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MORTAGUA FIGHTER’S LATEST CREATION!

ISSUE 425

SEPTEMBER 2019

UK OFFSALE DATE: 05/09/19

£4.20


accessories

clothing


6: NEWS all that’s new and happening in the custom bike world 8: PRODUCTS loads of good stuff for you to spend your hard-earned on 12: LETTERS sound off, one, two, sound off, three, four! 56: CENTRESPREAD an artistic poster for you to put on yer wall 58: SUBSCRIBE TO BSH see here for the best subscription offers

68: TECH BSH’s resident spanner monkey twirls his implements… fnurk

84: BSH CUSTOM CHAMPS 2019 the winners from the Farmyard and Diamond Day

72: MR BRIDGES the guru imparts more of his knowledge of mechanics

88: THE BIZ another interview with a leading figure in the custom world

76: MAG NEWS our regular column by the MAG chairnon genderspecificperson 78: (ALMOST A) ROADTEST the new Honda CB1000R+

92: JIM FOGG FICTION another of the master’s excellent works

84: NIKEN LONG-TERMER nearly 3,000 miles in the first month!

98: READERS’ LIVES two pages of your pics... and our silly captions 101: EVENTS your essential guide to the best rallies, shows and parties 112: SMALLS sell your bike here for free! 113: NEXT MONTH just to whet your appetite… 114: RICK HULSE the musings of one of the most eloquent thinkers in bikerdom

14: BANDIT STREETFIGHTER

the latest utterly amazing Mortagua Fighter bike!

20: CHESTERFIELD ROCK & BIKE SHOW chilling in the sunshine in Derbyshire

22: HARLEY TRIKE

just ‘cos you’re disabled it doesn’t mean you can’t do cool…

26: GARLAND BIKE SHOW

FD goes back to her old stomping ground

28: XS650

roll up, roll up, roll up for the mystery bike!

32: RAT & SURVIVAL the Mecca of matt blackers

36: SPORTSTER CHOPPER

built by a hot rod builder!

40: T120 BONNIE

coolness personified… err, metalonified?

44: RACE THE WAVES ear’oling up the beach!

48: SPORTSTER PROPER CHOPPER

no front brake an’ everything!

52: BANDIT CHOPPER reworked Hard Up Suzuki

60: HARLEY KNUCKLEHEAD

classic cruiser with more of a hint of steampunk

64: MOTOBECANE BOBBER

rarer than a blue steak that’s only just seen a candle... briefly

TO GET THE DIGITAL EDITIONS APP, SIMPLY SEARCH FOR ‘BACK STREET HEROES’ IN THE APPLE APP STORE FOR iPAD OR ON GOOGLE PLAY FOR ANDROID CHECK OUT THE BSH FACEBOOK PAGE (BACK STREET HEROES) AND THE BSH FACEBOOK GROUP AT BACK STREET HEROES – THE OFFICIAL GROUP

BE PART OF THE BACKSTREETHEROES COMMUNITY SEPTEMBER 2019

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editor:

NIK SAMSON

nik@backstreetheroes.com

At the risk of repeating meself (it’s me age, y’know), I’m constantly amazed at the standard of driving these days…

The second is how badly most people drive. I’ve always been aware of it, I s’pose, most bikers are, but it’s only since I’ve been learning to drive properly, to the letter of the law, that it’s brought it home to me. It fascinates me how people speed through 30 and 40mph limits, and then crawl along in 50 and 60mph areas. As I’m trying to make sure I don’t develop any bad habits before my test (which I will’ve taken and, hopefully, passed by the time you read this), and because I learnt many years ago the folly of riding too fast in 30s and 40s, I tend to stick to the posted speeds, and it always strikes me as bizarre how many people sit right up your arse through them and then get left behind when you accelerate up to 50 or 60mph once out of them, only to catch you up in the next lower zone. It’s also interesting to see how people don’t use indicators any more, how they tail-gate others, how they just, basically, drive so inconsiderately, so uncourteously. It’s down, I think, to two things: firstly, the lack of police officers on our streets these days and, secondly, natural human arrogance. Regarding the first, there are so few Old Bill about these days that you can drive as badly as you like – speed in built-up areas, use your ‘phone, tail-gate folk, carve them up, run red lights, etc., etc. – with pretty much no fear of consequences as you have to be very, very unlucky to get caught these days. Secondly, partly as a result of the ‘bubble’ described above, but mostly because of the basic arrogance of the human being, people feel they can drive as they like because of the way they think that ‘nothing’s going to happen to me’. It’s down to the way in which people think that they, they personally, are the most important person in the world, and so what they want is of far greater import than anything else. What the answer to this is I don’t know; a few words in a bike mag aren’t going to change anything. It’s to do with how the world is these days – it’s changed, and not necessarily for the better…

NIK

07884 052003 staff writer:

DAVE MANNING

dave@backstreetheroes.com

Pic by Alex

Anyway, since I started driving more regularly a couple of things’ve come to my attention. The first is how easy it is to become engrossed in the bubble that is your car; how easy it is to become detached from the world, the real world. You have a heater, or air-conditioning, that keeps the outside out and the inside in; you have a stereo that plays the music that you like, and so stops any outside noise from intruding into your bubble; you have a whacking great metal cage around you that protects you, and seat-belts and air-bags that further protect your frail little body, and so

Pic by FD

Back in March I figured that the events of February were probably a sign that I really ought to get off me arse and finally, really, learn to drive. I’ve been half-heartedly driving, as and when, for a year or two now, but haven’t made that much of an effort really. I did have a couple of lessons a while back with a local instructor, but as his manner kinda rubbed me up the wrong way I knocked them on the ‘ead quite quickly. Besides which, I know how lazy I am – on days when the weather isn’t quite as clement as I might like it to be, I know that, if I have the option to just walk out to a car and get in, rather than put all the gear on (boots, big socks, knee armour, thermals, hoodie, heated waistcoat, jacket, silk inner gloves, proper gloves, neck tube etc.), and then walk over to the garage and drag a bike out, the chances are that I’ll take the easy option. The thing is, taking said easy option often isn’t necessarily the best thing. When I was seeing a lady in Dorset I used to make the long trek down the M11, around the M25, and down the M3, on my scruffy old ZXR750, and while I was cold cos it was winter, I was also very aware that, because I could slip between the mile after mile after mile of stationary traffic, yes, I was going to get cold (but, thankfully, not wet – good bike gear), but I’d be at my destination anything up to a couple of hours before the folk who were cocooned in the warmth and snugness of their cars, but stranded in the long, long queues that turn the motorways into car parks. Yeah, on particularly bad days I’d curse the weather for its foulness, but on the other hand I’d be there, changed out of me bike gear, and away to the pub, and that was well worth a wee bit of discomfort.

give you a sense of security that desensitises you to the consequences of your actions. On a bike you have none of that – you’re out there in the world, with nothing around you, and it’s only you, your skills, your actions, that keep you alive.

design:

GARETH WILLIAMS publisher:

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REBECCA STORR

rkstorr@mortons.co.uk 01507 529357 group advertising manager::

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freelance contributors:

MORTAGUA FIGHTER, LAUREN RADWELL, SIMON EVERETT, GARRY STUART, JOHN EVANS, PAUL GARBUTT, WILLIAM BEDFORD, ROBERT ‘DRAKE’ KACZMAREK, TIM GRIFFITHS, SELINA LAVENDER, RICHARD GLYNN, JIM FOGG RIP, LOUISE LIMB, RICK HULSE, CHARLEY CHARLES editorial address:

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Independent publisher since 1885 Having trouble finding a copy of this magazine? Why not just ask your local newsagent to reserve you a copy each month? The Professional Publishers Association Member

Distribution by Marketforce UK Ltd, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU. Tel: 0203 787 9001. Printed by William Gibbons and Sons, Wolverhampton. ISSN: 02679841. BSH is copyright to Mortons Media Ltd 2019 and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The publishers accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If you send material to us for publication, you are strongly advised to make copies and to include an SAE. Original material must be submitted and will be accepted solely on the basis that the author accepts the assessment of the publisher as to its commercial value. BSH UK subscriptions £45.00, European subs £55.89, all other countries £67.89, from BSH Subs, Mortons Media Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle LN9 6LZ. USA subs $60 per annum from Motorsport, 31757 Honey Locust Road, Jonesburg, MO 63351-9600 and additional mailing offices. Periodicals postage is paid at Jonesburg, Missouri, USA. Postmaster: send USA address changes to BSH, Motorsport, 550 Honey Locust Road, Jonesburg, MO 63351-9600.


GLOSSARY

A brief, not too serious explanation of terms commonly used in the magazine. This month, the Es: EARLES FORKS – a type of leading link fork that gives steering geometry, ideal for sidecar combinations, and popular on solos in the Fifties. Not especially pleasing to the eye.

NEWS

EASI-START – cocaine for recalcitrant motorcycles, they get addicted to it.

TRIUMPH BOBBER BUILD-OFF

ROYAL ENFIELD BULLET TRIALS

Voting is open to find the winning entry for Triumph’s inaugural Bobber Build-off Challenge. Fans can vote by visiting the Triumph UK Facebook albums and liking their favourite builds – each ‘like’ counts as a vote. Triumph dealerships from around the UK are putting their customised Bobbers to the vote in the manufacturer’s inaugural Bobber Build-off Challenge. Using a combination of genuine Triumph accessories and exceptional engineering skills, the 13 participating dealerships’ve worked hard to painstakingly design, personalise and pimp their beautiful Bonneville Bobbers to perfection. Fans of the iconic modern classic can vote online at www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk, and voting closes at 10am on Thursday 29th August.

LIDS & LEATHERS APPEAL

NOTAS are running a campaign to collect old and damaged helmets and riding gear to donate to the emergency services (primarily the ambulance service) around the country, so that they can be used for training purposes, teaching safe removal, and how to cut them off where necessary. If you have anything that you can donate to them to help this cause, then please go to their Facebook Page (Lids & Leathers Appeal), and they’d also like to hear from clubs, groups and individuals around the country who’d be willing to act as collection/donation points for the donations and to drop them off with the emergency service recipients.

BRIGHTON SPEED TRIALS

Brighton’s popular annual motorsport event, The Brighton National Speed Trials, will return to the seafront again this year on Saturday 7th September. Around 150 cars and 75 bikes take the quarter-mile timed run down Brighton seafront, and you can watch from the start-line right at the heart of the action, and follow the action through to the finish line via a giant LCD screen that’ll show the whole of the quarter-mile sprint. There’ll be a dedicated wheelchair/disabled viewing area, as well as a 70m raised viewing platform. If you’d like to enter and be part of the action, entry forms, regulations and entry criteria are available now at www.brightonandhovemotorclub.co.uk, and advance spectator tickets are also on sale now via the Brighton & Hove Motor Club website at www.brightonandhovemotorclub.co.uk where you can get a 20% discount on the gate price.

BMW CONCEPT R18

SEPTEMBER 2019

bike magazine (started in 1970), and the inspiration for BSH all those years ago, currently undergoing, as the old Chinese saying goes, ‘interesting times’.

EASY RIDER – a lady with loose morals, and a film that hardly anyone has heard of… ahem.

EBAY – a digital sponge that soaks up time

and spare funds.

E-BIKE – electric bikes, not what a Yorkshire man says when he sees some… ECU – Electronic Control Unit, the mystical black box that makes sure that your bike runs… if you’re lucky. EGLI, FRITZ – Swiss motorcycle racer who’s made a name for himself producing amazinghandling, and very desirable, frames/frame kits, particularly for Vincents.

ELECTRICS – one of the dark arts that should be taught at Hogwarts. People who understand it are definitely not of this world… ELECTRIC FOOT – an old term for an

The new Royal Enfield Bullet Trials 500 is a tribute to the 1949 Bullet Trials ridden by Johnny Brittain across various championships, and will have distinctive design and functional features redolent of the heydays of classic trials competitions from the 1940s and ‘50s. It perfectly captures the look and feel of these early 1950s trials models while offering modern features such as twin disc brakes, ABS and electronic fuel-injection. It’ll feature tyres with block tread patterns for improved off-road grip, reinforced handlebars with a cross-brace, a raised silencer for improved ground clearance, ABS, trimmed mudguards, a single seat, and luggage carrier, and there’ll also be a set of specific accessories including a sump guard for added engine protection. The Bullet Trials will be available from Royal Enfield dealers or you can get more info from www.royalenfield.com.

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EASYRIDER – the world’s oldest custom

The new BMW Motorrad Concept R18 shows what a forward projection of a 1960s Boxer engine could look like today as a purist custom bike. Immediately recognisable as a genuine BMW with its cradle frame, exposed universal shaft, and drop-shaped fuel tank with its black paintwork and hand-applied contrast lines, but it has a modern, newly designed, 1800cc engine that’s been styled to look like the flat-twin engines that BMW built up until the end of the 1960s. There are no plans (yet) to release the bike as an actual production model, but watch this space.

electric start.

ELECTRIC INSULATION TAPE – this has one function, and it’s nothing to do with electricity or insulation, and everything to do with sealing cuts caused by pliers, Stanley knives, screwdrivers and errant drill bits. ENFIELD – Royal Enfield, the world’s oldest continually producing motorcycle manufacturer (started in 1901) who started in Redditch in the UK and were sold lock, stock and barrel (well, most are singles) to India, and now produce some very nice bikes. ENGINE – the thing that makes your bike go vroom... hopefully.

ENGLISH WHEEL – Want to form your own bodywork? You will be wanting one of these. You say that you have thumbnails? Not for long you don’t. Again, people who know how to use one of these are not of this earth… ERGONOMICS – the science of balancing

a motorcycle’s proportions to that of its rider; the position of seat/‘bars/‘pegs.

ERIK BUELL – American motorcycle racer

turned motorcycle producer, his most famous bikes were based around Harley-Davidson Sportster engines (tuned, of course) in purpose-designed chassis, and are some of the most fun bikes ever produced.

EVOLUTION – forget Darwin, we’re talking Harleys; the Evolution engine was launched as a 1340cc Big Twin in 1983, and as a Sportster in ’86, and continued (as a Big Twin) until 2000. Also known as a ‘Blockhead’ by Americans who want to retain the ‘head’ naming of H-D engines. EXCELSIOR-HENDERSON – American

marque initially created when Schwinn (famous for push bikes) bought Excelsior in 1911, and then Henderson in 1917. Production ran to 1931, and was restarted in 1997, only to fold again in 2000.

EXILE CYCLES – company set up by Russell Mitchell (whose first bike was featured in BSH years ago) who moved to the States (‘exiling’ himself) and began building customs known for a brutal, chunky yet simplistic style, usually with lots of brushed aluminium and satin black. Now any bike/trike that’s satin or matt black and silver is called ‘Exile-style’.

EXTENSION CABLE – electric device

used to attract water and ensure that it rains whenever used outside. Your ‘man points’ are increased the more you use for each appliance.


As we mentioned last issue, at Custom Heroes – our exhibit at this year’s Motorcycle Live at Birmingham’s NEC – we’ll be having a number of artisans showing off the skills that they employ in the building of some ground-breaking custom motorcycles. The second of our invited artists at this year’s Custom Heroes segment is a leatherworker who epitomises the style, flair and ingenuity of those folk who turn plain old cow hide into true pieces of art, Claudio Nosari. Originally hailing from a small country town in northern Italy, he always liked motorcycles, especially choppers and bobbers, with his true passion blossoming at the tender age of 13 after he attended his first rally with his uncle (at which he was the ‘mascot’ for the prize-giving), and he still recalls the photoshoot of the show-winning bike (on which he could barely reach the forward controls, and on which the fibreglass seat was really uncomfortable!). As his uncle had a Jap chop at the time, it was him and his friends who introduced Claudio to the fantastic world of custom bikes and, aged 14, his father took him to Rebuffini Cycles, a custom bike builder, and bought him two Harley T-shirts. His first bike, at the age of 15, was a cruiser-styled 50cc Aprilia Red Rose which was, naturally, customised with drag ‘bars and, as his uncle was in the upholstery trade, Claudio managed to get some scrap leather and made his very first custom seat. It wasn’t carved or anything, but it was a good way to lower the stance of the bike. After that, he began to frequent local leather-crafter shops, learning about the trade, and how leather could be formed, carved, stitched and dyed, although it was just a hobby rather than anything else. After moving to Northern Ireland aged 19, he was customising his Harley bobber and couldn’t find a seat that he liked so, after his earlier success with his Aprilia, he decided to get some steel, foam and leather, and make one for himself. With that one done for himself, he made one for a friend, and then another friend, and after a lot of practice, and some help from a master saddler (who taught him a great deal), he decided

that he could make a full-time business out of this hobby. Now, his work is sold globally, and the pictures here demonstrate just a little of the variety of style, finish, colour and type of product that he makes. All of the designs are handcarved, usually to the client’s request, and with reference to their needs at each step, so that they can get the best service and product, all using the very best vegetabletanned leather from Florence (personally selected by Claudio himself). For the body of the seats he uses genuine Irish-made Barbour thread, and closed cell foam (as it’s anti-bacterial, orthopaedic and water-repellent so that you don’t get to sit in a pool of water on rainy days), and after the carving, the design can be hand-painted, and lace or hand-stitched if required. Thanks to the nature of leather, no two items can be identical, and the colour can vary as well, of course. The vibrant green, as an example, has at least ten coats of dye to give a natural look (which you’d not normally expect from green leather). As you can see, it’s not just seats that Claudio makes, but also belts, bracelets, bags, wallets, tobacco pouches etc. – essentially, he’s prepared to work with the customer to make whatsoever it is that they require. And you’ll be able to see Claudio working with leather, showing how he creates the intricate designs, as he takes centre stage at Custom Heroes in November.

CLAUDIO NOSARI LEATHERCRAFT IS CONTACTABLE ON 07598 394675 OR YOU CAN EMAIL HIM AT CLAUDIONOSARI@ GOOGLEMAIL.COM


OXFORD LEVERLOCK PRODUCTS S&S S HOOLIGAN KIT

&S Hooligan kits for 2000-to-present The S& Harleyy-Davidson Sportsters will boost your 883 1200cc, or your 1200 to 1250cc. They’re to 1 asy-to-install, bolt-on, big bore kits that ea don’t require any extra machining, and no d rebalancing of the crankshaft. Kits include pistons and cylinders, head and base gaskets, camshafts, and premium tappets, and S&S claims an 80% horsepower increase for a stock 883 and, when combined with an S&S air-cleaner/exhaust you can even get up air to 85 horsepower. These kits use the stock heads, pushrods, and fuel system, and are available in silver or black powdercoat that matches stock finish. They’re now available at your Zodiac dealer or www. zodiac.nl

NEW ICON AIRFORM If there’s a manufacturer of motorcycle clothing that has its own style, it’s definitely ICON, and the company’s new catalogue is packed with a lot of new stuff for everyone, including very stylish jackets and clothing, high quality gloves and boots, and the new ICON Airform helmet which, as well as having all the features of classic quality helmets, has rear spoilers that can be easily replaced with different ones (for example, one with the same mirroreddesign as the visor) that change the look of the helmet completely. Available in sizes XS-3XL, it costs from £137 from anywhere that stocks the Parts Europe range – check out www.partseurope.eu to find your closest place.

This very neat little Leverlock fits grips 28-38mm, and its compact design easily fits in pockets, bags or under your seat. It is a highly visible deterrent that immobilises the motorcycle or scooter. It costs £29.99 from anywhere that stocks the Oxford range or www. oxfordproducts.com

BLACK ARROW GYPSY LEATHER MOTORCYCLE JACKET

The Black Arrow Gypsy ladies’ leather motorcycle jacket provides a perfect fit without forfeiting the safety element needed when riding a motorcycle. It combines old-school cool with a modern take on n retro styling, and has a 1.2 to 1.5mm 100% pebbled d texture leather outer, a red satin lining, Kevlar lining panels, removable CE-rated shoulder, elbow and back armour, press stud straps at the sides for tailored adjustment, two zipped front pockets and an inside pocket, stretch panels above the elbow, quilted panels on the elbow and lower back, gusset panels at the back of the armholes, hidden back zipped air vents, and underarm gussets with eyelets for ventilation. Available in sizes XS to XXL, it costs £380 from anywhere that stocks the Black Arrow range – go to www.dot4distribution.com for more info.

MERLIN N YOXALL WAXED COTTON JACKET

8

SEPTEM MBER 2019

A verrsatile, motorcycle-specific crafted jacket mad de from Halley Stevensons Scottish waxed cottton, and finished in Marton Mills British Ta artan, it has a waterproof and breathable membrane, CE-approved shoulder and m elbow armour (with a pocket for a back e protector), ventilation, multiple pockets, and multiple adjusters too. A mid-length garment, it retails at £229.99, in sizes S to 2XL, in black or olive (brown), from anywhere that stocks the Merlin range – go to www. merlinbikegear.com to find your nearest place.


BULL-IT MEN’S TACTICAL SP75 JEANS PRODUCTS

These AA-rated protection jeans are available in Stone Black and Icona Blue, and in straight and slim fits. They are made of very protective Covec, have low thermal conductivity (so they don’t get too ‘ot if you slide down the road), CE level 2 hip and knee armour, are five pocketed, and have a traditional denim design. Available in sizes 30-42, they cost from £139.99 from anywhere that stocks the Bull-It or the Oxford Products ranges or www. oxfordproducts.com

SPEEDFREAK STAINLESS STEEL RISERS

ARMR ARAMID BOMBER JACKET

The all-new ARMR Aramid Bomber Jacket does a great job of hiding the bulk that’s usually associated with armoured clothing, leaving you with a jacket that can be worn off the bike as well as on it. It ’ss lined with supertough 280 GMS Aramid material, has heavy-duty brass YKK zips, CE-certified armour in the shoulders and elbows (and space for a back protector), a breathable and waterproof quilted liner, and a handy upper arm zip pocket, just

Speedfreak risers are 1¾” (45mm) high, and machined from solid stainless steel with a polished or black finish. They come complete with stainless socket-head screws to hold the upper to the lower clamp, are drilled and tapped for ½” UNC riser bolts. They’re sold in pairs, and are available at your Zodiac dealer or or www.zodiac.nl

DIAMONDBRITE CHROME & METAL CIRCUS VMAXIMUS’ V-MAX TEE POLISH the right size and loc ation to keep your phone within reach. Available in sizes S to 5XL, and in black and olive, it costs £139.99 from anywhere that stocks the ARMR range – go to www.tri-motive.com for more info.

‘Life Is Too Short To Ride A Boring Bike’ is the slogan of the new T-shirt for riders and fans of the Yamaha V-Max, available now exclusively from th he Circus Vmaximus on-lline shop. It comes in black, features an extra-large white logo printed d on the front, is avvailable in sizes S-3XL, and costs 23 Euros from www. Circus-Vmaximus. co om

Diamondbrite Chrome & Metal Polish cleans, restores and shines a multitude of metal surfaces, including aluminium and chrome. Rigorously tested, it’s safe to use on most metal surfaces found on motorcycles. It goes on as a super-smooth cream, and is simply buffed off once misted, and is ideal as a finishing touch after a thorough clean. Diamondbrite Chrome & Metal Polish retails at £6.14 for a 250ml container, and you can get one from a variety of outlets or www. jewelultra.com


Need to agree, or even disagree, with something you’ve seen in the mag? Heard a bloody awful joke you think we should groan at? Email nik@ backstreetheroes. com or send it snailmail to the address in the front (somewhere) of the mag!

I’ve just discovered, via a friend, that when I renewed my driving licence (now 70 years young) that I’ve had my motorcycle entitlement removed, despite having a motorcycle registered with DVLA. They hadn’t informed me that they’d removed the entitlement, and if I’d been stopped I could’ve/would’ve been prosecuted. This is not right in my mind. I hope other bikers are aware of this entitlement being done. ADRIAN MAWBY I hope you’ve complained, mate, given them hell – if folk can still drive cars at 70, why not bikes? N.

G’day from Down Under! By the time BSH hits these shores it’s a little out-of-date, so I’m hoping Nik’s healing well and close to, if not back on, a bike? Of late, as I get older I’ve mostly been wearing full-face and flip-front helmets (Roof Desmo, Origine and Shark), and armoured jackets have become a no-brainer. I ride every day, and more and more I’m seeing crap roads and bloody awful drivers who are no longer trained to drive, just trained to pass a test. All too often in summer we see the shorts and t-shirt brigade, no gloves, etc., and Nik’s accident shows how foolhardy this is. Yes, we have the right to choose, at the moment anyway, but. . . . Anyway, very glad he’s still with us, a tad battered, but here nonetheless. Cheers! WARRNAMBOOL, AUSTRALIA Cheers, Guv, I am too. N. 12

SEPTEMBER 2019

It’s funny when you write something, how for the next couple of weeks you seem overly aware of references to it coming back at you from different directions. I suppose it’s like when you get a new bike and, up until then, you weren’t aware of just how many others have the same model – suddenly there seems to be loads of them! A couple of days after I wrote ‘Having too many kids needs to be as socially unacceptable as drink-driving’, Channel 4 screened its 21 Kids and Counting documentary. There appeared to be an underlying feeling that we should be in awe of them or heap praise on them – am I alone in feeling it should’ve been the opposite? As I said, 67 million people we’re heading for – being clumsy isn’t now seen as a positive trait, is it? Then, yesterday, in the latest memes for the ‘10 Year Challenge’ up pops an image of Madeleine McCann, alongside the skeleton of a child. Do people on social media no longer have some sort of internal filter? ‘Oh, if you don’t like it, just scroll on by, snowflake, it’s just a bitta banter innit?’ Why is that now deemed acceptable? Black humour was once of the type such as Andy ‘Bravo Two Zero’ McNab’s: “I’ve lost my leg! I’ve lost my leg!” ‘No, you haven’t, mate, it’s over there – I’ll get it for you.’ Dark humour was used as a tool to get people through difficult, stressful times, but now it’s used as a cover-all excuse to print/post what you like. Cheers! KEITH Try having a Niken, Keith, no one else has one o’ them! No bugger waves or nods at you either… N.

I’m moving to Spain and I own a 1998 V-Max, customised, and I’ve been told it won’t pass the Spanish equivalent of the MoT on arrival in Spain. Do you know anyone who customises bikes in Spain who can tell me how to get my bike on the road without being standard? I think the whole idea that you can’t use EU-approved parts on any bike, even if they function properly, is ludicrous. Any information greatly appreciated! Regards. ANDY SPENCELEY I’m afraid, Andy, they’re right – apparently when the idea of Type Approval was raised a few years ago, all the countries in Europe just laughed and threw it out… except for Spain and Portugal, who embraced it whole-heartedly, and now have just about the strictest anti-modification laws in Europe. Everyone I know who’s moved to Spain has to bring their bikes back to the UK once a year and have them MoT’d… N.


Now you know me, I’m not one to complain, but… Couple of months ago I had the chance of a bike that’d just been imported from the States. Before buying it I took the pre-emptive step of phoning the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers at the DVLA and asked: “How difficult is it to register an imported bike?” (Please read the following with a comedy Welsh accent.) “Oh, it’s no bother, see; you just fill in the form, see, and send off the form with the fee, see, then in two weeks you’ll get your number, see, and in a month you will get your registration document… see.” So, in good faith, reassured by the phone call, and filled with confident expectation, I ask: “Can you send me the form please?” “Oh yes that’s no bother, see.” Anyway, Jones the Carrier Pigeon was despatched, and the application pack eventually arrived. Now, I live in Bristol, which is a mere 79.3 miles from Swansea (via the M4) so my expectations were somewhat tarnished when the aforementioned form took no less than seven days to arrive – that’s Jones the Pigeon averaging just over 11 miles per day. After getting a headache trying to determine all the different sections of the not-so-user-friendly document I went on t’Interweb and did some research, and the form is indeed easy to complete… once you know what bits you have to complete and which are completely irrelevant and apply only to the kerbside weight of a wheelbarrow full of prize leeks. Once again hopeful, I completed it, amassed all the relevant paperwork, calculated and included the relevant fee, and, filled with confident expectation I posted it off. Nineteen days later, nothing. So I call the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers and ask what’s going on? (Time for the comedy Welsh accent again.) “Ah, you sent the wrong fee, see, it’s £10 short.” “No problem,” says I. “Please accept my most sincere apologies, I have my bank card here so I’ll pay you the difference now.” “Oh no, we can’t take payments

over the phone, see.” “But why ever not?” I politely ask, after all, I can pay my road tax over the phone. “Because we don’t take electronic payments, see.” “No problem,” says I. “I will pop a cheque in first-class recorded delivery and you will get it first thing in the morning, so sorry for the confusion.” “Can’t do that, see, because then we would have two cheques, see.” “No problem,” says I. “Just tax it for six months instead of 12 and refund me the difference.” “Can’t do that, see, you ticked the box for 12 months’ tax, see.” “No problem,” says I. “I’m off work today, and the sun’s shining, so I’ll jump on another bike, pop over to Swansea and pay you the difference in cash.” “Can’t do that, I’m afraid – we don’t have public access, see. We’ll send it all back to you, see, and you send it back with the right fee, see.” “No problem,” says I. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why did it take 19 days for my application to get from your doormat where, according to the recorded delivery tracking, it landed at 5:32am 19 days ago?” “Oh, it’s a very big place the DVLA, see – it takes time to get through the system, see.” At this point, and no doubt fuelled by a little frustration, I pointed out that I work for the NHS, the world’s fifth largest employer, and in secure services where I work we respond within 72 hours. “Oh, I couldn’t comment, see.” Not wanting to start an international incident I ended the call at this point. Ten days later an asthmatic, geriatric, arthritic and presumably fatigued Jones the Pigeon managed to complete the 79.3 miles from Swansea to Bristol, and all the documentation was returned. “No problem,” thinks I, “I’ll send a postal order, so the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers have to treat it as cash, and won’t have to wait five working days for ‘the cheque to clear,

see’. Keen to get the new bike out on the road I also chose to send the documents, and the appropriate fee, back by recorded delivery, and by way of a belt and braces approach I included a self-addressed return envelope prepaid with recorded delivery, in the ever optimistic, and eternally hopeful, anticipation that this’d speed the process up a little. Ten working days later, nothing, so once again I’m on the phone to the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers, politely enquiring as to the whereabouts of my registration number? “Oh, you sent it by recorded delivery, see – that adds several days on, see. It’s the security, see, it’ll be in the post soon, see.” Presumably their internal post/security operative is also asthmatic, geriatric and fatigued. As you can imagine, at this point I was becoming somewhat frustrated – in fact, frustrated enough to politely suggest that I could, by now, have walked the 79.3 miles, over the bridge (that’s the bridge linking England to Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Land, the bridge that was built with English tax payers’ money), and paying the toll (which the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers then give to the CheeseEating Surrender Monkeys… don’t get me started on that one). Seven more working days, my V5 registration document arrives, and with one last asthmatic wheeze Jones the Pigeon expires on my doormat. The moral of this rant? Always do your sums, always get a grownup to check your adding up, and in no circumstances ever try to apply any sort of logic, compassion, understanding or indeed any other human emotions or characteristics to the Phlegm-Gargling Klingon Speakers at the DVLA – this way lies madness… see! GRUMPY Don’t say that, I’ve got to apply for a lost reg doc… N.

The best letter each issue will now receive a free T-shirt from those lovely people, Laura and Mark, at Fat Maggot T-Shirts (www.fatmaggot.com) – get all your rally shirts etc. from them, they’re triffic!

SEPTEMBER 2019

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WORDS: NIK PICS: MORTAGUA FIGHTER

THE STREE ETFIGHTER IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE STREETFIGHTER… THAT’S THE MESSAGE ALMOST EVERYWHERE THESE DAYS… WELL, EXCEPT IN A SMALL VILLAGE IN PORTUGAL.

’ve shown you the bikes built by Carlos Rodrigues, also known as Mortagua Fighter, before in BSH, and we always look forward to seeing the new one when he announces he’s building another. He’s just one guy, on his own, down in a rural area of Portugal, who comes up with a new visually stunning machine every couple of years, and this one, named Infernal Chaos, is the ninth such build he’s done.

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He’s a very clever guy, is Carlos, and he has vision unlike anyone else’s in the bike world. No, I don’t mean he can see through walls (or ladies’ undergarments) or drill holes in people’s heads with power beams from his eyes (have you seen Brightburn yet?) – what I mean is that the vision of what a custom motorcycle looks like in his head is substantially different to the vision of what a custom motorcycle looks like in just about everyone else’s head, and this is reflected in the bikes he builds; they look absolutely nothing like anything anyone else anywhere is building. As I said, Infernal Chaos is the ninth bike he’s built, and it’s just as clever as anything else he’s done previously. It’s based on a humble 600 Bandit (Carlos likes oil-burner Suzukis, and uses them in the majority of his builds as they have such neat, clean engines that really lend themselves to custom projects) but, as you can see, there isn’t very much of the little budget Suzook left at all. The engine, of course, is as the gentlemen in Minami-ku intended, bar an uprated air filter, and a traditionally short (and very, very loud!) exhaust system… well, traditionally short (and very, very loud) for a Mortagua bike anyway. He’s also used a Bandit Six front wheel, although the rear is from a bigger

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Suzuki (very probably a Bandit Twelve) as it wears a 190 hoop – something that won’t fit on a 600’s rear wheel. Just about everything else comes from the distinctly untrad’ mind of the man himself. He’s made, as usual, the frame himself, and moved its swingarm pivot forward a few inches so that it’s a lot closer to the engine than the one on the stock Suzi is. The rear end now runs a one-off cantilever shock arrangement, and a new longer swingarm, and the front end is a complete one-off based around a new suspension set up that’s based on the old plunger system used on old British bikes, but moved from the rear of the bike to the front. It’s a mark of Carlos’ bikes that he makes quite simple and straightforward suspension principles


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