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retrobike CLASSIC NOT PLASTIC

19 39 harley- davi dso n

2 01 6 B M W R NI NE -T (Both incl. GST)

ISSUE 28 SUMMER 2017/18

AUS $14.95* NZ $15.99

D U S T E R

HE L L S RAC E 2 017 D UCATI 9 00SS R E PL I CA

TR IUMP H S PEED TWI N K I W I D IR T M AST ERS S UZ UK I TL10 00 R


Beach Racers

1939 HARLEY-DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD

“THE RACE BIKE WAS STRIPPED OF ITS BODYWORK AND SET A NEW WORLD RECORD OF 136MPH”

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N 1936, Harley-Davidson debuted an iconic game-changer to the world. The 61-cubic-inch (1000cc) E and EL solos were the first Harley-Davidson production models to feature overhead valves and a recirculating oil system. It was big news and the new bike became famous almost overnight for its speed, strength and style. Every OHV bigtwin Harley released since is a direct descendent. The intense competition between the US motorcycle manufacturers over the previous decades had seen battles fought on board tracks, dirt tracks, hill climbs and endurance races across the country. Speed was always the key and the faster a bike could go, the more success it enjoyed in the sales market. Harley-Davidson knew this all too well and was a serious force in racing throughout that time. Land speed records were the new big thing; cars were being built for speed, boats were being built for speed, famous racers were taking to the new sport and creating records that would be smashed the following year. In 1935, Sir Malcolm Campbell set a land speed record on Daytona Beach in the famous Bluebird streamliner at an astonishing 301mph or 484km/h! Harley-Davidson was very aware of this record and the exposure it had gotten for Campbell and the Bluebird. Harley had won many races on the beach over the years, but these were races, not speed record attempts. Harley obviously needed to get involved at Daytona and show what they could do on the sand with their radical new OHV ‘Knucklehead’. Dipping their lids to Campbell, the factory painted the racer blue to link it with the four-wheeled Bluebird. And so, on 13 March, 1937, Harley-Davidson’s most experienced and winningest factory rider Joe Petrali took the heavily modified, 1000cc Knucklehead streamliner onto the beach at Daytona and attempted to set a new world record for an aspirated 1000cc two-valves-per-cylinder pushrod engine. Bad news! The streamlined bodywork didn’t work at all well, filling with sand from the beach and becoming unrideable. After several runs with the bodywork on, the bike was stripped of all its aerodynamic aids apart from a small bubble faring (made from a fuel tank) and the shrouds on the front forks. The racer was now naked! A makeshift guard and seat 10

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Beach Racers

1939 HARLEY-DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD

“THE WHEELS ARE 23 INCHES, THE SAME AS PETRALI’S BIKE, BUT WITH BRAKES AND MODERN TYRES” were attached and the bike, with Joe onboard, went out for another attempt. Instantly the bike handled much better and was more stable at speed, and a new world record of 136mph (218km/h) was duly set as an average of two passes in opposing directions over a flying mile. The class record stood for eons and has only been beaten in recent times. So jump forward 83 years and this is what I have created — a Harley-Davidson Knucklestyle motor in a rigid frame with 23-inch wheels, modelled closely on the original 1937 Petrali land speed bike, albeit with concessions made for modern times and roadworthy rules. I have always been a massive fan of H-D’s racing history and have raced Harleys in different forms and disciplines for decades. I especially love the Knucklehead era, the history of Joe Petrali and all that he achieved. The opportunity came my way to obtain a new replica 80ci S&S Knuckle engine in 2012. The plan from the start was to build a version of the Petrali bike, but to have it civilised enough to meet our modern times and rego regulations. Then in 2013 I was diagnosed with an especially aggressive form of leukaemia, which put me in hospital for eight months undergoing chemotherapy and kept in isolation, away from 12

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potentially lethal infections. Two more years of recovery passed before I was physically and mentally fit enough to finally tackle a project of this size. We got there in the end. The finished bike is based around a 1939 model — it was the closest I could get — with the frame altered to suit the build. The gearbox is a replica of the periodcorrect four-speed transmission, with a jockey shifter located off the side of the box. I didn’t want to run the usual tank-mounted shift as the Petrali bike only had two gears that were changed with a lever also at the gearbox. The wheels are 23 inches in diameter at both ends, the same as Petrali’s, but set up with brakes and modern tyres. The rear brake is a nicely hidden disc/sprocket combination that works really well and gives some good stopping power without anyone knowing it’s there. The cosmetics of the bike are all one-off productions. The seat and tank pad for the speedo were handmade and hand-stitched by my good mate, Graeme; he swears he will never do another, not because it was too hard but because there should only ever be one set. It was also a massive task to find the correct blue to match the Petrali bike. Part of the problem is that it has been photographed many times over


Knuckle Duster APART from a handful of four-valve-per-cylinder OHV factory race bikes, all Harley-Davidson V-twins prior to 1936 were based on inlet-over-exhaust or side-valve designs, with the latter the most popular. So the first overhead-valve production V-twin was a big call on a couple of fronts. First, the performance benefits of OHV and even OHC were well known in the 1930s, but they were generally less reliable and oil tight, and required more maintenance than side-valves. So good for the track, less so for the highway. Second, the OHV engine was developed during the depths of the Great Depression, when Harley’s annual sales fell as low as 3700 bikes in 1933, down from 24,000 just four years earlier. And there’s the factory putting all its energy into a new expensive luxury model! The engine featured close to square dimensions, hemispherical combustion chambers and a single four-lobe camshaft sitting low in the V, driving a four-speed constant-mesh gearbox in place of the old crash three-speed. The engine also featured a dry-sump oil-recirculating system (previously total loss) which was soon extended to the side-valve models selling alongside. Ditto the new forks and frame, as well as the styling, which has pretty much defined Harley’s big twins ever since. Capacity was increased to 74ci (1200cc) in 1941 but it wasn’t until its successor was released in 1948 and almost immediately dubbed the Panhead that the earlier engine earned the nickname, Knucklehead, to differentiate it. If you clench your fist hard and look at the back of your hand, your knuckles are the polished rocker arm nuts and the tendons of your hand the four pushrod tubes.

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Beach Racers

1939 HARLEY-DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD

“THE EXHAUST MAKES A GREAT SOUND WITHOUT BEING OVER THE TOP” the decades and looks a different hue in every picture. I finally decided on some photographs taken very recently at the Harley-Davidson Museum, which I feel are the most accurate in colour and this is what we decided on. The tank graphics are also as per Petrali’s racer. The centre comet is the correct 1937 design, but the flashes above and below are unique to the Petrali bike. I originally was able to obtain a pair of ‘new old stock’ water transfers; they were applied but a week later, even with clear over the top, they blistered! No fault of the painter — the decals were just too old! New vinyl copies were made and the tanks redone, with much thanks to Darren and Ian at Southern Highlands Smash Repairs. The front brake is a twin-leading shoe, modified from the original single-leading-shoe design. The handlebars are simple one-inch tube shaped to what I needed. The rear guard is also a one-off build, kept simple and clean 14

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to enhance the look and lines of the bike. The taillight is of a style from the 1920s and suits the bike well. The primary cover is stock but hides an 11mm heavy-duty belt-drive system with a more modern clutch design. The foot lever for the clutch is the stock style from the late 1930s and is easy to use. The same with the footboards — period-correct down to the rivets which hold the rubber on — and the new wiring loom with its woven cloth finish. The exhaust is just a simple high/low design with the cool tulip-style mufflers; it gives the bike a great sound without being over the top and too loud. This bike wasn’t built to be a restoration or replica. It is my tribute to Joe Petrali’s famous Knucklehead land speed racer and to Joe himself, representing a period in time when men were men, bikes were raw and brutal, and speed was the name of the game.

Retro Specs ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke 45-degree V-twin; OHV, two valves per cylinder; 80ci/1340cc; 8:1 comp; single two-inch S&S carburettor; electronic ignition; belt-primary to foot-operated dry clutch and four-speed jockey-shift gearbox; chain final drive CHASSIS Twin-downtube rigid frame in tubular steel; springer fork, laced 23-inch rim with twinleading-shoe drum brake; 23-inch laced rim down back with combined disc/sprocket rear; Avon tyres BODYWORK Early replica tanks with modified rubber isolation mounts; custom rear guard; repro original-style headlight; paint by Southern Highlands Smash; leatherwork by Graeme BEST Road-going tribute to iconic land speed racer; classic 1930s style; ridden, not hidden NOT SO GREAT Are you kidding? We wouldn’t change a thing


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Neo Racers

16

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2016 BMW R NINE-T


With 145rwhp pushing just 170kg and riding on the best suspension money can buy, Diamond Atelier’s DA#9 raises the bar for custom bike performance WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOGRAPHY LUKAS MAGERI

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Neo Racers

2016 BMW R NINE-T

“IT WAS BUILT TO COMPLY WITH GERMANY’S MODIFIED VEHICLE GUIDELINES AND IS 100 PER CENT STREET LEGAL”

I

N just four years, Diamond Atelier has earned a worldwide reputation for innovative custom bikes. Although often based on BMW twins, most DA creations eschew old-school retro styling for a fresh, carte blanche approach. Many are spec-built, but the number of commissioned builds is on the rise. “Usually when people call to seek information about a potential project they would like to start with us, they like to talk first,” says DA’s Tom Konecny. “Often it’s about their ideas for the build, their motorcycling past, riding style and current bike inventory. I’ve heard this monologue countless times and only rarely does it lead to an order placement! “But every once in a while, you receive a phone call which you don’t really know how to handle, like when I first spoke to our soon-tobe client for this build. All he knew was that he wanted a BMW boxer engine with superior performance in an aggressive yet elegant shell. And with no further questions asked, he ordered the bike. ‘I never take long to decide,’ he said. ‘If I feel something is right, I do it.’” 18

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The rest was up to Tom and his partner Pablo Steigleder, including the choice of host bike, which was largely determined by the request for superior engine and chassis performance. “That’s when a classic BMW went out of the picture,” Tom says, “pretty much leaving us with two options: the R1200R and the R nineT. We chose the latter, as we already had much experience with this model as the donor to our DA#4 BMW.” (Play Hard, Retrobike #26.) BMW makes a big deal of the R nineT being custom-friendly, but it’s mostly because of the bolt-on sub-frame and separate wiring harness for taillights, blinkers and the like. Go much deeper electronically and an overreaching digital engine control unit — increasingly common on modern bikes — soon brings proceedings to a halt. Pablo and Tom had invested a mountain of time developing the software to overcome these limitations with the earlier build, along with acquiring the special tools needed to dismantle the chassis, so it made sense to stick with what they knew. “In terms of looks it was our main goal to give

DA#9 completely different proportions than what people are used to seeing with R nineTs, even within the numerous custom builds,” Tom says. “The new-school trellis frame allowed us to visibly incorporate it into the gas tank design. To make it stand out even more, we completely cleaned the front frame piece and painted it in the bike’s secondary colour. The gas tank itself is hand-built, hiding all electronics and other crucial but unsightly stuff underneath it. The tail is custom-built as well to flow with the R nineT middle frame construction and supporting a hand-sewed Nubuck leather seat. The short rear frame gives the bike an overall front-heavy feel, which adds to the aggressive stance we were aiming for.” Also adding to the bike's striking visual presence is a pair of super-lightweight carbonfibre BSK wheels from Blackstone Tec in South Africa, wrapped in Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP2 semi-slick tyres. Given the other upgrades to the bike’s running gear, anything less would have been unworthy. Front forks are as trick as


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Shannons are offering motoring enthusiasts the chance to win a 13-night fully escorted self-drive tour for two to the world’s greatest classic motoring event – the 2018 Goodwood Revival. Plus, tour through the English countryside visiting iconic events, attractions and motoring collections. The winner will also receive an all new 2018 Indian Scout Bobber Motorcycle in Thunder Black.

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Neo Racers

2016 BMW R NINE-T

“THE SHORT REAR FRAME GIVES THE BIKE A FRONT-HEAVY FEEL, ADDING TO ITS AGGRESSIVE STANCE” they come, German-made Wilbers ZF 46RR upside-downies located in a custom-made top triple clamp, complete with DA’s trademark 0.20-carat diamond set within it. The new Wilbers design features closed cartridge-style damping and carbon-coated fork tubes for almost zero friction and super-sensitive adjustment of damping and preload. Extra- high-speed security is provided by a Wilbers steering damper. The rear shock is a multi-adjustable Wilbers Blackline unit operated by an AC Schnitzer paralever strut. The brakes, however, are mostly stock. “After consulting with a friendly professional racing rider, the stock braking system was considered sufficient,” Tom says, “so the only upgrades were custom steel-braided brake lines from ABM connected to an adjustable Spiegler radial pump.” The engine was shipped to legendary German BMW tuner Andreas Reh of Rehcing GmbH, who fitted a 1400cc big-bore kit 20

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capable of a reliable dyno-proven 145rwhp, compared with the stock 1170cc engine’s notexactly-shabby 110hp. The all-new tank, bereft of the usual R nineT intake snorkels, called for a radical but elegant in-house solution to housing a K&N air filter rear of the engine. Titanium headers are by Remus Sport Exhaust in Austria and the muffler is from Spark Exhaust Technologies in Italy. Diamond Atelier also added their own signature breastplate and rocker covers, the latter specifically machined for this bike. “This is a prototype set we created together with Simon Dabadie from DAB Design,” Tom says. “These covers shine another light on the R nineT approach, giving it a dark and urban styling, especially when anodised black as here. We even shaved off some weight in comparison to the stock set,” with every little bit helping on a bike that now tips the scales at a featherweight 170kg. Other detail stuff includes a Motoscope Pro

dash and bar-end indicators from Motogadget; Multiclip fully adjustable handlebars, switchgear and custom steel-braided lines from ABM; AC Schnitzer rear-sets; and a Spiegler clutch master cylinder. Hidden from view is the custom wiring harness and lithium ion battery. Amazingly, the bike was built to comply with Germany’s generous modified vehicle guidelines and, as you see it here, is 100 per cent street legal. It’s some bike, that’s for sure, and we don’t want to even think about the cost. Its predecessor, DA#4, won a host of awards, including Pipeburn’s coveted Bike of the Year for 2016. DA#9 not just improves on that, but takes custom bikes to a whole new place, this time with performance figures as outrageous as its radical appearance. Just look at those numbers one more time — 145rwhp, 170kg and all of it riding on the best suspension money can buy — and dare to bet against it in 2017.


Retro Specs ENGINE Air- and oil-cooled four-stroke flat twin; DOHC, four valves per cylinder; Rehcing big-bore kit for 1400cc; fuel-injected; remapped ECU by Diamond Atelier; custom inlet manifold incorporating K&N filter; Remus headers, Spark muffler; DA breastplate and rocker covers; dry clutch to six-speed gearbox and shaft final drive; 145rwhp (measured) CHASSIS Modified BMW tubular-steel trellis-style mainframe; bolt-on custom DA subframe; DA triple clamps; Wilbers ZF 46RR USD forks, 17in carbon-fibre BSK wheel with 2 x 320mm rotors gripped by Brembo four-spot calipers (front); single-sided rear swing arm with AC Schnitzer paralever strut and Wilbers Blackline mono-shock, 17in BSK wheel with single 265mm rotor with Brembo twin-piston caliper (rear); Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP2 tyres BODYWORK Tank, seat and front guard by DA; no rear guard; Motogadget Motoscope Pro dash; ABM clip-ons and switchgear; AC Schnitzer rearsets; cowhide seat BEST FOR Mountain roads, racetracks, custom bike shows NOT SO GREAT Could be a handful in the wet ISSUE #28

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Competition

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FLAT-TRACK RACING


H I G H WAY T O

HELL All roads lead to Lelystad in the Netherlands for Hells Race 2017 WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOGRAPHY MOTOR RAUSCH

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Competition

FLAT-TRACK RACING

“HELLS RACE COULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO. THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ENOUGH INTEREST” 24

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F

LAT track racing was born in the USA, where it is still big news, but it's also flourishing in Europe. This is especially the case at grassroots level, fuelled by events like Dirt Quake (Retrobike #25) which give punters a chance to have a lash in a not-too-serious environment. Hells Race at Lelystad Speedway in Holland is a full-on competitive event but also includes a Newbies class for folk wanting to try their luck and who own a suitably cool bike. Entries are at the organisers’ discretion, and must have their front brakes disabled and an ignition cut-off lanyard fitted. There is also a Rookie class for riders having their first taste of a purpose-built flat tracker, before they move onto Amateur (bikes up to 600cc) or Thunder for the big guns. We mostly had

eyes for the early girls in the Vintage class — which also had the broadest variety of makes and models — as well as the late-model Indian Scouts and Harley Sportsters racing in the aptly-named Hooligan class. Now an annual event, the second running of Hells Race attracted an international entry list, including many from the ranks of the Dirt Track Riders Association in the UK as well as riders from Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. Cult ‘turn-left’ magazine Sideburn was also well represented. The venue is a 290m short-track oval, part of a large motorsport complex built on reclaimed land in the centre of the Netherlands. The action happens over a weekend — practice Saturday, race on Sunday — with on-site camping for competitors and spectators.


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Competition

FLAT-TRACK RACING

“NO-ONE’S RACING FOR SHEEP STATIONS AND THE VIBE IS RELAXED AND FRIENDLY” 26

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Flat-track racing kicked off in America in the 1920s, as bikes outgrew the banked board tracks which were a carryover from bicycle racing and had become increasingly dangerous for riders and spectators alike. Promoters began constructing mile and half-mile dirt ovals which were cheap to build, relatively safe and brought all the sliding action up close and personal. The American Motorcyclist Association sanctioned a national dirt track championship from 1932, then incorporated both long- and short-track forms into a multi-discipline AMA Grand National Championship which, from 1954, also included tarmac racing and was immortalised in Bruce Brown’s 1971 documentary, On Any Sunday. Flat-track racing returned to a standalone US championship in 1986. While flat-track racing also has a long European history, it was speedway that proved the most popular derivative, as in Australia. The recent resurgence of flat-track racing (for bikes with suspension and back brakes) has been from the ground up, mimicking the newfound popularity of custom bikes and attracting a similar crowd. A resurgent DTRA is at the forefront of it, running the biggest flat-track championship in the world outside of the US and providing the template for others across Europe to follow. “A race like Hells Race couldn't have happened in the Netherlands four or five years ago,” says Sideburn editor, Dirt Quake founder and all-round legend, Gary Inman. “There just wouldn't have been enough interest, but the flat-track scene is growing everywhere. The Lelystad track has been taken over by a trio of dirt-track mad friends, who are putting practices on every weekend through the summer, weather permitting. It's going to really help the Benelux scene grow to have a dirt trackfriendly track in the area.


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Competition

FLAT-TRACK RACING

“THERE WERE LOADS OF INTERESTING BUDGET BIKES IN THE NEWBIE AND ROOKIE CLASSES” 28

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“There were loads of interesting budget bikes in the Newbie and Rookie classes,” he says. “It reminds me of the UK short-track scene a few years ago, when bikes were a bit more make-do, while people worked out if they wanted to invest in more parts to properly sort their bikes for the sport. I love this period of local evolution and the DIY ethic of it.” As with similar events, the pits at Hells Race are open to spectators who are encouraged to interact with the racers and check out their bikes up close. No-one’s racing for sheep stations and the vibe is generally relaxed and friendly, until the flag drops anyway. “Flat-track racers enjoy a healthy relationship with the fans,” says co-organiser Bram. “People can walk right up on a Sunday afternoon with their kids and get almost anything signed by the racers. Riders hang out in the pits after events and fans can approach them firsthand. You seldom find that rapport anymore in any type of sport. It’s no wonder many flat trackers are hailed as heroes.” Dirt track racing is, of course, a big deal in Australia too — from mini-bike clubs through to professional speedway troupes — with almost every second country town hosting a circuit. We also have events like Ellaspede’s Dust Hustle in Queensland following the Dirt Quake formula to introduce flat-track racing to the broader motorcycling community. Go fast, turn left. How hard could it be?


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to be available until 5pm 8/12/17. Entry is only open to eligible Australian residents aged 18 years or older. Eligible Entrants must be opted in to receive Shannons marketing communications. Total prize pool valued at approx. AUD $49,994.12 (depending on major prize winner’s point of departure). Prizes drawn at 12pm on 18/12/17 at Salmat Digital Pty Ltd, L2, 116 Miller St, Nth Sydney NSW 2060. The winners will be notiďŹ ed by phone and email by 20/12/17 and published in The Australian newspaper on 21/12/17 and on the competition website. *Shannons Motor Insurance Policy (excludes CTP insurance) (Motor Policy) or Shannons Home & Contents insurance (includes building only, contents only or building and contents cover) (Home Policy) quotes. Limit 1 quote per vehicle or insured address. **Purchase a new Motor Policy (excludes existing Motor Policy renewals).+Purchase a new Home Policy.Permits: ACT TP 17/01443, NSW LTPS/17/16195, SA T17/1365. Full competition terms and conditions at shannons.com.au/goodwood.


Cafe Racers

30

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1976 DUCATI 900GT/SS


PARTS BIN

Leo Fleuren builds a replica of a replica of a replica WORDS RALPH FISCHER & GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOGRAPHY MAURICE VOLMEYER

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Cafe Racers

1976 DUCATI 900GT/SS

H

ERE is an interesting bike. At first glance it looks like a lightly modified early Ducati V-twin with a cool metal-finished tank and seat. Look closer and spot some serious brakes up front; look again for the single-shock rear and lowmounted side-by-side exhausts. And of course that duck egg green/blue frame. Where have we seen all that before? Leo Fleuren is a longtime Ducati dealer in the Netherlands who last year put his mind to building a special from spare parts he’d accumulated over decades to celebrate Ducati’s 90th anniversary. He’s a quirky guy who likes to follow his own muse, and enlisted the help of his mate Willy Poelen to turn his pile of parts into a functioning motorcycle. “When we undertake stuff like this, we do keep Ducati’s heritage in mind,” Leo says. “One of our aims was to incorporate a substantial diversity of Ducati parts from different technological generations — a handmade bike 32

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that was also an ‘original’ Ducati. That way we hoped to get an honest motorcycle which stays close to the brand values. “It’s almost 100 per cent Ducati. In a small number of cases, we couldn’t find a suitable Ducati part so we manufactured it ourselves. The only two non-Ducati items that weren’t made by hand are the dash instruments and the Öhlins suspension.” Dubbed Novant’anni (’90 years’ in Italian), the subtle custom takes its inspiration from the 2006 Ducati PaulSmart LE, a limited-run Sports Classic designed by Pierre Terblanche which referenced the most famous Ducati V-twin of all time, the revered ‘green-frame’ 1974 750 Super Sport. The SS was itself a production version of the race bike on which Paul Smart won the 1972 Imola 200 (Numero Uno, Retrobike #23). As a replica of a replica of a replica, it somehow makes sense that it’s built around an early bevel-drive engine and not the later belt-drive Desmodue that powered the PaulSmart.

The engine is from a 1976 900 Super Sport, carefully rebuilt to standard specs including 40mm Dell’Orto carbies fitted with velocity stacks. It is housed in a much-modified 860GT frame from the same period. The seat section is totally new, with the top rails curving down for a lower seat height and with smaller triangulation back to the main chassis, which is reminiscent of the PaulSmart, as of course is the colour. “In this way, the bike’s design tells a historic tale while still being new,” Leo says. The really trick bit is the rear suspension. The PaulSmart featured a dual-sided swingarm but with only one shock mounted on the straight arm on the left-hand side. As with all Pantahbased engines, the Desmodue also runs its final drive chain on the same side. Freed of sharing the shock load and with no chain getting in the way, the right-side arm was curved to accommodate optimum placement of the exhausts, much like on an RGV Suzuki. Bevel-drive Ducatis, however, have their


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Cafe Racers

1976 DUCATI 900GT/SS

drive chains located on the right-hand side, so the whole rear end had to swap sides, with the straight arm and shock on the right and the curved arm arcing high on the left with the exhausts exiting underneath. A mirror image, in other words, which involved a lot more than just turning the swingarm upside down. The exhausts are a one-off set from Dutch Ducati race shop Mille Pagic R&D, which mimic the original PaulSmart style. The rear shock is an Öhlins unit from a 748R. Front forks are standard bevel fare in stock 860 triple clamps, although the brakes have been upgraded to twin four-spot Brembos on 320mm floating rotors from a 749R. Laced wheels (18-inch front, 17-inch rear) are from the new Scrambler. For the bodywork, Leo commissioned renowned Dutch vehicle restoration workshop Carrozzeria Labro to fashion the fuel tank, seat unit and front mudguard from hand-beaten aluminium to Leo’s design. The seat is leather, the headlight is from a 900 Monster and the dash is from Motogadget. Leo admits he wasn’t sure how the project would end up when he started it, nor was he particularly concerned about what others might think. “It’s not hard to visualise an idea,” he says, “but can you actually turn it into steel? We only succeeded because Willy and I were able to work it out together, each in our own field of expertise. Willy took care of the technical challenges while I went on finalising the design.

Sport Classics DUCATI was ahead of the retro game when it unveiled the Sports Classics range at the 2003 Tokyo Motorcycle Show. Penned by Pierre Terblanche — who also designed the MH900e, 749/999 and the first Multistrada — the bikes went on sale late in 2005 for the 2006 model year, in the form of the Sport1000 (inspired by the 1973 750 Sport) and the PaulSmart LE, a modern interpretation of the legendary green-frame 750SS of 1974. The more touring-oriented GT1000, modelled on the 1972 GT750, followed in 2007. All models shared the ultimate incarnation of the air-cooled two-valve-per-cylinder belt-drive engines — the 992cc fuel-injected twin-spark Desmodue — which made a stomping 91hp at 8000rpm but felt like even more. The unusual swingarm and mono-shock on the original models were not initially popular and were soon replaced on the Sport and GT with a more conventional twin-shock set-up that saw both models through to the end of the decade. Not so the PaulSmart, with production limited to just one run of 2000 bikes, of which 105 came to Australia. It's fitted with all the good gear, including Öhlins suspension both ends, and is priced at an eyewatering $24,000 new. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one under $30,000 11 years later. The PaulSmart pictured here was our cover bike two years ago, largely stock apart from the Zard exhaust; the standard exhaust had both mufflers exiting below the curved right-side swingarm. It is owned by Herschel Smith and was photographed by Thomas Wielecki. 34

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Cafe Racers

1976 DUCATI 900GT/SS

“RIDING THIS BIKE HAS A CLASSIC FEEL TO IT, MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE ENGINE” “You need to know where you want your project to go before you start the work and we definitely learned a few things that we would approach differently next time! We had no final drawings or blueprints. This meant deliberation almost without end in order to reach the same idea, but we still managed to go wrong a few times. “Building a bike without drawings or blueprints was a once only — I’ll never do that again! In the end, we managed to complete the project in about 250 to 300 hours of work.” Equally important to Leo is how his creations perform in the real world. “The bikes we build need to be so pleasing to the eye you could stare at them for a whole day, but they should be able to please riders as well,” he says. “Personally, I would definitely spend my very last money on a day’s riding instead of enjoying aesthetic pleasures. 36

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“But still it’s fantastic to have a bike you love to look at every time. And part of the beauty of a project such as Novant’anni is that you can put some of your own personality into it. It’s in the design but also in the technological challenges you find on your path. “My personal theory is every rider through the ages has wanted a beautiful horse. Well, here is mine! We have turned a mass product into tailor-made haute couture. And we did it using Ducati parts wherever we could, a prerequisite when you’re building a one-off motorcycle to commemorate 90 years of Ducati. “It is still a motorcycle that handles well, that doesn’t disappoint once you ride it. Riding this bike has a classic feel to it, mainly because we used such a classic engine. You have to adapt to the bike’s character but that is a big part of the enjoyment.”

Retro Specs ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke 90-degree V-twin; bevel-gear drive to SOHC desmodromic heads; two valves per cylinder; 86 x 74mm for 864cc; 9.4:1 comp; 2 x 40ml Dell’Orto pumpers with ram tubes; electronic ignition; custom exhausts by Mille Pagic R&D; gear primary to wet clutch and five-speed gearbox; chain final drive CHASSIS Modified 860GT main chassis in tubular steel, with engine stressed; conventional front forks with Brembo four-piston calipers on 320mm rotors, laced 18-inch wheel; fabricated seat section, also in tubular steel; dual swingarm with Öhlins mono-shock, twin-piston Brembo caliper on 245mm rotor, laced 17-inch wheel BODYWORK Tank, mudguard and seat unit by Carrozzeria Labro in hand-beaten aluminium; leather seat; Monster headlight; Motogadget dash SUMMARY Quirky mix of two classic greenframe Ducatis


To celebrate the fifty year anniversary of the first model, Moto Guzzi introduces the V7 III. The third generation of the Moto Guzzi that is known and loved all over the world has been completely revamped: every detail has been fine-tuned to maximise owner satisfaction and riding pleasure, leaving the originality and authenticity typical of this iconic motorcycle unaltered.

V7III Range Includes: V7III Anniversario V7III Stone V7III Special V7III Racer

/motoguzziaus

@motoguzziaus

motoguzziaus.com.au


Track Bikes

2017 EMU BSA E120R

FAST FORWARD A uniquely Australian take on what might have been WORDS ALAN CATHCART PHOTOGRAPHY STEPHEN PIPER

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D

OUG Fraser is a toolmaker. His Emu Engineering workshop on the road to Phillip Island is packed with lathes, grinders, milling machines and related equipment, all the gear you need to build your own motorcycle. He is also somewhat smitten by vehicles Made in England. “I was brought up when the British motorcycle industry was flourishing,” says Doug. “I like the way their bikes were built, because as a toolmaker I can relate to the machinery used to make them. I think they're fine products.” Doug is an especially big fan of the BSA Gold Star single, and owns several including a 500 with his own four-valve cylinder head. “I’ve also always liked BSA V-twins, even though they only built them from 1920 to 1938, and in spite of the fact they were a little short-fused. I’ve never understood why BSA didn’t build a more modern version.” Doug had already constructed two BSA-styled V-twins — an ‘M46’ built to 1930s spec, and his early '70s-inspired ‘B66’, both full of BSA parts — but this one, designated the E120R, would start with a clean sheet. “It was the logical follow-on, showing where BSA might be if they’d kept going with the V-twin into the modern era,” he says. “But BSA hasn’t been around since 1972, so we can’t say what their bikes would look like today. I opted for a modern design in creating what might have been.” The result is an air/oil-cooled 1194cc eightvalve DOHC 75-degree V-twin, with narrow crankcases for extra stiffness thanks to the hefty external Moto Guzzi-style bacon-slicer flywheel on the left side. The cylinders have extensive finning similar in size and shape to the BSA DBD34 Gold Star.

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Track Bikes

2017 EMU BSA E120R

“I WAS REMINDED ONE MORE TIME OF THE RISKS OF RIDING PROTOTYPES THAT ARE STILL WORKS IN PROGRESS”

“With four-valve cylinder heads, I was concerned about heat build-up in and around the exhaust valves, so I’ve used oil to further cool the cylinder sleeves and exhaust ports,” says Doug, who plans to fuel-inject the motor presently fitted with 38mm Amal Mk2 Concentric carbs. These will be bored out to 42mm once initial development work is complete, though fitting MoTeC EFI is the goal. Conveniently, Australia's world-class engine management company is located less than 50km away! And there’s provision in the castings for eventually fitting both an alternator and starter motor to get the show on the road. “I designed this as a BSA streetfighter, derived from a sports model, which could be ridden on the road and give a good account of itself on the racetrack,” says Doug. “But to get the engine set up and running properly, I’m using Amal carbs and SEM chainsaw magnetos from Sweden. When we need more performance, we’ll switch to injection.” Doug is following the strategy adopted by his close neighbours, Ken and Barry Horner, in developing their Irving Vincent racers in their hi-tech CAD/CNC-equipped factory just 10km down the road. “What Ken and Barry have done is fantastic, they deserve real credit,” says Doug. “We’re just doing the best we can in a relatively low-tech machine shop where the electric pencil sharpener beside my drawing board is the most high-tech design item!” The Emu BSA’s narrow crankcases are vertically split, encompassing a one-piece plain-bearing crankshaft which Doug machined from 52kg of EN26 steel billet to end up with a crank weighing just 7.5kg. “There was a lot of swarf!” he says. The mainshaft is 40mm and the assembly runs on two very large roller main bearings. Pankl titanium conrods are bolted up side-by-side on the 53mm big end, with forged Mahle pistons sourced from a flat-six Porsche 996RS running in Nikasil-lined Mahle sleeves. 40

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That crankshaft is pretty light but is supplemented by the outside flywheel, which can be varied in weight to balance traction with acceleration. The present one weighs two kilos, with lighter ones (to increase acceleration on dry tracks) and heavier ones (for damp or slippery conditions) to come. Doug calls it “mechanical traction control”. The E120R Emu BSA’s heads carry paired sodium-filled valves — 41mm inlets and 35.8mm exhausts, with 6mm stems and dual springs — all again sourced from Porsche and set at a flat included angle of 27º. The valves are operated by twin overhead camshafts ground to Porsche profiles, each driven by 19mm belts. The cams run on plain bearings, operating hydraulic radius-bucket tappets made by INA for Porsche, so no tappet adjustment is required. Transmission is

gear-driven to a six-speed Honda Firestorm gearbox via a Fireblade clutch. The beefy looking motor is fitted in a Ducati-style triangulated chrome-moly tubular-steel space-frame weighing less than 10kg, using the engine as a stressed component. A modified CBR600RR swingarm pivots off the rear, with the Öhlins monoshock sourced from a Ducati 999S. The front end is from a Suzuki GSX-R1000, with fully adjustable Kayaba forks and 310mm front discs gripped by Tokico fourpot calipers. Suzuki also furnished both wheels. Wheelbase is a compact 1400mm, and the Emu BSA 120R weighs just 168kg with oil but no fuel, split 52/48. Fuel is contained in a modified Yamaha TRX850 steel tank, with the underside reshaped to clear the cam boxes.


Sir Al pulls off the save of the century after the prototype BSA engine covered the rear tyre in oil! Photo: Russell Colvin

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Track Bikes

2017 EMU BSA E120R

The new E120R flanked by two earlier Emu BSA V-twins, the M46 (left) and '70s-inspired B66

So how much horsepower has Doug Fraser got so far out of his ultimate big-twin Beeza? “At present, 103bhp at the rear wheel at 6800rpm, but I’m just getting started,” he says. “Eventually I will fuel-inject it with bigger throttle bodies, and I’m expecting around 120bhp at the rear wheel.” I rode Doug’s creation earlier this year at the Broadford Bike Bonanza in Victoria. Doug had managed just a couple of laps on the untried bike at a wet race meeting two weeks earlier, so he put in five laps to warm the tyres and make sure everything was screwed on tight, before pitting and handing it over. Doug is shorter than me, but the snug stance wasn’t unduly cramped, just compact. And that’s the way the Emu BSA felt out on the track. Alongside his undisputed engine-building skills, Doug knows how to create an effective chassis, with neutral balanced steering and an agile eagerness to change direction when required. Its fingertip steering let me flick it from side to 42

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side without excessive effort off the throttle, but it never pushed the front wheel winding on the power. It always held exactly the line I’d chosen for it, with the rear suspension soaking up the ripples on the exits while laying acres of torque to the tarmac. The engine is as lusty as you’d expect, with no real vibration despite not having a counterbalancer. Though the clutch was a little grabby, the gearbox worked well and with more than 100Nm of torque from 3500 to 7200rpm, it’s an ultra-rideable package. It pulled strongly from 1500rpm idle and ran okay up to the 8000rpm redline, but the last thousand revs were hard won thanks to the 38mm carbs. The upside of that is that it accelerated like gangbusters, with just a small hiccup around 5000rpm, and it was very forgiving and responsive on and off the throttle. For a first serious outing, Doug had guessed right on the suspension settings — I could trailbrake the BSA into the apex of a turn hard on the


“WITH MORE THAN 100NM OF TORQUE FROM 3500 TO 7200RPM, IT'S AN ULTRA-RIDEABLE PACKAGE” brakes, without excessive front-end dive closing up the steering geometry and making it feel like it wanted to tuck the front wheel. It felt nice, but above all predictable. Same thing braking hard at the end of the straight, even on one lap when I shifted down one gear too many and got the rear wheel chattering. It did pay to use engine braking to help the brakes — just choose the right gear and be ready for the considerable inertia when you back off the throttle, presumably due to the weight Doug has chosen for the detachable flywheel. I didn’t once get the rear wheel lifting or street-sweeping the tarmac. However, I did have the narrowest of escapes from crashing the fruits of Doug Fraser’s hard work in my first session on the 120R! I’d downshifted three gears on the brakes as usual, and as I hit second gear while tipping into the apex of the bend, I suddenly felt the rear tyre step way, way out on me — I mean, BIG time! Fortunately, I had just enough warning to be able to catch it by

counter-steering, all the time willing myself not to touch the throttle or rear brake, and slow it with the front brake before running out of road, which I just managed to do. Phew! More by good luck than anything else, I’d just managed to save it, discovering when I pitted that the rear tyre was covered in oil! “The problem didn’t show up on any of the dyno runs, because the engine wasn’t put under load for long enough,” Doug says after apologising profusely. “It’s due to too much crankcase pressure building up thanks to inadequate ventilation, and pushing out the crankshaft seals. But it’ll be OK if you don’t go over 6000rpm.” So I didn’t from that point on, and continued to enjoy a rewarding day riding this outstanding piece of Aussie inventiveness, after being reminded one more time of the risks of riding prototypes that are still works in progress. Still, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Retro Specs ENGINE Air/oil-cooled four-stroke 75-degree V-twin; belt-driven DOHC, four valves per cylinder; 100 x 76mm for 1194cc; 11:1 comp; dry sump; 2 x 38mm Amal Mk2 Concentric carbs; twin SEM magneto ignition; gear primary to wet clutch and six-speed gearbox; 103rwhp @ 6800rpm CHASSIS Tubular steel space-frame; 43mm Kayaba USD forks, Tokico four-piston radial calipers on 310mm rotors, 3.5 x 17in cast wheel; CBR600RR swingarm, Öhlins shock, twin-piston Brembo caliper on 200mm Tokico rotor, 6 x 17in cast wheel; Dunlop D208 tyres BODYWORK TRX850 tank; race-glass seat unit DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 1400mm; head angle 24º; weight 168kg (with oil, no fuel) BEST Built from scratch; lusty engine; superb steering and handling NOT SO GREAT Still a little underdone

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Lifestyle

2017 VICTORIAN POSTIE MUSTER

Postie bikes rule the streets and back lanes of inner-city Melbourne WORDS & PHOTOS RUSS MURRAY

B

ACK in the heyday of snail mail, the Honda CT110 was the biggest-selling motorcycle in Australia, year after year, decade after decade, despite there being only one customer in the country for most of that time. The clutchless wonder was lightweight and cheap but boasted serious carrying capacity, which made it perfect for delivering mail. Australia Post bought them in their zillions. Even better, after approximately three years or 25,000km, they’d flog them at monthly auctions for the rest of us to enjoy. Amazingly, despite being around since 1980, it wasn’t until 2009 that local Honda dealers began selling road-going CT110s new to the public for the first time, until the model was discontinued in 2013. Along the way, postie bikes took on a cult following with a cottage industry springing up to service and customise them, ranging from simple paint jobs through to the whole gamut of modifications seen on larger-capacity motorbikes, including big-bore kits. Typical of these businesses is Champion Abbotsford, a workshop located in the beer garden of the Yarra Hotel in Abbotsford, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. Operated by Jim Clark, Champion specialises in customising and restoring Honda CT110s. One has to wonder whether the location is a reflection of Jim’s hospitality or the postie bike fraternity, or maybe both as the workshop made the perfect location for the 2017 Victorian Postie Muster organised by the good folk at Postie Bikes Australia. Around 40 posties made an appearance and, as might be expected, they ranged from stock-standard faded-red ex-Aussie Post bikes to some highly customised specials. And then there was Warwick Penfold — the guy behind Postie Bikes Australia

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Lifestyle

2017 VICTORIAN POSTIE MUSTER Bruce McMahon’s carbon-tanked custom hit all our buttons

MEET Jess, a promotional model invited along to drum up business for a raffle organised by Postie Bikes Australia to be drawn at the PBA Nationals in Maitland. Yep, you guessed it, first prize is a Honda CT110! For the price of a couple of tickets in the raffle, Jess was happy to be photographed with you and your bike — or maybe just your bike if your better half is the jealous kind — an offer taken up by more than a few riders.

which conducts all the musters throughout Australia as well as the grand finale, the Postie Bike Nationals in Maitland, NSW — who brought along a bike that reflected its heritage by being covered in postage stamps! Erin Bova rocked up on her black postie fully kitted out for touring with saddlebags covered in badges, crash bars, a touring screen, a long-range fuel tank and the obligatory milk crate attached to the rear parcel rack. Johnny Bear McFarlane was another with a touring bike replete with touring screen covered with stickers from various events and clubs, along with driving lights and an oil cooler. Oil coolers are popular additions on posties and the owners will fit them anywhere there’s space. As with many good things, there appear to be no rules. RD Davies also made an appearance with his touring postie, one that he’d spent 12 months living off the back of as he toured Australia. I’m not really sure why you would choose a postie bike to travel the vast expanse of this wide brown continent but then, with its top speed of around 80km/h, you would definitely have time to enjoy the scenery, something we tend to miss when on larger-capacity bikes. No doubt his bike would also have been a good conversation starter when eventually RD arrived at each overnight destination. Another rider turned up in full leathers and, with cafe-style handlebars on his CT110, he certainly looked the part of a boy racer. At the other extreme was Ben de Leer with his tres cool chopper-style step-through and bad-arse 48

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Warwick Penfold’s ‘Heritage’ Honda complete with stamps

Yamaha YZ80 transplant!

Cafe racer!

“POSTIE BIKES TOOK ON A CULT FOLLOWING, WITH A COTTAGE INDUSTRY SPRINGING UP TO CUSTOMISE THEM” bro-look helmet. Like many postie enthusiasts, neither rider lacked a sense of humour. For something really retrospective, one bike had a hand gearshift fitted. A steel rod close to a metre long had been welded to the gear lever which is located adjacent to the left footpeg, with an angry black skull placed at the top of the lever to act as a grip for the changing of the gears. You watch, next year everyone will be doing it. Meanwhile, Bruce McMahon’s customising skills extended to a carbon-fibre tank (actually a steel tank wrapped in carbon-like vinyl),

a Yoshimura pipe with white heat-resistant exhaust tape and white-walled tyres to give the bike that classic 1950s look, along with a sprung seat and aftermarket grips, mirrors, bar-ends and indicators. He even had a skull on the handlebars to ward off evil spirits. While many mods seen on postie bikes are cosmetic, that’s not always the case. More than a few bikes had incurred some performance mods along the lines of removing the exhaust baffles and intake airflow restrictors along with an increase in main jet size in the carburettor. Some owners have taken the engine capacity


RIDDEN NOT HIDDEN EDITORIAL

G'DAY WITH GEOFF SEDDON

I

LOVE this photo of clubman racer Phil Canning giving his Period 3 Vincent Black Lightning the berries at the track. No, it’s not one of the original 30 Black Lightnings built in the Stevenage factory just after WWII, but a replica built by Ken and Barry Horner in Victoria, running 12.5:1 compression on methanol to make around 90hp. So not priceless, just wickedly expensive, and Phil rides the wheels off it! Phil works hard for his coin as chief executive of a large company and spends it well, amassing an enviable collection of modern and classic motorcycles. This includes the 1940 Triumph Speed Twin featured on page 76. It is as meticulous a restoration as you’ll ever find of arguably the most collectable Triumph of all time, and represents a considerable investment in time and money. The temptation must be there to enclose it in a glass case, but he gives it the berries too! “Now it’s run in, it’s actually got some go,” Phil says. “It brakes well, handles well and you can punt it quite fast. It’ll carve up modern bikes all day going downhill.” Paul Bailey is another who believes bikes are there to be ridden, not hidden. Well known in classic racing circles for his insanely fast sidevalves, he built his OHV Knucklehead (page 8) as a road-going tribute to the factory racer on which Joe Petrali set a new land speed record of 136mph in 1937. Lot of passion in this one too, with the build interrupted by some lifethreatening health issues, which gave Paul even more incentive to live his life to the full. And what better way than from the sprung saddle of a souped-up 80-year-old Harley-Davidson!

PHOTO: COLIN ROSEWARNE

“So not priceless, just wickedly expensive, and Phil rides the wheels off it” With cheap historic rego available across Australia — just $50 a year in NSW, including CTP insurance — there’s no longer any excuse for keeping the early girls bottled up, especially with the introduction of logbook schemes in many jurisdictions, some of which also cover modified bikes. In NSW, up to 60 days use in addition to organised club runs is allowed; collect six bikes 30 years or older, and you could ride every day of the

EDITOR Geoff Seddon DESIGNER Kate Podger VALUED CONTRIBUTORS Paul Bailey, Loose Bruce, Pete Cagnacci, Alan Cathcart, Russell Colvin, Stewie Donn, Vinicius Engel, Ralph Fischer, Ben Galli, Half Light Photography, Lukas Mageri, Jamie McIlwraith, Stephen Piper, Chris Rausch, Russ Murray, Russell Neuendorf, Alastair Ritchie, Colin Rosewarne, Bennie Selboskar, Maurice Volmeyer, Thomas Wielecki, Luke Wood ADVERTISING MANAGER Fi Collins SUBS 1300 303 414 www.universalmagazines.com.au ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Marcus Hucker

year for less than half the cost of registering one modern bike. Yes, you will have to join a participating club but most don’t bite. You might even make some new friends. And if you can’t find a club that suits, start your own. That’s what I did and the benefits far outweigh the paperwork. See you on the road! EAGLE-EYED readers will note that this is the Summer 2017/18 issue and may be wondering what happened to Spring, but a check of the issue numbers will confirm you haven’t missed one. With our on-sale date of 2nd November, spring is already two-thirds gone so the cover dates have been changed accordingly to normal publishing convention.

UNIVERSAL MAGAZINES CHAIRMAN/CEO Prema Perera PUBLISHER Janice Williams CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Vicky Mahadeva ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION MANAGER James Perera CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Mark Darton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kate Podger EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION MANAGER Anastasia Casey MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters

Circulation enquiries to our Sydney head office (02) 9805 0399. Retrobike 28 is published by Universal Magazines, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3205. Phone: (03) 9694 6444, Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore, and distributed by Gordon and Gotch, Australia. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up-to-date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. *Recommended retail price. ISSN 1838-644X Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXVII. ACN 003 609 103. www.universalmagazines.com.au Please pass on or recycle this magazine.

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Lifestyle

2017 VICTORIAN POSTIE MUSTER

Johnny Bear McFarlane’s CT110 has been everywhere, man

“THE MASSED POSTIE POSSE SOUNDED LIKE THE FIRST LAP OF A MOTO3 RACE AT PHILLIP ISLAND”

Ben de Leer with his cool postie chopper RD Davies rode this one around Australia!

Postie Specs Erin Bova and her special-built tourer

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out to 125cc with a big-bore kit. Another took a totally different tack by taking the trouble to fit a Yamaha YZ80 two-stroke engine and, just in case anyone missed it, painting the bike in a fetching shade of Yamaha racing blue. After a few hours of banter about the bikes on display, along with a look through the Champion workshop, Jim Clark led a short ride along the Kew Boulevard to the Chandler Highway. The Kew Boulevard was once the inner-city testing track for Melbourne’s aspiring would-be road racers until a 50km/h speed limit and speed humps were introduced in the name of safety and to appease local residents who didn’t like living on a racetrack. The massed postie posse sounded like the first lap of a Moto3 race at Phillip Island, but speeds were kept under control and no-one got arrested.

ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke horizontal single; 53 x49.5mm for 105cc; OHV, one inlet, one exhaust; 8.5:1 comp; CDI ignition; kick-start; centrifugal clutch to four-speed gearbox and chain final drive; 7.5hp @ 7500rpm (stock) CHASSIS Single-tube spine frame; conventional forks (non-adjustable) with single-leading-shoe drum brake laced to 17-inch wheel; pressed-steel swingarm with twin shocks (adjustable for spring preload) and sls drum laced to 17-inch rim BODYWORK Run what ya brung DIMENSIONS Dry weight 90kg; fuel capacity 5.5 litres; wheelbase 1210mm BEST FOR Commuting; racing; customising; touring NOT SO GREAT Aussie Post has moved on — buy one while you can


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RSG0057

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RedStar Garage 5/32 Meadow Ave Coopers Plains Brisbane Q 4108 T: 07 3160 8283 | E: garage@redstargarage.com www.redstargarage.com | facebook.com/redstargarage


Cafe Racers

2002 SUZUKI TL1000R

CHANGE AGENT How to turn an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOGRAPHY ALASTAIR RITCHIE

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IKE most hobby builders, Nick O’Kane doesn’t build the same custom motorcycle twice. But exceptions are what make the rule. After building a cafe racer from a Suzuki TL1000R a few years ago that ended up looking very much like this one, he entered it on completion in the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California. He didn’t win any tinware, but he did receive an unsolicited offer to sell it that was too good to refuse. He took the cash on the spot but almost immediately regretted it. A rider as much as a custom bike builder, Nick put

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his energy (and some of the proceeds) into a hardridden Triumph Speed Triple streetfighter and later the carbon-fibre six-cylinder CBX1000 track bike that we featured last issue. His wife Anja also rides and put her hand up for something special to join him on their Sunday morning canyon runs. What about another TL1000R Suzuki? Only this time, it would have a fairing modelled on the early Ducati Super Sport to finish it off and it would be regularly ridden. Apart from that, and clip-ons replacing the streetfighterstyle flat bars, the second bike as we see it here is identical to the first.


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Cafe Racers

2002 SUZUKI TL1000R

“THE BIG LUSTY V-TWIN IS MODELLED ON THE DUCATI 996, SO IT GOES HARD AND MAKES ALL THE RIGHT NOISES”

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Once again, Nick started with a salvaged TL1000R purchased for less than a thousand dollars from his local motorcycle wrecker. The TL1000R is an ideal basis for a custom in that it has all the good gear but wasn’t an especially popular bike in its time, with only a short model run and questionable secondhand value. And a crashed example was no big deal for Nick as all the bulbous bodywork, apart from the tank, was going to be discarded anyway, as were the original forks. But it is powered by a big lusty V-twin engine modelled very closely on the Ducati 996, so it goes hard and most importantly makes all the right noises. The damaged front forks were ditched for a set from a GSX-R1000; both were 43mm upsidedownies, the later-model forks slotted into the stock TL triple clamps without modification. The alloy mainframe and swingarm, originally finished in silver, were powder-coated black to make them less in your face and also to match the TL’s 17-inch mags. The entire seat subframe got the chop, with Nick constructing his own from small-diameter alloy tubing to carry a custom solo seat unit and not much else. The seat itself is by Saddlemen in California. The stock rear suspension set-up was never the bike’s strongest point so was modified to take a fully adjustable spring-damper unit from German suspension specialist Hyperpro. Front brake calipers are from an R6 Yamaha operating off a US-built PSR brake lever (with matching clutch lever) and the rear sets were sourced from Voodoo Moto in Ohio. Ditching the humongous full fairing uncovered miles of unsightly wiring which was binned for a simpler harness hidden mostly under the tank where the air box used to sit. Nick bent up his own custom two-into-two headers which dump into mufflers from Roland


Japanese Ducatis DUCATI’S 916 was a real game changer on its release in 1994, both on the street and in the World Superbike Championship (WSB), where 1000cc twins then enjoyed a capacity advantage over fourcylinder bikes, which were restricted to 750cc. Both Honda and Suzuki joined the twincylinder fray in 1997 with the VTR1000 Firestorm and TL1000S respectively. Both were roadoriented Ducati clones and were soon joined by WSB homologation specials in the form of the VTR1000SP (aka RC51) and TL1000R. The Honda went on to win the WSB in 2000 and 2002 with US rider Colin Edwards, but the Suzuki couldn’t win a trick and the factory reverted to racing the GSX-R750 within a year. Both the TL1000S and TL1000R were powered by 996cc liquid-cooled eight-valve 90-degree V-twins, which even shared the Ducati superbike’s dimensions of 98 x 66mm (as did the Firestorm but not the RC51). The S was a popular bike, relatively inexpensive and physically compact. It made similar power to the production Ducati 996 but was a bit flighty over bumps and its rear shock was prone to overheating. The R, by contrast, was as trick as they came, making 135hp and housed in a stiff twin-spar chassis modelled on the GSX-R750, which much improved its

high-speed stability and general handling. But its full fairing and aerodynamic seat made it feel physically much larger and not everyone went for its looks. Maybe if it won some races, things might have been different, but it didn’t and was discontinued at the end of 2003, by which time WSB eligibility rules had changed to allow 1000cc fours to compete against the dominant twins. The TL’s engine, however, was always a pearler and is still around 20 years later, powering the popular Suzuki V-Strom 1000 albeit bored 2mm to 100mm from 2014 for a capacity of 1037cc.

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Cafe Racers

2002 SUZUKI TL1000R

“ANJA’S CAFE RACER IS LIGHTER THAN STOCK, HANDLES BETTER AND IS MORE POWERFUL” Sands Design. Air filters are custom units from K&N, where Nick works by day as a senior marketing executive. With on-road performance as important as presentation, given its intended purpose, the engine was custom-tuned by way of a Dynojet Power Commander unit, with much quality time spent on the chassis dyno to make it all mesh. The fairing is loosely styled on the 19761982 Ducati 900SS although it is much wider across the gills to clear the substantial main frame. It is unsullied by a headlight, with Nick instead mounting two small LED driving lights to the TL’s lower radiator in a token gesture to the law. The tiny rear taillight, hidden under the seat cowl, is equally difficult to spot. The eye-catching light-blue and white paint scheme is by restoration specialist Moto GP Werks in Anaheim. It is inspired by Wes Cooley’s famous Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 race bike, on which Wes won the 1979 and 1980 AMA Superbike Championships (the latter leading home future world 500 GP champions Eddie Lawson on a Kawasaki and Freddie Spencer on a Honda). The style was also later adopted by the factory on the GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica production bike. The race number ‘7’, however, 56

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reflects Nick’s status as an ex-pat Englishman, and is a tribute to another legendary Suzuki motorcycle sport ambassador, the late great Barry Sheene. As well as being easy on the eye, Nick’s wife Anja is no slouch in the saddle and rode the bike for Alastair Ritchie’s photos. The new TL Mark II sees plenty of road miles in modificationfriendly California, the home of post-war custom culture on two wheels and four. We tend to think of American motorcyclists as all riding Harley-Davidsons down endless dead-straight highways, but there is also a strong sports bike culture in the US, especially on the west coast. Anja did allow Nick to show the reborn TL1000R custom once again at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, on one condition, and this time it won the Modified Custom class. Just one glance at a stock Suzuki TL1000R suggests it would be an unlikely starting point for a lithe stripped-down cafe racer. Who was to know there would be a something like this lurking underneath? Not only does Anja and Nick’s special look the business, it’s much lighter than stock, handles way better and is significantly more powerful. There’s lots to like, and little wonder that this time around it’s not for sale.

Retro Specs ENGINE Liquid-cooled four-stroke 90-degree V-twin; DOHC, four valves per cylinder; 98 x 66mm for 996cc; wet sump; 11.7:1 comp; Power Commander ECU; custom headers into RSD mufflers; wet clutch to six-speed gearbox and chain final drive; 135hp @ 9500rpm (stock) CHASSIS Aluminium twin-spar mainframe with custom seat sub-frame; 43mm GSX-R1000 USD forks, Yamaha R6 four-spot calipers on 310mm rotors; mono-shock rear with Hyperpro shock, twin-piston caliper on 220mm rotor; 17-inch cast wheels BODYWORK TL1000R tank; custom seat and SS-style fairing; paint by Moto GP Werks BEST Performance, handling, looks; making a silk purse from a sow’s ear NOT SO GREAT Not much, we like it a lot


BECAUSE YOUR RIDE MATTERS

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Bobbers

2016 HARLEY-DAVIDSON STREET 500

FOR SCHOOL Learner-legal motorcycles don’t come any more stylish than this Brisbane-built Harley 500 WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOS LUKE WOOD & BENNY SELBOSKAR

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RAFFIC is getting worse, public transport is a joke, yet we also boast some of the best riding roads in the country, if not the world,” Benny Selboskar from Smoked Garage in Fortitude Valley, Queensland, says. “So lots of people are going out and getting their licence and joining the motorcycle fraternity. “We’re seeing more and more people invest the extra money on their first bike and get it looking the way they want, because they know they’re gonna be on it for at least two years. And

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at the end of the two years, the re-sale value is gonna be pretty good, as the next batch of new riders will be in the same boat. “If you’ve just got your licence and you don’t want to throw a leg over anything other than a Harley-Davidson, the Street 500 is the only way you can roll. But the truth is, it is pretty damn ugly stock. We’ve heard it tonnes of times before, even from employees of H-D! But it’s the only LAMS-approved model in Harley’s range, so you might as well make it look good. And if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right.


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CONTENTS

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Whether it's something in the water or smoke haze from nearby Amsterdam, they do things differently in Holland

FEATURE BIKES 08

KNUCKLE DUSTER

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MODERN-DAY BSA

From Sydney, a magnificent road-going tribute to Smoking Joe Petrali’s HarleyDavidson land speed racer that set a world record of 136mph on Daytona Beach in 1937. This one has brakes!

Melbourne’s Doug Fraser loves BSA V-twins so much he designed and built his own, then gave it to Alan Cathcart to test at Broadford. Just another day in the office for the world’s fastest knight

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R NINE-T NEO RACER

SUZUKI TL1000R NAKED

Not exactly retro, but cafe racers don’t come any more custom than this German-built BMW R NineT. And with 145rwhp pushing just 170kg, they don’t come much faster either, just quietly

Anja O’Kane is easy on the eye and so is her beautiful stripped-back cafe racer based on Suzuki’s fast but bulbous TL1000R V-twin. The result is a stylish lightweight rocket — and the girl can ride

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DUCATI 900SS REPLICA

A pair of crazy Dutchmen build a replica of a replica of a replica from 40 years worth of second-hand Ducati parts, making it up as they go along. Leo Fleuren swears he won’t be doing that again!

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HARLEY 500 BOBBER

Not all learner riders are penniless university students, and for some it’s a Harley-Davidson or nothing. Is this rigid-framed Street 500 the coolest learner-approved motorcycle in the country?

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TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN

Phil Canning commissioned Melbourne’s Bryce Findlay to perfectly restore one of the rarest and most collectable Triumphs of all time … and he’s been riding it ever since! Ridden, not hidden!


Bobbers

2016 HARLEY-DAVIDSON STREET 500

“RIGIDS RIDE BETTER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK. NOT ALL BIKES ARE BUILT TO GO FAST”

New Kid On The Block THE first new-model platform since the V-Rod in 2001, the Street 500 meets Australian learnerapproved regulations and opened up a whole new market for Harley-Davidson when it was unveiled in 2014. Manufactured in India, it was launched in Australia at $9995, making it the cheapest Harley by a considerable margin. They have been selling like chilled Coronas on Bondi Beach ever since. Mechanically the Street 500 and its 750cc big brother are much closer to V-Rods than traditional OHV Harleys. The all-new engine is an over-square water-cooled SOHC 60-degree V-twin with not a pushrod tube in sight. Harley doesn’t quote horsepower figures, but our mates at Australian Motorcycle News got 23.57kW on a chassis dyno, or just shy of 32rwhp. By Harley’s standards, the Street 500 is conventional in its styling and ride position, as you’d expect of a model aimed at new riders, which makes Smoked Garage’s transformation all the more remarkable. 60

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“This is the second hardtailed Street 500 we’ve built, the first being Copperhead, which was an old-school, almost steam punkinspired build. This time around we wanted to go for a more modern take. The only prerequisite the client insisted on was it had to be white and/or black to match his cars.” Smoked Garage has since completed a third Street 500 hardtail for a prominent NRL player, with two more currently in the build. All are engineer-certified and street legal. The one you’re looking at here is dubbed The Preacher. “We like to sit down in front of a bike when we finish it and throw around ideas until we come up with the right name for it,” Benny says. “It didn’t take us long with this one, maybe 20 minutes and a beer. We started by naming things that are black and white. The Penguin? Um, yeah, nah. The Piano? No. Priest? Nearly there. The Preacher! Perfect. Being a fan of the comic book series of the same name, which was recently adapted for

TV, I thought it was spot on.” The Preacher is the work of in-house fabricator Vinnie Gianolli, who started with a 2016 Harley-Davidson Street 500 purchased at auction. “It had some minor tank damage but was perfect mechanically,” Vinnie says. Not surprisingly, the engine has been left untouched apart from the exhaust. Instead, the focus was on the bike’s appearance. The seat sub-frame got the chop, as did the swingarm and twin rear shock absorbers, all of it replaced with a customfabricated hardtail and sprung leather seat. Suddenly the bike was starting to look like a proper Harley! Forward controls were added, along with clip-ons, which doesn’t sound quite right but it all works well here. As to why anyone would lop off a perfectly good rear suspension system and replace it with none, it’s one of those questions only those who don’t know the answer ask. Few mods are more retro or cooler in the metal.


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PABLO’S MOTORCYCLE TYRES

Factory 2/16 Rosemary Court Mulgrave Victoria 3170 P (03) 9561 5522 E rick@pablos.com.au W www.pablos.com.au

We service all makes & models vintage or modern, road or dirt & all motorcycles in-between

• Tyres • Accessories • Workshop • RWC • Tyres - Road, Race, MX, Enduro, Dual Sport, Classic & Vintage - all brands stocked • Accessories - Chain & Sprocket Sets, Brake Pads, Lubricants & More! • Full Workshop Facilities • Roadworthy Certi½cates • Suspension & Shockers


Bobbers

2016 HARLEY-DAVIDSON STREET 500

“WE DEFINITELY SPENT FAR TOO MUCH ON THE WHEELS, BUT THEY MAKE THE BIKE” It’s worth remembering that rear suspension didn’t become commonplace on motorcycles until after WWII and lots of fast pre-war bikes ran rigid rear ends, including Brough Superiors. We’ve ridden enough Harley WLAs and vintage Indian Scouts over the years to know hardtails ride better than you might think, provided the seat is sprung, the rear-tyre pressure is low, the roads are smooth and the speeds modest. Not all bikes are built to go fast or ride far. The rear guard was bobbed with the taillight and numberplate bracket mounted remotely on the left side, and a dummy oil tank — the Street 500 has a wet sump — was constructed to hide the battery and electrics. The fuel tank and front guard are stock, all of it sprayed by Vinnie in miles-deep pearlescent white. “Nothing screams class like a beautiful white paint job,” Benny says, even if it did take two goes. “The only issue we encountered (with the

whole build) was how the paint was mixed and the result was a very burnt white, pretty much a popcorn colour, which wasn’t what we were looking for at all. We had to strip it and redo it.” Setting the bike off is a pair of magnificent multi-spoke wheels — 21 x 3in up front and 18 x 5.5in at the dusty end — fitted with Avon Cobra tyres. (Stock wheel sizes are 17in front and 15in rear.) “Those bad-arse wheels were easily one of the most expensive components of the build,” Benny says. “We definitely spent far too much on them but I think you’ll agree, they make the bike. “We’re stoked with the result — it turned out a treat. In the short time we were able to take the bike out and ride it, we turned heads everywhere we went. We can’t wait for the next build. It’s gotta be different, though. There’s no point doing the same thing again; it defeats the entire purpose of building custom bikes.”

Retro Specs ENGINE Liquid-cooled four-stroke 60-degree V-twin; SOHC, four valves per cylinder; 69 x 66mm for 494cc; 10.5:1 comp; wet sump; fuel injected; wet clutch to six-speed gearbox; belt final drive; 32rwhp @ 7800rpm CHASSIS Mild-steel backbone-style chassis; 37mm conventional forks, not adjustable; custom rear hardtail by Vinnie Gianolli; single 300mm rotors with twin-piston calipers each end; Avon Cobra tyres BODYWORK Stock fuel tank; dummy oil tank to hold electrics; sprung seat; bobbed rear guard; paint by Vinnie BEST Learner and street legal — looks a million bucks WORST Watch the bumps!

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CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE RESTORATIONS ALWAYS THE BEST DISPLAY OF CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES IN AUSTRALIA A SELECTION OF OUR CURRENT STOCK

1969 NORTON 750S COMMANDO 750

1979 YAMAHA XS650 SPECIAL

1966 HONDA CL77 305

This is a matching number example of this very hard to find model. Vin # 132868 $15,950.00

9476 miles from new, runs really nicely. A great looking motorcycle. Vin # 2F0-171345 $5,950.00

Very low mileage motorcycle, only 3430 from new. Quite a rare motorcycle that is looking great. Vin # CL77-1065080 $5,950.00

1961 BSA DBD34 500 GOLD STAR CLUBMAN

1979 HONDA CB750 FOUR CUSTOM

1966 TRIUMPH T120R 650 BONNEVILLE

What a gorgeous machine, getting very hard to find these days. Vin # DBD.34.GS.6350 $32,950.00

This is a nice low mileage example 14,219 miles and looks great. Vin # RC01-2200172 GREAT VALUE $5,950.00

Nice clean matching number machine. Vin # T120R.DU25606 $15,950.00

1959 BSA C15 250 BSA BB31 350

1971 TRIUMPH T150 TRIDENT

This is a lovely old machine with a nice patina. These bikes go on forever. Reduced from $8,950.00 in our winter sale. Vin # BB31.3898 $6,950.00

This is a low mileage matching number bike that runs and rides well. Vin # T150T.FE01324 $9,500.00

BSA GOLD STAR 350 SCRAMBLER

1961 MATCHLESS G80TCS 600 TYPHOON

This is a very nice bike, easily put on the road with a simple lighting kit. Very hard to find. Vin # CB32C196 $19,950.00

This is a stunning machine and one of the most sought after models of the Matchless Competition range. Fitted with the GP Carburettor, this is a machine to excite. Vin # 61/G80TCS3975 $25,950.00

1968 NORTON P11 750

1976 KAWASAKI KZ750 TWIN

This is one of the rare muscle dirt bikes built by Norton in the late 1960s. This is an immaculate matching number machine that runs and rides really nicely. Vin # 125878 $19,950.00

Good running bike in very original condition. These are a great value machine. Vin # KZ750B-020053 $4,950.00

This is a nice tidy machine and an ideal first classic bike for anyone looking for an entry level British machine. This model was the ultimate learner machine in the late 1950s. Reduced in our winter sale from $5,950.00. Vin # C15.10617 $4,950.00

1952 TRIUMPH TWN 250 This is a rare bike, one of the German built Triumphs from the early 1950s. A very interesting machine for any collection. Vin # 299089 $7,950.00

1980 MOTO GUZZI V35 350 This is a beautiful sweet running machine that is a joy to ride. First we have seen in a while. Vin # 19154 $5,950.00

WE HAVE BANK FINANCE AVAILABLE ON ALL OUR BIKES

CLASSIC STYLE AUSTRALIA 34 PENINSULA BLVD, SEAFORD, VIC 3198

PH (03) 9773 5500 FAX (03) 9773 5533 www.classicstyle.com.au Email: classicstyle7@gmail.com


Crazy Kiwis

DIRT MASTERS 2017

Life is too short to be taken too seriously WORDS & PHOTOS PETE CAGNACCI/THROTTLE ROLL

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Crazy Kiwis

DIRT MASTERS 2017

“THERE MIGHT BE RULES, IT’S HARD TO SAY. IF THERE WERE, THEY WERE DISREGARDED”

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ITTLE bikes and big noise. The pristine lands of gentle New Zealand were about to be torn asunder as the Quake City Rumblers hosted Dirt Masters 2017. Mother Nature was lubed up and ready to receive a mega load of riders and their little bikes. This event lives up to the adage; it’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it. Dirt Masters is about bringing together all bikes and mopeds 150cc and under for a full day of races and stacks. There might be rules, it’s hard to say. Even if there were, they were often disregarded. In its fourth year, a private property on the outskirts of Christchurch began the transformation from a tranquil slice of heaven into a haven of motorcycling misfittery. Local small-capacity revheads Quake City Rumblers invited riders from all over The Shaky Isles to come and compete in this illustrious event. Being the middle of winter, the weather was cold. Like, really bloody cold. Fortunately, more than 100 wooden pallets had been collected to keep the fires burning all day and well into 66

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the night. The previous day’s rain had finally bundied off and the sky was a crisp blue. The ground was a soft mush, and with every lap of spirited bike racing, it slowly turned into an increasingly muddy impassable quagmire, all of which was a good thing. Five race classes sorted the tiddlers from the big guns — 50cc; 50-90cc; 100-140cc; Girls Only; Twist n Go — plus the All-In Battle Royale for any riders still standing at the end of the day and sober enough to start their bikes. With riders making the pilgrimage down from Auckland and Wellington, the flames of interIsland competition were truly being fanned. One of the punters from Wellington had already won the prestigious award for ‘World’s Loudest & Most Obnoxious Snoring’ but could the blowins from the North take home the gold (a welded piece of steel) for the main event? The once green grass didn’t last long as the knobbies sank their rubber teeth into the ground, ripping it apart to expose the brown muddy flesh of the earth. Plenty of tight corners

provided the crowd with stacks and slides aplenty to keep them entertained, along with a mini jump which somehow failed to bring about any broken bones, thankfully or maybe not, depending on your perspective. The last race to be conducted was the incredibly dubious All-In Battle Royale. This consisted of 50-plus riders lining up away from their bikes, slamming a can of whatever drink they had to hand, and then running to their bikes and trying to complete some hot laps after the race was joyfully started with a triumphant flash of the flag girl’s boobs (not pictured, sadly). Amongst the chaos a winner was somehow announced. It was essentially a cluster jam of machines, bodies and dirt, with the winner most likely being picked at random. A handy slab of concrete was then thoroughly abused into the evening sunset, as it was now Burnout Hour. Attempts were also made to get the Meat Spinner working. Its truly suspicious name aside, this was a steel pole in the ground with a long beam attached at the other end


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DIRT MASTERS 2017

“AMONGST THE CHAOS A WINNER WAS ANNOUNCED, MOST LIKELY PICKED AT RANDOM” Boomtown Rats THE Quake City Rumblers formed in the rubble of the deadly Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, which left much of the city in ruins. The wacky fun-loving crew is a living example of how to make the best of a bad situation and the value of not taking oneself too seriously. “QCR came about when Chris, now our president, bought an old motor scooter at a swap meet, then saw a photo on the net of a guy riding a modified one,” Andy Gallagher told us (Boomtown Rats, Retrobike #24). “You know the story, as soon as one person gets something that’s new and fun, others soon followed suite. “Most of the central city had fallen down and it was cordoned off. When it finally reopened it was still completely dark and abandoned apart from half-destroyed buildings. We’d all ride in there and race around the empty streets, making as much noise and chaos as we pleased. This mayhem happened every Thursday night until slowly the city started being populated again. “Most members are hands-on — fabricators, mechanics, engineers, plumbers and roofers. We are all good friends. We always joke about there being terrible initiation rights involving lots of bro jobs, but there aren’t any really.” 68

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to a motorcycle. The theory was that the rider would go around and around at speed, and thanks to centrifugal force, get flung off the bike and into the air like a rag doll to everyone’s amusement and delight. In practice, it was a large piece of metal that caused the bike to perform like shit and for not much to really happen at all. A great idea but back to the drawing board for 2018, it seems. With the temperature dropping quicker than Australia’s morale at an All Blacks game, it was time to light some fires. A genius idea was had, in which many litres of gasoline were poured into a large ditch and set alight. The resulting shockwave from the explosion was felt kilometres away, and had the rest of the neighbourhood shaking in their beds. And lastly, a comment on another great Kiwi tradition named Danger Can, which was performed throughout the day and evening. It’s simple enough; an eager gentleman takes his unopened can of beverage and proceeds to slam it into his forehead until the contents of said beverage are free. A truly noble practice from such a refined people. God bless New Zealand.


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REGULARS 05 82 84 94 98

G’DAY RETRO STYLE McILWRAITH ON ANY SUNDAY FEEDBACK

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OTHER STUFF 22

HELLS RACE

Go fast, turn left, how hard can it be? We check out the cream of the Euro flat-track community at Lelystad Speedway

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MOTO GUZZI V7

The revamped 2017 V7 Special attracted a lot of attention on test. One guy even complimented me on my restoration

POSTIE MUSTER

Custom CT110 postie-bike enthusiasts converge on inner-city Melbourne for a day of fellowship and good vibrations

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R75/5 RESTO

We see so many custom air-head BMWs these days, we forget how cool the originals were. This one’s perfect

DIRT MASTERS

The Quake City Rumblers get down and dirty and not a little bit drunk. So who’s up for a game of Danger Can, eh?

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COUNTRY CUSTOMS

Steve Doherty does the most with least to win the Deus Bike Build-Off, building a bunch of cool bikes along the way

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URAL SAHARA

We step out of our comfort zone with a test of a fully optioned Ural Sahara sidecar. There’s more to it than you realise

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People Like Us

STEVE DOHERTY

O

g e Co u n t r n a r y

Customs

How to make the most with the least WORDS & PHOTOS GEOFF SEDDON

S

TEVE Doherty is a longtime car and motorcycle tragic from Orange in the NSW central west. Previously best known for his show-quality Toranas, he switched his focus back to bikes after being introduced to the modern custom scene on social media by his son Richard. His first project was a 1981 Harley-Davidson Roadster that he bought 20 years ago. “I never liked riding it and didn’t know a lot of people into bikes,” Steve says. “So I took it apart and customised it. I was 32 and playing with that bike in the shed changed my whole life. “I’m dyslexic. I struggle to read and write but I can figure out how things work; if you know where something starts and where something finishes, it’s easy. All through school, I never

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had any achievements; I was just punished for having a disability. So what I do here in my shed is a massive achievement for me personally. I cannot get enough of it.” Steve still has the Harley, now in its fourth incarnation. He still doesn’t ride it. “I enjoy working on them more than riding or driving them,” he says of most of his builds. He bought his first Torana in 2001 and was seven years into the build of a serious Pro Touring-style LC when Richard showed him some bikes on Facebook. “I had arthritis, a bad back, bad hips … so I decided I’m having a rest (from cars) and bought the XS250 Yamaha,” Steve says. “I built that four years ago with a lot of Richard’s influence — he’s got a knack for style and colours — and got back into the show scene.


1973 Suzuki GT250 THIS is the bike that made the most with the least to beat all the cool inner-city cats in the Deus Ex Machina Bike Build-Off in 2016. Bikes must run but need not be registered, which frees up the imagination! The fairing is the tank from a 2006 CB250 — the fuel filler is now the ignition switch — which also donated what’s left of the frame, plus the wheels and running gear. The fuel tank is from a Honda SL175 and the seat cowl is the reservoir for the engine's oil injection system. Stock GT250 exhausts are an unexpected classy touch.

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STEVE DOHERTY

“I met a guy who was building a custom for the 2015 Deus Ex Machina Bike Build-Off, which I’d never heard of because I didn’t read. I thought I’d enter the Harley but the rules were all about making the most with the least. So I went to a local swap meet, bought a CB550 chopper and turned it into a cafe racer. I built it

in five weeks, took it to Deus and came second. It was only the third bike I’d modified, so I was determined to go back the next year and win it, which I did.” Steve has also amassed an eccentric collection of mostly small-capacity older bikes, which he admits he likes riding the most. Some he restores, others are mechanically refurbished but retain their patina. Steve does all the work himself — including paint, exhausts and lacing wheels — generally on his own and without reference manuals. The quickly-growing tribe includes two BSA Bantams — one of which he rode in this year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride — a 74cc two-stroke Indian, Honda CL350 scrambler and Euro-spec CX500, Suzuki 125 Stinger and GT380 triple, a 90cc Kawasaki G3 Bushmaster and a little-known Taiwanese two-stroke knock-off called a Daytona. Others, like an

1975 Honda CB550

ANOTHER pure show bike, Steve’s CB550 was built out of a former chopper in ‘naked cafe’ style. Parts include an SL Honda tank, rear-sets fashioned from a Chevy Sloper headlight bracket, a fairing made from the CB’s rear guard and a monoshock from a Honda ST1300. “The shock was the only money I spent on it,” Steve says. “The rest I scavenged from Paul at Z Power.” Steve took countless photos during the build to make sure he had the stance and style to garner runner-up at Deus on his first attempt in 2015. 72

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early-'80s Vespa motor scooter and BSApowered Deltek Deckson minibike, are shed ornaments. “I love riding the little ones, especially around town,” he says. “They are more fun than the big ones” which Steve reserves for longer trips. These include a Honda CB900 Bol D’Or in mostly original condition, and a Moto Guzzi Nevada cruiser that Steve has restyled as a budget V7. “I don’t like spending money buying bikes,” he says. “I spend as little as I can. I’d rather spend money on parts. “Little bikes appeal because they have more character. You can see everything, the whole bike. On bigger bikes, much of it is hidden behind plastic. I also love anything obscure,” he says, which explains the 1976 GTL500 Ducati vertical twin in the process of restoration. “It's my first Ducati. I bought it six


1981 Harley Roadster THIS bike was stolen from its original owner when it was just six months old and returned to him in 1997, after which Steve bought it. “I rebuilt it, got it registered, rode it once, put it back in the shed and did it all again,” he says. “The last rebuild was three years ago. The idea was to build a flat tracker but not in the style of an XR750. I wanted it to look like a Japanese motorcycle by dropping the (Z900) tank over the top of the motor.” ‘Madley’ is from Steve’s grandchildren, Madison, Bailey and Riley. 'Iron' is for the Ironhead engine. ISSUE #28

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weeks ago and copped a lot of flack! I love the look of the motor — it’s an unusually shaped engine. I found it on eBay and was very excited to see it for sale.” Steve is proud of all his builds but was especially chuffed to win the 2016 Bike BuildOff with his radical Suzuki GT250, the ultimate achievement for the former schoolboy who couldn’t read. “I designed it driving home from Deus the previous year,” he says. “No front downtubes like a postie bike and ‘bridge steel’ lattice work. I drew it on the wall at work and told everyone I was going to win Deus! I

was given the Suzuki, which had been sitting outside against a tree in Mudgee. The frame is from a written-off CB250 I bought in Cowra for $150. I built it in six weeks.” Steve is also the main man behind Orange Classic and Cafe Racer, which he started with Paul Jones from Kawasaki specialist Z Power Parts. “We both prefer not to be around other people but it’s not always healthy,” Steve says. “And I realised I was getting older and had missed out on so much because I’d always been in the shed. So Paul and I started OCCR to get guys out of their sheds and we became

1972 Honda CB350

‘BLUEY’ was bought locally in stock standard trim. “I put it on the bench and it was as ugly as sin,” Steve says. “It needed to be cafed.” The tank is from a CB400 Four and Steve made his own seat unit from fibreglass. Clubman handlebars were fitted and the footpegs rear-set, with Steve making his own gear and brake linkages. “I rode it around town for two years until I stopped smoking and now I don’t fit it anymore.” 74

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known as a bit of a men’s health group. Our philosophy is to raise money for charity — $10,000 in the last three years — but our own lives have changed dramatically. We have friends! Don’t get me wrong, being on my own was how I liked it, but I now know some really lovely people.” OCCR became official last year by incorporating and signing up for the NSW club-plate rego scheme. It holds fortnightly rides and has 27 active members so far. Steve Doherty is on a roll, as if he’s making up for lost time. Those achievements just keep on coming.


“I DON'T LIKE SPENDING MONEY BUYING BIKES. I'D RATHER SPEND IT ON PARTS”

1980 Yamaha XS250 STEVE’S son Richard had the idea and found the donor bike for Steve’s second build, based on a humble XS250 Yamaha. “It was a lovely thing to play with,” he says, “and building it was a lovely thing to do. We spent some money on it — brakes, tank, carbie kit — but it still only cost $1000 to build.” Stance is spot on, as is Steve’s air-brushing on the tank. It was the bike that got Steve back into the show scene and encouraged him to build more customs. ISSUE #28

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Restos

1940 TRIUMPH 5T SPEED TWIN

The Source The 500cc vertical twin that changed the world WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOS STEWIE DONN PHOTOGRAPHY

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DWARD Turner’s Triumph 5T Speed Twin was not the world’s first four-stroke parallel twin on its launch in 1937, but it was the first to make the concept popular. Compact and light, stylish and fast, the radical new ‘multi’ eventually spawned similar models from Norton, BSA and many others, heralding the golden age of the Universal British Motorcycle in the 1950s and '60s. After falling out of fashion in the following decades, the parallel twin got a new lease on life with the relaunch of the retro-themed Triumph Bonneville in 2001, culminating in the all-new water-cooled 1200cc models last year that everyone’s talking about. The technology is totally different, but the physical resemblance between the new bikes and the original is very strong and not entirely coincidental. Enter Phil Canning, a 52-year-old motorcycle enthusiast from Victoria with an enviable collection which includes a Series C Vincent Black Shadow, a replica Black Lightning historic racer, and a just-completed 1981 Ducati 900 Super Sport, along with a posse of modern exotic track bikes. Missing, however, was a classic British parallel twin. Never one to consider second best, he set his sights on the

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model that kick-started the entire genre. As the longtime CEO of Caterpillar’s engine dealer, Energy Power Systems, across Australia, Phil has the means to make his dreams a reality, as well as the passion and skills. The lifelong bike nut got a part-time job in a servo while still at primary school to get his first bike, a clapped-out Honda 90, at age 11. Much to the dismay of his academic parents, he left high school to take up a mechanical apprenticeship and study engineering at night school, while also racing enduro at clubman level on the weekends. “All I ever thought about was motorcycles,” Phil says, “I devoured everything.” It seems little has changed in the years since! “Pre-war Speed Twins are very rare, especially with matching numbers,” Phil says. Relatively few were made before the Triumph factory, along with most of Coventry, was flattened during the Second World War bombing raids on the evening of November 14th, 1940. Production eventually resumed with new tooling at a new factory in Meriden after the war, albeit with the bike updated with telescopic forks and produced in vast numbers, which makes them much less collectable. “I wanted a pre-war Speed Twin with girder forks


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1940 TRIUMPH 5T SPEED TWIN

Head Turner EDWARD Turner already had form as the designer of the Ariel Square Four when the Triumph Motor Company split its car and motorcycle divisions and sold the latter to Ariel owner Jack Sangster in 1936. Sangster immediately appointed Turner, then only 35, as Triumph’s general manager and chief designer. Turner was something of a prodigy with a morethan-healthy respect for his own ability. He built his first bike, a 350cc OHC single, that he called the Turner Special, in 1927 when he was just 26. Turner conceived his OHC square-four design the following year, which he soon sold to Ariel and scored a job working alongside Bert Hopwood (who later designed the Norton Dominator) under the direction of Val Page, whose earlier designs included the engine for the Brough Superior SS100 and later the BSA Gold Star. The three engineers changed companies like musical chairs. Page left Ariel for Triumph in 1932, where he designed Triumph’s first parallel twin, the 6/1, which was released in 1933. Aimed at sidecar use, it was heavy, expensive and a commercial flop. Turner’s new Speed Twin was anything but. With Hopwood also involved, the new model was lighter than Triumph’s existing 500 single and made significantly more power and torque, yet could be manufactured for similar cost. It was an instant hit and became not only the blueprint for Triumph’s postwar production through to the 1980s, but was widely copied by virtually all the major British manufacturers. Other iconic Turner designs included a wartime all-alloy generator engine which later powered the Triumph T100 GP racer, the infamous rear sprung hub and the 2.5-litre Daimler/Jaguar V8. He retired in 1967 — one year before the release of the Honda 750 Four — and died in 1973. 78

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that was relatively intact and correct,” Phil says. “In its shape and dimension, I think it’s one of the most beautiful bikes of all time. I found two or three in the UK, one in the US, but the prices were stratospheric. Soapy Sinclair in Queensland put the word out and turned one up in Brisbane. It had been sortof restored 30 years before and was in okay condition. The engine ran. “I took the bike to Bryce Findlay from Early Triumph Motorcycles in Melbourne, who holds a pre-war Speed Twin register and the numbers checked out all correct; it’s not worth spending significant amounts of time and money (on bikes like this) if they don’t. It’s a 1940 bike and was in the last of the shipments out of the Coventry factory.” Phil took the bike home to his workshop, where he was midway through the build of his 900SS. “I had a good look over the Speed Twin, then took it back to Bryce for an evaluation. He gave me a list a million miles long of what was wrong with it!” Phil laughs. Rather than put the build off until the Ducati was completed, Phil instead commissioned Bryce — an international Speed Twin authority with an enviable store of ‘new old stock’ and reproduction parts — to do most of the work. “I got comfortable with Bryce. He is the master and I apprenticed myself to him.” It was a good move. Not one to restore a bike and then park it in a museum, “I wanted to be able to ride it a thousand miles without thinking about it,” Phil says. He also wanted it to be as oil tight as possible, not always easy on the early British stuff. Bryce rebuilt the engine literally from the crankshaft

up, paying great attention to the smallest details, sourcing almost all the necessary parts like valves, guides and pistons, and remanufacturing parts from the factory design drawings and workshop manuals where necessary. “We couldn’t get cylinder liners for love or money,” Phil says by way of example. “Being good friends of the Horner brothers (Tuning For Speed, Retrobike #20), I got an iron bar centrifugally cast and machined to the correct external and internal diameters.” The gearbox wasn’t too bad apart from a period-incorrect outer cover. The rear wheel hub was also from a later model; correct examples of both proved very hard to find, but were eventually sourced through Bryce’s extensive worldwide network of Speed Twin aficionados. The project took a backward step when Phil badly damaged the fuel tank in a trailer incident, requiring a difficult, lengthy repair; it’s not like you can bog a chrome tank on a priceless bike! The original guards also required some massaging before Bryce’s attention turned to painting the shot-blasted frame and hand-beaten bodywork. “Pre-war Speed Twins were Amaranth Red, a sensational colour when it was released in 1937,” Phil says. “It’s a real art to get the colour right. We were already in that deep, we’d done the perfect mechanical rebuild and between us we realised a 1940 Speed Twin is like a Spitfire (WWII fighter plane). It’s so hard to buy a Spitfire and so hard to rebuild one perfectly. But they’re both worth doing and worth doing right.


“IT’S LIKE A VINTAGE ROLEX WATCH, SO BEAUTIFUL AND IT WORKS SO WELL”

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Beach Racers

1939 HARLEY-DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD

STREET & STRIPPED A road-going tribute to one of the most famous Harley racers of all time WORDS PAUL BAILEY PHOTOGRAPHY THOMAS WIELECKI

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“NOW IT’S RUN IN, IT’S ACTUALLY GOT SOME GO. YOU CAN PUNT IT QUITE FAST” “Bryce is a master painter and over the years perfected the paint recipe to make sure the colour was just right; he got it from new oldstock parts that had been wrapped in greased paper and stored for 80 years. It changes with the light; it looks crimson in sunlight and almost brown in the dark.” Bryce was also responsible for pin-striping by hand the tank, mudguards and wheel rims, the latter expertly laced with chromed stainlesssteel spokes by Brian Morgan in WA. The build took not quite a year and was completed in March, before debuting at the All British Rally in Newstead the following month in some very special company. “Dad had a BSA A7 when he was young but Mum didn’t like it,” Phil says. “I bought him an A10 Golden Flash as a surprise 80th birthday present and he became the oldest guy in Victoria in 2016 to get his motorcycle licence at 83. “Dad hadn’t been on a bike for so long but the

muscle memory came back and he was soon riding it like he did at 19.” And the Speed Twin? “It was faultless. It’s really sweet to ride, very easy to start. It’s like a vintage Rolex watch, so beautiful and it works so well. I couldn’t be happier, and think Bryce is a genius! “It’s really thin, so small, it lane-splits through anywhere,” he says. Despite Phil measuring 193cm and weighing 100kg, “it takes off like a modern bike, which I never would have expected from a 1940 machine. “Now it’s run in, it’s actually got some go. It brakes well, handles well and you can punt it quite fast. It’ll carve up modern bikes all day going downhill. “The big nine-inch headlight bounces up and down with the bumps and you have to be careful with the rigid rear end, but it’s so much fun to ride. “I don’t baby it. It’s a Speed Twin, for goodness sake. It might as well speed along!”

Retro Specs ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke parallel/vertical twin; 360-degree crank; single camshaft, OHV, two valves per cylinder; 63 x 80mm for 498cc; 7:1 comp; dry sump; single 15/16” Amal carburettor; 6V Lucas Magdyno ignition; single-row chain primary drive to a wet clutch and four-speed gearbox; chain final drive; 26hp @ 6000rpm CHASSIS Single down-tube steel chassis with girder fork and rigid rear; WM2 20-inch laced front wheel with seven-inch single-leadingshoe drum brake; WM2 19-inch laced rear wheel with seven-inch SLS drum brake; Avon tyres DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 54 inches (1370mm); dry weight 355lbs (161kg); fuel capacity 4.8 gallons (22 litres) BEST Immaculate restoration of an iconic bike; ridden not hidden NOT SO GREAT Not cheap ISSUE #28

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STUFF WE LIKE

Retro

STYLE VINTAGE GOGGLES ARIETE has designed the perfect retro-style goggle combining modern technology with hand-ďŹ nished details. Available in brown or black. $179, bit.ly/link_ariete

YOXALL WAXED COTTON JACKET

KEMPSEY BELT AA everyday essential. Made right here in Australia. $69.95 akubra.com.au

AUTHENTIC styling to the last stitch from Merlin. Constructed from genuine original Scottish Halley Stevensons waxed cotton. It is ďŹ tted with a 100 per cent waterproof and breathable Reissa membrane, removable thermal liner and zip-open ventilation. Italian CE Safe-Tech armour in the shoulders and elbows provides the wearer with a level of protection the hardy riders of yesteryear could only dream about! Sizes S to 3XL, $499.90 linkint.com.au/merlin.html

ADVENTURE CHAIR RELAX in comfort with the folding adventure camp chair from Triumph. Bold Triumph logo on the back, a spot for the stubby and, most importantly, it includes a bottle opener. $41.60 triumphmotorcycles.com.au

THE GENTLEMAN'S CLUB TRIO MADE in NZ, Mandles are candles for men. This perfectly packaged trio contains the manly fragrances of Leather, Whiskey and Tobacco. $99 NZD williamandemerson.co.nz

RIOT HELMET THE BIG PACKAGE CHARLIE Screen takes a light-hearted approach to skincare. The Big Package includes a combined shampoo and body wash, and a moisturiser with SPF30. $49.95, charliescreen.com

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NEW from Airoh, the Riot is an openface helmet with retro styling. It's equipped with a retractable sun visor and there is also a long face shield and peak available to further customise the look. Sizes S to XL. $399.95, motonational.com.au


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COMBUSTION CYCLES TWO FOR THE ROAD

McIlwraith WITH JAMIE McILWRAITH

POTTED HISTORY

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ET’S see if you can spot the pattern here, people. Here is my motorcycle ownership history, in chronological order, by cylinder count: 1; 2; 2; 2; 1; 2; 1; 1; 2; 2. What’s yours? Now, this doesn’t mean that I have never ridden bikes with more than two cylinders. Working on Two Wheels and REVS through the 1980s I managed to ride long distances on a good number of threes, fours and even sixes (but no fives, and no eights either, come to think of it). But there is a bit of a conservative pattern there with me. I’m a twins and singles guy, even if I have had a lot of fun riding multis over the years. While I’m making lists of motorcycles I have owned, here’s another way of recording those same 10 bikes. This time it’s in terms of the number of strokes it takes to complete a combustion cycle: 4; 2; 2; 4; 4; 4; 2; 2; 2; 4. Bit of a pattern there, too. What’s yours? I can imagine there are all sorts of people with a widely varying array of cylinders in their personal ownership history — how many of you have owned a six? — but I suspect a lot of riders would be listing their combustion cycle history as “4; 4; 4; 4; 4; 4; 4; 4 …” etc. Many younger riders especially, now that two-strokes have almost disappeared from showroom floors, are probably complete strangers to engines that fire with every revolution. Now that’s something they’ve missed out on. Bikes with two-stroke engines are completely different beasts. There’s a lot to like about them, but there’s also a fair bit of weirdo factor that keeps people away.

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Let’s go straight to peak weirdo and say that some people just cannot abide the sound a twostroke engine makes. Not me, that two-stroke “grang-grang” is one of the soundtracks to my youth. I’ve bonded with it for life. I heard it the other day in the street and of course I stopped and turned to see what it was. Before I saw it I

“Two-strokes really were a boy racer’s dream, so much fun to ride” thought it might be an old Suzuki T500 Titan parallel-twin and I was right. It felt good not only to hear it, but also to confirm that my brain’s library of two-stroke engine/exhaust sounds was still in working order. As for the crisp crackle of a racing two-stroke with expansion chambers, it was a sad day when they muffled them back in the 1970s. God I loved that sharp sting of sound. And the well-ridden TZ Yamahas that regularly made mincemeat of four-strokes two and three times their size. But let’s move on from sounds that some people cannot abide, to smells that some people cannot abide. Not me. I still remember the Castrolly smell at Oran Park as the 350 A-Grade race pack of TZs went past. Even road bike two-stroke smells were cool. One little maintenance thing I enjoyed doing was removing the exhaust pipe baffles, wrapping them in paper, sprinkling on some petrol and setting them alight in a safe spot,

such as the street gutter. After that, a good going over with the wire brush and they were carbon-free (sort of). Pop the baffles back in the pipes and to complete the service, of course I hopped on the bike and blatted the thing all around our local area for 10 minutes, up hills especially, to completely clear the pipes. Just a molecule of blue was all that remained, job done! Those truly were the days. Apart from the weird sounds and smoky pipes, the other thing to get used to with twostrokes was riding the things. Good news: not all two-strokes were peaky in their power. The RD Yamahas with their reed valves, and the later liquid-cooled RZs both had handy spreads of usable power. Provided you were on the case about changing gears, you could make good use of the two-stroke’s torque out of corners. Yes, torque. There were plenty of torquey two-stroke engines made. Sure, engine braking was not their forté. Back off the throttle on a two-stroke and not a lot happens. But all you need to do is dance on the gear lever and the brake pedal and give the front brake a big squeeze and — presto! Because the bike itself is a lot lighter than the four-stroke chasing it, it stops a whole lot easier anyway. Two-strokes really were a boy racer’s dream, so much fun to ride. But geez, I haven’t even mentioned how simple they were to maintain and easy to kickstart. (And yes, they were a bit pollutey.) So there you go, Retrobikers. Take it from this smoke-loving old kid. Go find yourself an old two-stroke to turn into street art and you will not be sorry.


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NEW BIKES URAL SAHARA

THE BEAST Want to stand out from the pack? Buy this WORDS & PHOTOS GEOFF SEDDON

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T almost 2.6 metres long, 1.7 metres wide and weighing 335kg dry, the Ural Sahara is as imposing and impressive as any test bike that has ever graced my shed. Resplendent in custom khaki paint and optioned with jerrycan, shovel, driving and spot lights, protection bars, spare wheel and all the fruit, it is a genuine beast and conversation starter without equal. The twin-cylinder OHV engine looks like it came from a vintage BMW, apart from the absence of carburettors, and makes a vintagelike 41hp at 5500rpm. It also sounds like a vintage BMW, with the racket from the tappets louder than the well-muffled exhausts, none of which is a criticism.

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Like most classic vehicles, the Ural needs a few minutes to warm up before you select reverse to ease it out of the shed. With the main gearbox in neutral and clutch disengaged, locate the reverse-gear rocker lever inside of the right-hand footpeg, rock it back, release the handbrake and Bob’s your uncle. Rock it forward when you’re done so you can resume normal operation. The cable-operated clutch is relatively heavy but take-up is smooth. The four-speed gearbox also has an old-school feel, rewarding deliberate shifts. The brakes, by contrast, are modern Brembo discs, including a fourspot caliper on a 295mm rotor up front. The sidecar wheel is also braked, linked to the bike’s footbrake.


Forty-one horsepower isn’t a lot — especially pushing close to half a tonne with rider, ballast and accessories — but I never once wish for more as I reacquaint myself with the eccentric art of riding a motorcycle and sidecar. On the distributor’s advice, I place 40kg of ballast (two 20-litre water cans) in the sidecar cabin, later adding another 20kg of firewood in the boot. The owner’s manual sums up the initial riding impression best: “The Ural sidecar motorcycle, since it has three wheels, behaves quite differently from either a solo motorcycle or a car”, followed by a warning that both lefthand and right-hand turns may be dangerous. The issue is the unpowered sidecar wheel. When you accelerate, the bike pulls to the left due to the inertia and drag of the sidecar. When you back off the gas, it pulls to the right due to the inertia of the sidecar wanting to overtake the bike. Cornering is a steep learning curve, particularly left-handers where the sidecar always feels like it may lift, even though it never does during my test. The owner’s manual advises new riders to practise lifting the sidecar in a controlled environment, by driving anticlockwise in a circle of about 7m in diameter. Slowly increase your speed until the sidecar wheel lifts 200 or 300mm from the surface. Then roll off and ease the steering pressure on the handlebar so it gradually comes down. Repeat, always remembering that rolling off the throttle will lower the chair. When you can do a full circle with the chair in the air, you will have a good feel for the speed and turn radius that will lift the sidecar. Alas, it rains for all but two days of my weeklong test and suitable car parks are scarce. A couple of mates have been into sidecars forever and delight in ‘flying the chair’ to give their passengers a thrill, but I don’t get the opportunity on this occasion to gain that confidence. Steering is also counter-intuitive coming off a solo. There is no counter-steering — you point that wheel where you want to go, as in a car — and the bike doesn’t lean over although I still do. My other natural inclination is to back off in left-handers to avoid the sidecar lifting, then gas it through right-hand bends when it obviously won’t, both of which has me in all sorts of bother. The correct technique is the reverse. In left-handers, open the throttle and let the sidecar’s inertia steer you to the left. In right-handers, back off and let the inertia steer you to the right. Work with it, not against it. Straight ahead is a piece of cake, especially tooling along at 90km/h where the right combination of toe-in and lean-out has the beast steering neutrally. I finally relax into the ride, steering with the throttle as if I know what I’m doing. Recommended maximum touring speed is 115km/h but we don’t go there. The combo moves about on the bumps, like an old Harley, but as with everything else it’s something you get used to. The sidecar brake is a revelation; stomp on the foot pedal and it stops dead straight.

Sidecars are an acquired taste, as are Russian motorcycles. If I haven’t scared you off, the Ural is as capable as they come, especially if you are looking for loads of carrying capacity and a hands-on ownership experience. The owner’s manual is excellent, with detailed instructions on everything from setting up the outfit and fixing punctures to servicing and mechanical repairs. Our test bike also came with a comprehensive tool kit, including full-size tyre levers and a pump. The Sahara is obviously built for the purpose and looks as strong as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The whole rig is unimaginably cool but comes at a price: $27,000 (plus orc) as tested with all the bling. More affordable models are available for those looking to customise their own.

Retro Specs ENGINE TYPE OHV flat twin BORE & STROKE 78 x 78mm CAPACITY 749cc INDUCTION Throttle-body EFI COMP 8.6:1 CLUTCH Dry, double-plate GEARS Four forward, one reverse FINAL DRIVE Shaft FORKS IMZ leading link, with Sachs shocks (preload adjustable) REAR Twin-sided swingarm, with Sachs shocks (preload adjustable) WHEELS 2.5 x 19 inches BRAKES Brembo discs (x three!) FUEL 19.5 litres (95 RON) WARRANTY Two years, unlimited km PRICE AS TESTED $27,190 plus orc CONTACTwww.imz-ural.com.au ISSUE #28

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NEW BIKES MOTO GUZZI V7 SERIES III

HEART OF GOLD Great things come in small packages WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOS HALF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY & BEN GALLI

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HAT a charming little bike. I’ve been hanging for a ride on the relaunched V7 Guzzi for years but the planets never aligned, so I was especially chuffed to have one for a fortnight to get to know it well. My test bike was a new Series III Special, a stablemate to the stripped-back Stone and the sporty Racer, all of which share the same basic chassis and engine. Although to untrained eyes they look almost identical, changes from the Series II models are significant. The engine is still OHV and just two per cylinder, but has been redesigned from its lightened crankshaft up to its hemispherical combustion chambers, and looks much beefier with extra finning on the heads and redesigned rocker covers. It also has a new adjustable traction-control system. Power is up 3kW to 38kW, or 51hp, at 6200rpm. Chassis geometry has been changed to sharpen up the steering, and the steering head reinforced for improved stability. I can’t comment on the difference it all made because I’ve not ridden earlier models, but can confirm 88

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that small changes to the handlebar, seat height and footpeg locations have dished up a super-comfy perch for rider and pillion alike (the latter assisted by a handy chrome grab rail). The seat and side-covers are also new, as are the graphics. The Special is a fantastic-looking bike in the flesh, referencing the original V7 launched exactly 50 years ago but styled after the pick of the early girls, the revered Moto Guzzi 750S of 1973 and 1974. If it were mine, I’d be tempted to fit clip-ons, rear-sets and loud, low-level black mufflers to complete the illusion. As it was, the test bike attracted attention every time we stopped, with one Gold Wing rider even complimenting me on my restoration. Truth be known, I’d be wary of messing with the comfortable riding position, which is also an important part of how easy it is to ride this bike. Sure, it has the Guzzi quirk of rocking when the throttle is blipped, but that’s noticeable mostly at rest and is part of the charm. It has a light clutch with easy take-up, the engine pulls almost from idle and the gearshift is sweet.


The steering through the wide bars is light and pinpoint accurate, and the seat height is relatively low. The suspension, like the styling, is classic 1970s fare, adjustable only for spring preload on the rear. On rough regional back roads, we felt every blessed bump through the front end but it never lost its composure or line. The rear felt a little under-damped, setting up an occasional wallow after encountering a crater mid-corner and getting a bit squirrelly hard on the gas out of it, but only when I was up it for the rent. Ridden as most riders will, it handled well enough. Not having a mountain of power helps. Riders coming off other 750s will wonder where it went, if not owners of original 1967 V7s which made about the same. It is, of course, a 90-degree V-twin, with perfect primary balance and that wonderful loping cadence that is a big part of the appeal, like a Ducati. The motor delivers power in a lovely linear fashion, with no big rush up the top end, and was a joy in the twisties, where I could hold one gear (usually fourth) for miles on end. Engine braking is strong yet intuitive; I included a spirited run along the Old Pacific Highway without touching the brakes, which were perfectly good, but it’s always more soulful to surf on the engine alone. Because it looks like a 1970s Italian sports bike, I rode it like one and revelled in holding the throttle wide open when the occasion presented itself, not something you can do on most modern 750s. With speeds rising, cornering clearance eventually tempered the excitement. The footpegs are hinged and the hero knobs fun to touch down, but less so the side-stand tang on the left, which doesn’t have any give and can unsettle the bike unexpectedly on tight bends. Pushed harder, the exhaust shroud on the right will hit the deck, with similar results. This was mostly an issue when pushing hard on roads I know well, and it’s not as if I didn’t enjoy a rare opportunity to test a new motorcycle to its limits. I loved my time with the V7, couldn’t get enough of it. I enjoyed every ride and even enjoyed it parked in my shed. Compared with

similar new bikes, the Special is maybe a little underdone, but think of it as a 1970s classic bike (which it is) and it goes fine, handles well and is as retro as they come. Even better, it is not 40 or 50 years old but brand-spanking new, still made in Italy in the same factory that Moto Guzzi has occupied since 1921. Its heritage and soul will attract older riders, while its gentle all-round nature would make it an ideal bike for new riders stepping up from their learner-approved steeds. In both cases, it has all the makings of a keeper.

Retro Specs ENGINE Air- and oil-cooled, four-stroke 90-degree V-twin; OHV, two per cylinder; 80 x 74mm for 744cc; 10.5:1 comp; EFI; dry single-disc clutch to six-speed gearbox and shaft final drive; 51hp @ 6200rpm CHASSIS Modular double-cradle frame in tubular steel; conventional non-adjustable 40mm forks with single four-piston caliper gripping a 320mm rotor on a 2.5 x 18in laced rim; twin-shock rear, adjustable for spring preload, with twin-piston caliper gripping a 260mm rotor on 3.5 x 17in laced rim; anti-lock braking system; Pirelli Sport Demon tyres DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 1445mm; wet weight 213kg; fuel capacity 21 litres BOTTOM LINE Price $14,490 + orc; warranty two years, unlimited km ISSUE #28

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READERS’ ROCKETS 1973 BMW R75/5

WHITE KNIGHT A classic BMW restoration as pure as they come WORDS GEOFF SEDDON PHOTOS RUSSELL NEUENDORF

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USSELL Neuendorf was having not much luck searching for an R-series BMW restoration project when he placed a wanted ad on Gumtree mid last year. It elicited a response from Peter Butler, who was about to list an R75/5 that he had as a project but never got around to restoring. It was totally original, had done less than 27,000km and its history was known. Perfect. The bike was sold new from the BMW export delivery facility in Munich in May, 1973, to Tasmanian Kevin Whittaker, who then toured it extensively throughout Europe. Kevin later shipped it home but rode it rarely before selling it to his close friend Peter Butler in 1979. Peter then sold it to another mate, Brian Fitch, before buying it back in 2008. All the documentation going back to the factory pre-delivery check was intact. Russell’s first challenge was to get the bike from George Town in north-west Tasmania to his home in Brisbane. Once in his garage, a close inspection confirmed it was stock and complete but showing the signs of long periods of inactivity, with the alloy engine heavily oxidised and the chrome rusty. The bike hadn’t run for 90

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some years and Russell’s first inclination was to get it going. “I thought I would start the engine and run it for a few minutes until it was warm,” he says. “This would give me an idea of what to do next, given the engine had only travelled 26,000km. If it sounded okay, I’d overhaul the heads and fit valves that would survive unleaded fuel. If it sounded not so good, I’d do a full strip and rebuild.” Finding spark wasn’t too hard, but getting fuel to the combustion chambers was looking like a marathon, with every step of the chain from petcocks to carburettor jets blocked with gunk. It would take time to address, a distraction from the main game, and who knows what else he would find, so he opted for Plan B. The bike was stripped literally to its bare mainframe and the engine placed in a cradle fabricated by Russell’s mate, Warren, who also fashioned special tools as required during the build. Russell started by restoring the frame, then the swingarm, suspension and running gear, not touching the motor until the chassis was complete four months later. The frame, swingarm and other black parts

were powder-coated and the fun part began, returning the bike to its original factory condition but only after refurbishing every single blessed part along the way. Reproduction bits abound for classic bikes these days, but when you start with a rare find as original as this, you fix what you have wherever possible to keep it so — apart from maintenance items like seals, rubbers, cables, bushes and bearings. “I wanted to retain as many of the original components in an original condition as I could,” Russell says. One small example is the rear suspension; the springs, damper units and shrouds of the twin shocks were covered with rust. The easy answer would have been to source reproductions or fudge it with something close, but not here. Ditto the handlebars, exhaust headers and other chrome parts which were similarly afflicted. Some parts polished up fine, others required extensive preparation before rechroming. Almost none was replaced. The original stainless-steel mufflers also polished up a treat. The bodywork was outsourced, eventually. “I had trouble locating a painter prepared to repair and paint the tank and guards, and a signwriter able to hand-apply the pin-stripes,” Russell says. “Everybody wanted to use decals and cover with clear lacquer. I finally found a painter prepared to take it on, plus an old-school signwriter to do the pin-striping by hand.” Creamy white paint is original code Federweiss (white) from Glasurit. The seat was retrimmed locally.


Bike as purchased was complete but weathered, and not running after many years of inactivity

The engine was stripped of its heads and barrels and the news was all good, exactly what you’d expect of a BMW with 26,698km on the odometer. “Both the right- and left-hand cylinders, heads, pistons and valves were in good condition,” he says. “They just needed a good de-carbon and clean. I sent the heads and barrels to Vapour Blast and they came back looking like new. “I noticed the left-hand combustion chamber and valves had carbon buildup and were wet with oil. I assumed this was due to lack of use

and the bike being on its side-stand over very long periods. The rings and bores were in excellent condition.” The carburettors, however, were anything but. “After 43 years of very limited use, fuel gum was the enemy,” Russell says. “The slides were stuck, the jets were blocked, needles and seats were stuck.” The fuel delivery system was also totally refurbished, including replacement Everbest fuel taps after the originals were judged too far gone to save. The tyres also got the heave-ho. “They looked

like new and still had the mould marks,” he says. “Turns out the tyres were 13 years old. I suggested to the guys at Tyres For Bikes that they keep them as collector items! I was surprised by the range of period tyres available today. It appears almost all manufacturers now produce period tyres,” in this case Dunlop TT100 GPs. Russell recorded the build in a detailed blog, https://russellsmotorcycles.wordpress. com, which includes hundreds of build photos and contact details for all the businesses that ISSUE #28

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READERS’ ROCKETS 1973 BMW R75/5

“I wanted to retain as many of the original components in an original condition as I could”

Retro Specs ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke flat twin; OHV, two per cylinder; 82 x 70.6mm for 749cc; 9.0:1 comp; wet sump; 2 x 32mm Bing CV carburettors; dry single-plate clutch to four-speed gearbox; shaft final drive; 50hp @ 6200rpm CHASSIS Twin-loop mainframe in tubular steel; bolt-on seat subframe; telescopic forks with 200m twin-leading-shoe drum brake on laced 19in rim; twin-shock swingarm with 200mm single-leading shoe drum brake on laced 18in wheel; Dunlop TT100GP tyres DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 1435mm; fuel capacity 24 litres; curb weight 210kg BEST Stunning, accurate restoration; great history; ridden not hidden WORST Countless man hours but worth every minute 92

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contributed. It’s a great read and highlights just how much time and effort goes into a comprehensive rebuild of any bike, especially when you are attempting to retain so many of the original components rather than replace them. Luckily, the R75/5 is worthy of such attention. Released in 1970 alongside its 500cc and 600cc stablemates, the /5 series was the first to be built at BMW’s dedicated motorcycle plant in Berlin. They were also the first to be powered by a completely redesigned ‘air-head’ flat-twin with plain-bearing bottom end (previously rollerbearing) and the single camshaft moved from above the cylinders to below them to improve cornering clearance. Other firsts for BMW included electric start, and a longer wheelbase and telescopic forks to improve handling. The model line was short-lived, however, replaced in

1974 with the five-speed /6 series, but the engine design lived on for decades until after the arrival of the eight-valve ‘oil-heads’ in 1993. An iconic bike for sure. We doubt there’s a more original one on the planet.


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Life At Large

THE WORLD IN PICTURES

MOTOR RAUSCH

RUSS MURRAY

RUSS MURRAY

ages P l a i c So MOTOR RAUSCH

MOTOR RAUSCH

RUSS MURRAY

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PETE CAGNACCI

RUSS MURRAY

PETE CAGNACCI

PETE CAGNACCI

RUSS MURRAY

RUSS MURRAY

LOOSE BRUCE

PETE CAGNACCI

PETE CAGNACCI

PETE CAGNACCI

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Life At Large

THE WORLD IN PICTURES

HALF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

LOOSE BRUCE

RUSS MURRAY

RUSS MURRAY

RUSS MURRAY

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VINICIUS ENGEL

SEDDO


SEDDO

SEDDO

SEDDO

SEDDO

SEDDO

SEDDO

SEDDO

PETE CAGNACCI

SEDDO

RUSS MURRAY ISSUE #28

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READERLAND OPINION PAGE

BIRTHDAY GIRL

JOY OF SIX

SALTY TALES

CLASSIC PLASTIC

 MASTER PEACE #1 A WELCOME return to form on the cover, Seddo. I thought the previous one (Ezekiel The Sword, Retrobike #26) was jumping the shark but the new cover is your best one yet. Stick to what you know, mate, the mag’s looking great. Mathieu Law

 MASTER PEACE #2 “IT’S easy to impress those who really know custom motorcycles, but harder to impress those who don’t.” Sounds like blind Master Po talking to Kwai Chang Caine (aka Grasshopper) in Kung Fu. A lot of modified bike and car builders would argue the opposite! Howard S BLACK JACK'S LIGHTNING

EVERY freelance journalist’s worst nightmare is to have a sloppy sub-editor insert spelling or grammatical errors that were never there. In putting together the breakout box on the history of Jack’s bike, I managed to misspell his surname as Ehrit on every blessed occasion. Sir Al’s original copy was of course as clean as a whistle. GS

 THE JOY OF SIX I HAVEN’T ridden a motorcycle for 30 years but I like reading about them. I get your magazine every issue. I have great memories of tearing around the eastern suburbs of Sydney on my Honda Four in the 1980s. Crazy times. I don’t know how we survived. I enjoy the variety in Retrobike. The CBX in issue #27 is unbelievable. But what’s with eight pages on Throttle Roll? Really? It’s the one part of your mag I don’t get. I’d rather read about another bike. Phil Gardner

 BLACK JACK’S LIGHTNING GREAT story on the Vincent Black Lightning raced for so many years by Jack Ehret (not Ehrit!). You may not be aware it is up for auction in Las Vegas on January 25th. According to Bonhams, it is one of only 30 Black Lightnings ever built and the most important Black Lightning in existence, apart from the one that Rollie Free did 150mph on in his budgie smugglers. Wonder what it will bring? Jill Robinson 98

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on Lake Gairdner, I got in touch with an old club mate and we're going to dust off the sand dragger — it’s still a goer — and do the appropriate modifications and applications. We are going to hit the salt because if not now, when? Craig Baxter

 CLASSIC PLASTIC JUST wondering where James Mott’s gorgeous Heron Suzuki fits in with your derogatory ‘classic not plastic’ tagline on the cover. You’d be surprised how much interest there is in 1980s and early-'90s Japanese motorcycles out here in the real world. You might even get some new readers. Frank Thomas

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RetroBike Issue #28  

New to the retro scene? Retrobike is your lifestyle workshop manual with lots of good advice and plenty of inspiration for your next purchas...

RetroBike Issue #28  

New to the retro scene? Retrobike is your lifestyle workshop manual with lots of good advice and plenty of inspiration for your next purchas...