Mostly the stories we get in the shed are in-depth tales of all the technical work that went into a build, but every now and then its just a darn good yarn about how the bike began its life. In the case of A&G Cafe Racer’s “Gert”, is definitely the latter.
The starting point for this ‘Muscle bike’ project was a GPz1100. They found one in Portsmouth on the south coast of the UK, and on a perfect winter’s day in late Jan the guys set off from Nantwich in Cheshire in a hired transit van. With ‘Gert’ (named after a Great Aunt Gertrude) safely secured in the back of the van, the clear blue sky became dark and stormy, and within the hour a snow storm was upon them, blizzard conditions, thunder and lightning, zero visibility. The guys soldiered on valiantly into the night; but were eventually defeated by one particularly vicious incline, and they were forced to take refuge in a local pub. This is when all sympathy is lost as the hand-pulled ales and home cooking appear to have done a fine job of helping the guys get over the effects of the traumatic journey, and also gave them some ‘inspiration’ for the build itself.
Back in the warmth of the workshop in Nantwich, complete with raging hangovers, the work started in earnest. The bike was stripped back to the bone and the motor was removed. One look at the top end revealed that this Zwaka had had an easy life up to now. So the first job was to chop the frame and measure up for the alloy tank and tail. “Mick the Tank” handmade all the stunning alloy on the bike. The front mudguard would look as much at home in a gallery as it does hugging the front tyre. Unfortunately the wiring loom wasn’t in such good condition as the engine, so a complete new loom was required which was a major headache for Al (you sure that wasn’t the real ale?) . GPz1100 B1’s are fuel injected, but Gert had a Carb conversion so all the injection wiring had to be removed which was extremely complex. The carburettors were crying out for bell mouths, so George sourced them and machined up some beautiful aluminium adaptors. The Harris Race System needed some attention too, so they had it powder coated black and tracked down a racing baffle. The result is visual and aural perfection. The rearsets are from a CBR1000 which were modified to suit, along with special adaptor plates. A&G do all their own powder coating, and from what we can see in the photos, they’re a dab hand at it.
From stormy beginnings to a shiny alloy work of art, Gert’s been on some journey. The hours that have gone into this build are plain to see, but as is often the case it’s the stories behind these bikes, the things you can’t see that provide the ingredients for what this scene is all about – good old fashioned banter down the pub with like minded mates. Thanks for the bike guys, and thanks for the story.
Posted by Ian@TheBikeShed