Well not many people expected us to feature an alloy beam sports tourer in the shed; but seeing as Dutch is my buddy and he approves of the final result of my original vision, one of a hard core, altered purpose, urban scrambler, so here she is. That vision I talk of was partly inspired by Icon’s Magnificent Bastard, built around a VFR750.
I sourced the donor from Ebay and she was a low mileage, good condition machine with full MOT and Tax, so I got her back to my workshop and stripped off all her fairing and disconnected an array of parts within a day of purchase; and then there she sat for a year… but then a post BSMC Event drink in October led to me commissioning Adam from Untitled Motorcycles to get the build going.
Fast forward to January 2014 and I delivered the bike by van to UM’s Camden workshop with an abundance of additional parts collected over the past year; Continental TKC80 tyres, Jerry Cans, handlebars, 1980’s Rally Car Lights and a selection of exhausts were amongst the haul.
Guidelines were set, mainly to reflect the bikes need to be a daily ride and to handle my rural location, especially the half mile broken driveway that is my only access to home. This build needed a rural edge; happy on or off the farm but not reminiscent of a tractor.
The Gambler as she is affectionately known (building a bike like this was also going to be Gamble!) has the infamous V4 engine, a great soundtrack as standard, but fitted with the DanMoto GP style silencer she positively howls. UM wanted to paint the entire silencer black along with the rest of the system, but I have a thing for a nice bit of tig welding, and these silencers certainly have that.
One of the most unique stand out parts of the bike for me is the seat unit, a great find and believed to be from a classic 80’s racer… very Bol d’or, the seat and tank pad were recovered by UM’s upholsterer Glen and features UM’s signature stitched into the rear of the seat. Rex customised the standard subframe to fit the seat unit and fabricated a battery tray within the hump and an electrical box further forward, the later being where many components that were bolted to the outside of the original subframe have been neatly tucked away; manufacturers don’t think of aesthetics when they intend to wrap it with plastic!
The front end is unlike anything out there; superb high beam vision is thanks to the1980’s Rally car Hella spot lights complete with original covers, these flank a DR800 headlight which is protected by a dirt bike grill. The high level mudguard means that I can cross muddy terrain without having to eat any of it… and those tyres will allow this bike to push through pretty much anything it encounters, and whilst this all seems a bit much for rural Hertfordshire; I now have many more ways in and out of the farm!
The clip-ons were ditched for some more appropriate MX style bars. For accuracy through speed traps, the original speedo was separated from the standard VFR dash and housed in a hand-beaten holder prior to being powder coated along with numerous other bracketry, splash guards, wheels, subframe and the fork legs.
Moving down the bike you can’t miss the Jerry cans; held in their cradles by army belts and colour matched to the seat and tank in true Army bronze green, at some point I plan on cutting and hinging the Jerry Cans to make them usable storage space, after all, you wouldn’t actually want to fill them with fuel! Made to measure bags are also another option for the cradles. The eagle-eyed viewer may have noticed the micro indies also located on the Jerry Can cradles, they’re super bright and as you look over the bike there really isn’t a better location for them.
The rear of the bike has already received a mention, but here’s a recap for you: modified subframe to accommodate electronics, battery, the seat unit and exhaust hanger, new chain and sprockets, these are non standard sizes front and rear to prevent high speeds on those tyres and to allow for greater acceleration, the seat unit does a great job of keeping me onboard when the front wheel points skyward; a DanMoto silencer for a touch of luxury, white stripes painted on to the seat unit to break up the military black and green, twin tail lights and number plate hanger mounted to the seat unit; and once more we find a pair of micro indies, this time elegantly placed into the tail piece.
So to summarise on The Gambler; she’s a go-anywhere, scare-many, rule-breaking urban (and rural) scrambler, she’s not the first big bike to get fitted with nobblies, nor will she be the last, I hope she’ll inspire other builds, especially as it has now been proven that you don’t need a classic tubular frame or trellis as a starting platform; ladies and gentlemen; the donor market has just been expanded!
Thanks go to Untitled Motorcycles, they took on a bike so far from their normal staple that it just goes to show; with the right vision anything can be done.
Photo credits go to our very own Gareth Roberts
(From Dutch – when we first saw Ali’s new build we thought he was bonkers, and then we watched him wheelie, spin her up and generally hoon around on the loose-stuff and it all suddenly made sense. …Besides. They say a dog always looks like it’s owner…)