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Bikes Cafe Shit

Kent’s Yamaha TR1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Uncategorized

Troy’s 1975 Yamaha XS650 Bobber

Troy is a man never lost, because if you want to find him he’ll more than likely be in his garage working away on one ambitious project or another. One such creation is his refined 1975 Yamaha XS650 Bobber that’s even better when you find out it’s his first build.

Having grown up surrounded by choppers courtesy of Troy’s father and uncle, the seed for a custom cycle were sewn early. Once Troy and his mates tumbled down the rabbit hole of checking out a few chopper and bobber builds online it was decided that one needed to be created for himself.

 

So with the idea set, Troy set about trawling the depths of trademe for his blank canvas of a bike. “It was then that I came across this ’75 Yamaha XS650. It was up in the North Island of NZ and was stripped apart ready to be restored. This all worked quite well for me. So when it arrived I basically got the frame, put the motor and wheels on and scrapped the rest of parts.”

The foundation of the build was now set as the bare bones of this XS650 sat in the garage awaiting its newfound glory. “I was getting a lot of inspiration from the nice low stance builds by Angry Monkey Motorcycles. I got started by ordering a “Ardecore Choppers” hardtail kit from the States. This turned out to be the most frustrating part of the build as it took 4 months to arrive! The wait ended up being worth it however. It’s a really nicely made piece of kit, and was nice and easy to fit on.”

With the new hard tail kit now fixed up on the bike, Troy got stuck in to cutting up the stock frame before welding on a new tail. The rest of the bike could now start to be pieced together like the world’s greatest jigsaw puzzle. “This was my first time build a bike, so it was a big learning curve. By the time I had got towards the end of the build I wasn’t happy with the early work I had done on it, so many things were redone until I was satisfied.”

There’s a lot of beautiful things on this machine, and one that immediately stands out when you see it honing down on you in the street is the springer front end. “That’s definitely one of my favourite parts about the bike. A mate of mine designed it on cad for a Triumph he was building. We ended up test fitting it on my bike and sure enough I had to have one for myself. I had some of the parts cut out and built one for myself. It’s a pretty important part of the bike, so it’s pretty cool to make the whole thing from scratch. Finishing up something that both looks good and works well is pretty satisfying.”

Not to stop on outdoing himself in firsts for this bike, Troy’s next target was the paintwork. In classic Troy form he wouldn’t be enlisting the help of any professionals but instead would give it a crack himself. “Again this was my first time using anything like flakes/candys/lace etc so it was a bit of an experiment. I just wanted to give it a go, and it turned out exactly how I had hope.”

 

“The thing I love most about the bike is all the little hand made parts. I tried to make all the parts look interesting while still doing their job, and also blending into the bike. It’s such a fun bike to ride, it’s so long and low it just feels good and actually handles really well around the hills where I live.”

Categories
Bikes

Brendan’s 1972 Yamaha XS650

Whether it be foot-powered, or motorised, two wheels have been a life passion for Brendan. The hunt for the biggest engine size he could legally ride on his learner permit led him to one particular machine, a 1972 Yamaha XS650.

Despite having always liked motorbikes, it took a nudge in the form of a breakup to get Brendan to pull his thumb out and finally book his licence. Not to do things half-arsed, he got searching for one of the biggest capacity engines the law would allow his restricted licence to ride. It was in this search that the different custom builds and bikes styles began to show up as well.

Being smitten with the brat style of the builds coming out of Japan, the Yamaha XS650 would be the weapon of choice. “It just so happened that a mate who was into bikes told me of one that his old mate was selling. It fitted what I was after, and I went over and picked it up.”

The bike’s general feel and look was the same as you see it today upon Brendan picking it up, however it wasn’t in running condition and had a lot of elbow grease to be applied to get this thing brapping down the streets. “I took the bike to a workshop to get it running, but it was still always breaking down. No surprise that this began to really frustrate me, until one day I cracked it. I stripped the entire bike down and bought new parts. I slowly pieced it back together over a couple of years until it was complete.”

The bike would require some new carbs, fuel lines, throttle and cables, and a battery. Some Pamco bars added a rude bobber style to the bike while the seat was changed for something more simplistic. The tank and fender would be repainted black before the bike was sent off to Mick from Brookevale Repair Centre who would rewire the bike and tune it up so it would be ready for the road. “I was so fucking stoked with his work, he is a legend! Strongly recommended.”

What is left is what you see, nothing more. The short chopped exhaust belts out a fat, rude dirty sound that should get most people into custom machines excited, and upset most grumpy baby boomers. This simple terror is built to run a muck through the streets all the while paying respect to Brendan’s love of pushies – all he needs now are the foot pegs to ferry a mate on a fridge-to-fridge. “I love how raw the bike is, it’s small size reminds me of hanging around on the BMX. It performs well and is far more nimble than it looks.” 

 

Categories
Bikes

Minabear – 1983 Yamaha XS650

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos – Sam Bendall

Words – Pete Cagnacci

Categories
Bikes

Joseph’s ’78 Yamaha SR500

The Yamaha SR, a staple for home wrenchers throughout garages, living-rooms, and sheds across the country. This machine would be the foundation for Joseph, as he poured hours, dollars, and beers into a project that may never end.

Having caught the motorcycling affliction later in life (if you could call 24 “later”) Joseph got his first set of wheels, an SR400, and was instantly hooked. The single cylinder thumper that had grown to such infamous popularity had claimed another victim. On becoming more familiar with his machine, the realisation that customisation was not as far-fetched as he had initially thought prompted some devious thoughts for some more ambitious work.

The time was nigh for a complete custom build for himself. His first SR was now sold, with the funds going towards a stock machine to chop, change, and make his own. “The plan was to purchase a cheap SR500 which, after a service and clean, would be worth more than I paid. Why I thought this made no sense at all, as all I did with my previous SR was paint a few covers and fenders black.” The plan for a cheap SR500 was fulfilled, as a longstanding listing at a wrecker accepted the price that Joseph offered. The intentions to simply service and clean this machine were now thrown out the window, and the gremlins would show their faces.

The reality of this thrifty bike purchase now began to set in, as a complete engine rebuild was put at the top of the growing list of work to be done to get this bike going. “With my knowledge still limited on these bikes, and the only bike mechanic known to me being from where I purchased my first bike, I returned to him for some help. I picked up all the parts I needed for the engine rebuild and got researching for the next step.”

It would be a long awaited year for the rebuild to take place – so much for a quick fix and clean. “This has really become the overall story behind this bike. Nothing has ever been quick/cheap, but I haven’t been able to stop. Deus was definitely at fault for putting this idea in my head. I purchased a ton of bolt on bits & eventually finished. It looked like a simple typical Deus SR with my own colours, but with my obsession growing & constantly seeing what could be done, I was far from done.”

Back from the engine rebuild, this once dead stock, worse for wear machine was running once more. Now for the fun part – the chopping. Having poured through what must have seemed like hundreds of custom SR builds, in a huge array of styles, the plans for this build became grander. “Unfortunately I realised that everything I wanted to do to the bike needed to be made to measure and custom in every way. In addition to that, I was informed about power upgrades, which was something I just couldn’t Ignore. Did I need these upgrades? No. Did I want them? Yes. I sourced parts from all over the world, setting up a MyUS account so that nothing was out of reach. The funny thing is that the only thing currently on the bike now that was on the initial build (minus the engine) is the fibreglass JVB headlight. Every part chosen was to provide a look and overall performance and handling.”

The balance/battle between form and function was rife throughout the build. Parts to improve performance, while others to fit the goal aesthetic were applied and sacrificed along the way. “The look of the bike definitely took priority, as I know it’s only an SR and I’m not a track guy. From the GSXR front end, the mono shock, the CB250 gas tank for the perfect line, custom exhaust, Dellorto 40 Carb, everything came together to give me everything I wanted from the bike and much more.”

“The major hiccup with this bike was me constantly changing my mind. The bike has had 3 very similar looks, but it was always missing something. Not something to anyone else, but to me and how the bike should look. I would try to do as much as possible, minus any machining, engine work, and brakes. Other things I would try, I would usually fail or mess up & have to send it off to reset my mistake before trying again. After a while I realised that there was no time limit, and that things would be done in due time. In the 6yrs of owning this bike I would say its’ been ridable for 1 year, and that’s me being generous! I constantly get laughed at by friends with that piece of info. It’s now become a known thing that this bike will never really be finished.”

Categories
Garage Sessions

Keeley’s Chop Shed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Culture

One Sixty-Two – Stacey Heaney

Team Heaney is a real family affair, whether it be Stace and her racer/pit boss/wrench monkey father Des, or one of the many family friends/competitors that live trackside that may as well be part of the family when they stop by to talk shop about whichever bikes that are being raced that weekend. It’s full throttle forwards for Stace and the family behind her.

When you start riding motorcycles at the age of 5, and are surrounded by a racing family – it’s only a matter of time before you’re hitting the track. This was life for our hero of today, Stacey Heaney. Like most of us growing up, her father was a major influence in making sure her days were filled with machines that are primed for mischief. “Dad had a shed full of BSA’s, Triumphs and AJS’s. He made sure I had a proper background in bikes. This progressed to me racing classic motocross when I was 6, on an early Honda XR75. My Dad actually lied about my age as the only club around would only let you race when you were 12. The club president used to joke that I was the shortest 12 year old he’d ever met every time I signed on. I raced classic and modern motocross for about 19 years until I decided I wanted to give historic road racing a go. I was drawn to historic hill climbs at first, winning my first race on a Suzuki t250cc. People at that race said I really should give track a go as I was a natural on the tarmac, and so I did.”

The charm and character of classic bikes would be what Stace is most passionate about. The relationship between rider and machine, albeit at times turbulent, forges a unique bond. Racing these machines only furthers this. “There’s never a race where you’re not head down, bum up, working on your motorcycle. In order to win a race, you and your motorcycle have to get to the finish line. I enjoy the challenge.”

You’ll find Stace smashing the track on a couple of classic machines, namely a swift looking Yamaha XS650 which she rides on behalf of the XS Australia club. Everything that is tinkered with on this bike, worked on or fabricated is then put onto their website and newsletter for fellow XS riders and builders to learn from. Be it mistakes or strokes of genius.

“My favourite bikes to ride would have to be the 1960’s Triumph Metisse’s, or the 1958 Royal Enfield Bullet. There is something special about how the oldies ride, the sound and feel – there is no modern bike on the market quite like them. The oldies riding style is different to how you would ride a modern bike. You have to ride them like they’re going to church, but at the same time try to be fast with smooth corner momentum. Between gears, you have to be patient, take a breath and let them fall into gear. And the brakes… haha what brakes?! They either work for the first lap, or don’t pull up well at all. You won’t get that kind of challenge on an R1.”

Stacey competes in International and Australia title level events across the country for both road and dirt. Some of her impressive results include –

2017 International Island Classic; 1st overall 125cc class; 1st in points for overall 125 classes;

  • 10th place Phil Irving Trophy (Overall points for event)

2017 “Barry sheene’ international festival

  • Lap record p4 125cc
  • 2nd p4 125 cc

2016 Historic Winton _

  • First female to win the Ken Lucas memorial 2016 Winton
  • 1st place P3 Unlimited 700cc
  • 1st place 125cc class
  • 2nd place P4 unlimited class 650cc
  • 3rd place sidecars 3rd place

2016 International Island Classic

  • 1st overall 125cc class

2015 Wings and Wheels Sprints

  • 1st outright all classes

2015 Historic Winton

  • 1st all-female classic sidecar team

2015 Classic Scramble

  • Outright Winner Pre 65 unlimited class

2015 VCMR invitational

1st pre 65 unlimited feature classes

2014 Mt Tarrengower Hill Climb

  • First female to win event in 114 years of running
  • First motorcycle to win outright out of motorcycles and cars

2014 Australian Classic Motocross Titles:

-1st best of british

-3rd pre 65 unlimited cc

2nd women’s open (riding a pre-60 with pre 80 motorcycles)

Speaking with Cailin from Stacey’s pit crew gave us a unique insight into the discipline and passion that fuels Stacey to take out the growing list of titles. “Having only been with Stace at races for the last year or so, I can tell you that the way she approaches races has ramped up in it’s intensity. From researching the track, to physically preparing herself with a gruelling workout regimen, along with her own personalised practice days at the family property.  She’s often talking with other great riders as well as studying the techniques of the professionals whenever she can. This is what has helped Stace step up her level of racing with sights set on International races in the not so distant future.”

“Probably the 2 stories that stand out for me most in the last year for watching Stace race come from the International Festival of Speed this year where she was able to head interstate to a track she had never raced on before and in less than 24 hours of racing at the track she was able to beat the previously held lap record for P4 125cc class by more than 6 seconds. Really spoke measures towards her ability to focus on every curve and bump on the track and work her way into the ideal racing line – and it isn’t the first time I’ve seen her do that! I have to say my favourite racing memory though was after the racing had finished up at the Island Classic earlier this year, during the presentation ceremony they were announcing the front runners for the Phil Irving Trophy  (award for most overall points for the event) and as the presenter reads the first name, 10th place overall in points for the weekend, Stacey Heaney. It was in that moment I saw Stacey’s face go through a few emotions, firstly shock at being named along with some of the greatest of the classic motorcycle racing both in Australia and Internationally, elation due to the recognition of a hard fought event at one of the most challenging tracks Australia has to offer and then finally determination to take that moment and make sure that moving forward her name was going to become a permanent fixture amongst those named in that ceremony.”

Try and be as humble as she can, when your own crew can easily see and recognise your drive and your love for the sport it truly speaks a lot about your ability – on and off the track. It’s hard to imagine Stacey doing anything else but ride and race

“Racing is my life. I tried call sports, and was terrible at them! I have built a family of fellow racers which I can’t wait to see on the weekends, and I think about bikes 24 hours a day. Working as a paramedic, my go-workers often think I’m nuts as we often attend to the fallen fellow rider, but the thrill and joy that racing gives me outweighs the risks and the fears. I still get the jitters and the nerves like the first time I lined up on the race track. I think that is what drives me to keep going. I remember my first race thinking “I have no idea how to do this, I’ll just give it my best!” and I still think that every time I’m out on the track. I suppose we never stop learning.”

Stacey’s father Des, who also has taken on the roll of crew chief/biggest sponsor, makes sure the bikes Stacey rides are in good condition and running fine. With Des owning most of the bikes, he knows them like the back of his hand. “When Stace started racing she was a very cautious rider but consistent – she was determined to finish no matter what. I see that in her today, her bike could be falling apart from underneath her, but she’ll find a way to get to the finish line which in classic racing is a major thing. My favourite memory was from the 2016 Historic in Goulburn. The heavens opened up and it was bucketing down, half the riders pulled the pin on the spot because it was like a typhoon – but not Stacey. She jumped on the bike without hesitation and lapped the field. At the end of the race all she said was “Well I’m not here to play in the pits am I?!”

Des’ stories of Stacey’s racing career is absolutely bursting with pride, and for a good reason. Sharing the passion for racing between father and daughter is a remarkably unique and special relationship. It might very well be part of the key to Stacey’s success – taking out wins so that Dad has plenty of great stories to tell at the pub for all to hear. “Another great memory of Stacey racing is the day she became the first Queen of the Mountain in 2014. Mt Tarrengower is a Hillclimb in Maldon Victoria on a 1972 Honda 750 Four. It had been won 13 years in a row by Mick Panayi with Stacey coming in a close second for 3 years running. With bald tyres that fellow competitors stated “should be wrapped around a lemon tree” and determination in her eyes, Stace took off on a blistering lap climbing the winging cliff roads of the mountain to claim the title. She became the first female to win the event in it’s 114 years of running – beating cars, bikes, and sidecars.”

“A great memory was when Stace was racing classic motocross. Stace often races 3-4 bikes a day so spends the whole day with a helmet on. A fellow club member saw Stace doing well on her 250 and asked me “Hey Des, your son Steve is doing all right, would he like to have a go on my triumph?” I just had a laugh and said sure Steve will give it a go. I pushed the bike over to Stace and said go out ride this bike and tell the owner how it goes. She went out and won the class by half a lap. When she pulled in and took the helmet off poor Phil nearly had a heart attack when he realised he just gave his bike to a girl not a guy. That was 5 years ago now, and to this day he still gets Stace to race his Triumph and swears she is his best team rider – even if she is a Stacey not a Steve.”

For Stacey’s daily rider, she’s got a ’98 Suzuki GSXR600, along with a KTM 350exc for going bushbashing. “I find that enduro riding is a fantastic way to improve key skills for the race track, such as fitness, throttle control, braking and terrain selection. Before every major race (both road and dirt) I’ll go out bush to prepare.”

“The future for me now is to go international. I hope to go to major classic events such as goodwood festival, and the classic TT. Australia is yet to be represented by a classic female racer over there, and I hope I can be the one for the job. Until then, you’ll find me on the grid at all the International Australian events, and all the classic events in Victoria.

  

Categories
Bikes

Middleweight – Yamaha XSR700

Since the debut of the XSR range in 2016, these new machines with heritage stylings have been a booming success. Straight off the bat, they look good, and kick out a great amount of power for your riding pleasure. Chuck the bike into the ring with the likes of Gasoline Motor Co. however, and an aggressive custom machine will be what rides out.

Let’s go back to Christmas Eve 2016: A brand new, stock XSR700 was delivered to the Gasoline workshop by a local Yamaha dealer.  The boys at Gasoline had been tossing up ideas with the bike’s new owner, Rich.  A solid plan was hatched to transform this stock standard bike to a minimalistic, clean future-tech motorcycle – while paying tribute to the iconic Yamaha XS650 which the XSR series plays homage.

A deep 68NM of torque and a 55KW super agile 655cc inline twin engine delivers outstanding acceleration and great traction. This and the lightweight chassis is ideal for agility and performance. This has been a shining characteristic the XSR bikes, the nimble light feel that allows complete dominating control paired with an excellent dose of power. The XSR700 is a learner approved machine, yet upon riding it there is very little that feels restricted.

A complete keyless start M Lock system by Motor Gadget was cleverly incorporated into this build, amplifying the trim, futuristic aesthetic the street-basher was striving for.  On just about every custom motorcycle that rolls out of their workshop, Gasoline Motor Co. pushes apply cutting-edge tech accessories to help bolster the tried and true amalgamation of heritage with the contemporary – these intricate details enhance for a better rider experience.

A super tight, tidy, perforated Porsche black leather was pulled tightly over a hand-shaped hi-density foam to create the custom seat. Tailored to Rich’s height, the custom upholstered seat is finished with a neat tuck ‘n’ roll double stitch.

Tail modification involved extensive strip back and reinventing a new subframe, surrounding the mono shock system. For an iconic, futuristic rear end, a swaged steel hoop accommodates the LED brake light and tail lights to ensure visibility, still keeping it road-worthy.

A one off 3D CNC’d redesign top triple clamp was created to house the Moto Gadget Mini speedometer, losing the key ignition housing in the process. This promoted the minimalistic, techy feel and kept the bike super clean.

The rubber of choice would be the Ducati Scrambler’s signature Pirelli MT60 rubbers – practical for urban riding and promoting a more of an aggressive look as far as aesthetics were concerned. A Rizoma exhaust was added, satin blacked out for a stealth vibe, theItalian company played their part in keeping the look of the machine sleek, aggressive, and modern.

After a structured 3 month build process, the handover of the bike to it’s owner Rich would coincide with the dusky photoshoot we Throttle Roll and Gasoline had planned together. Watching a grown man lose their shit at the first site of this completed machine was a site to behold. Much like a kid receiving an N64 for Christmas, Rich couldn’t believe his eyes. And for a good reason, Gasoline nailed the brief with this build.

The Yamaha XSR debut involved tearing it up through an empty carpark, a few cheeky wheelies whilst ripping into some full throttle action – The boys riding proved that this LAMS-approved motorcycle can suit both new and more experienced riders, if you know how. The exhaust tone was not subtle – it echoed and screeched through 6 levels of carpark.

A big shoutout to the carpark security for photographing our number plates and advising us they have called the boys in blue  – we briskly picked up all the camera gear and did the bolt from the car park.

You can check out this machine in the flesh at the Throttle Roll Street Party this weekend! 

 

 

Categories
Culture

10,000kms With An SR400

5 weeks on, and 5 weeks off. That’s 5 weeks working on boats out at sea, and 5 weeks to do whatever you wanted once home. This was work and play for Rory, and for those 5 weeks play he decided to make good use of the time he had. When you mention riding from Sydney to Perth, you’ll no doubt instantly think of more Adventure or Touring styled machines, with panniers and plenty of luxuries. Not for Rory – his trusty 1988 Yamaha SR400 would be his adventure machine. Some say his bones are still vibrating to this day.

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Long before he was belting across the Australian outback on a single cylinder café racer, Rory was first experiencing motorcycling as a young fella sitting on his Dad’s old race bikes. “Dad used to do the Irish Road Race Circuit back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. He always loved bikes, but when we moved to Australia he was more into surfing and hanging around the beach. A bit later on Dad would get back into bikes when he bought an MV Augusta, and a few of my mates started buying bikes so that was all I needed to get back into riding for myself as an adult.”

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Now a seasoned rider loving life on two-wheels, Rory and his brother had just finished a ride from Sydney to Byron Bay. This kicked some inspiration into Rory’s mind as he enjoyed his well-earned time off from working on boats out at seas for weeks on end. “I always wanted to do a long ride, and so I did a short blast up the coast to sort out any gremlins in the bike. The SR400 handled well, except for a chain guard breaking (who needs one anyway!)” An idea now kicked up – why not ride from Sydney to Perth on this reliable SR400? He had the time off work, and could say, “I love you” to a certain girl in person. Without much more though, Rory had a brief look at a map online, packed some socks and undies, tools, a spare clutch cable and off he went – to ride across Australia.

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This kind of trip is a dream for many riders. It no doubt has either been done, or is floating about in the heads of many that fantasise of a spur of the moment adventure, taking barely what was required. This care-free take on a great adventure is not doubt itching many from their desks right now. Why on the the SR400? “Well, it’s my only bike! I thought it would be part of the adventure, a test for myself and the machine. Every bike I saw along the way was a tourer with panniers, trailers, comms etc. I thought “What’s the point? They might as well be doing it in a Range Rover!” My brother had a good laugh when I left on the trip, as our bikes could barely make it out of the city without something going wrong back in the day.”

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And so, after some digilent preparation in the form just tightening every nut and bolt and performing an oil change, Rory began thumping off across Australia. “The ride from Sydney to Perth was a dream – apart from the heat in outback NSW and coming into Perth. I had a minor issue with my tail light which was easy to fix, but the ride there was great!” Riding back to Sydney from Perth would be a different story, however.

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“The ride back was different, as I was pushing to make it home. Instead of sitting on 100kph as I did on the way over, I sat on 120kph which is where it all went pear shaped for my 28 year old Yamaha SR400. First, I lost my entire tail light and number plate assembly somewhere between Ceduna and Kimba. I made it into Port August just as it was getting dark, and got up early before dawn the next morning and hightailed it out of there as Port Augusta was the only palce I saw a cop on the whole trip on the way over. I stopped for a ciggy and could smell petrol, I then realised my fuel line was split. I knew there was a mechanic in Peterborough, so I gunned it through the Flinders Ranges with fuel pissing all over my leg. I made it, got the fuel line fixed and was on my way.”

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“I had stopped in Broken Hill, and made up a shitty number plate out of cardboard. I figured I’d stay the night before the final leg back to Sydney. 63kms out of Cobar, my left food slipped off the peg. I looked down only to see everything covered in oil. I thought “Well, that’s the end of the trip for me” I thought the engine had let go. I pulled over, but with no phone reception to call motorcycle alliance. So I sat on the side of the road, waiting for someone to drive past. To my luck an hour later a ute pulled up with 2 young ladies in it who gave me a lift to Cobar, where I organised to get my bike towed into town. I got the oil-covered machine to the mechanics and started pulling it apart. I realised the leak was coming from a tiny hairline crack in the frame (oil in frame bike). “

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“I had to wait until the next day to get the crack welded up, so the boys at the mechanics invited me out for a beer. After some beers, I was suddenly there in a ute full of pig dogs, beer, whiskey and a massive spotlight on the hunt for pigs out in the middle of bloody nowhere. We couldn’t find any pigs, so we stopped by the Tilpa Pub for a few beers… where we found that the local sheep shearers didn’t take too kindly to us hunting on their land. The next day the crack in the bike was fixed and I powered on home to Sydney, a broken but incredibly happy man.”

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“It was incredible just seeing how vast this massive continent really is, the way the scenery changes every few 100kms out on the Nullarbor is insane. The wildlife is equally as impressive, I think Australia has more feral goats than any other animal, I saw thousands of them! I rode past a wreck from the night before and it was a camel that hit a 4WD; absolute carnage. I would highly recommend to anyone that’s considering it to just do it, get on your bike and just ride and enjoy the adventure. If I were to do it again, I’d maybe take my time and go with another rider as it can get very boring, but I wanted to push myself mentally and physically. 1000kms a day for 4 days in a row in 30+ heat and on an SR is not the most comfortable experience, but an experience all the same.”

And the girl Rory had ridden thousands of kilometres to say “I love you” to? Well, turns out he didn’t tell her. Rumour has it that he has whispered it to his SR400 on a few occasions however…

To have your own adventure simply pull your thumb out, jump on your bike, and get riding. Go on, do it.

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Categories
Culture Reviews

Segura Veloce Jacket

We’ve taken one of the very appealing Segura Veloca Jacket’s out for a 6-month field test and review. It looks good, that much is certain – but does it hold up to the test?

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The French motorcycle accessory label Segura first hit Australian shores in late 2015, and so are still a fresh face for Aussie motorcyclists looking for some good quality, and good looking protective gear. Form and function is something that plays high on the list of many apparel manufacturers, as they strive to create something that both looks good, and protects the rider. It’s a tricky balance, with many accessories leaning further towards one side than the other.

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The Veloce Jacket definitely ticks off the looking good part of its package. With very sturdy leather sleeves that only get better with age, they take on their own character whilst still providing the excellent protection that leather hide is so famous for. Chucking a denim vest over one’s leathers is all too common, particularly in the urban custom motorcycle scene. This jacket eliminates the middleman and comes with a waterproof, high quality denim vest permanently affixed to the jacket. Leather and denim – there’s no better marriage in clothing.

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For those colder rides and winter times, a removable hoodie is also a feature of this jacket. The black Segura hoodie simple clips into the cuff of the leather sleeves, and zips up into the denim jacket to become a single unit. Once the weather warms up, or your wanting to simply wear the hoodie by itself you can remove it in two shakes of a lambs tail.

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As far as protection is concerned (and most are generally concerned about this) The Veloce jacket holds up to many other sturdy protective riding jackets. The leather is top quality, with elbow and shoulder armour to help protect against any impacts. A separate back protector accessory is available for a very humble price, which is highly recommended to be added should you grab this jacket.

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The Segura Veloce has been worn by our team throughout the Australian Winter (Which does get cold, we swear!) and now Summer. The hoodie is an excellent addition and keeps the body warmth on the rider, cutting any chills or wind out. Once removed, the jacket breathes a lot more and is still very comfortable to be used in the Summer time.

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Segura Veloce features

Personal Protection Equipment EC
Leather sleeves with a waterproof denim vest
Shoulder and elbow armour
Removable hoodie lining which can be work separately
Plenty of inside pockets
Option CE back protector available separately (a must to add)

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Conclusion: This jacket ticks a lot of boxes. It looks great, is very comfortable to wear, and most importantly is protective. You’re looking at around $700 AUD for this badboy, and so is in the range of your higher-end motorcycle jackets. The removable hoodie is a fantastic addition. The denim vest feels very sturdy – however it’s durability compared to it’s tougher Kevlar cousins is yet to be tested.

To find out more or grab a jacket for yourself, check out www.ficeda.com.au

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Categories
Bikes

It’s Good To Be A Kid Again – Simon’s Yamaha TZ350

As the famous quote from the Vietnam War film ‘Apocalypse Now’ goes, “I love the smell of two stroke in the morning” – although it’s been a while since we’ve seen the film and maybe we’re remembering it wrong. Regardless, in a puff of excitement inducing smoke and smell, Simon’s Yamaha TZ350 ring-a-ding dings through the streets belting out jealousy to all who see it.

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This 1985(ish) hybrid machine dubbed ‘The Unicorn’ is, as Simon puts it, “basically a TZ race bike with a Suzuki RGV front and rear, and a Yamaha RZ350 engine.” Originally built for the track, Simon found the potential (no doubt aided through many beers) for the bike to be a one-off road machine that would bring a bit of ‘80’s racing flare to the streets. The Marlboro design emblazoned on the fairing being a smoky reminder of more liberal times.

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Although the bike was originally at home in Adelaide, Simon had it sent off to be given some attention from Darren Millichamp at DnA armed with plenty of parts from the original seller. The noisy, Smokey road machine would now begin to take on its new form. “I didn’t plan on the bike being ‘sporty’ but it seems none of the bikes I own resemble comfort. The hard tail Bonneville bobber I have can turn kidneys into mush if you miss seeing a pothole at speed, and the RGV has serious ‘numb arse’ issues on a long ride – but the TZ is a new kind of torture.”

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It’s with a gentle sheepish nature that our tall English ex-pat explains the “quirks” of The Unicorn “One’s particulars are crushed up against the tank, I can’t tuck my knees in behind the fairing and the kickstarter provides a constant bruise. The seat is an inch of black humour and the riding position makes my wrists ache long after the bike is in the shed and the keys are on the table. That said; I wouldn’t swap it for a HD lounge-chair-on-wheels or any modern alternative.”

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“I’m no mechanic. My passion is riding, but I have a strong stylistic requirement to my bikes. They have to be unique and this one certainly ticks the right boxes. I get a lot of attention from other road users. There’s quite often someone standing next to it when I come out of the servo with questions or memories of their own to share. What makes it special and what makes me happy is to occasionally look sideways at the reflection in a shop window.

I can’t see the smile but the view flashing back to me is fuckin’ ace.”

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Long before Simon was nosily exploring the roads and backends of Sydney, he was doing exactly the same back home in Mother England. Living on a farm as a kid would provide ample space to tear about on motorcycles, offering freedom to explore the landscape as well as double as a cheap mode of transport. “The livery of my childhood was the red and white of Yamaha and Marlboro, the smell was Castrol R30 and the noise was most definitely that of a two stroke. Skip 40 years and once the garage door rolls up all that enthusiasm rushes back. The same thrills, the same emotional attachments of colour, smell and sound.

It’s good to be a kid again.”

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Categories
Bikes

The Zetland Zooter – Curly’s Yamaha TT500

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories
Garage Sessions

Harley’s Holdup

Immediately upon entering Harley’s garage, you’ll notice the wall of trophies. “That’s just the ones I like, the rest are in boxes somewhere”. Harley not only makes great bikes – but he can truly wring their necks and knows how to push these machines to their limits.

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You’ll no doubt remember Harley and his XJR1300 Fat Tracker from months past – well the bike received a few changes in that time. This muscle racer now sports a Kenny Roberts inspired tank, new seat and a few other bits and pieces. Behind this bike however, none too conspicuously sits a red 1968 Chevrolet C10 that Harley is currently working on painting. “I picked up the Chev about two and a half years ago from a guy up in Hornsby. First time I looked at it, I was amazed at how good the body was, but mechanically speaking it was all wrong for me – so I left it. It’s not that the truck was a piece of shit; on the contrary, it had a big block that was worked off it’s face, and set up like a mean burnout/drag truck – but it would be no good to me as a daily driver/bike hauler.”

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It wouldn’t be the last time Harley would see this truck of course, as the more he shopped around at other vehicles the more he thought about this ’68 Chev. “So after another month or two of shopping around, and being continually disappointed with the crap I saw, I called the owner back, negotiated the price down, and brought it home. The engine, gearbox, wheels, suspension and brakes were all ripped straight out and sold off on eBay; and I got good money for it all. I then was able to buy the engine, gearbox, and all the other bits that I wanted in it to make it a solid, reliable and comfy daily hack. This was now a truck that that looked, drove and sat the way I wanted it to. After a few months work I ended up with the perfect truck for me – and with a bit of cash left over!

At the moment, I’m doing a small rust repair around the rear screen, so I need to repaint the roof, and I’ve got the front clip off it, to give it a bit of a facelift, repainting it white to match the original paint scheme it left the factory with 48 years ago.”

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And now to go back to the ridiculous collection of trophies we mentioned earlier. Starting in 2000, Harley won his first trophy as a D grader in late 2001. “ I only keep out the good trophies, the ones that mean something to me. They might remind me of a great weekend, or a win that I never thought I could get. The class I was in back then was huge and fiercely competitive, so I learned racecraft the hard way. I got my start in racing from working at RB Racing. We had a Honda CB 400 lying around doing nothing, so we set it up as a race bike. As a mechanic, we thought I could learn more, and relate to customers better if I was out on the track as well, to get a better feel of what they needed. I never expected to go well, let alone become an A grader, I just wanted to be a better race engineer.  As it turns out, the two skills feed off each other, the more you learn as a technician, the more faith you have in your machine to ride it well, and the better you ride, the more feel you have to set up a bike.”

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Despite his passion and skill with motorcycles both on the track and in the workshop, Harley is able to separate the more “worky” side of his life and add some variety into his home space by concentrating more on paintwork. When his bikes need work, he can easily access the tools and things he needs in the workshop at RB Racing. At home however, it’s more about the cars and trucks. “I used to build heaps of model cars and bikes when I was young, and wanted to be a spray painter. I ended up as a mechanic, but have always had the passion for paint as well. I started out painting my race bike, ‘cause lets face it – it gets crashed a few times a year, so this would be a good way to save money.”

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Like most things, the more Harley practiced the paintwork, the better he got at it. Soon he’d be painting for other racers while also adding his work to motorcycle tanks and custom builds. “The stuff I get to do is way more interesting on a custom, and the results are appreciated much more than on a race bike that the owner knows he’s going to drill into the bitumen sooner or later.”

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Sitting still is not in Harley’s repertoire, so you’ll often find him in his garage either completing a project – or creating a new one. “Having an old truck, there’s always something that needs to be done. Whether it’s maintenance or an improvement. They XJR is on its third makeover in two years, so you get the idea.”

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“At the moment, I actually don’t have any projects in the pipeline. The truck is finished – for the most part – although there’s always the lingering idea that I’ll fit an LS injected Chev V8 to it one day, and I want to get in and do something cool with the interior. The XJR is fine as well, until I decide that it’s not, then it’s another redo, or maybe move it on for another build, but we’ll see how that goes. I really do love riding it, so its replacement would have to be something special.”

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The Chevy and the XJR aren’t the only beasts that dwell in this domain. Diesel the Malamute saunters about the place while Harley works away, making sure everything is in order. “Diesel came into our lives in April last year. Rescue animals have always been our thing in my family, we also have two rescue cats, and a mini fox terrier. We got him from a shelter after we found out he had been homeless for almost a year. He’s an older dog, he just turned 11, and they don’t get saved very often, but when we met him, he seemed cool, and he’s full of energy. When we got him home he took a while before he would trust anyone, he busted out and ran a few times. Now he’s settled in and seems to love it here, but he’s a cheeky bastard. He steals food, and toilet paper rolls for some reason, howls every time he hears a siren or an alarm, and is fairly disobedient, even thought he’s really intelligent. He’s great fun to take out in the truck. He rides in the front with me, and loves getting his head out the window, so you can imagine how that looks to other drivers, considering most of them don’t realise it’s left hand drive, and his big head is hanging out what looks like the drivers window.”

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Categories
Bikes

Ace – Adriano’s ’82 XV1000 Café Racer

There’s no mistaking the V-Twin sound that thunders out from this machine, though this XV1000 is a far stretch from its stock cruiser beginnings as it’s shed its skin for a much more nimble and refined look.

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After 14 years of riding a wide variety of bikes, Adriano was on the look for a machine that filled the café racer aesthetic while mixing in a bit more muscle and a tougher look. After coming across Greg Hageman’s Yamaha XV builds, he knew exactly what he needed to do. “As soon as I saw one of Greg’s XV750 builds I knew I wanted that bike! I started to research everywhere on what went on with the build, and learned as much as I could about the XV series of bikes. Yamaha brought out the XV’s with a single mono shock between 1980-1983, so getting a blank canvas between these 3 years was a mission in itself – but persistence was key.” And the persistence paid off, coming across a stock 1982 XV1000 that would provide the basis for this build, with a bit more grunt than the 750cc model.

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Enlisting the help of Dave Marik from Archer Motorcycles (Now the site of Sol Invictus) the work on this cruiser turn café racer would begin. “A lot of late nights, plenty of beers, and a ton of rock music went into creating this machine. Dave really poured a lot of heart, soul, and hard work into the bike, and the results are a testament to his work. Every single nut, bolt and piece was stripped back to bare metal. I’m Italian, and I’d compare this to building the Colosseum – a work of art! Rome wasn’t built in a day, that’s for sure. The whole frame was sand blasted and powder coated. Every single part of the engine was pulled apart and the external parts were ceramic coated.”

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To make this bike perform as good as it would look, it was given an injection of quality parts across the board. The front end of a Yamaha R6 was transplanted onto the XV, along with an R6 rear shock. Some finer touches were added with a pair of Tarozzi rear sets, Tomaseli clip-ons and an Acewell speedo. The copper burnt orange tank is off a 1965 Benelli, an addition that is being seen on XV’s across the globe – and for obvious reasons as it compliments the V-Twin café racer look perfectly.

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“The carbies have been tuned to the sound of Mikuni. Please note. they are not for aircraft use*. The iconic Yamaha tuning fork badges were moulded and cast out of raw aluminium by Andrew Simpson, who has been creating bespoke parts for many custom builds. At the end of it all, a lot of arguments were had and stronger relationships were built within the workshop. Nothing a beer or two wouldn’t fix!”

*Hmm sound familiar?

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Was this a tricky build however? Or; trickier than most? “100% it was tricky! I carry an allan key and a screw driver with me at all times, I can tell you that much. This machine should have been in the video clip for Run DMC’s ‘It’s Tricky’. The whole frame acts as the airbox for this bike. Once we sand blasted and powder coated the frame, we didn’t know until the very end but the frame was filled with little particles of excess sand. Once the bike got going that sand ended up in the carbs. The carbs ended up getting stuck together and the pistons weren’t quite working as they too had gotten sand in them scarring the barrels and causing them to scratch. Oil then got stuck in the exhaust as the pistons weren’t working which resulted in a whole heap of smoke as the oil was burning. It was a domino effect, a massive headache and a need to go back to the drawing board. The solution? We put air filters directly on to the Mikuni carbs, bypassing the frame as an airbox. Thanks to ‘Unlimited Head Jobs’, we bored out the barrels enabling us to put slightly bigger pistons. Bigger pistons= More power. We now have a sex machine that is the star whilst riding amongst the latest builds and bikes on the road”.

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Categories
Bikes

Kal & Tav’s Yamaha SR400 Sidecar

After Kal joined the motorcycling world and started riding more and more, he soon noticed one problem; his faithful four-legged friend, Tav, was missing out on his adventures on these two-wheeled contraptions. The solution? Add an extra wheel and a sidecar – and Kal soon found the process to do this would be an adventure in itself.

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You may recognise Kal  and Tav from when we visited their abode earlier – well now they’re back and they’ve taken us along for a ride to have a small look at the adventures that this pair go on together. Kal is the kind of spirit to always want to go on adventures and explore, and so getting himself a motorcycle only enriched this part of him life as he began to take all those experiences to another level.

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His machine of choice for adventuring about would be a 2001 Yamaha SR400, named ‘PJ’ or as Kal most commonly refers to as ‘The Massive Jerk!’ “I’ve had the bike for just over two years, it was a present to myself after passing my P’s test – although the bike and I didn’t get off to the best start. One of the first times I rode the bike, I broke some ribs trying to kick start it! It’s been on the back of a truck more times than I can count, but it was love at first sight! I didn’t even know what a café racer was back then.”

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Not one to be selfish in his fun endeavours, Kal realised he was missing out on adventures with his good pal Tavin, the magnificent dog he rescued in 2008. “I spoke with a lot of old guys in trying to find a solution so that Tav could ride with me on the SR400, but what I was trying to do isn’t particularly common. After a lot of research I finally found someone willing to part with a small enough tub and chassis to fit my bike. They were in Queensland, so Tav and I set off in the ute on a road trip to pick them up. The trip to pick up the sidecar was an adventure in itself, as we camped a few nights along the way. There’s nothing better than camping with your best mate hogging the tent.”

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To be prudent in their purchase, Kal first gave Tav a road-test in a friends sidecar. “Tavin sat happily for over 2 hours in the sidecar, and even fell asleep! I knew I wouldn’t have too much trouble getting him in there again.”

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After collecting the parts and heading back down the coast to Sydney, Kal encountered a new obstacle in his quest to get a dog friendly bike – he needed to find someone to fit it all together. “It took a bit of searching but I finally found someone in Bathurst, so off we went again in another direction on another adventure, this time with the SR and sidecar in tow.” It would be the trip home from Bathurst that Kal would first ride with his new sidecar attached, unfortunately in the pouring rain. “That was a scary 8 hours! I had to take it very slow to make sure the bike didn’t flip. When we got the bike and new sidecar back to Sydney I wrapped the body to match the SR, swapped the fender and added a bottom mount side headlight. I love the end result!

So far we’ve only adventured around the city to different dog parks, but we have some exciting camping trips planned as soon as the weather warms up!”

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Categories
Bikes Reviews

Yamaha MT-10 – More Than Meets The Eye

Words & Poor Photoshopping by Mark Hawwa

At Throttle Roll, we’re big fans of just chopping shit up. Cars, bikes, bicycles, chest chair – you name it. So I was a tad surprised when Yamaha invited me along to the launch of their new MT-10. I was even more surprised when I jumped onto the bike and wrapped my sexy sleek legs around this new machine.

Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (9)I could waffle on about how I thought it was a prototype machine gun, and me being the ethnic looking type guy they needed authenticity for their product launch – but the news tells me now is not the right time for that. However, I knew exactly what the MT-10 was, and I knew that regardless of my chop-chop philosophy, my ‘like’ affair (love is too strong a word) started back in October, and I was not going to miss a chance to thrash this machine. Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (7)I first saw the MT-10 at EICMA in Milan, Italy. Drawn into the eyes of this beast, I stood completely enamoured at this new like-interest getting mildly aroused – to the point where out the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride sponsors Triumph even thought “Hmm… something’s up”. I then began to think about what I’d change on this bike, what doesn’t need to be there and what colour to paint it. Although to be perfectly honest I just really fucking liked the bike as it stood, in its arousing stock glory. Could it be that this bike was the product of a passionate night between a Transformer and a Japanese Super Model? What sort of acid was the head designer tucking into while watching Megan Fox’s poor acting? Whatever the case, I honestly didn’t care. I loved the look of this bike.Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (6)The hardest part of saying yes to the Yamaha team was… well nothing. However, Throttle Roll is about customs, classics and vintage inspired bikes – who am I to put in a review on a brand new bike that hasn’t yet had the custom world chopping up yet? Then I thought “hell, it’s a good base for anyone wanting a bang for buck ‘Muscle Racer’” (someone trademark that shit) $17,999 with 160HP at the wheels. Seriously. Let me get out my Abacus – That is $112 for each horse! Gai Waterhouse ain’t got nothing on this. $17,999 remove some stuff, add some stuff, spend ~7k and you’ve got a pretty intense Cafe Racer.
Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (4)So off to Queensland I went – to bloody Maroochydore. Winter in Sydney, Summer in bloody Maroochydore. I hopped off the plane and made my way to the Twin Towers (as named by Jim, Editor of Old Bike). It must have been another Arab joke, but apparently he got the name wrong, as it was actually Twin Waters. That afternoon we received a dose of the one and only Dave McKenna. On a dilapidated Helicopter landing he got to work busting out stunts on his custom MT-09 wowing the hundreds (and thousands) of hairs on my body along with the 10 or so journalists. What I saw was truly amazing, and I soon had the thought “I can just photoshop my head onto his body, and claim all his fame!”

And so I did.

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Come dinnertime, we had what apparently is quite normal for these events – the presentation. “Something, Something, Something…” on it went, and I was already one bottle of Red down. Luckily they gave us a USB with all the details, I’ll copy/paste the key stats be below somewhere. I’m not a journalist (clearly) but it was an amazing opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones, while jumping on a new exciting bike. Can’t complain about that! The Awesome thing was that they had all heard of Throttle Roll, most of them covered it and they all knew of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Hell, Even Kevin Magee was rocking his DGR shirt while pumping a lungpuncher. Maybe we’ll do something with Lung Cancer next year…Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (3)Come the start of my hangover, it was time to take the bikes for a bit of a spin. To no surprise, everyone calls shotgun on the MT10 out of the bikes that were on offer to ride, and we all wrestled naked to determine who was first. I just took the MT-03, or MT-07, or MT-09, or Tracer… I don’t recall which exactly but I’m a bit insecure to expose my voluptuous body. By the end of the day I had the opportunity to take all the bikes through what was proposed as the Sunshine Coast TT and throughout the Hinterland. The MT07 easily kept up with the MT-10 through the corners but the MT-10 was seriously out of this world. The power, the torque, the wheelies when the traction control is turned off and the handling were amazing. How do they do it for $17,999? I seriously don’t know. It performed just as good as some of the more expensive sports bikes I’ve ridden, and the fact it has Traction Control meant I was a way better rider then normal and didn’t eat shit. Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (2)Now the important part for those who want to grab one and go nuts.

First step: Keep us posted – we will document the build!
Second step: (Now looking through the house for the Yamaha USB) Okay I officially lost it.
Step three: While googling I found out a ‘fellow’ journalist has all the stats on his website – so check them out here.

Yamaha_MT-10_201620160723 (1)Specifications

Engine type: Liquid cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve, forward-inclined parallel, four-cylinder
Capacity: 998cc
Bore and stroke: 79 x 50.9mm
Power: 118kW @ 11,500rpm
Torque: 111Nm @ 9000rpm
Wet weight: 210kg
Seat height: 825mm
Wheelbase: 1400mm
Fuel capacity: 17L
Colours: Race Blu, Tech Black and Night Fluo
Price: $17,999
Availability: Late June
Detailed specs: www.yamaha-motor.com.au

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Categories
Garage Sessions

Curly’s Corner

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

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

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

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

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Categories
Bikes

Dean’s ’84 Yamaha SR400 Bobber

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“This old girl’s going to stay in pieces in the garage for sure”, this self-doubt echoed in Dean’s melon after taking on his first custom bike build, but the long road to victory paid off with a final product that is an elegant take on the Bobber style.

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Dean was on the hunt for a bike to start his first build, with the only condition that it had to be old. Sure enough, a 1984 Yamaha SR400 popped up for sale close to his home. The bike ended up being in immaculate condition, and was still stock to the bone. This would be Dean’s blank canvas, much to the hesitation of it’s previous owner. “The bloke I thought the bike off nearly didn’t want to sell it to me when I mentioned that I was going to be pulling the bike apart and breaking out the angle grinder!”

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After paying close attention to the chopper and bobber builds coming out of the US, Dean had enough creative juices ready to fuel the direction for this SR400 build. “I’m a huge fan of Kim Boyle, the bikes he builds are so clean and tidy, this was the direction I wanted to go with the SR. I’ve been riding since I was around 6 or 7, but this would be my first build – though certainly not my last.”

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Dean thought to himself countless times “This old girl’s going to stay in pieces in the garage for sure” during the elongated build process, but persevered and kept chipping away at it over the years. “My good mate Goaty welded everything on the bike, we spent a few late nights in his workshop bending up and welding. The build had taken me around 2 years in total to the day me and my mate kicked it over! Fuck I was so stoked to hear her roar to life, I was just as stoked to know I was soon to be riding this thing, especially after the wiring process which was prolonged for quite some time. The bike was finally ready to be out on the road!”

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The final product is a stand out as far as SR400 builds go. It’s an elegant take on the Bobber feel, replacing aggression with style and finesse. “I think the main standout feature of the bike is the alloy tank that has been brushed vertically and horizontally to give it some depth. The old fella Chris from Two Wheel Custom Paint & Fairing in Russellvale nailed it!”

Dean’s SR400 is currently for sale – Click here to find out more

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Categories
Bikes Reviews

Born From Heritage – 2016 Yamaha XSR700 & XSR900

With the custom side to motorcycling thriving and growing, it’s only natural that manufacturers take note and in turn release bikes that have this in mind. Yamaha have observed the forever-changing niches and created two new bikes with plenty of opportunities for the wrenchers and choppers out there to get creative in customising, if they so choose (queue bearded bloke shooting sparks everywhere). The XSR range is the result of a proud heritage from Yamaha as they take a nod to the past, only with much more modern sensibilities.

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Anyone with a brain that has at least one cylinder firing is aware of the growing changes and demand in bikes over the years, with the custom side to motorcycling expanding almost daily. Major bike manufacturers has shown already that they’re not blind nor deaf to this changing world, and are following suit with new motorcycles that are the result of classic throwbacks, custom feel and modern machinery. And with this, Yamaha has released the XSR700 and XSR900.

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Helping celebrate the heritage of the XS series, an iconic bike that is still seen on roads across the globe, the XSR is an amalgamation of nods to previous series of motorcycles With the stereotypical SR series being the workhorse of the café racer scene, the XSR offers a lot more balls and refinement to what is already a growing change in the custom world. A nod to the past of the iconic 1960’s XS release paired with the accompaniment of modern pleasures from the ever-successful MT series. The XSR700 and XSR900 cover a lot of bases, and tick a lot of boxes.

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With the booming popularity of motorcycles in Australia particularly, Yamaha have had their finger on the pulse in catering to the LAMs crowd with the XSR700. With it’s 655cc twin cylinder engine, it’s on the cusp of the capacity limits for learner and provisional riders and is what is probably one of the best, if not most powerful, LAMs approved bikes. They’ve sought to squeeze everything into this bike that will fit the legal requirements. For anyone that’s new to bikes, this is a tantilising start – especially if they’re under 25 and are looking at a possible 3-4 year sting on restricted bikes. It looks killer, and performs equally so. With a very manageable weight and seat height, it’s something anyone can jump on and soon find confidence in chucking it around corners.

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Despite being a modern bike, the XSR range boasts much less plastic parts than you’d expect, which is great. The vast majority of these parts are aluminium, and although this raises the weight compared to cheaper, plastic bits it’s hardly a trade off and you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference.

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The XSR900 is the bigger and very much unrestricted brother of the XSR700. Sharing a lot of visual similarities at first glance to the 700, it’s got the power you want with plenty of modern luxuries, including a slipper clutch and Yamaha’s D-Mode engine mapping system which can be switched between three modes, A, B, and Standard depending on what you’re wanting to get out of the bike. Riding this bike is a ton of fun, simply put. After the very practical and sensible riding of the XSR700, the XSR900 gives you that smile on your face as you remember why going forwards at an accelerated rate is just so fun, with it’s in-line 3-cylinder 847cc Crossplane Concept Engine giving you plenty.

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Off the factory floor, these bikes look good. The paint schemes that are offered by Yamaha, Rock Slate and Garage Metal for the XSR900 and Forest Green and Garage Metal for the XSR700 along with stylish stock seats give the bikes a taste of the custom potentials, and that’s exactly what these bikes are intended for. Yamaha have aimed these bikes at the custom crew, to pull apart and make their own. With the recent launch of these two bikes at Deus Ex Machina Motorcycles paired with Deus adding their touch to some sacrificial XSR’s the intentions are clear. They couldn’t be any clearer with Yamaha labelling this their “Hipstar” range, which although cringe inducing can be forgiven for these magnificent motorcycle offering to the forever hungry crowd.

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You don’t have to be a wrenching maniac to be able to customise your bike with Yamaha offering a ton of H-word friendly accessories you can slap straight onto your shiny new XSR. Everything from Scrambler styled front number plates, fork boots and even a numbers sticker pack, to more stylish leather luggage bags and rear cowls for the café racer inclined rider. With so man manufacturers catering to the classic and custom crowd, it’s easy for the pessimist to claim their jumping on the bandwagon – though ever the optimist we’d rather view it as brands paying attention to their varied demographics and bringing more to the table as far as options are concerned, which is always a good thing.

 

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Model: 2016 XSR700

Price: $10,999 (plus on-road)

Colours: Forest Green, Garage Metal

Warranty: 24 months unlimited kms

Servicing intervals: First service 1000km, then every 10,000km

Engine: 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves

Bore x stroke: 78mm by 68.6mm

Displacement: 655cc

Compression: 11:1

Power: 39kW @ 8000rpm

Torque: 57.5Nm @ 4000rpm

Transmission: Constant mesh, six-speed

Frame: CF aluminium in a diamond configuration

Dimensions: Seat height 815mm, weight 186kg (wet), fuel capacity 14L, wheelbase 1405mm, rake 24º, trail 90mm

Suspension: front, Telescopic 130mm travel; rear swingarm 130mm travel

Brakes: Front, 282mm hydraulic dual disc, ABS. Rear, 245mm hydraulic single disc, ABS

Tyres:  Front, 120/70 ZR 17M/C(58W) (Tubeless). Rear, 180/55 ZR 17M/C(73W) (Tubeless)

Fuel consumption: 6.7l per 100km

Theoretical range: 200km.

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Model: 2016 XSR900

Price: $12,999 (plus on-road)

Colours: Rock Slate, Garage Metal

Warranty: 24 months unlimited kms

Servicing intervals: First service 1000km, then every 10,000km

Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC inline 3-cylinder 4- stroke; 12 valves

Bore x stroke: 78mm by 59.1

Displacement: 847cc

Compression: 11.5:1

Power: 84.6kW @ 10,000rpm

Torque: 87.5Nm @ 8500rpm

Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist-and-slipper wet clutch

Frame: CF aluminium in a diamond configuration

Dimensions: Seat height 830mm, weight 195kg (wet), fuel capacity 14L, wheelbase 1440mm, rake 25 º, trail 103mm

Suspension: Front, adjustable USD 41mm; Rear, adjustable linked-type Monocross.

Brakes: Front, Hydraulic dual disc, Ø 298 mm. Rear, Hydraulic single disc, Ø 245 mm

Tyres:  Front, 120/70ZR17M/C (58W) (Tubeless) Rear, 180/55ZR17M/C (73W) (Tubeless)

Fuel consumption: 6.4l per 100km

Theoretical range: 220km

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Categories
Garage Sessions

Oliver’s Lockup

You may remember Oliver from Throttle Roll posts such as ‘Muntjac – Oliver’s Kawasaki W650’ and… well that’s about it, for now. We took a cheeky gander in his lockup of wonderful machines, where we’ll be seeing some kickarse builds emerge in the future.

Growing up surrounded by bikes and learning to pull them apart and (most importantly) put them back together would lead Oliver on a longstanding career in the motorcycle world. His talent for wrenching was recognised at the age of 16 as he was offered an apprenticeship at one of the only motorcycle mechanic schools based in the UK.

From here, Oliver would end up wrenching for Ron Parkinsons for years, fulfilling his dream of being a race mechanic. This is also where Oliver’s racing career would begin. “The racing scene took me around the UK’s best circuits for the best part of 2 years until my mate Gary finally decided to hang up the leathers and open his own shop. Naturally I followed suit and worked alongside him, working on all makes and models of motorcycles including the odd Harley ditch pump.”

It was in 2004 that Seton Tuning approached Oliver, hoping to have him tune, build engines and spanner for their Kawasaki 600 British Supersport Team. “I jumped on board, followed and supported the team for 2 years until I decided to retire the greasy overalls for a bit and go see the world travelling”. This decision would land him in Australia, where he still spanners and tinkers on bikes, however now for himself as he creates bespoke builds in his own little lock up.

“I started renting this workshop after I bought my second bike, the 1959 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet. I knew I wasn’t going to stop buying bikes to work on, and had decided I would keep my winters busy building custom classics.” After having his tools shipped over from the UK, it didn’t take long for Oliver to get set up and start pulling apart bikes and getting back into the greasy overalls.

A steady flow of bikes have been seen in his space, as his restores and customises builds for himself and others. “I restored and café’d a barn find 1979 Yamaha RD 250, keeping it pretty original but tidying up the battery location, minimising the wiring and unnecessary junk and trying to give it a classic race style. The Yamaha RX 125 I have was purchased to make a beach bike tracker, but its kind of been brushed aside for the time being as I’ve just bought a dream build of mine, the 1973 Yamaha R5 350 I currently working on.”

Trying to spend at least 2 nights a week in his workshop, any and all spare time is funnelled into his builds, especially winter. “I’ll be living down there this winter for sure, especially now that I have a bar fridge! I’m going to be very busy over the coming months, it’s exciting to build something that people will appreciate, so watch this space!”

Categories
Bikes

Mirko’s Yamaha XV750 Cafe Racer

Three weeks might not sound like a long time, but when you’re waiting for your new bike to travel over 4000kms across Australia it’ll feel like a lifetime. An even longer stint of 16 years being bikeless were about to be fixed in the greatest way possible for Mirko.

Growing up in Ticino Switzerland, by the time you were 18 you’d already have at least 4 years riding experience behind your belt as young teenagers could get mopeds such as the Piaggio Ciao 49cc to customise and ride around. Mirko’s heart would fall in love with racing bikes, and a few months into receiving his restricted licence at the age of 18 he grabbed himself a Yamaha RD125. “My mates and I rode our bikes very hard, and soon enough the RD125 showed its limits – especially uphills. Ticino is the Italian part of Switzerland at the foot of the Alps and there were plenty of valley rides and fast rides along lakes and motorways. It was very easy to use all of the power of a 125cc machine.”

Mirko would go on to own a myriad of other sports bikes as gained more riding experience and let his passion for bikes thrive, soon owning a Suzuki DR250 and a Kawasaki GPZ600. “I bought the GPZ600 off a mate, it had the rear fender cut back and a 4 into 1 exhaust. At the time it was a dream bike with power to spare! I’d ride a lot on the weekends with the bike and even on holidays to Italy or Spain.”

In 1996 came Mirko’s first new bike, a Honda CBR600. “This bike was a huge step up from the previous Kawasaki, it was a lot more powerful and much faster. Tyres did not last longer than a few months at the beginning and with every change a softer compound that lasted even less. It was all about grip! I remember at the end of each ride we would check each other’s tyres to see who had not used all the edges. It was a very regretful sale, but with the prospect of coming to Australia no tears were shed.”

After his move to Australia, Mirko focussed his energy and financial resources on another passion – sailing. “I sailed competitively double-handed 14’ dinghies for a number of years and 6 years ago I got into a single handed performance foiling dinghy with mixed success. I never abandoned my passion for motorbikes. I guess I just parked it for a while.”

It would be a 16 year hiatus from bikes for Mirko, but the urge to get back on two wheels and riding again would come calling his name. Upon the opening of Deus Ex Machina in Camperdown, ideas and desires were soon sparked. “For the next 10 years I started noticing more and more Café Racers on Sydney roads and I slowly learned more about this side of biking culture. Sometime last year I came across Greg Hageman’s work, who is an outstanding builder of custom bikes and Café Racers. I appreciated his work, and more specifically what he could do with the Yamaha XV. The reason I was drawn to the Yamaha XV is due to the twin cylinder engine. Hageman’s interpretation is simple and sleek. Transmission and suspension are there but invisible. The chassis is also host to the carbs air intakes.”

After trawling the internet for inspiration for this new bike purchase, Mirko was sitting on the fence between a Ducati Sports Classic and the Yamaha XV models. Sure enough after much search he found an XV750 for sale in Perth that he immediately fell in love with. “I made contact with the seller and organised a friend of a friend (Thanks Andy and Dan) to inspect it. A week or so later the bike was on its way to Sydney via a bike transport specialist.”

Having originally been built in Darwin, this was a bike that had already travelled all of Australia. Built by Steve Hardy, it was inspired by the work of Greg Hageman who specialised in XV café racers. Here’s a look at what Steve put into this build. “I bought the bike because it had low km and shipped it to Darwin from Brisbane. The build took me 18 months and initially I had planned on a basic design, it being my first build. However at each stage I changed my plans to make it the best I could.

Many of the improvements meant shipping the parts from the USA as they were just not to be found here and this added significantly to the cost. The wheels were imported from America and are from the XV700 model, which did not come to Australia. I had them shipped to Brisbane to have new rims and SS spokes installed. It would have been easier to just ship hubs over but I wanted to ensure the offset was right.”

“The front forks are off an XV1000 simply so I could have the twin discs, which improves stopping and gives a more balanced look. The forks were internally shortened by 40 mm. Calipers are off the Yamaha XVS1300 to keep the Yamaha DNA and have good stopping power.  The bike was rewired for all the new gauges and switch blocks.”

“The tank was also imported from America. I struggled to choose a colour, and made a few false starts before settling on black with a subtle orange metal flake that comes through in sunlight.

I did all of the work, except the wheels, myself. This includes all the paintwork and mechanicals and electrics. I also installed and tuned the Mikuni carbs. I also fabricated the exhaust headers back to the mufflers, which was a challenge particularly for the rest cylinder.

The bike turned out much better than I had expected. When you look at a bike like this you don’t realise, until you do it yourself, just how much work is involved. Every component requires so much thought, refurbishment or engineering to get it right.”