”

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Ross continued to feed Leo with his intentions for this build and ideas, and all was considered and taken on board. The design Leo came back with was right on the money. “At this stage, I had the option of either Ellaspede putting together a parts list with me undertaking the build myself, or have them complete the build for me. I certainly didn’t have the time or know how to complete the job to the standard I desired, so I organised a courier and the bike was off to Brisbane. From here the process was pretty straightforward with only a couple of things we hadn’t anticipated. There was some pinhole rust in the tank, which was addressed, along with one of the wheels having a flat spot so a new one was sourced. The only other problem that surfaced was when we came to re-register the bike. The powder coaters had done such a great job that the frame number couldn’t be read! We had to strip it back before it could be put back on the road. A mate at Autolac sent someone round to strip back the powder coat before resealing it with a clear finish on the small section of the frame so as to reveal the frame number.”

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“This has always been a really nice bike to ride, and nothing has changed there. It certainly gets a few nods of approval when on the road, mostly from other airhead owners. I love the sound, it sounds amazing heading through the Royal National Park with either my partner or one of the kids on the back. It has been rewarding keeping my Uncle in San Francisco up to date with the progress of the build, and he certainly approves. My Dad passed away a couple of years ago, but I am sure he would approve of it also.”

And now it’s time for Ross’ two Sons to fight over who gets the bike next in the family.

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Categories
Culture

Andy Baker, The Jerkyl

It was back home in Mother England that our resident misfit/Jerkyl/Shutterthug Andy Baker discovered that which would make him who he is today. He was soon evicted from his homeland however, apparently for not doing his share of the dishes, and playing the complete discography of The Supremes too loudly (or so the legend goes). Whatever the reason, vintage dirt track riding in Australia has had a hearty injection courtesy of this pommy rider.

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For Andy, it was the early days back home that forged the beginning of his moto-madness. This was a time when cigarette brands were emblazoned on just about everything. One particular soul would be a figure that Andy would imitate in many regards – his uncle Frank. “He had tattoo’s, smoked Marlboros, and made his own bullets. He drove a P6 V8 Rover and was an East-end Jag mechanic. He liked tomato ketchup – and so I did too.” Hanging with that cool uncle that we all hope to one day be would see Andy exploring the garage where uncle Frank built a BSA Scrambler. “I was in awe as I watched the fat knobbie tyres roll around the tiny garden. The noise from this machine upset everyone – and all I could think was “Fuck yeah!” while I was only aged 8.”

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It’s now that you’ll realise Andy has no say in the matter in regards to falling head over heels in love with motorcycling. Such exposure to any young lad has dire effects – namely broken bones, and many wrinkles added to worrying mothers. But such is life, and Andy’s life is such. Enter Andy’s first bike. “My mates and I had bought a stolen Honda C80 for 10 quid. We began stripping it to look like a Scrambler – though it was nothing like uncle Frank’s BSA. But it went, and I was now a full paid up “Hells Angel”, on a C80, in a small forest, in Essex… aged 13. I started my dirt track career the following week. We pushed the C80 up to the local cricket pitch and started riding around in circles. The cops arrived shortly thereafter, and so began my life as a wanton super criminal. Without waiting for a ticket, I rode off home. Now a fugitive barely in high school, I hid in a bush with my trusty C80 long tracker – cleverly disguised as a broken postie.”

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Fast-forward some years, some more bikes, and no doubt some more close calls with the police. Our hero/bush-hider is a motorcycle courier in London, with his much more impressive Yamaha RD350LC. At the lights, a gang of couriers would be lined up, all revving the guts out of their mix-matched machines. CX500’s, GT550s, and other such slugs. “Lean forward, 2 fingers on the clutch… GREEN! And suddenly all those 4-stroke beefcakes are outta sight. I like racing – I love racing. I may be crap at it, but it’s more fun than commuting. Unlike the road, people will commend you for driving like a maniac. The best part of course… cops tend not to book people on the racetrack.”

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Wind the clock further along – a little less hair and a lot more bikes. As previously stated Andy and his sweet rainy England had parted ways for the sweltering heat, thongs, and shorts of Australia. “I had lost my licence again… this time I needed an antidote. I tried Motard, I tried VMX – it was then that I went to Nepean Raceway and God spoke to me. I had seen the divine light; I had to share this revelation with the world. Door knocking clearly didn’t work, so I went to the pubs, RSL’s and ‘round to Bill’s house. “Hmm… sounds fairly low impact” he replied in a rebellious North Shore schoolboy sort of tone. I had my first disciple! From here on we spread the word. Tough guys came, men and women who wanted to ride in circles (hereby named Jerkyls) and eat snags in white bread at the canteen.”

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The Jerkyls. A name all too familiar with those who keep up appearances in the motorcycling world of Sydney. The hallowed ground of Nepean Raceway is overtaken by the scum and villainy that bring their demonic machines, eager to turn left and go in circles for the infamous Sunday Slide. The Jerkyl’s mantra is simple and glorious, “You don’t have to win, just take part”. It’s about getting bums on bikes, and enjoying everything that the vintage dirt track world has to offer – which incidentally also includes many beers. “In the last couple of years we’ve grown to 20 guys and girls, we hangout together weekly if not daily. I’ve always had good friends, but the ones who roll up next to me on the start line now feel like family.”
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Human family aside, Andy’s got quite a mechanical family as well. Andy’s current favourites –

Champion Framed Yamaha 360 RT1. 1968

Yamaha YZ250H 1981

Yamaha  IT250H 1981

Honda XL350K1 1974

Honda XR80 1979

Husqvarna TE250R

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It’s not just racetrack Jerklyism that blows Andy’s hair back, but he is a committed creative behind the lens. A professional photographer by trade, he first picked up a camera age 6 and soon was turning it into money at age 18. “It is possibly the best job for a restless soul, I have seen and reported on some beautiful and horrific stories.

I travelled for years and decided Australia was an amazing country and it’s never let me down. Nor has my Canon, I own Leica’s, a Nikon and Fuji’s, but if its important I always reach for a Canon.”

But of course for the camera dorks we caught Andy with his Leica. Be sure to check out his work at www.andybaker.com.au
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Bikes

Mystic – Drifterbikes 1991 BMW R100R

Having built countless custom machines for himself, Paul found himself in a creative rut. Something that deviated further from what he was normally creating needed to be made to sate his chopping desires – fortunately some beers with a mate would turn to be the catalyst for just such a build.

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A good mate of Paul’s was in the market for a new project to work on, with the inspiration coming from a custom build he’d seen in Europe. With Nick wanting to try a different styled build to what he typically does, this joint project began to make sense. “Nick had an idea about a bike that he’d seen built by Atelier- although he wanted his to be more daily rider friendly, and so a plan was put together. We began with the search for a base bike, Nick managed to find a great original 1991 BMW R100R way out in West Australia. The owner was a great guy and just so happened to be coming over east in a month’s time and had a van to put the bike in. Call it fate, or a bloody good coincidence – it was paid for and we now waited for delivery.”

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While the wait for the bike was ticking away, Nick and Paul made good use of this spare time to source parts from far and wide to keep the wheels on this build in motion. A tank that was exactly what Nick was after was found, albeit in Poland. Regardless, they bit the bullet and ordered the tank from Poland, with one slight hiccup. “The tank got knocked back by customs due to it not being flushed properly. We had to wait a further 6 weeks for it make its slow boat journey to Australia.” But once it did arrive, the build could commence full steam ahead.

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The basic strip down of the bike revealed a very good frame set up, but it would still be modified to bring this design to life. The frame was de-tabbed and shortened with a kick in the rear for tyre clearance. The seat was laid over 2mm alloy sheet and foamed with closed cell rubber. “It’s easy to shape, and not too bad on your butt for longer rides. It was sent off to Michael from East Coast Trim Shop to have some beautiful leather in ox blood red. His stitches are millimetre perfect, and the finish is awesome.”

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Now that the throne was complete, attention could be cast back to this troublesome tank. It would be sent off to have the magic of Kyle from Smith Concepts worked across it. “A simple but classic design was the plan to replicate the M colours from BMW. The actual process is never that easy. A whole lot of masking, then back masking had the tank looking amazing with an understated simplicity.  After the majority of the fab work was done, the bike was fully stripped and blasted and given a new coat of satin black powdercoat with the motor being given the same treatment to tie it all together.”

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“In Australia, and particular NSW – the police tend to like to see some wheel coverage for tyres front and rear. The bike being a single sided swing arm, it had me working hard to make something strong enough to hold the fender without overpowering the look of the bike. I think it works well, and looks light enough to not take away from the bike. Integrated rear indicators blend the tail/stop light duties nicely. The front indicators are bar end style much like the Motogadget setup. There is a whole lot of detail in the bike that you have to look for. Tonnes of hours in the small things make the builds seems like marathons. Hiding wires and finishing off things is time consuming but well worth it for the overall look.”

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“For the most part the build went fairly smoothly, but BMW’s have a way of resisting being easily customised. They are an engineered bike, and as such they like being put back together a particular way. I found that out on a previous build I did on a 75/6 a few years ago. They’re great long-term ownership bikes as they are built to go forever. Being easy to ride with a unique character see’s many of these bikes being built by lots of custom shops.”

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“The bike for Nick and I has been a fun project to work on together. From the design process to the actual building of the bike for us has been a labour of love/hate. It’s tested us in terms of resolving the problems that presented themselves as challenges that took away from our original ideas. Making things work in the real world is an interesting thing when it’s only existed in your mind up until that point. Form and function have to work together when building a bike. I think we have a bike that fits those purposes well.”

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Bikes

Ratatouille – Bret’s CB125N Indo-Tracker

The custom motorcycle scene in Indonesia is something that is truly unique – with the style being born out of limitations and necessity. With small capacity bikes being the mode of transport for the vast majority, these machines have held their own in the thriving custom motorcycle side of the world. Bret’s Honda CB125N is a product of his time being exposed to these machines of the coastal Indonesian towns.

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Living in Indonesia would be inspiration enough when it came to Bret’s next build. The resourcefulness of the custom machines that were being created over there made him want to create his own. Initially buying this 1979 Honda CB125N two years back, he belted it through the streets in both stock and modified forms. It would be the Deus Bike Build Off however that would push him to create the Indo-Inspired tracker that he had desired for so long.

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The intended participation in the Build Off would prove to be just the kick up the bum that Brett needed in making this inspiration a reality. Once back home in Australia, he got to work sourcing parts from both Oz and Indonesia. “I quickly got to work with the frame fabrication, swapping bolts out for stainless, and then re-plating the stock parts in zinc. I then powder coated the frame, hubs and anything else so as to eliminate future rust problems. I live by the sea, so battling rust is a constant for me. The alloy rims were laced up, I also extended swing arm to created a more balanced look and ride with longer rear shocks also.”

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What really makes this bike unique and cements it’s Indo-Tracker style is the hand hammered metalwork on the tank and fenders. This was a process and style Bret brought back from his travels, and knew it would be the perfect addition to authenticate this build. “The process was simply an old Indonesian man who was squatting on his dirt floor, shaping and beating the steel with a hammer. Once I brought these parts back home, I sealed the inside of the tank with redkote but allowed the surface rust to build up a little before I put a cross-hatched texture to all the parts. The tank, fenders, headlight, pod filter and modified CB100 chain guard all received the same treatment. I found out a secret way to clear coat the tins from a local hot-rod builder, and so sealed them with that process.”

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This is a bike that is born for street bashing through coastal towns; early morning scoots to the beach to check the surf, and with a small modification lugging your surfboard around. “I just love her look, it’s exactly what I was after when I started the build. A friend of mine named her “ratatouille”  after the French cuisine of mixed up food – not the Pixar film, her donor was a very unattractive 1979 Honda CB125N. She’s ratty, but still a pretty ride with the perfect patina. She’s one of a kind.”
You can now own the Indo-Tracker! CLICK HERE

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Bikes

The Ellaspede R80 Street Tracker

Long distance relationships can be trying, and often difficult to make work. For Chris and the blokes at Ellaspede however; thousands of kilometres would not hinder their combined efforts in creating this nimble and unique machine known now as the Ellaspede R80 Street Tracker.

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Chris’ longstanding love affair for Airhead BMW’s would be kicked into gear after selling his Triumph Thruxton build – the itch for a new project would keep him up at night as he mulled over ideas and possibilities. This new machine would tick off the boxes that his previous builds did not, mixing a more practical design for Chris’ riding stance along with the perfect balance of heritage and modern tech. “As time passed, it seemed to me like every second café racer build around the world was an R-series BMW, so I decided mine had to be unique. After the compromised riding position of my previous Thruxton I decided a Street Tracker would be a more usable design for me. So the original brief was simple – 1) make the engine layout the star of the show, 2) make it every-day comfortable to ride and 3) use a BMW M Sport colour scheme.”

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The battle plan was now taking shape; some troops were required before the big push however. This is where Ellaspede would enter the picture. While at a bike show in Brisbane, Chris met the lads that had been making incredible custom motorcycles. “I loved their builds and their attitude, so I asked them to work with me on some CAD designs. That part was easy to do from a thousand km’s away. After a few iterations we landed on a great design. I didn’t have the skills to build something that good myself, and I thought about trying to find someone in Sydney who could do it, but in the end I decided Ellaspede would be the best people to bring their design to life.”

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The chopping now started, and a few trips up to Brisbane by Chris the bike started to take form. There were a few critical decisions during the build that I needed to actually throw a leg over the frame for, but it’s surprising how much can be done by phone, email and lots of photos. The team at Ellaspede were excellent at keeping me informed along the way.”

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Each part for the build was carefully considered in both regards to quality, and the style of the final product. After struggling to find a headlight design that Chris thought was worthy for such a build, they began to experiment with different sizes and concepts. “We even toyed with the idea of a rectangular ‘80’s Kawasaki styled headlight. In the end, Ellaspede suggested this LSL unit. Initially, I thought it didn’t fit the look at all. However, the more I stared at it, the more it grew on me and the more I loved it! It’s probably the thing I like most about this build, but it polarises people – some think it wrecks the bike, while others think it makes it. Luckily I love it!”

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After the minor headlight dilemmas, the bike was now complete. The result is a sterling example of mixing a 1980’s bike with some more modern parts and pieces. It’s a colourful and enjoyable bike not only to look at – but to ride. The BMW M Sport colour scheme is brilliant, with accents of the scheme placed in parts on the exhaust, rocker covers and integrated into the custom leather of the seat. The modern styled headlight brings this bike into a new field, a lightweight amalgamation of style that’s resulted in a truly head turning machine.

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“I picked up the bike in Brisbane and trailered it back to Sydney – unfortunately it was during a 10 hour biblical downpour! I discovered that pod filters capture the rain brilliantly so I had carbs full of watery fuel to drain before I could ride it properly.

Overall the bike has exceeded my expectations – I love the look, the integration of the Motogadget gear works even better than I hoped and there’s some beautifully engineered solutions like the copper wire choke cables on the carbs.

Everywhere it goes it seems to draw a crowd – it seems lots of people have a soft spot for airheads!”

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Categories
Bikes

The Toaster – Kawasaki W650 Tracker

A custom motorcycle build Inspiration can come from anywhere, especially in the case with this custom Kawasaki W650 has been inspired by an art deco Smeg toaster which provided the colour for a finishing paint scheme.

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Sarah, a NSW Police officer, first came to Gasoline Motor Co with the idea to build a timeless tracker style motorcycle that was modern in its construction – but still had a unique sense of vintage style. A Kawasaki W650 would be the perfect machine that would then be transformed from a modern classic to a lean, mean tracker in just three short months, with only a few late nights of final assembly to get it ready to roll.

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The roadster look of the W650 started with the scrapping of the original tank, which was then replaced with a slimmer version from a Yamaha SR500, this not only slimmed down the motorcycle, but also allowed for the speedo to tuck in neatly between the tank and top clamp. The top clamp is completely custom, designed and machined in-house at Gasoline and was made to have an allocation for the instrument lights, which eliminates the bulky ignition system to further slim down the build.

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The colour inspiration for the tank came from a vintage art deco toaster Sarah had in her kitchen, and also includes a true reference to vintage racing with a classic stripe. The leather used to accent the build was taken from the handle of a retro styled kettle, another piece of inspiration taken from an unlikely source that adds to the character of the motorcycle.

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To underpin the colour accents most of the bike was blacked out in a satin finish including the wheels, triple tree and flat faced down handlebars. Even the tail light that was hand picked for its vintage styling was treated with a satin black coat to help fit in with the scheme of the build. The high profile classic antique Firestone tyres also help to bring the vintage style, while also being the perfect tyre for flat track blasting.

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Custom created components include a battery box hand fabricated and purpose built by the workshop crew at Gasoline that was made to accommodate all electrics and the anti gravity battery. Cleverly placed bar-end indicators are also custom fitted, with their hidden wiring helping to create the clean, simplified lines seen throughout the rest of the motorcycle.

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A long-lived local fabricator was commissioned to hand craft the exhaust systems to impress not only by looks but the unique sound and performance that comes with every cone and fancy weld. This machine looks elegant and stylish, but has a very mean growl from the exhaust that belts out a truly aggressive tone. The front and rear guards were shortened and given the same scuffed finish as the exhaust to help keep the symmetry of the steel.
From a toaster to the tool shed, this mad Kwakka is ready to dust hustle…

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Bikes

The Zetland Zooter – Curly’s Yamaha TT500

A crazy idea, $50, and a good amount of pestering from a mate were the catalyst for what would be Curly’s yellow hoon-machine. It took some years and a bit of coin to complete this build, but the result is a perfect translation of an initial idea to a physical machine.

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It was 8 (or 9, who knows) years ago that the seed for this build would first be planted. After joining an SR500 club, a mate began to dig his elbow into Curly in the hopes he’d start to hit the track. “After a while, I thought why not! So I decided to start getting the pieces together for a new project bike. This would be a piece-by-piece project – there was no donor bike as such. I started with an idea in my head and a bare frame that I had purchased for $50.”

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The idea in Curly’s head would eventuate into a 1976 Yamaha TT500, aptly dubbed ‘The Zetland Zooter’. This would be no quick and easy build, as care and finesse would be used in good measure to ensure this build would be exactly what Curly had initially envisioned. “I had most of the parts ready for assembly for a few years or so, but with health issues the progress slowed considerably”. The wheels of this build would not stop for good, fortunately. After a Sydney Café Racers track day, Curly’s enthusiasm for the build was sparked once more (courtesy of Mark Hawwa, respectively) so the momentum for The Zetland Zooter would be back, and in full swing.

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“I had the bug again, big time. So I clamped the frame to a work platform, and the “where did I put all those parts?!” phase began. We all know what it’s like, ‘I’ll put that in a safe place as I’ll need it soon’ turns into a time between now and next decade, and parts and their whereabouts are easily forgotten about.” Fortunately, Curly’s treasure hunt for parts would not be in vain, with the carefully chosen bits and pieces slowly making their way onto the bike.

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“A lot of thought went into the way the bike would look and feel. The colour scheme and accents, to using drum brakes front and rear when I could have easily used discs were key in showing off that old school look. I used Honda CL450 twin leader for the front drum brake, and a White Bros alloy swing arm with YSS piggy back shocks. I was going for a USA style dirt tracker bike; it was 7 years of work and a lot of coin all up but I think I’ve nailed it.”

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This machine is sure to catch the eye of many in any pack of bikes, both with it’s colour scheme and it’s quality of build. “I love the look of the bike, it looks fast just sitting there. The way it attracts people to come over and have a look when it’s sitting in the pits from the fellow riders to those that have no idea what it is but just love the look of it. The bark from the reverse cone exhaust, the super light an nimble handling. I never thought it possible on a TT500 but I’m scraping the pegs – still not getting my knee down though but close!”

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Garage Sessions

Dangerous Dave’s Ducati Den

Nobody knows how Dave got the nickname ‘Dangerous’, not even Dave himself. But with us being big fans of alliteration, and Dave having a driven desire for Ducati’s, this moniker works just fine. Something is for certain however, and that’s if Dave is in town, then there are beers to be had in the shed. And if there are beers to be had in the shed, then there’s shit talking about bikes to be had in the street.

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Transport yourself (with or without the aid of mind altering substances) to the outer suburbs of Melbourne in the early ‘70’s. There you’ll find a much younger, although equally as dangerous Dave making good use of the wide-open spaces on his mini bike. That’s where it all started for him – and it sure as hell didn’t stop. “My metal flake, lime green Malvern Star Dragster with 3 speed centre shift gears, sissy bar and giant reflector just didn’t cut it any more; I needed an engine!” Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(32)Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(34)Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(70)

It took some time for Dave to finally acquire this much-desired engine, and fortunately for him it came attached to a bike. “I got to hone my skills during my teenage years on my mates dirt bikes – I begged, borrowed, though didn’t steal, and got to ride my mates road bikes as well during this period. By this stage there was no going back. A 1976 Honda 400F became the first road bike that I actually owned, it was all I could afford.”Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(41)Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(43)Ducati_Dave_Garage_Session20160712-(47)

This Honda would end up having the living daylight flogged out of it, as Dave would ride it up and down the east coast making good use out of his first road bike. “It was then that I got to ride all sorts of late ‘70’s and early ‘80’ sports bikes, mainly when the friends that owned them needed a break. One of those bikes was a bevel drive Ducati 900SS. From that day on I knew I had to have one.” And so the ongoing love affair with Ducati’s would be born.

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The Ducati 900SS was still out of Dave’s financial reach, however along came a 1976 Ducati 860 GTS that was just the right price, and so it was his. “That bike still lives in my shed. It’s morphed into a quasi-street tracker and has been a part of the family for close to thirty years. The next bevel bike I got was the ’81 Ducati Darmah that came to me from a mate who was moving overseas. I’ve modified that thing many times, not for any other reason than it was one of the best bikes I’ve ever owned, I just love riding it and want to get the best from it. It just took a while to not be bothered by the purists who think you have to keep it all-original.

Fuck them.”

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Despite owning a myriad of other motorcycles over the years and riding shitloads of other bikes in between, it would be the bevel drive Ducati’s that would forever be Dave’s soft spot. “I love them because they are the coolest bikes on the planet, despite the attention they need. If you want the best, you have to work for it. Having said that, I have an Ducati ST2 as my daily rider, a 1972 Honda CB750 and about 5 Yamahas.”

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Dave’s shed is no hideaway man-cave for him to be a reclusive weirdo in, and instead is very much part of the neighbourhood as case upon case of beer is ingested with friends passing by. Those needing a helping hand with their own motorcycle project are welcome to get a page of wisdom from Dave in bike repair and modification. Henry, the son of Richard Goodwin who we visited not too long ago has his 1968 T120 Hardtail Bobber up on the bench currently being worked on, “But after that, it’s back to bevel drives!”

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Categories
Garage Sessions

Curly’s Corner

Meet Curly, named so for his once curly locks – however this moniker now serves as a memorial of more hirsute times. But that’s neither here nor there, because he’s got a kickarse collection of pre-80’s dirt bikes that’ll really get your motor goin’.
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Curly started out early on bikes tearing about on his mate’s Honda XR75 after school. He continued to squirt about on two wheels until a 15 year hiatus was implemented after being hit by a truck; a fair enough excuse we say. Despite owning just about every style of bike under the sun over his riding years, it was the off-road breed that really interested Curly.

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“After my hiatus and I started getting back into riding I was going to fix up the Yamaha RD400 I had from the crash. The handbrake (Read: Mrs) said “no” – I was to buy a bike that was running, and registered. Who was I to argue!?” It was from here that Curly started to notice all the new Motard motorcycles that were crashing through the scene at the time, although he was hard pressed to find one that really caught his fancy. One fateful day however things would make sense for our pal Curly, when a saucy Yamaha XT500 would saunter into his life…

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“I’d seen an advert for a Yamaha XT500, and the memories of my teenage years watching this one guy pull the longest mono’s down the back beach of Coffs Harbour came flooding back – I had to have it!” And so it was. Originally purchased with the intention of doing trailing riding, Curly soon found that the bike was a bit too nice and original to deserve the abuse of bush bash. So he did what the only thing that any sane man could do; buy another. And another. “You know the saying, “When have you got enough bikes? Count your current collection and then add one. My main interest is the XT/TT 500. I love its motor, handling and reliability. Oh, and don’t forget the sound and backfire on the overruns.”

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These fine steeds are all kept together in Curly’s garage, but what kind of work is going on in this space? “Argh! The “W” word! I wouldn’t call what I do in the garage work. More like therapy. I’ll be doing anything from carpentry work as I slowly build our house, to building the collection of XT/TT’s. With my health issues I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like in here – the progress is slow. The yellow dirt bike took 4 years to build, and the new toy is just on 7 years! But they’re good years spent, that’s for certain.”

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Categories
Bikes Reviews

On the LAM – Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

It’s no secret, the custom and classic side to motorcycles has been expanding and thriving over the past years. There’s a myriad of custom builders chopping and creating new looks for bikes, and the crowd that is buying and riding these bikes are forever hungry for more. Key motorcycle brands have been watching and listening to these growing riding desires, and following suit with new ranges of bikes that are the result of this growing avenue of style mixed with machine.

2015 saw Ducati release a new bike into the wild with the 803cc L-Twin Scrambler. While it was certainly something different for the often sportsbike orientated brand, it came as no surprise with the growing styles and trends in riding taking over the globe. The market for a classic styled, but modern motorcycle that could be customised was thriving, and Ducati knew what people wanted. A throwback to the previous Scrambler range made by Ducati for the American market from 1962-1974, the new range featured classic styling with modern power and performance.

The release of the Ducati Scrambler has been hugely popular, with the Scrambler 803cc in all its models taking the title of the tenth best-selling bike above 500cc in 2015. 16,000 bikes being sold globally is an impressive number for a bike newly released onto the market, so the people had spoken – they liked this bike. Following this success, a new Scrambler was set loose on the world – the Sixty2. This would be a smaller 399cc machine that still held the same modern classic look of its 803cc bigger brother, but this time made available for another audience of rider.

With Learner and Provisional riders in Australia sometimes looking at the prospect of a 4-year stint on restricted bikes until they can get their full licence, more brands are listening and catering to the LAM’s crowd – which is bloody great. The Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 is a big contender in the list of bikes that are available straight off the bat to new riders, so I, Pete, your friendly Throttle Roll photographer decided to get the scoop and take one of these bikes out to be put to the test. Whether it’s a daily commute through Sydney’s magnificent traffic congestion (can we blame this on Baird, just for fun?) or on an overnighter trip up the coast.

Having a Harley Sportster for my all-rounder bike, hopping on this 183kg (wet) bike came as a big change in weight, but a welcome one. It’s got a super relaxed riding position, with wide bars that give you plenty of leverage to play with. My first order of business would be to put the bike under what I would consider my most important test for a motorcycle – an overnighter trip filled with riding, camping, and beers. Gathering early in the morning, I’d be riding alongside 3 mates, on much bigger capacity bikes. This would be an interesting comparison.

We would head out west to Colo, and then up the Putty, down to Broke before finally arriving at Wollombi Tavern to camp and enjoy a beer or two. Even without the rack accessory that is available for this bike, my camping gear strapped on to the seat happy as Larry. Now that’s a tick. The riding position for these Scramblers is interesting, in that I’ve had others comment on how they prefer to ride further back up on the seat, whilst I found myself sitting with nuts up on the tank much like a dirtbike once you had a bit of speed and corners were on the menu. It’s a zippy little bike, not as aggressive as it’s 803cc brother, but it’s got some juice for a 399cc regardless. The bike would sit at 140kph quite happily, albeit taking a bit of road to get there. The boring/quiet/Highway Patrol friendly exhaust had been ditched on this particular model I’d received for a much nicer set of Termignoni exaust that was much akin to a sleeping cat that had suddenly been stepped on – a nice quiet purr followed by a high pitched screech.

The bike survived and was quite enjoyable for the Putty ride and camping trip, with thoughts of “it’s bloody fun for a 400c” swirling about in my head. Fun is certainly an adjective for this bike, with new riders finding it something that’s an easy to manage bike that also has a bit of zip, while more experienced rider’s enjoying a lightweight bike that can have it’s neck wringed, a guilty pleasure for many.

As a daily commuter, enduring the joy that is Sydney’s peak hour traffic, it’s a fine enough bike. However, with lane filtering being legal (because we totally never did it before…) it can be tricky squeezing the wide bars and mirrors through gaps in traffic, having to be ever vigilant of others mirrors. As far as taking a pillion is concerned, it quite happily took my Missus on the back for trips up and down the coast, which is another important box to tick off for me – and those looking to impress on tinder dates.

This is a bike that is absolutely aimed at the LAM’s market, with it’s Italian heritage giving it plenty of style as far as aesthetics are concerned – although the weird fin-shaped rubber key handle can be a big fiddly once it’s in the ignition and on a keyring. It’s a well-made bike, that although carries a reflective price tag, makes for a fantastic start off for those looking down the barrel of a possible 4 years on a restricted licence. All Scramblers come with ABS standard, which is a huge plus as well. With a metric shitload of accessories, you’ll be able to customise and change your bike without the need of an angle grinder or custom garage to keep your ride interesting. Scrambler Ducati has proven to be a range of bikes that has been popular for it’s look and performance, and the Sixty2 is no exception.

Categories
Bikes

Troy’s Tracker Forty-Eight

What do you do when you’re after something new, but are reluctant to sell your current ride? A complete makeover, that’s what! Introducing Troy’s Tracker inspired Forty-Eight.

Troy was bombarded with inspiration for a ‘70’s style tracker/scrambler style bike and ideas of a new ride were spinning in his head like wheels on a track. Despite having grown a bit bored of the 2012 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight that he’d owned since brand new, he was still reluctant to sell the bike. A compromise was reached, and instead of buying another bike or selling his current one, he’d give the Harley a thorough makeover.

Funneling all this inspiration into his HD, the bike took on a more nimble, aggressive profile while still holding onto the low down V-twin feel of the ever-popular HD 48. “I have always liked the scrambler and street/flat tracker style bikes, and had the idea of building one on my mind for years. I was keeping my eyes open for the right project, something like a Yamaha XS650 or SR400. I had the Forty-Eight for 3 years and was itching for something new, but couldn’t bring myself to sell the bike. Then it hit me. Stop looking for a bike to build a tracker/scrambler, just use the Forty-Eight!”

The tyres would be the first step in this transformation. After trawling through countless different types, Troy came across the Continental TKC80’s. “The only problem with that tyre however was that they weren’t made to fit a 16” wheel, so what came next were custom wheels with a 19” front and 17” rear using stainless steel spokes and alloy rims.”

The next change for the Harley was the handlebars; going for Biltwell 1” Moto style bars to help push across the tracker feel this bike was embracing. “The exhaust was next in line for a change, I chose the Vance & Hines Tracker 2 into1 pipes, with some wrap to add a bit of contrast to the black V-Twin engine.”

The rear fender is from an earlier model Sportster, but with some minor adjustments to fit the Forty-Eight. Some other subtle changes include the tail lights being pulled into the rear fender struts, wiring has been hidden under the fuel tank with the coil relocated on a custom mount between the rocker box covers.

Foot controls and pegs were replaced with Biltwell pegs, and were relocated from the stock forward position to a mid control position. In honour of Gulf Oil Racing, the bike received the famous powder blue and marigold orange colours with a vinyl wrap, bringing a good bit of colour to an otherwise typically black model of bike. It’s all the about the simple but effective changes on this bike that make the end result look so damn good.

 

Categories
Bikes

Muntjac – Oliver’s Kawasaki W650

Taking its namesake from a population of feral deer that have been sweeping their way across the UK, Muntjac is a W650 that is the amalgamation of years of experience and work in the motorcycle scene that’s sweeping it’s own way in foreign territory.

Growing up with a father that was from the Mods & Rockers era in 1960’s England, Oliver was brought up on bikes and mischief from a young age. When he wasn’t being regaled with stories of the early café racer scene and all kinds of goings on in the early 70’s, he’d be riding pillion with his old man to racetracks, pub meetings and on joyrides through the English countryside. Oliver’s was the kind of childhood most of us could have dreamed about.

Before Oliver was bestowed with his first bike, an ’85 Honda Melody when he was 14, he’d already been pulling apart engines and could happily rebuild a complete Melody engine with his eyes closed. “As soon as I could ride, I did. From then on I’d be washing dishes and working on a farm to save up for my second bike, a 1989 Kawasaki AR50, which was bored out, clip on handlebars and loud expansion chambers. Bits would be falling off the bike within a few miles of fanging it flat out everywhere.”

By the time he was 16, Oliver had been offered a 3 year apprenticeship at one of the country’s only motorcycle mechanic schools, based in the east end of London. “I also worked day release for a local Kawasaki and Ducati dealership which was family run for generations, these were some of the best years of my life. I was young, dumb, and had a huge passion for 2 wheels.”

It was a steady progression in the motorcycle world for Oliver as he gained new skills and experiences, spannering for Ron Parkinsons for the next 3 years. “One day a good friend and work colleague of mine decided it was time to go road racing. He was coming from an MX background, him being a champion from a teenager I was keen to jump on board and fulfill a dream of being a race mechanic and so my racing career began. And so my racing career began.”

Taking a sabbatical from bikes, Oliver hung up the greasy overalls after years of tuning, building and spanner to travel the world. It was then in 2010 he decided to call Australia home, and his love for bikes was reignited as he jumped into the café racer and brat motorcycle scene. “Building bespoke bikes was always something I wanted to do. One day my old man found some old pictures of a Triton he had built back in the early ‘70’s when we were a similar age. This started a fire under my arse, and so the work began.”

This fire under the posterior would give birth to a 1999 Kawasaki W650, which he got quick to stripping down in his 3x6m shed in his backyard, attacking it with a grinder as he was fueled on into the night on many a beer. “I was sourcing parts from all over the world, trying to create something unique that was in the style I was most passionate about. I focused on my heritage as the theme for this bike, with a classic British racing green, plenty of chrome, dark browns and leather which would add some country feel to the bike”.

Having always owned MX bikes, a wide bar style was planned for but with more of a racing edge added in. The bike soon started to take on it’s own look, as each piece represented a different style and unique piece of Oliver’s riding history. “The bike started to take on a look of its own, and was aptly named Muntjac after the UK’s mysterious mix breed deer. I added racing rear sets, 2 into 1 exhaust, and some CR carbis which gave the bike the subtle racing edge I was looking for. The BSA headlight and firestones brought it back to the period style I was most fond of, giving it an almost ‘40’s military look.”

Categories
Bikes

Dr Scram – Pat’s DR650

Normally broken bones are the result of bikes, one way or another. For Pat however, bikes would be the result from an injury, instead of the cause. Paging Dr Scram!

A fractured knee wasn’t the ideal momento Pat had wanted to take home after a trip to Canada 6 years ago, but ever the optimist it would be this injury that would give birth to a whole new world of fun – along with new ways to break bones in the future.

“It was in 2010 that I first started riding. I’d come home from Canada with a fractured knee and had a lot of spare time doing nothing. It was in this down time that I found out about the café racer culture, which resulted in me buying a 1974 CB550. I was completely hooked.” Year later would find Pat upgrading from his CB550 to a CB750, as he immersed himself with the growing café racer scene in Sydney as it would grow and thrive.

It was at this time that Pat also grabbed himself a Suzuki DR650, with the intention of building it up for dirt and dual sport riding, as well as being his daily commuter. Owning two bikes at this point in his life with a growing family would prove to be impractical however, and so the CB750 would be sold off so he could concentrate his misfit juices on turning this stock DR650 into the multi-purpose Scrambler he’d always envisioned.

“I used to do a lot of weekends away, 4-wheel driving with mates. The 4WD had to go when our first child came along; so being able to get out in the bush was something that came into consideration when I bought the DR650 initially. I don’t get to go out for my longer rides now as my wife and I have just had a baby boy, but this will change later on when we all get used to the new addition to the family.”

It would be a slow start piecing together all the ideas and inspiration for this build, as Pat trawled through all the popular scrambler and tracker builds that were coming out. Once the plans were settled, it was off to Darren at DNA Custom Cycles to get this bike Scrambling. “I didn’t have a garage or appropriate tools to take on this build, and with Darren’s knowledge and skills we ended up with a far better end result than I had first envisaged.”

Over at DNA, the bike was completely stripped down, with the frame being powder coated along with most of the other bolt on parts receiving some fresh paint. I had upgraded the wheels (Excel Takasago front 19×2.5 inch from 21×1.85 inch, rear 17×4.25 inch from 17×2.5inch) laced to standard hubs, suspension, fuel delivery (Mikuni TM40 Pumper) and bigger front brakes previously to improve the overall rideablity of the bike.

“It’s really just a great little all-rounder. Enough power for what I need, it can keep up with most bikes on the sealed twisty mountain roads, and it feels at home in the dirt too. The new and improved look is a huge bonus, I have already had a lot of good feedback from lots of people – some are confused whether it’s a Yamaha or something else.”

 

Categories
Events

Sunday Slide

Wombats, Camels, and Kangaroos hit the dirt track on Sunday, though this was no Zoo – it’s Sunday Slide. A menagerie of different bikes hit the track to appease the sideways gods in this yearly blessing of the dirt.

Out at Nepean Raceway The Jerkyls hosted it’s infamous Sunday Slide, a weekend of camping and riding, all with the smell of 2-stroke and the accompanying chorus of ring-a-ding-ding. Riders gathered early for the riding brief, as three signs were held high in the air displaying the different experience classes for the day. Wombats would be the newbies on the track, Camels the intermediate, and Kangaroos for the lads and ladies that enjoy a bit of slidin’ sideways action.

All bikes on the track would be pre-90’s, with a good mix of machines tearing up the mud and dirt. Posties, dirt bikes, trackers, speedway bikes and even some bobbers with dirt tyres all gave it a crack. A good crowd gathered to watch the action under the warm sunshine. It’s the perfect day for riders all of experience levels to have a go on the dirt, with plenty of seasoned riders who were yet to give riding on dirt a try finally poppin’ their cherry.

   

Categories
Events

Dust & Destruction – Aftershock 2016

The air was thick with dust and the howls and screams of engines as Aftershock 2016 kicked off on the weekend. A cacophony of inappropriate 2-wheeled machines took to the dirt track as they raced and rammed through the hot sun in yet another hugely successful weekend of mayhem.

For it’s third time in Sydney, Aftershock would encourage riders to create machines that would be completely unsuccessful off-road – as that is Aftershock’s ethos. It’s about adding street tyres to your dirt bikes, ape hangers to your trackers, anything that is stupid and inappropriate for dirt is fine for Aftershock. Nothing is to be taken seriously this weekend, except to have fun, have a brap, and more than likely a stack along with it.

Just over a hundred folk gathered at the property for the weekend of mayhem. Young and old, all keen for the forth-coming chaos. With two tracks on offer, a mini Philip Island track and a more traditional flat track, there was plenty to test the mettle of the deranged bikes and their equally deranged owners. There would be races on both days of the event, with winners and trophies awarded at the end of the Sunday.

Race Classes
Classic Dirt 200cc and under

Classic Dirt 250cc and Over

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Inappropriate under 200cc

Inappropriate 250cc

Inappropriate Open Class

Inappropriate MX Class.

After a long day’s riding, the now filthy punters cleaned off on a giant slip ‘n’ slide, and enjoyed some ice cold beer generously donated by Young Henry’s, with all cash made being donated to the local Fire Brigade, who also put on a ton of awesome food for everyone to enjoy. The fun wasn’t over by a long shot, as two tiny pee-wee bikes were brought out along with some makeshift jousts crafted from pool noodles. Any grudges formed during the day were settled on the battlefield, or in this case on the dirt surrounded by a hundred laughing and screaming people. There were some gallant charges made, along with some not-so-gallant ones. As the sun set, the beers kept flowing and it was time to light the gigantic bonfire, instantly lighting up and warming anything within a 1km radius.

The sun rose and the mist began to disperse on the Sunday, with the sound of engines slowly awakening from their slumber, as day two of Aftershock was to begin in full force. This day would be all about the flat track, with riders hooning down the straight to then turn left, only to hoon and turn left again… and again. From here, winners for each class would be awarded their piston and sprocket trophies, as the sun slowly went down once more, and for the last time for Aftershock until 2017.

Photos by Pat Stevenson, Matt Coleman & Pete Cagnacci

Categories
Garage Sessions

Darren’s Den

A supercharged Triumph street tracker, a twin-engine Triumph drag bike and a proper ‘70’s style CB750 digger. These are Darren’s machines, and they certainly aren’t the type you’ll see all too often.

Darren’s been into bikes since he was 8, after his dad bought both him and his brother their first wheels – a 1971 Honda XR75 and Elsinore MR50 respectively. From here, he’s been riding, building and modifying just about everything.

One of the standouts in this space is the ‘Triumphant’ supercharged 1964 street tracker. The bike is a tribute to the legendary rider Gary Nixon, who the number ‘9’ belonged to. Starting life out as a Triumph chopper, Darren tore the bike down for it to be rebuilt into something new. From here, things got exciting as the modifications evolved to the point of adding a supercharger which was transplanted from a Subaru engine.

Just about every inch of detail on these bikes were done by Darren, fabricating the parts, painting the tanks, the sign writing – everything. A fan of being sideways, Darren’s 1979 Godden Speedway bike is a thing of beauty, complete with his name emblazoned on the seat.