Categories
Bikes Reviews

Unveiled – The Bobber Black

Being a mad Triumph fan (and to help a brother out) I was kindly asked to represent Throttle Roll at the Triumph Australia official launch of the new Bonneville Bobber Black and new Bonneville Speedmaster.

Having never been on a bike launch before I asked His Holiness Hawwa what’s involved.

The short answer was “thrash some bikes around Sydney, be wine and dined, get photographed, critique the bikes, pretend you know what you’re doing and spin some shit with other top journos. Oh, and hang out with Charley Boorman, all for a couple of days.”

“Hmmm…” I said, “let me think about that for a minute.”

Nek minnit, I’m online applying for extra leave to extend my Easter holidays, and immediately the excitement butterflies begin to build up in anticipation.

I was lucky enough last Easter to have borrowed a brand new Triumph Bobber for the Throttle Roll pre-Party Bike Ride. Being the lead rider, it was a great way for Triumph to show off their latest 1200cc High Torque monster, which really wanted to fit in with the cool cats of the custom bike world. It turned out shortly after its launch that, the bobber became so critically acclaimed by fans around the world that it became Triumph’s fastest selling motorcycle in its 115 years of existence. Who would’ve thunk it.

I had that Bobber for 5 full days and enjoyed every 800 km’s that I put on it– around the city, along country highways, and into the twisties. It was comfortable, gave a spirited ride, looked and sounded bad-ass, and it hit its design purpose on the head. But Bobbers just aren’t for me. I still commended Triumph with what they did with that bike – and that engine.

It did have a few downsides tho, most notably in the braking department. It went like the clappers, instant torque when you flicked the throttle and quickly built up speed. But pulling that 228kg (dry) beast up with a single disc and caliper was always going to be a tough ask. You see, the Bobber wanted to go – and it did. It wanted to turn – and it sort of did… Ground clearance was the biggest hurdle. But it really did not want to stop. In fact, when you needed it to stop you would have to allow sufficient time so you could perform the braking evolution without overshooting a corner or ramming it arse up into a tin top. Don’t get me wrong; it was adequate – especially for a Bobber – but its stop didn’t quite match its go.

Fast forward a year and enter stage left the Bobber Black – or as I like to call it, Bobber 2-point-ohhhh.

It’s meaner, more muscular, more imposing, and ‘more blacker’. You can pick any colour of the rainbow that you want, so long as It’s black – Jet Black or Matt Jet Black.

You see, Triumph listened to their customers and they changed a few things – for the better.

The first big difference you’ll notice is the front end. It’s now chunky, with extra beef. This is a result of new 47mm Showa cartridge forks (up from 41mm KYB forks), a smaller 16” blacked out rim (down from 19”) wearing a 136mm wide high profile tyre (up from 119mm wide), and twin discs each gripped by 2-pot Brembo calipers (up from a single disc with a Nissen caliper) which immensely improved its braking capability.

All up, it not only adds to the Bobber Black’s beefy hunched-forward appearance, but it also helps pull-up the black beast quickly and easily. A light squeeze on the lever with 2 fingers is all that’s needed to quickly pull the reigns in and come to a halt. It’s definitely a good upgrade over the standard model.

The clutch is the same in regards to ease of use, it’s torque-assisted, and only requires a light squeeze with a couple of fingers in order to swap cogs. Wanna race? Turn off Traction Control, make sure it’s in Road mode, apply revs, dump the clutch and hold on. It’s so easy with that clutch. In fact, this is exactly what Triumph encouraged us to do with the Bobber Black by sending us out to Eastern Creek Dragway in Western Sydney. They say the bike is at home in a straight line with power applied, and I couldn’t agree more.

After our safety brief, a photoshoot and a couple of practice runs we then went into a knock out competition. This started off all shits and giggles until we were told some prizes were on the line and then all hell and rear tyres broke loose.

I eased through my first round but unfortunately got done by an ex Australian Superbike racer in the second. I had the jump but he rode around me when it mattered.

In the end, it was he who got the quickest time of the day down the quarter mile with a 12.3 second run @ 168 km/h. And it was Charley Boorman who took out the competition by knocking everyone out. Well-done, Mr Celebrity-Who-Can-Actually-Ride!

And just for the record… I ran a 12.4 second pass @ 166 km/h

After our half day at the drag strip, we headed south to the Royal Nasho to test the Bobber Black through some twisties.

Triumph supplied the Bobber Black in a few variations, one with the Quarter Mile kit which included clip on bars, upgraded Fox mono-shock suspension (rebound adjustability only) and Vance & Hines silencers. And another with the Old School inspiration kit, which included a brown leather seat and Ape Hanger style bars – among other additions.

For me I love the look of the clip-on’s as it’s more my riding style, so I found myself on the Quarter Mile more often than not. It also helped that the other blokes on the ride liked having a photoshoot or a short squirt with the clip-on’s, but didn’t want it for too long. It does get to your lower back a bit with the foot position. The seat is still adjustable back and down or up and forward. I left it as it was (up and forward I believe), and the riding triangle just never quite felt right with the clip-on’s. It definitely wasn’t as comfortable as the stock Bobber Black with its low rise straight bars on the highway, which was a bit more of an upright position and very ergonomic. Like the original Bobber, the bike will still send a jolt up your back if you hit a decent bump. Even on the Fox equipped bike, the hard bumps were still felt on the factory setting. Playing around with the Fox’s one and only adjustment (rebound) may help with this, but I didn’t get around to fiddling with this. All up though the stock mono-shock does an OK job.

Once in the twisties, the Quarter Mile felt more at home with its forward weight bias, and it was here that it was the red hot favourite Bobber Black again amongst the boy racers. Sometimes it pays to be selfish.

Performance wise, the Bobber Black is the same HT 1200cc engine that’s found in the Bonneville T120 but with its own unique tune. What this ‘unique tune’ statistically translates to is 10% more torque and horsepower than the T120 at 4,500 rpm. The Bobber Black does have 2% more torque overall (106Nm) but lacks about 2% in neddies in total (77PS). What this means in real-world speak is the Bobber Black, like the original, is a low-down grunt monster that doesn’t need high revs, and loves traffic light drag racing. And this all comes down to a change of exhausts from the T120’s.

What this also means in day-to-day riding, whether in the twisties or in high-speed sweepers, is you just simply leave it in a gear, wipe off a little speed using two fingers or a right foot (the rear brake is quite sufficient), turn until you hear those hero knobs screech (oh it happened a lot), hit the apex, apply a fist full of throttle, listen to that glorious 270 degree offbeat thump reverberate all around, grin like a little school boy and repeat.

Coming in at an extra 9.5 kilos over the original Bobber with 100% of that forward of the head stem, you can feel the difference in the unsprung weight department at the front when turning. It’s not difficult to turn, but it is noticed. The overall diameter of the wheel and tyre is the same as the original, but the extra weight, bigger forks and gyroscopic forces of the twin discs does add to the weighted effect. It’s certainly not a deal breaker – especially once you consider the beef it now brings.

In fact, the Bobber Black is a mega fun bike to ride. It has oodles of torque and plenty of power. It now stops as good as it goes, and with or without the V&H pipes it sounds aggressive and deep. Throw in a heap of black stuff on the bike and you’ve got one seriously aggressive looking, blacked out hot rod of a bike – exactly what Triumph were aiming for.

From a custom bike tinkerer’s perspective, what else could be done or changed to the Bobber Black? It would all be cosmetic, really. Besides the usual shorter front and rear fender, smaller indicators and maybe a custom paint or wrap job, I’d look at putting a wider rear tyre on the back to give the rear end a bit of a beefy look too. But squeezing a wider rim and tyre inside that caged swing arm would prove pretty difficult. Normally, a headlight would be one of the first things I’d change on a bike to give it its own character – it’s own eyeball, so to speak – but the 5 inch LED DRL on this bike is a thing of beauty and I absolutely love it and wouldn’t change it for anything else.

It goes to show that Triumph have done an exceptional job with this bike straight off the showroom floor.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I tackle the Bobber Black’s less bobbed (and less black) brother, the Speedmaster.

Words by Tremayne East.

Photos supplied by Triumph Australia.

Categories
Bikes

Macho Nacho – Mark’s Triumph Scrambler

Okay it’s super awkward writing a blog about your bike and self. So instead of reminding people how insanely attractive I am for a man of Middle Eastern appearance/ just man in general; I am just going to lay down some words and quote myself about the build aspect of this bike.

A bit of backstory – Triumph gifted me this bike in 2014 when they became the global sponsor of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Here is what I had to say about that.

“In actual fact it was a bit daunting being gifted with a bike. Trying to navigate through all possible outcomes of getting stuck into modifying it, is there an expectation I’d leave it standard? Will they get upset if I shorten the fenders, paint it, put other peoples parts on? I didn’t know what to do, well deep down I did, I just didn’t want to offend those who made a huge decision to support us on such a global scale! However, I just decided fuck it, I want it to be mine, I want it to be unique and the work then began. To my surprise – Triumph were digging it and totally understood the customisation culture.”

“The build process continued forever, as my tastes changed, the bikes changed with it. From factory to now, its had 3 paint jobs. Each stunning! However my final, for now, decision was to take the tank back to bare metal and clear coat it. Murder out all the other parts to the bike and just go for that big braun, murdered out vibe. It’s an awesome daily.”

“The work that went into the bike wasn’t overly excessive, I say that because a lot of friends helped out with the build and I did close to sweet FA. The most difficult part would have been grafting the Triumph Explorer front end on which required the help of Darren from DNA Custom Cycles. The entire bike is not a big $$$ build nor did it need to be, It is one of my least defect-able bikes I own from a police perspective, looks great to me, makes me look small and is a well sorted, hoot to ride. Those front brakes are enough to pull up a steam train. Okay probably not but you get maaa drift.”

Go the Dragons!

“My favourite thing about this bike is the 270 degree crank. It makes for such an amazing sounding motorcycle, and by far one of my favourite sounding machines out there. However I do wish it did have the Triumph Bobber 1200 engine in it. Maybe an idea for the future… I also dig the front mag wheel vs. the rear spoked. It always pisses off my autistic mates.”

The Extensive Modifications List

  • The front is a Triumph Explorer 1050 suspension, brakes and wheel.
  • Customised headlight surrounds with integrated Rizoma indicators and a front MX cowl
  • Hair and beard by Tommy J Barber
  • Speed Merchant Side Covers and rear foot pegs
  • Biltwell foot pegs
  • Triumph Aftermarket Seat set up re-trimmed, painted and powder coated
  • British Customs 180 rear wheel from https://www.wenley.com.au/
  • Aftermarket Arrow exhaust – Then modified to sweep upwards, ceramic coated
  • Tank taken back to bare metal and clear coated
  • Body by Fit Factory PT
  • Shortened rear fender
  • Free Spirits front fender
  • Free Spirits rear suspension risers
  • General Well-bring by Hyde Park Medical Centre
  • Gazi rear suspension
  • Posh tail light
  • Modified chain guard
  • Mental Health by Movember
  • Rizoma indicators
  • Renthal handlebars
  • Clothing by Saint.cc
  • Rizoma side mirrors
  • Monza fuel cap
  • Ignition relocation
  • Physio by Life Fit
  • Gold chain baby
  • Black rear sprocket
  • Poker Skills by – self taught mother fucker!
  • Aftermarket crash bars
  • Pirelli MT60RS tyres
  • Hair Product by Uppercut
  • $10 Ebay special side bag
  • Custom number plates by the money hungry scumbags at myplates.com.au

A special Thank you to Triumph Motorcycles (for very obvious reasons). The Speed Merchant, Free SpiritsGazi Suspension, DNA Custom Cycles, RB Racing, Harley Borkowski, Smith Concepts, Drifter Bikes, Chris Atkinson and Nik Ellwood.

This bike is now not for sale for the low price of $69,999.00 contact Jacob.

True story: I asked where is my coffee and he just walked past laughing. Asshole. Flat white next time. 

How many supporters / Sponsors can you count?
I wonder if she is ‘the one’

a real bad ass would of rode through the water. Not me.
Suck it in fella

 

Categories
Bikes Cafe Shit

Wenley’s Triumph Thruxton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

l

Categories
Bikes

Raw Speed – Harley’s Triumph Speed Triple

The Triumph Speed Triple is a bike that Harley has been lusting over for quite some time. This machine is angry even in its stock form, and each time Harley rode one, he’d fall more and more in love. So naturally, the time for fantasies would end, and the hunt for a Triple of his own would begin.

Harley is no stranger to us poking around his garage and peeking at his builds. When he’s not creating machines for customers at RB Racing, or taking out titles on the track, he’s working on his own projects. His previous build, the Yamaha XJR 1300 ‘Fat Tracker’, was an incredible machine that we were fortunate enough to feature and has now found itself a new owner, leaving Harley space to move on to whatever else tickled his fancy. “The XJR was sold on a whim, I’d just finished the Kenny Roberts paint job and fitted up some other new goodies, when someone had expressed keen interest in buying it. That guy didn’t end up with the bike, but another good friend of mine Paul was keen to swap a Ducati Sport Classic 1000 for it. I was interested because lets face it – they’re a beautiful bike, but after riding it for a day, I decided it wasn’t me. Lucky for me, he bought the XJR anyway.”

As mentioned, and in case you forgot, Harley has a bit of a boner for the Triumph Speed Triple. These bikes look aggressive straight off the bat, and finally his love for these machines was going to become a reality. “Every time I ride one, I just love it. They’re comfy, the triple engine sounds awesome, and when you twist the throttle they slap everything they’ve got down through the back tyre and onto the pavement.” And so, a 2009 Triumph Speed Triple would now be calling his garage home. Next; the custom work:

With no clear vision of exactly what he would be doing with this stock bike that was sitting seductively in his workshop, Harley first concentrated on the key bits that he knew would be a part of the project. “I knew I’d be using a factory Arrow low exhaust system, I’d keep the upright bars, and definitely lose the ‘bug-eyes’ headlight. The bike I had picked up already had the Arrow exhaust that I wanted fitted, and then the ideas started to flow. One of the first things to go was the swing arm and rear wheel. I found a swinger out of a Triumph Sprint GT, which looks the same but is 75mm longer and I sourced a rear wheel and hub from a 2016 Speed Triple which would go from a stock 5.5inch rim up to a 6 inch. The longer swing arm stops the bike from just being a wheelie machine, and lets you put down way more power exiting corners.”

“The forks and rear shock were re-sprung and re-valved to suit the new wheelbase and my riding style, while the front brake discs were replaced with NG full floating discs. The fork uppers were changed from black to gold, mostly just to break up all the black, and Renthal fatbars on Rizoma low risers were chucked on and the stock bug-eyes and dash were tossed in favour of a V Rod head light and shroud, matched up to a Motoscope Pro dash. Getting the bike to work with a foreign Can Bus dash was one of the bigger head-melting parts of the build – the bike just seemed to reject the electrics being messed with in any way.”

Next up, Harley ripped off all of the plastic panels and shrouds, shaved the rear sub frame, and raised the tail light to hug the bottom of the seat. “The seat is one of my favourite parts of the bike, it’s just a stock seat re-covered, but myself and Mark from Streamline Trimming in Taren Point came up with the design, and he did an amazing job bringing it to life.”

“There are a few other tasty little parts in there as well, the LSL headlight brackets, rear sets and that great looking chain guard to help finish the bike of nicely. The custom carbon fibre front guard I fabricated myself, and I fitted the carbon chin-spoiler to match it. The paint, or lack of, was kind of an accident. I designed about 10 different paint jobs, but none of them really got me excited enough to pull the trigger. One day, with the tank stripped, I sat it on the bike to clear some bench space, and there it was. I just roughed it up a bit, put on the Triumph logo and the pinstripe, and clear coated it. I even dulled down the clear with some burnishing paste to make it look a bit aged, and did the same to the head light shroud.”

“With the bike well and truly finished, which is not something I ever say because my bikes are never really ever finished, there are two stand out things for me. Firstly, I love looking at it – in my eyes, it doesn’t have a bad angle. I love all the little details, and I love the overall shape and line. The other thing is how it rides, Speed Triples are already an awesome bike, but with the longer swing arm, and the suspension sorted, it feels invincible and it turns in on a dime. It friggen hammers out of turns, it’s stable and fast, and it’s comfy enough to sit on all day. It’s great two-up, and it satisfies my inner-lunatic. It’s just awesome at being a motorbike.”

Categories
Bikes

Murray’s Triumph Thruxton

A life of travelling the globe planted the seed of adventure in Murray, which only naturally would bud into motorcycling. Using one of the greatest forms of creating adventure, Murray and his Machine have forged a bond through thick and thin – and picked up something special along the way.

In his travels, Murray found himself adventuring on a variety of bikes as he explored over 50 countries. This pure form of transport became the essence of adventure, and as his life became more grounded, a solid machine was on the cards. “I decided to get my full licence and become legal, so I completed my riders test in the UK the day before flying out to Canada. I landed in Vancouver, and in that very day went to a dealership to find the machine that would be for me.”

That dealership happened to be a Triumph dealership. “I wanted a Triumph as it was a brand that was synonymous with exploration and heritage, for me. I was originally looking for a Bonneville but I fell in love with this pre-loved British racing green Thruxton as soon as I walked in. I then had it done up as a classic style café racer as it was intended to be. Adventure called once again, and I was on the road, headed for Mexico.”

“It was on this trip that I met someone very special, and it was actually because of this bike that I had met her – but more about that later. After a lot of riding – and I mean a lot, I decided riding a café racer wasn’t the most comfortable so I started changing the bike into more of a street sled. I removed the air box, put a two into one system on and did a few more engine tweaks. I added some Biltwell tracker bars and stripped everything off I didn’t need, opting for led strip signals and brake lights.”

The next morning, after spending about two weeks in the garage working on his bike, Murray and his machine were ready. “Five minutes into my ride I felt the back of my bike lift up, and heard metal crunching and plastic tearing. I was being pushed into a main road and had no control of my bike.” A young driver with a brand-new 4WD had decided whatever was on his phone use was more interesting than paying attention to the road, and so Murray found his adventure machine half devoured by the large four-wheeled beast. “Her truck was lifted off the ground – they’re tough bikes, but I was gutted. All that work, and all those miles.”

It was in the ambulance to the hospital that the situation really sank in for Murray – the bike was done for, or was it? (plot twist!) “Now, as you may remember, I had met someone very special on my trip, Well, she’s now my wife. I had some met some guys in Mexico and ended up riding to Arizona and back to LA with them – one of the guys was dating a chick down in Orange County. I cruised over with him, and little did I know but they had set up a blind date for me with her best friend. It was super awkward, so to break the ice I asked if she wanted to come and grab a pizza with me, on the bike. We jumped on, and we knew that was it. Fast forward to the ambulance. I realised that this bike was more than just transport, more than just the first bike I owned, more than the bike that had got me through snow, rain and hail driving through the Rockies in January, it was the reason I met my wife.”

Murray knew this bike was not done for, that he could breath life back it – but not without a fight. The bike had been declared totalled by the insurance company. Not taking this as a final answer, Murray took it to Triumph, who inspected it for themselves. “It was only the sub frame that was slightly bent. I got the insurance money, bought the bike back and immediately began planning how to rebuild it. First I replaced and upgraded the brakes, shocks, chain and cogs. I then had to address the sub frame and the fact the seat wouldn’t fit anymore.”

“If necessity is the mother of invention, then this was a necessary move. Personally I loved the look, slightly tracker, slightly bobber, slightly cafe. The big problem now was it was a little waspy in its handling, it was front end heavy. I took all the wiring and hid it under the tank, removed the headlight and gauges and started looking for options. I went down the face plate route with LED lights to keep in with removing everything unnecessary.”

“I love the memories of this bike. Everything I’ve been through in the last four years, this bike has been there with me. It’s forced me to take the hard route and discover unseen lands, meet new people and remind me that the world is a lot smaller than it seems. The bike is a vehicle, but not in the main sense of the word. It is a vehicle for movement, it forces involvement and it drives life.”

Photography by Sam Bendall

Words by Pete Cagnacci

Categories
Bikes

The 8 Week Phantom

For something to be reborn first it must die; and this ghost who walks lived a very short life before it was resurrected in just eight tumultuous weeks. Whatever perfect product you buy the end result is a culmination of blood, sweat and tears that the consumer is never likely to see. But prepared to let the masses get a glimpse behind the scenes Australia’s premier custom bike builder, Wenley Andrews, has pulled back the curtain and revealed the alter at which he works.

Making this process even more special is the collaboration that made it happen; a collective of the Australian industries very best. The incredible finished product was finished just hours ago, a Wenley special, this 2016 Triumph Thruxton R is known as the one who cannot die, Phantom. Fortunately Pipeburn.com has been there from the very beginning and instigating the build was site co-owner Andrew Jones who was in Wenley’s ear asking when he’d build his next bike.

Finally to capture the highs and the heartache, talented documentary maker Cam from Stories of Bike came on board to shoot an eight part series on the build. Now with everything in place the pressure fell squarely on Wenley’s shoulders and all the talent in the world can’t help you overcome slow deliveries and unreliable suppliers. The vision was to leave the original frame, engine and suspension in place and from there use the R as a platform for customisation. Put simply, take the very best of what Triumph has created and enhance everything else. Having considered a tank change, with the Thruxton now in front of him Wenley was so impressed with the job Triumph had done he couldn’t bring himself to change ditch it, “Triumph have really done a remarkable job and given the public a true café racer,” enthuses Andrews.

The builder didn’t have any solid plans for the future but Andrew had an idea. With readers fawning over Wenley’s Triumph builds such as his Dirty Rascal America and powerhouse Rocket III, surely next should be the latest Thruxton R. Pipeburn’s bearded baron got to work and with a heavy discount from Triumph Australia Wenley was now the owner of a Diablo Red Thruxton R and a big box of parts. But that was just the start of the collaborations; with the Sydney street party known as Throttle Roll just eight weeks away all involved set it as the place to launch the R. The organiser of the event Mark Hawwa dug it and being the brains behind the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride you know he hosts a hell of a party. With Wenley not having regular digs out of which to operate, Jason of Gasoline Motor Co. generously offered up a work bench and use of the shop in which Wenley could wave his wand.

But the seat was another matter; wanting to create a more minimal, racey vibe he placed an order for three different units. Two never arrived and the other, big and ugly, just would never do, so instead he fashioned his own fibreglass masterpiece with painstaking perfection. When designing the seat Wenley had in mind his ever present big rear tyre, “so it would be further accentuated and the proportions better reflected by a narrow seat,” explains the man himself. In total 10 days of sanding, sculpting and finessing delivered a stunning result and then it was out with the pen to design a base. The upholstery was handled by the clever folks at Sydney Moto Trimmers using premium Alcantara and paint matched stitching. The inspiration for the paint came from Wenley’s daily walks up to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant for lunch. Each day he passed a stunning AMG Mercedes resplendent in Selenite Grey with Yellow accents, “it looked magical”. So he had to have it and with the stock tank off and his new seat boxed up they were sent out to Smith Concepts to lay down the colour. With no time to waste Wenley got to smoothing out the frame, de-tabbing and happily taking a grinder to Triumph’s big dollar machine.

With the seat and tank bolted back in place the look is incredible and you have to wonder how long it’ll take for Hinckley to offer it up as a factory option. With only eight weeks with which to work, ripping the engine out in the pursuit of huge horsepower was never an option. But the torque laden 1200cc twin was a prime candidate for one of Wenley’s signature exhaust systems. It’s out with the old ’60s styling and in with a modern system built by the man himself that snakes its way through the frame and exits with mean twin pipes underneath the seat. This meant the stock airbox had to go and there was no longer room to even fit pod filters to the carby look EFI system. The solution is a pair of stunning velocity stacks that peak out each side, facing forward to thrust air down the Triumph’s throat.

Wanting to add some mechanical muscle the sprocket cover was removed and a new piece CNC’d that exposes the gnashing teeth. The suspension on the Thruxton R is as good as it gets from a modern retro machine and there was no need to change it. But nothing stays stocks were an improvement can be made and the rear Ohlins shocks have their springs finished in black with flexible plasticised paint. Up front the big piston Showa forks remain in place but Wenley removed the upper clamp, cut off the key holder and powder coated it black for a stunning finish. The same hard wearing powder was applied to the factory swingarm for a more integrated look with the frame. The big factory Brembo’s haul things to a stop and are actuated by a set of custom adjustable levers.

With a striped down, nimble appearance always part of Wenley’s builds an order was placed early in the process with the kings of electric minimalism, Motogadget. “One of everything” was the basic instructions with a Motogadget analogue speedo sitting neatly behind the repurposed Harley Davidson front cowling. But despite having switches, grips and bar end indicators in his hot little hands they wouldn’t fit the new clip-ons. That’s because Triumph’s all new ride-by-wire system is operated at the throttle assembly itself. With the part disassembled it’s been hidden under the tank, with a traditional cable run to it from the handlebars. It seems a lot of work for a cleaner looking front end, but our man Andrews wasn’t finished there!

The wizard Wenley then ran an internal throttle cable and yet still managed to fit the Motogadget m-Blaze turn signals to the end of the bars. Some tricks will never be revealed! But the pièce de résistance has to be those incredible Kineo wheels with Ad Hoedemakers of EuropeMotoParts.com sorting out a special package just for the Phantom build. Measuring 17inchs at each end, the rear wears a monstrous 180 section Pirelli Phantom tyre. While up front a meaty 130/80 Pirelli couldn’t be any tougher surrounded by the best from Brembo, Showa and Kineo. Racing to the finish and set to debut in just hours’ time at the Throttle Roll Street Party in Sydney I ask Wenley what’s been the biggest challenge of this last eight weeks.

“The hardest part of the build was the people criticising me. In fact I wouldn’t even call this a build, but a re-imagining of what Triumph first created.” But for Wenley what was being criticised was the very point of filming the process in the first place; highlighting the struggles that other shows like Biker Build Off simply edit out. Parts that don’t fit, suppliers that let you down, mechanical mysteries and all the while carving out fresh ground, it’s just part of the process the public don’t ordinarily see. He may not have swore an oath on a skull, but Wenley Andrews has emerged from his urban cave having built the best Thruxton R to date in a time as quick as this Phantom goes!

Written by Martin Hodgson

Photos by www.storiesofbike.com

 

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Bikes

Wenley’s Triumph Rocket III Cafe Racer

There’s an old saying. If you’re going to steal a car, steal a Ferrari. Well, if you’re gonna build a mean café racer, build the meanest café racer. 2,294cc should do it.

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In the late ‘90’s Triumph embarked on the Rocket III Project with the aim to take on the large American Harley-Davidson and Honda Goldwing demographic. With other competitors such as Yamaha and Honda producing large capacity road monsters, Triumph decided to up the ante and settle for a machine that boasted a displacement of 2,294cc. By 2003, these monsters were now hitting the streets across the globe, in what would be the largest-displacement any engine of any mass-production motorcycle, with the 146bhp inline triple engine boasting 163lbft of torque, it’s a machine that has slowly found it’s niche in the motorcycling world.

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For Wenley, he’s always wanted to build a custom Rocket III. All that power and the beefy look, it would make for a unique and interesting build. “After having a look around, I found one with really low km’s on the clock, so finally this build could get started. Little did I know, the power of this bike is just out right ridiculous, while also being quite a heavy machine. The first step was to remove as many things as possible to lighten this beast up. I wanted to turn this into a Rocket café racer. The main obstacle was the tank, as it is so huge it just wouldn’t look right for a café build. I had a custom tank made to fit, full metal with the stock fuel pump fitted underneath. Before we could send the tank off to get worked we had to get a custom alloy intake fabricated, as the air filters on the rocket are so close to the tank. It ended up looking really rad with the K&N pods.”

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While the tank was being sorted, attention was to be brought to the seat. The large, uninspiring stock seat and rear would be swapped out for one from a Triumph Thruxton. A subtle, tucked away Flanders taillight was added to keep the rear end tidy and clean. The only part now was to actually fit the seat to the frame. A new rear frame would be fabricated to house these new additions and ensure everything fit correctly with the build. While the whole frame was off, a nice coat of satin black was applied to help accentuate the stripped back, simplicity of the build. “We had Andrew from Beyond Trims to sort out some nice red stitching for the black seat we had. Once all the parts were back from being painted and the seat was completed, the fun could really begin.”

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After fitting the tank, a new short fender and the seat the bike was taking on a new aesthetic – something that was sleeker, and a lot more aggressive. “We ditched the massive stock front radiator for a custom made alloy race radiator which was then painted black to flow with the rest of the parts. A new exhaust was needed, so I drew up a concept on a piece of paper and handed it over to my mate Billy who welded up the new piece for me. This was then ceramic coated, initially black but this when then changed after I stood back and realised there was too much black now on the bike. We changed it to silver, which gives a good accent to the image of the bike and shows off the exhaust more.”

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The stock tyres were binned for a set of chunkier ones to further inject more testosterone into this muscle racer. A 5.5” headlight was swapped out with the stock one, a set of mini indicators and cleaned up gauges to keep things trim, custom mirrors and some new grips. “Because the rocket was so low at the rear, the stance didn’t look right. I spoke with the guys at IKON Australia who came up with a solution which was a custom made Rocket rear shock which was a one-off.

Now that the bike was looking as aggressive as we intended, it was smash time.”

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It’s definitely got to be the beefiest cafe racer on the streets, let alone motorcycle in general. It’s an imposing machine, that will get the adrenaline pumping to the point of fear. It’s a far cry from your more common and traditional single cylinder cafe racers – and that’s just why we love it.

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Bikes

Little Bastard – Tom’s 1953 Triumph Bobber

Many years ago, it would be at the very first Throttle Roll event that Tom would find the motivation he needed to finally start a Bobber build of his own after what seemed like an age of wanting to get this project off the ground.

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A week after the event, once his hangover had subsided, Tom went for a visit to Trojan Classic Motorcycle Parts to get started on his build. Trojan are no strangers to classic bobbers, and have had a hand in many high quality builds over the years. After purchasing a Factory Metal Works frame, along with a ton of other parts, the build had officially started.

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“I love bobbers. The simplicity of them is great, there’s really nothing to them as it’s about taking away from a stock bike instead of adding additional parts.” Having built Hot Rods and Muscle Cars before, this would be Tom’s first motorcycle build. The approach was much in the same way as these previous machine builds, only with 2 less wheels. How hard could it be? “I fortunately also got a lot of help from Pete at Trojan’s – I don’t think I could have built the bike without his help and advice!”

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Once Tom had worked on the initial design of how he wanted the bike to look, the pile of parts were sent off to Ken over at Cobra Craft to get all the fabrication work completed along with welding. The 1953 650cc Triumph Engine was given to the capable hand of Pete from Trojan for a complete rebuild. Meanwhile, Harley from RB Racing was getting to work on the paint scheme, which would be a subdued grey, with a rich red for the wheels and tank motif. Kyle of Smith Concepts would delicately paint the graphics on the tank and lettering by hand.

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It would be an amalgamation of skilled and creative people that would help Tom achieve his dream concept for this machine, with heavy 1950’s inspiration being the driving force. Once their designated professional completed all the pieces, it would be time to put it all together. “I put the whole bike together in my kitchen an hour before Throttle Roll 2016, just in time for it to be part of the custom bike display. The build went fairly smoothly, with hardly any hiccups along the way. Thankfully due to having a reliable team at work, and taking my time in making sure everything was done right. I love the red wheels; the bike has this ‘50’s classic Hot Rod feel to it. The end product is what I had pictured in the very beginning, so I’m definitely happy with the final result!”

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Bikes

Phil’s Harris Performance F1 Triumph 1200

It’s been over 30 years now between Phil and this machine. This history would all begin one fateful evening at a pub, as Phil and a mate were tucking into some pints, talking about some new parts that were available. “It was back in 1986 that I had bought the race frame kit. A mate owned a bike business and mentioned these frames that he could get a hold of. In those days it was quite common to build Harris, Bimoto, Moto Martin, Egli (British/Italian frame kits for big Jap engines). I had just bought a brand new Kawasaki GPZ900R, and so sold off the parts I didn’t need to get started on this new machine. I seem to remember that I got more for the OEM frame, tank and fairings than what I paid for the Harris kit! (I still have the original receipt for the whole kit as 1614 pounds).”

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The history of this machine goes back a tiny bit further than that evening at the Pub with Phil and his mate however. In 1985, Phase One Endurance team wanted to race in the Bol d’or 24-hour endurance race. To comply with the homogeneous rules and race in a production class, Harris Performance made 24 frame kits. Phase One raced one of these kits, another kit was bought and raced at the Isle of Man that year, and Phil would buy one himself. “I guess the remaining 21 were also sold off. Phase One Endurance raced the bike with a Kawasaki GPZ750R motor, while I built mine up with the bigger bored GPZ900R motor.”

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This would not be the only incantation of this machine, as mentioned previously this bike and Phil have had a 30 year relationship together. Not one to let things get boring or stagnant, Phil would change the machine over the years to suit different needs.

These key different versions of this machine include –

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Harris F1 – Kawasaki GPZ900R

“The Frame kit was pretty much the frame, tank seat, rear swinging arm, rear wheel spindle, shock and linkages, engine and radiator mounts, front triple trees etc. You basically had to bolt in your OEM wheels, brakes, engine, and radiator. Remake the wiring loom, fit after market air pods and exhaust and you basically had the finished bike.

I never bothered with the fairing kit, preferring a more naked look. I then registered it for the road as it was my daily ride to work and pub duties.

This build became a bit famous as it was used in the Blood Runners promo film. (Blood Runners was a cartoon in the back of Bike magazine and there was an attempt to make a British Mad Max film, heavily sponsored by Kawasaki back then base on this cartoon) The Harris was the bike of the main character “Jack Sh!$” and did a few wheelies and doughnuts in the promo.

In 1987 I rode it to the Isle of Man TT races with 22 other mates. The week was epic (many beers and many laps followed by many beers) until I entered the Ramsey sprint. This was a 1/8-mile drag race along the curved promenade. With the bike having such a short wheel base, the only way to launch it was to drop the clutch at 9 grand, followed by much wheel spin and subsequent wheelies along the 1/8. After about the 7th go, the clutch gave up, resulting in the bike jumping forward 10 feet then stopping very quickly (read – the clutch exploded into hundreds of fragments, taking out the rest of the internals with peppered shrapnel). Bike magazine helped get the bike back to the B & B in Douglas and helped me in my sorrows with again, many beers.”

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Harris F1 – Triumph 1200

“I could have rebuilt it with another Kawasaki motor, but at that time John Bloor had just bought out Triumph and was resurrecting the marque (into what we know it as now). The first part they developed was the engine and in the UK bike rag (Motorcycle News), there was an exclusive spy pic of a Kawasaki GPZ 900R spotted with what looked like a Triumph motor in it.

My first thoughts were that if the Trumpy motor was fitted to a GPZ, then one might fit my Harris? I phoned Triumph to see if I could buy a motor, but I was told in no uncertain words that they were about to try and break into the American market and that they didn’t want any bastardy’s bikes on the road. I could buy a complete bike… or nothing.

I then went in search of a motor. When you bought a new Triumph, they offered you hugely low and attractive insurance deals that most (if not all) new buyers took up. One of the clauses was that in the event of a claim, Triumph would have first offer on buying salvage. Net result of this was you never saw crashed Triumphs in a wrecker! This made my search harder, but I religiously scoured the MCN rag every Wednesday for over a year until one wrecker in East London had a crashed Triumph Daytona listed for sale. I left work, jumped into my van and drove up to Chelmsford to look at the bike. It seemed to have been low sided with usual gravel rash. The radiator was ripped so I couldn’t start it, but as a Donor bike, the main parts were sweet.

Money exchanged, we put it in the van, drove home, stripped out the motor and took it over to see Dennis. Now Dennis Evans was the Brits answer to Burt Munro. Dennis had designed, built and raced his own engines and what he couldn’t do in his small workshop behind his house in Crowthorne, wasn’t worth doing. When I said “Right Dennis… British engine in a British frame…. what do you think ?” He knew I’d spoken of the similarities of the GPZ and Trumpy engine designs and so I left it with him for a few days.

He made up an additional upper rear engine mount to bolt new engine to old frame, so no modifications to the original frame were needed. It was a tight fit but fit it was. For this build I replaced the Kawasaki front end and rear wheel for the Triumph parts (to keep as much Triumph bits as possible). We went for moto X bars for a more relaxed sitting position.

When I emigrated to Australia I brought with me two suitcases of clothes/bits, my toolbox, a computer and the Harris in a crate.

The Harris was registered for the road here in 1986 after going through the rules and regs.  Import license, Import plates, Engineer reports, Blue slip weighbridge etc. etc…. But soon after the ignition failed on the way to work, my daughter was born and so the Harris sat at the back of the shed in pieces.”

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Harris F1 – Triumph 1200 Pre-Modern Race bike

Fast-forward 18 years

“I was over a mate’s place (he was moving his custom fabrication business to a new location) and the chats over a beer turned to the Harris.  He came up with an idea of “why don’t you rebuild it for the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed race in 4 months time?” We mulled over if it was possible, and what needed to be done.

Frame, tank, swing arm were all good. The engine once we fixed the ignition problem was good to go as well, so let’s do it!

Over those 4 months we fabricated up a new steering head stem so we could fit a Honda 900 front end to it. Took a Honda CBR600RR rear wheel and machined down both the sides of the wheel and Cush drive so we could fit the wheel and have the sprockets run in line with the front sprocket. We changed the rear wheel so we could run a 17″ 180 rear slick. We then needed to machine up a bespoke rear brake mount so we could hang the original rear brake caliper over the new smaller rear brake disk.

The original WP shock was 30 years old and not worth repairing, so to fit a newer Penske unit (I had taken off one of my race bikes) we needed to machine up a new rod end that made the new shock the same length as the older WP unit, have the same rod diameter and width and fit a smaller diameter Ohlin’s spring. With these modifications the Penske was a straight replacement for the WP unit.

Mick also machined up new rear set mounting plates so we could run modern rear set linkages and pegs off the original Harris mounting points.

We managed to get the bike finished and raced it at the Barry Sheene event (with literally a day to spare). Most of the changes done were to bring the spec up as much as we could, but still complying with the rules for racing in the Pre Modern race class.”

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This bike had a rich history behind, both from a technical perspective as well as a personal one. Phil was 21 when he first built this bike, living in England. As he’ll proudly tell you, it was his weapon of choice back then – built to suit look and feel that he wanted. “Back then, it was my faily ride, my only bike. I went to work on it, down the pub on it and it took me on my trips away. It was just a bike as everyone used bikes back then.

Now after the rebuild for the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, it’s a bike I’ll try and race at the event every year from now on. It’s now road registered, so I’ll use it for weekend jollies down to the local pie shop via a few backroads to a few pubs.”

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Bikes

Nix – Lucas’ Triumph Thruxton

“So you purposely made the bike shitty?” asked a 72-year-old Actress/Chatterbox that had stopped by for a chat as we photographed Lucas’ rusty and ratty Triumph. We were regaled with stories of her father who rode Norton’s and Triumphs back in the 1920’s. This would be a prime example of an occurrence for many who ride; a connection and talking piece between strangers on the streets. Everyone has someone in their life that was fuelled by a passion for two wheels – be it today or 90 years ago.Triumph_Bonneville_Cafe_Racer_Rat_Bike_9039Triumph_Bonneville_Cafe_Racer_Rat_Bike_9168

As Lucas and our new friend chatted away about motorcycles, the film industry and everything in between the rusty yet trusty “old” Triumph would show off the perfect backdrop; Lucas’ shop where old and eclectic items are sold in between his work on shows such as Aussie Pickers.

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If you had guessed that Lucas’ bike was originally dredged out of the Atlantic sea and left on a trawler for months before coming to Sydney, you wouldn’t be doubted. This bike is no motorised-oceanic Excalibur however, and in fact is a more contemporary machine. Last of the Carbi’s, this 2008 Triumph Thruxton dubbed ‘Nix’ is an acute reflection of Lucas’ passion and personality, and much like Lucas the more you pry into this bike the more you’ll find. “It sums up for me the true nature of what it’s like to be Australian and so remote on the globe, we made what we needed.

Necessity is the mother of invention”

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Lucas’ baptism into bikes was on a Honda Z50 Monkey bike, back in the good ol’ days (whenever those days were) “A kid from up the road rented his bike out to other kids, $5 for 5 laps of our local football oval. No helmet, no pads, just my Quicksilver boardies and thongs. It had the smell and sound of a crazed chainsaw about to explode. I knew this machine was going to be an addiction. With each lap of the footy oval my confidence grew, and by the last lap I was hooked. The throttle at full and tucking behind the speedo trying to see how fast it could go before it would explode, holding on hard and praying. No fear.”

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This burning passion for speed would cause Lucas to naturally nag and beg his Mum for a motorcycle, and after 4 years of persistence, she agreed. “Mum’s only condition was that I had to pay for it myself, so she arranged a job for me 5 arvo’s a week… at the Queen Elizabeth II Rehabilitation Centre for motorcycle victims. Well, needless to say I didn’t want a bike anymore after that, and it wasn’t until I was 35 that I would finally get my motorcycle licence.

To this day I believe that job, and my Mum, saved my life.”

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After picking up this 2008 Triumph Thruxton, Lucas began to draw inspiration from what his Grandfather would have done after the Second World War. “Buying stuff new back then just was not an option, so he made what he needed from what he had. It may not have been neat and tidy, but it did the job. He built some amazing mini bikes, so when I started this bike I wanted it to be reliable, easy to maintain and with minimal cleaning. It does resemble something that you might find in a Pickers barn, which reflects all the things I love about our country, it’s history, the people and their ingenuity. Making the most of what you got even if it was covered in rust.”

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This bike is festooned with personal touches, which might not catch your eye first glance, but the more you pry and perve at the finer details the more you’ll find. Personal items from previous bikes and cars are jammed and hidden throughout, each serving it’s own purpose or telling it’s own story. “I had a hard time finding the fiddly choke knob that came stock on the bike, so I used my Grandfather’s trench art Spitfire plane.”

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An exhaust horn originally from the 1950’s sits upon the clutch that wolf whistles with each gear change, adding an audible element to the already visually enriched machine. “I bought that horn in Tasmania whilst filming Aussie Pickers. I took everything off the bike and replaced the essentials with the best quality custom made items I could afford. I then added a few tool bags and Bob’s your uncle!”

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One of the most striking things about this bike you’ll notice is its intense rusted paintwork. This was something Lucas’ picked up working in the art department and set building. Exterior black house paint was mixed in with ground cork and steel filings, then sprayed with copper sulfate and mother nature did the rest. “For me, this have bee a fun build. Constantly adding little touches to achieve a true aged patina.

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Bikes

Dave’s Triumph T120R Bobber

Dave started this build not wanting to go down the route of a traditional bobber, and any part that could fit on this bike was chucked on, but with intention. It’s an amalgamation of parts that form a one of a kind ride.

Bought as a roller, Dave got to work on this 1970 Triumph T120R Bonneville adding on whatever parts he could source for the bike – regardless of make or model. “That’s why the bike got a CBR rear mag – CR125 forks, and a Kawasaki tank just to mention a few. I basically bought every nut & bolt individually, which took hours of searching eBay for that perfect piece, like the Kawasaki Z1000 cable to hydraulic master cylinders to keep the bars clean.”

Dave’s build would slowly take on a unique look, as he incorporated both modern and traditional style to the aesthetic. A lot of hours went into fabricating parts and as Dave admits, more often than not some re-fabricating. “After 6 years it was finally on the road… 7km’s later I blew it up and the bike went in for another total engine rebuild. New crank and rods – by a professional this time (Paul Abdilla) and sure enough the bike was then (touch wood) back on the road a year later. I still had to work a few of the gremlins out, but she’s been a pleasure to ride ever since.”

“I love the oil tank on this bike, it’s an industrial inline water trap/filter turned upside down and gutted. I love the paintwork as well, my painter Joe Webb from Bad Image Painting had worked together on a ton of other bikes so I gave him a free pass to do whatever he wanted; I was shocked and amazed at how good the final product was!”

It’s not just bikes Dave works on, and one of the crowning features of this bike is the leather seat that Dave created himself. He’s been a trimmer since the age of 16, and in 2005 made the decision to branch out and focus on custom bikes – and so Bad Arse Trim Co. was created. “I’ve mainly been doing Harley seats over the years, but lately I’ve been enjoying doing cafe racers. I don’t really do other leather goods, but with my enjoyment of tooling leather have knocked up a couple of tool bags and Bell Moto 3 masks for open face helmets.”

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Bikes

The Triumph Of Heritage – Jordan’s TR6R Bobber

Three generations have sat their arses down on this Triumph TR6R, each making their own modifications over the decades. It’s a bike that has only gotten better with age, much like a fine wine – and it’s just as intoxicating.

Back in 1975, Jordan’s grandfather happened across a 1970 Triumph TR6R for the sum of $300 ($2,025 in today’s dollaridoos) in the country town of Inverell NSW, little did he know this would become a bike that would be passed down the generations. “My Dad then had the bike in Sydney while he was a young fella through the late 70’s, this is when most of the mods took place. There’s not much left on it that’s stock, as he blew a con rod out the side of the cases, replacing them with a set of ’68 tr6p cases.” When you’ve got a bike that’s been owned and modified by 3 generations, that’s a machine that’s going to be something special no matter how it looks or rides – though fortunately for us this one is bloody immaculate.

The bike has undergone a myriad of changes since it’s humble country town beginnings, but we’ll do our best to cover them without tumbling too far down the rabbit hole. At the rear end we’ve got an M&F choppers bolt on hard tail made and bought at their Bondi shop back in ’78. “The forks and front wheel were sourced off a Norton Commando and they have 2″ over stock length legs in them, they were 6″ over but in the last make over we chopped 4″ off them. The seat is Bates seat, typical of the ‘70’s chopper and bobber scene. The fuel tank is off a BSA Bantom and again in the last make over, the centre was chopped out, narrowed and welded back together. The oil tank is off a Pre-unit Triumph and mounted on the back of the down tube of the frame with custom brackets.”

Now to get to the engine, the heart of this ‘cycle has come a long way from the 650cc she started life with. “It now runs a Bonneville head (Twin carbi) and a Joe Hunt Magneto. We also added some Waggot Cams, which was an Australian automotive engineering company that gained fame for the engines they produced for motor sport applications from the 1950s through to the 1970’s. The exhaust was made by dad and then chromed. It now has a Sonny Routt 750cc Big bore kit – Sonny was a hell of a drag racer in the 70’s with Twin Triumphs!”

“Local Moree fabricators The Partridge Brothers made the solid steel manifolds, along with some other parts such as the chain guard etc. The paint was done by one of dad’s old mates, while my mate Mick and I finished it off by gold leafing the Triumph logo on the tank.  As it is now, I feel it’s a pretty good example of ‘70’s chopper nostalgia but in really good running order. It starts first kick and with the racing heritage of the engine components its a beauty to ride, especially having a hard tail and being so raw, you can feel all the characteristics of the machine and it responds to the riders inputs amazingly.”

It’s not just bikes that Jordan is giving a revival to, but also classic style moto wear and merch with Hunt and Co. After selling all his bikes (bar the Triumph) Jordan headed off to waffle about Europe for a year back in 2013 where he would go to as many motorcycle events as he could, from the Isle of Man TT to Sideburn’s Dirt Quake. After returning home, the need for speed machines was still in his veins.

“Between my brother and I, we have competed in MX Nationals, Aus Supercross championships, Finke Desert Race, been on Carey Harts’ Hart and Huntington freestyle tour and also raced in the USA. It kind of felt like that part of my life was pretty fur-filed, and I wanted to make something where I wasn’t spending all my spare change on. This is how Hunt & Co. was born. It was something I created to bring my mates together to help make some cool and creative content, hit up events and make some awesome gear with a laid back feel.”

Jordan’s intention with Hunt & Co.’s gear would be to bring a timeless aesthetic feel to motocross gear, which is represented in their awesome moto jerseys. “I also wanted to bring a more youthful feel to the road scene, I feel my mates and I are skilled and capable on the modern bikes but really dig the style of older stuff, more so the ‘60’s and ‘70’s eras.” Nostalgia and nods to the past are something that just about every apparel and bike brand are dipping their toes into these days, with varied and creative results. It’s a mixing pot of old with new, creating it’s own unique aesthetic.

“We want to push the brand further and we want to build more bikes with the balance of speed and style. The brand at this stage is growing organically, but as we get through some of the early adult things we’re told to knock over first we’ll be able to push Hunt & Co. harder and basically make awesome products and insanely cool project bikes! We’d also like to get more involved in events, and to open a flagship store is also a dream. The passion for motorcycles will always be there so even though we aren’t making huge leaps just yet, I can’t see Hunt and Co. dying off any time soon.

Photography by Zeb Chapman @zebchapman

Categories
Garage Sessions

The SS Garage

A chance encounter with a second hand leather jacket in Japan would be the catalyst for sparking inspiration and a new look at motorcycles for Tremayne, as he gradually steered away from crotch rockets to British café racers.

Tremayne today has come a long way from his first time riding solo on a bike, at the tender age of 6 back home in Western Australia. “I remember some kids a little older than I were riding little peewee’s in the bush near our homes so I’d tag along. Eventually one of them offered me a ride so I gave it a go. I sat on the bike, pulled the throttle back as far and quickly as I could and off went the bike!… about 5 metres down the dirt path. I, on the other hand, went about 2 metres to the left, into the bushes, crying. I’d grazed my leg or something, and so I ran back home a bit embarrassed and didn’t really look twice at bikes for a while.”

Fast forward some years and bikes were back on the menu, with less stacks and tears this time however. After expressing interest in road bikes, Tremayne’s best mate pushed him to get his licence. Once he successfully grabbed his learner licence, he bought a Kawasaki ZZR250 which he affectionately named ‘Duckie’, due to it being a ‘Kwaka’. “I did some decent riding on that thing, rain, hail or shine. I had an absolute ball riding that bike, it’s still one of the most fun bikes I’ve ridden, ringing that little 250cc’s tits off!”

More sports bikes would follow as Tremayne got more and more into riding, and bikes. It was a trip to Japan that would change things however, this was where he would begin to dive into the world of old-school cool and Steve McQueen. “There I was in a second hand clothing store in Hiroshima, Japan, looking at this second hand jacket. I picked it up, tried it on and thought it was the coolest jacket I’d ever seen. It was waxed cotton and it was different to every other jacket I’d seen or felt. I looked at the logo patch on the sleeve and it said ‘Belstaff’. Then I looked at the price and it was way over what I was willing to spend, but the name of the jacket and that style stuck with me and got some cogs turning in my head.”

The ingredients for Tremayne’s passion were slowly gathering, with ideas of old-school cool being planted and a whole new world of creativity about to open up. A trip to Japan had started all of this, and now a trip to England would cement it. “I hired a Bonneville from a bloke up in Carlisle, just south of Scottish border. This was my first Bonnie. I rented her for 7 days, and rode up the west coast to the Isle of Skye and back through the highlands to Edinburgh – eventually I made my way over to the Isle of Man for the TT. I flogged the crap out of that Bonneville, I did 4 solid laps around the TT course and loved every minute of it. My first lap was at 5am as soon as I hopped off the ferry, I had nowhere to sleep or stay so I figured I’d ride! I had the track completely to myself.”

It wasn’t until towards the end of 2014, just after Tremayne got married, that he had to sail away again for another long deployment in the Royal Australian Navy. He took a book with him to read during this time away, ‘The Classic Motorcycle by Universal Magazines’. It would be this book that introduced Tremayne to the history of nearly every bike manufacturer and the old-school classic bike. “It went on about cafe racers and how they came about and then BAM! that was it. I was hooked after that, and knew I wanted to be involved in that scene when I got back to Sydney. That’s when I came across SCR online and they accepted me with my Ventura-packed almost bog-stock 2003 Bonneville I had picked up a few years earlier. It must have been the exhaust wrap that got me in!”

After crashing this first Bonneville, Tremayne still had the bug for British bikes and got himself a 2006 model this time, dubbed ‘The Royal Mongrel’. This would be the bike he would customise, and shed off its stock skin. There would be one tricky bit however, where to do this work? He had no lock up garage, but he did have a parking spot in his apartment block, designated lot SS. This would be the birth of SS Garage. From here it would be learning day by day, from the tried and true Haynes manuals to the more modern and ever expanding wealth of information Google and Youtube. Tremayne’s history being an Electrical Technician in the Royal Australian Navy would provide him with the knowledge and experience to get a quick grasp of how things work.

“The SS Garage just came from the love of hands on work. I do it nearly every day in the Navy but more electrical side of things. I do like it tho when I start playing with grease and hand tools on some of my equipment, there’s a real sense of manliness about it. So it’s just transferred over into a hobby, putting my passion of fabricating and hands on work into motorbikes.”

Recently Tremayne and his mate picked up a Yamaha TRX850, which will be going under the café racer knife soon enough as it currently sits in SS Garage in pieces. “It’s about to get an R1 front end and tail put on. Both of my Bonnie’s are in the garage space as well, with my first one in pieces as I work on it for Aftershock 2016. The custom bug has bit me… hard. I just try and make do with what I’ve got around me.”

      

Categories
Bikes

Chris’ Triumph Thruxton

The 1960’s were a golden era for British race bikes, and Chris’ Triumph Thruxton is a sterling modern homage to these machines. What first started out as ordering a few pieces to personalise an otherwise stock bike turned into something much more, which is certainly something many can relate to.

Chris picked up this 2009 Triumph Thruxton back in 2011 from the original owner; having always had a soft spot for British bikes and cars the Thruxton would be his machine of choice. It was a bike that would give him enough performance straight out of the box, with plenty of room left for modification and creative changes. “The one thing I thanked the original owner of the bike for was that he’d ticked the ‘twin arrows exhaust’ box when he ordered the bike! Apart from that it was a completely stock bike.”

It wouldn’t take long for Chris to start ordering parts for his new bike, grabbing bits and pieces from various websites so he could add his own personal touch to the bike. It was from here that he came across the airbox removal kit, and soon his mind began to wander what else could be done to this bike? “There were a lot of guys on forums running wider rears, which I felt really improved the look of the bike so I shipped my rear wheel off to Excel to have a wider rim made with the existing hub and got to work removing that airbox.”

Beyond this work, Chris had yet to have any other plans for the bike. This was until a minor mishap would push the custom work on this machine even further. “I dropped the bike wheeling it around the garage, which damaged one of the exhausts, a bar end mirror and also scratched up a few other bits. I should have just replaced those parts, but for some reason I found myself on the Norman Hyde website and before I had time to think rationally I’d ordered a new tank, seat unit, bars and a race fairing which was all being shipped over from the UK!”

As the list of parts that Chris had bought to put onto the bike grew and grew, he soon realized this was outgrowing a bolt-on job, so he sought some help from Northside Motorcycles who had done service work on his bike before. “They were really excited by the project so I arranged for the Norman Hyde parts to be shipped directly to them so we could get started. A little into the job however I got a call from them telling me I’d bought the wrong tank! The one I’d purchased was for the carbi model whereas my bike was EFI. Shit! Shipping it back was going to cost me a bomb, though this wouldn’t matter as Norman Hyde didn’t make a tank for the EFI model anyway!”

With this dilemma looming over the bikes head Chris looked for an alternative tank for the bike, but came up dry. “I searched for a similar tank but the Norman Hyde one was very long, it was designed to push the seat unit further back and I just couldn’t find anything that would fit easily. So I was left with the option of finding a fabricator who was prepared to modify the base of the tank and then transfer my fuel pump from the stock tank to the Hyde. Fortunately someone referred me to Ben at Extreme Creations in Brookvale who was prepared to take it on and he did a brilliant job!”

Now the bike was taking shape, as all the parts had been sourced and the trial fit was a success. It would now be time to come up with a colour scheme. Collide A Scope over at Asquith provided the answer. Lawrence spent many hours with Chris discussing concepts before landing on the final scheme. “I liked the polish on the Hyde tank, but felt it was too much so we left it part painted, part plain. The final touch on the paintjob was the custom graphic. I wanted some link to the Thruxton’s UK heritage so we came up with the idea of combining the name with an outline of the actual Thruxton racetrack and a Union Jack to finish it off.”

After a 7 month build process the bike was ready for riding, and Chris was in love… but there was still one thing to be changed. “There was one thing that really bugged me. The Norman Hyde seat came with only a basic black vinyl cover and the tank had a plain black rubber strap. I felt the bike deserved something much better to finish it off so I found a real craftsman upholsterer, CCU at Moorebank and sure enough they got to work.

I couldn’t be happier with the final result. It rides brilliantly, sounds great and looks the business. It always draws a crowd when I pull up somewhere!”

After starting another project, Chris’ Triumph Thruxton is up for sale. – http://www.bikesales.com.au/private/SSE-AD-3793500/2009-Triumph-Thruxton

Modifications include:

Twin Arrow exhausts
Ikon rear shocks
Excel rear rim made with stock hub
Norman Hyde TX tank
Norman Hyde TX seat
Norman Hyde TX fairing
Clubman bars
D9 gauge bracket & mini tacho
Custom paint job featuring one-off Thruxton (UK) racetrack graphic
Custom leather seat with matching tank strap
Pazzo levers

 

Categories
Bikes

Moly B – Greg’s Triumph Bonneville

Greg’s brief was not unlike others when he paid 66 Motorcycles a visit. “Recapture the excitement of days gone by, when we had time to fang down some bush tracks after work on the road trail bike” The thrill of sliding the tail end out on some bends while making lots of dust was a sure way to leave behind the 9 to 5 grind. The final product would be the wily machine known as Moly B.

A bit of a late starter to motorcycles at the age of 25, Greg got stuck into dirt bikes along with his nephew who was 12 at the time. “I picked up a TS185 for him, and for me an XL500 which I named ‘Bastard’, as it was a complete bastard to ride; you had to hang on and go wherever it wanted.”

From here, after gaining his open class licence it was time for many and varied 2-wheeled machines. “It was then that I picked up my brother’s Z650, which was a great hill climb machine. I owned a few road bikes followed after that, but it was back to dirt bikes the age of 35, just after the birth of my Son. The theory being it was safer to be flying around in the Perth hills on pea gravel than it was on bitumen!”

Greg admits, if we were to list every bike that came and went in his life we’d be here for a while – and we’re sure none of you reading his have bathroom breaks that long. Greg had an itch that couldn’t be scratched, and while discussing ideas to customise a Thruxton with Pete Ellery from 66 Motorcycles and a few emails, Greg turned up at Pete’s doorstep the following week with a 2010 Triumph Bonneville T100.

“Greg had ended up selling his Thruxton and picked up a slightly shabby Bonneville to be turned into his nostalgic street tracker. Greg wanted a functional bike, which was low key and could blend into a crowd without saying “look at me!” That is until Moly B does catch your eye and you pick up on the subtle mods which make you appreciate that this is no ordinary road going Bonnie.” – Pete

“We started with shortening the rear subframe with a slightly kicked up loop and bobbed 6” guard. The seat, which is good for the occasional two up riding is made from hand formed ABS pan and diamond stitched by Beyond Trim. The original wheel package was showing its age, so the rims and hubs were powder coated in black and then relaced with stainless spokes. The Shinko 705 tyres give predictable grip on the bitumen and confidence when punting off-road. The chain and sprockets were also due so to complement the nostalgic look a BC retro sprocket was fitted.” – Pete

It’s definitely a machine that can happily roll through the streets and alleys of city life, before tearing off it’s mask and showing it’s grittier and dirtier side on the trails. Dubbed ‘The Molested Bonnie Tracker Project’ – or simply ‘Moly B’ for short… and the sake of political correctness. It’s namesake being inspired from a mate of Greg’s who commented, “Why would someone want to molest a perfectly good Bonnie?”

The inspiration and intention for this build would be a bike that is presented as something that is ridden and used, with a rider’s soul. This was an important aspect of the final build for Greg. “I wanted a bike that was made to ride and be presented in a classic street tracker style – it’s a bike that’s a perfect tourer, street bike and mountain goat. It handles well around the tight river run and hills roads, and it’s comfortable enough to spend the day riding either on or off road.”

“I love the bike at mid speeds around the Perth River and hills twisties, the exhaust note and power delivery in the mid range are a heap of fun. Although not something I do often enough the, off-road on the bike is great fun.

We visited one of my old dirt bike haunts with a mate and his Bonneville Scrambler crossover in tow, dropped the tyre pressures and got on it and had a ball.

I can see a XT or XL 500 project in the not to distant future!”

Photography by Ryan Kelly | www.RSKphotographyPerth.com | @RSKphotographyPerth

  

Categories
Garage Sessions

Whittaker Specials

Once again we find ourselves in our nations capital. Tucked away in a typical suburban street, in a typical suburban house, lives Simon and a shed full of awesome. Simon heads up Canberra Café Racers and builds his many bikes under the name Whittaker Specials. In Simon’s shed-come-workshop we found so many bikes we lost count.

Over the years Simon has built about 16 bikes. Even whilst selling some bikes to fund other bikes, his shed became the unofficial home of CCR currently holds 10 bikes plus another 2 waiting to be built. Simon advised us “I stick with the ’70s Hondas as they’re pretty easy to work on and easy to make into different styles. I try to make each one different from the last and I’ve built a few different styles already”. These themes have included a CB900 done as a Police bike, his army style CB450, and a TT Racer style CB350.

The latest build, done in time for the last Throttle Roll is “Diablo”, a ’76 CJ360 Brat with a skateboard rack and a matching custom made skateboard.

However, its not all old Hondas. There is also two modern Thruxtons each with their own subtle modifications.

Simon is the kind of bike builder that will try his hand at most things, but like any good builder he has network of mates to help make his ideas a reality. His mate Craig out at Queanbeyan runs a fabrication shop to help with the finer welding and other stuff that needs full-on engineering equipment. During a build Simon admits that Craig’s workshop becomes his second home when getting all the parts sorted.

Simon prefers the Café style, and excels at that style of creation/modification, however as he’s built a few now, it’s the finer personal touches he likes to see and create. He tells us what he appreciates the most is a well thought out, well detailed bike. A bike that shows that the owner is willing to have a go.

“In the Canberra Café Racers we have all sorts of skill levels but the most pleasing thing is the enthusiasm and people out riding on what they’ve built or modified themselves. We have plenty here at CCR that can help each other out with fabrication, paint, tuning, parts etc so ours is a small community, but after 2 years on we’re all making friends and getting into it!”

But Simon isn’t sitting still. Once he can sell of one of the Thruxtons, the Bobber CB450, and the GB400, he’ll be able to raise the cash to fund the next build. The next bike on the list is a little ’76 CB250. It will be a black-out Café Racer. There is also a rusted out CB350 he’s been slowly collecting parts for. This sounds like it will be pretty epic. “it’ll look almost standard except for the 19″ white walls, chopped guards, wild metalflake purple (but standard looking) paint and lots of chrome….

“Then I think I’ll have a rest”

We don’t believe him for a second.

Words by Jason Weber

    

Categories
Events

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Flight

Recently some distinguished gentlefolk, members of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and members of the Australian Defence Force were invited to take a flight in an RAAF C-130J Hercules courtesy of 37 Squadron. It was definitely a unique experience that none will forget any time soon.

The dapper ladies and gents from The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride met up early in the morning atop their steeds to make the ride out to RAAF Base Richmond. It was here they would meet with members of the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy that participated in Sydney’s DGR for an extraordinary flight.

After going through some flight information, everyone took his or her seats upon the aircraft. Some took airsickness pills, and the spew bag locations were shown around, though no one quite thought they’d be necessary all having flown and travelled before upon domestic aircraft. This would prove to certainly be no normal flight however, and the pilots weren’t there to make sure you have a comfortable flight, but to do some practice drops and show these folks a small taste of what the C-130 Hercules can do.

The flight took to Londonderry, where it deployed a cargo delivery system that simulated a humanitarian aid drop. The Hercules then took to the east, flying 250 feet about the Hawkesbury towards Barrenjoey where it climbed up to 1500 feet and continued down the coast. It was the perfect way to view all of Sydney’s famous beaches, and soon enough the aircraft was orbiting Sydney Harbour. The skyscrapers were dwarfed by the height the Hercules had climbed to as it circled the vibrant city.

Once everyone had their fill of Sydney Harbour, the plane dropped down to 500 feet and began heading south via Air Route Victor 1 (whatever that means) passing more iconic beaches, such as Bondi, Coogee and Cronulla before heading back inland to Lake Illawarra. From here some more fun was had, as the Hercules tore over Warragamba Dam and through the valley – all the while pulling some serious turns and giving the dapper passengers a reminder that their stomachs existed. Four of the passengers spewed, and understandably. Our own photographer was amongst these brave chunderers.

      

Categories
Garage Sessions

Nev’s Shed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

Categories
Garage Sessions

Wally’s British Bike Bunker

The Japanese concept Wabi-sabi is the acceptance of imperfection and the incomplete, and it’s with this same concept that Wally has his passion for old British bikes. “There is no consistency, each was different. Each has its own character.”

Wally got hooked on bikes at the age of 9, and their presence in his life has been pivotal ever since. My friend’s rode and everything we did revolved around them.” Bikes would have to take a break however after his son was born, “I decided to be safer and sensible. Hung up my leathers, sold off about 10 complete bikes, put what was left into storage.”

This hiatus would not be forever, as is the case with many riders that have done the same in the name of family. After moving back to Sydney from Canberra, Wally found himself a home with a suitable garage to get the fire roaring and feed his passion. “The Norton Fastback was resurrected first. Ii had not been running for more than 25 years – it has a lot of sentimental value.

Now I am putting the others back together, hopefully I will complete a few before buying any more. Either that or get a bigger garage.”

Wally has a passion for old bikes, and a passion for going fast on twisty roads. This ruled out a lot of bike brands and models, and despite owning some BMW’s and Jap bikes over the years it was the machines Made In England that fit into his life perfectly.

“To me, British bikes are the Wabi-sabi of motorbikes. Built on old lathes well worn out through the war years. There is no consistency, each was different. Each has its own character. No computer controlled accuracy here. Just a question of how sober the machinist was on the day. Then you add to that 40 or more years of history and each bike become an individual.

Aesthetically – old bikes are beautiful.  Nothing is hidden. You can see the engine. The engine is part of the look of the bike not something hidden behind pieces of plastic.”

What is your favourite tool in this garage?

“My Estwig hammer. My father was a cabinet maker/builder and he had one that he used his entire life. He was a brilliant craftsman and that hammer became a symbol of that skill to me. I bought my own not long after left home. To me it is a link to him, a symbol of making things by hand.

It is also a symbol of my belief that if I own something I should be able to fix it. My early career was in electronics, which is why you see tools like the oscilloscope in my garage. It’ll tell you 10x more information than any multimeter will. Electronics in bikes are about as simple as you can get. I have been designing a complete controller that will only use small push button handle bar switches to activate all the normal functions for a bike. Simplifying the wiring and make cabling any bike a breeze. Watch this space!”

How often do you find yourself in your garage?

“That varies a lot. I typically wander in there every weekend but the mileage may vary. Life outside the garage usually has priority these days.

I had a bike accident early this year and stuffed my back. After surgery I wasn’t able to do a lot physically. This kept me out of the garage for quite a while. Now that I am allowed back on the Norton I feel better, I feel revitalised. That, and along with my buying two more bikes in as many months leaving me with no space! Means I need to get cracking again.”

        

Categories
Bikes

Nev’s 1971 Triumph TR6R

Owning his bike since 1990, Nev wanted to transform it into his dream machine. After nearly two decades of stock life, it was time to flex his custom muscle and turn this machine into something new and exciting.

Drawn to motorbikes and riding back in 1972 “just because”, Nev grew up wanting a bobber or chopper. After buying a Triumph 1971 TR6R (with matching number engine and frame, mind you) these dreams would come true.

“I have owned this bike since 1990, it was stock until 2013. It was then that I decided to turn it into a bike that I always wanted to build as a kid back in the late 60’s early 70’s. The bike would be a cross between a chopper and bobber, but with all the go-fast parts of the time.  The mods are all from that era; finned covers, dry clutch, ADR magneto, a single seat and a hard tail. There’s also alloy barrels and a lot of internal engine work, lightened conical hubs, a Triumph 1936 oil filter – and of course the girder front end. There is a lot more mods but it’s fun checking out the photos to find them!”

The defining feature of this bike is surely the girder front end. It’s copper stands out like an industrial crown of glory. “I have always liked the look and functionality of girder front ends – I like the raw mechanical look of things. It’s a copy of a 1937 triumph 500 GP frontend. I got the idea when I was at John Scarri of Lytedrive Engineering’s place and he had one that was leaning up against a fence, just sitting there in the weather. He wouldn’t sell it to me but I did find out about the theory behind the engineering and geometry that goes into making a girder. Tapered tubes, both ends (if you look closely) cast fittings, even handmade wing nuts and spacers for the two clutch fittings on both sides at the top. Anyway, off we went and made one for my bike.”

“Until you get the chance to ride a decent size bike that has a girder fitted, you would not understand the positive feel and smooth ride they give. The fastest naked bike in Australia has a girder fitted to it for its stability and ease to make on the fly adjustments.”

“I really have to thank John Scarri of Lytedrive Engineering. He is the man behind a lot of the parts mentioned above. If he has not got it, he can make it – he is one amazing man.  John can build a triumph motor in less than a day – new crank, barrels, pistons, some head work (read: super-size kit) tuned and balanced and back in the frame and then test riding it down to the Chinese restaurant for dinner. I know that is true, because it was my bike!”

Having owned this bike for longer than some riders have been alive, there’s a definite bond between Nev and his machine. “To me, this bike is an old friend. I have owned it for more than 25 years – and even though I have tarted her up a bit, it’s still my old friend. It leaks oil, goes fast enough, and starts first kick always.

I’ve had my bike licence for years before I got my car licence. So riding is like breathing to me; it keeps me alive. Who the hell thinks of a reason for doing what you love doin’? You just do it!

What more could you ask for?”

       

 

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Garage Sessions

Jon’s Wiring Wonderland

Known amongst his mates as “the wiring guy”, Jon started his life of bikes buying old, broken down rides which he would then fix up and flip for a bit of extra coin. The more he worked on them, the more these machines grew on him.

Jon started out making custom car stereo installations for folks, which inevitably led to wrenching on old cars “Old Cortinas and 80’s Falcons mostly. When I found out how much easier it was to get an engine out of a bike, everything changed. You don’t need big cranes or heaps of room, and you can lift just about every part on your own. Compared to a car, you can put a bike engine on the bench, strip it down to replace or fix the broken stuff, and put it back in the bike, all without needing a crane.”

“I spent more time fixing and rebuilding bikes than actually riding back then. I never completed my licence so it lapsed until I bought a zzr250 from a mate in 2008 (which was one of the bikes that I had actually rebuilt), and that got me right back into it. I put another 60,000km on that little 250, then upgraded to a bigger Honda sports bike.”

“Because of the stereos, I had experience with wiring and electronics, and most of the old bikes just had burned out harnesses or busted charging systems which were all relatively easy to fix, and I had all the stuff at hand to do it.”

Jon’s current bike is a 2014 Triumph Bonneville t100, which is as black as the night is long. “I wanted something more reliable than the Honda, which was at about 100,000km and getting really tired. I also wanted something with spoked wheels, and good looks. I’ve always lusted after a triumph.

After a test ride I bought it straight away. The suspension was all replaced and tuned within about a month, then the exhaust. The lights and bars came after. There is so much potential with this bike, and I think it’s really starting to take shape!”

Spending as much time as he can in the garage space (Jon admits probably more than his wife would like) there’s always someone else’s bike in there next to his own, as his reputation for wiring has led him to fixing mates bikes.

Sitting ominously on a workbench is a giant hammer, with the word “reset” scrawled on it.

“I got it on my last trip to Asgard, they were having a sale on tools.

Sometimes you need a bigger hammer, and sometimes you need a bigger brain. Since I can’t make the second part happen, I made a bigger hammer. It’s good for convincing stuck parts to move, or driving posts, or seeing if people are worthy.”

And the favourite tool for this garage? Jon’s old Japanese pliers. “I’ve had them as long as I can remember, and they’ve outlasted every other tool I’ve ever had. There’s a nice long handle for leverage, and the action is really nice on them. The crimping tool is handy in a pinch too.