Deep under the arches, behind the canal, within spitting distance of the markets and the MTV studios in Camden Town resides the home of Untitled Motorcycles, where Adam, Rex & Anita chop, grind, weld, rivet and wrestle old school bikes into retro-modern classic street rides.
As their name suggests, Untitled Motorcycles haven’t been pushy about their brand, and I’m always telling them off for letting builds go out the door without anyone taking a decent photo, or the bike even carrying an Untitled MC badge. Finally the guys have had time to take stock of all their hard work, the website is being rebuilt, and the commissions are coming in at a decent rate. Time then, for some proper photos and a decent feature on the Bike Shed.
The Untitled MC workshops at Victory Motorcycles are also a hangout for a whole host of young keen amateur bike builders, all borrowing the benches and begging for some welding time while they knock-up their own budget machines under the disapproving watchful eye of Rex, the proprietor and air-head guru. The vibe (and some of the tools) are as timeless as the machines on the benches, and there’s even a shop upstairs where you can buy everything from a proper old rockers jacket to a Davida, or a pair of googles to some second hand boots. It’s worth going there just for the eye candy, and Anita always seems happy to stick the kettle on – if she’s not in the middle remaking a loom.
This build was put together for the Bike Shed event last May and manages to be low key and ostentatious all at the same time. On the one hand it’s a tastefully put together humble R80/7 in matte black chassis and running gear, but then there’s the gold leaf. Yes, real gold. Too thin to be worth scraping off and taking to the nearest pawn brokers, but good enough for giant statues of Bhudda in Thailand.
The seat is more Brat-style than on Adam’s usual builds, leaving the bike a lot lower than stock which affects how the bike feels to ride. He describes it as distinctly Bobber/Brat. The inspiration for the gold leaf finish on the tank, fenders and headlamp was actually taken from picture frames, and was all done by Adam himself, learning the art as he went. The idea was to frame the black engine and wheels.
Underneath the micro-thin squares of gold the tank is painted bright red, which has been allowed to show through in a few places, giving the bike the colouring of an ancient Chinese carving. Very Bruce Lee.
In terms of the build, it’s a very thorough job. The engine was removed and completely rebuilt before being painted in heat resistant black paint. The frame was de-lugged and the battery tucked away under the frame in a custom box with a brand new simplified and hidden-away wiring loom, which extended to hiding the switch gear wires in the handlebars.
The balance pipes were removed and the holes welded over while a new silencer was fitted, giving a deep throaty bark to the engine – which is key to a safe ride when filtering in London.
To accommodate the brat-stye rear-end the sub-frame was shortened by 15cm and a new slimline custom seat was crafted by Glenn Moger (also known for his fine work with Spirit of the 70s and Redmax Speedshop). The old-style British headlamp was customised to house the speedo and warning lights, keeping the bars and top yoke totally free of clutter.
When you look closely at this bike, it all looks so simple and basic you imagine it was a doddle to build, but all the hard work is hidden away, literally, in everything that you can’t see.
The bike is Adam’s everyday ride, and it’s fair to say that he’s now on a bike that you simply can’t miss. In fact I seem to see him all over the place, even when we’re not planning a BSMC meet. I guess he finally got the message about standing out from the crowd and getting Untitled Motorcycles noticed! After all, the work is there, the quality is there, and so is the heart & soul of proper old-school custom bike building, albeit married to the fresh scrambler/brat/cafe style.
If you fancy a hard-working, high-quality street custom like this (it doesn’t have to be gold) check out Untitled Motorcycles online or drop Adam a line on 07989134297
Photos by Damian McFadden