When he’s not working on 747s and other commercial aircraft, Daniel is working on his own builds. The attention to detail, “do it right first time” mentality of working on such important machines and making sure these planes stay in the sky translates into the quality of his builds, only it’s on the bikes that he has complete creative freedom.
Daniel has been riding since he was 12, getting his first licence at the age of 14 which allowed him to ride mopeds up to 50cc. Motorbikes were the natural next step, and he’s been healthily addicted ever since.
This Triumph Speed Triple 1050 is an ’05 model that Daniel has owned for over 5 years now, and it’s had quite a make over. Traditional Café Racer stylings on a modern bike, with modern applications. Dubbed ‘The Flashback’ the bike got its namesake from the reaction it would garner from people. “I called it ” The Flashback” as I have noticed people taking a second look at it; at first thinking it’s an old classic and only realising that it’s a modern bike on the second take.”
A lot of riders are electing to use more modern bikes as the basis for their Café Racer builds, but it’s not as easy an amalgamation as one would first think. The balance between combing old school style, positions and even parts, with a modern bike that has it’s own stylings means a lot of thought needs to go into making sure the bike looks the part, instead of a ride that’s trying to be something it’s not.
“I wanted to make it look as old and curvy as possible inspired by the racing cars and bikes from the 60’s and 70’s. Le Mans sort of a thing, very curvy bodies but still mean looking machines.”
Every build has its gremlins or tricky bits. What were Daniel’s?
“The hardest part by far was making the brackets for the front fairing, headlight and speedo making sure that everything clears at full steering lock. I heavily modified the fairing to get the look I wanted and to make it fit.
It took weeks of small adjustments and shimming resulting in very fine tolerances. Everything clears by a mm or two.
The first aluminium bracket wasn’t rigid enough resulting in the headlights vibrating a bit too much so I made a steel reinforcement which made it rock solid”
And the best bits about this bike?
“As much as I love the front fairing on it I would have to say my favourite part is the seat with the seat cowl.
I reshaped the standard seat to get a bit of a hump in the back and then had it re-trimmed with ribs. I reshaped the seat cowl which wasn’t even meant for this bike to get a nice eagle’s beak sort of looking curvy rear end, finished off with a round Posh tail light”
Riding bikes means different things to different people, and without getting too philosophical or too far up our own arses there’s always a strong sense of nostalgia attached to two wheels.
“In a way it takes me back to the 80’s when I was a teenager, getting pulled over for not wearing a helmet by the boys in blue who would be nice enough not to fine me but would deflate my tyres so I had to push the bike home. Instead I would just push it to the nearest servo, pump up the tyres and keep riding just to get done by the same cop later in the day. This would happen almost on a weekly basis and I never got fined”
Simpler times huh?
“I enjoy building bikes just as much as I enjoy riding them, and to me both of these mean running away from the craziness and pressures of modern life and escaping into my own world where there is no expectations, deadlines or making kids school lunches. As we all know trying to explain riding to someone who doesn’t ride is almost impossible; but I once heard a good attempt at it. In this case someone was trying to explain this to a bloke who loved to ski.
He said to him “Imagine if you could ski to work, to the shops or to meet with your friends. Just getting to places would be an adventure, which you would treasure and enjoy immensely.
That’s what riding feels like to me”
We touched on Daniel working aircraft earlier, as he’s an Aircraft Technician for Qantas. Working on a huge variety of planes each with their own issues.
“I owe all my technical knowledge and skills I use building bikes to my job.
Attention to detail, doing it right first time and sometimes just plain old following the manual word by word are the things I learned in the last 20 years of being in the aviation industry.
I also get a lot of ideas and inspirations from aircraft both technically and visually.
As much as I love working on aircraft, the one thing missing is a freedom to express myself as everything is done strictly in accordance with aircraft documentation and there is no deviating from it. I get this through my bikes”