Just when you think you know who they are Old Empire Motorcycles rock up at the Bike Shed October Event and lo & behold they’ve re-defined themselves. Again. …Still in the mold of quirky British renaissance engineering, but not just creating the old school Enfield bobbers they’ve become known for, instead they wheeled-out a couple of unique-looking lightweight bruisers, including this genre-busting Honda CB250 Superdream, AKA, The Hunter. It seems like their Vulcan build wasn’t a one-off.
The stubby brutish looks give the bike the stance of an angry cruiser-weight pugilist, waiting for the next round and another chance to give his opponent a bloody nose, but the short tail, truncated front end and lumpy Com-Star wheels are share some dainty touches, and a subtle retro offwhite paint, suggesting a certain amount of refinement: The gentleman boxer in a silk scarf, taking part in a backyard prize fight.
The Hunter started out as a “quick budget build” but considering it took two years to complete and lacks the usual compromises it’s fair to say that OEM don’t easily lend themselves to Quick or Budget. Usefully, the owner was so chilled-out during his long wait that he moved to France to pick grapes with his girlfriend, so the guys decided to deliver the bike to him the hard way. There’s more on this coming soon.
Tucking the number plate away like this suggests a bad boy with something to hide, but apparently it’s completely legal. …Officer.
The donor bike didn’t make the task of rebuilding it easy either, with a wide rear end and too many fugly bits to list, so out came the grinder and after much chopping and slicing the guys lost 3 inches on the forks, and replaced the rear rails with a single looped sub frame.
The tank had knee indents cut out, clips-ons were added up front and the sidepanels were replaced with a handmade leather satchel – presumably to hold a pipe and a pistol – or maybe a Mackintosh, as the lack of fenders front and rear suggest a dry weather ride.
Flying Tiger took care of the paint scheme with a matte ivory finish on the tank and frame, plus the very tasteful logo artwork, which suits the bike to a T. Other details and hardparts include a Smiths Instruments Chronometric Speedo, New rear shocks, Rinders square headlight, the usual posh Brooks grip-wrap and a custom shorty exhaust (breathing in through K&N filters). The tyres are Excelsior.
This is no run of the mill build, and continues to propel OEM into the league of those few custom workshops with a clear brand vision, creating bikes that are designed rather than just built. What makes this all the more interesting is that Alex & Rafe are young guys and this is just the beginning, We look forward to following them on their journey.
Thanks go to Flying Tiger Paintwork, Demeanour customs, TEM Sport, Aerocoat powdercoating and Ekquire Motorcycles.