There’s one thing that unites builders, bakers and candlestick makers; the ability to stand back and say “I did that”. Even as an unvocalised thought, it holds the power to strive for more, for better, for improvement. And one thing that unites humans is the natural desire to be liked or acknowledged. Calum from deBolex Engineering is one of those happy blokes who does what he loves, does it well and people like him. Not only that, they like his bikes. So much so that there’s a virtual queue forming outside his countryside shed. One man in line was Ricardo, a record producer living in Ibiza. (No this isn’t some fairytale) Ricardo wanted to blast around in Balearic music industry style and a deBolex bike exactly fitted the bill.
One of Calum’s previous builds, the MK3, had Ricardo reaching for the chequebook and a Honda CB750f2n was sourced. With all the visual bulk up-front on these CBs it pays to graft in a set of fatter upside-down forks. The deBolex tried and tested R1 fork upgrade allows the mention of the original Honda front wheel. Twin discs keep the look balanced and keep Ricardo from flying off a cliff somewhere.
The top yoke has been machined to accept the Motogadget speedo, clean and efficient; got to love German engineers. The Brits get a look in too, Renthal clipons give a good degree of adjustability and are really nicely made. Keeping things multicultural, Brembo levers pump fluid form billet reservoirs.
The fuel tank is from a CB650 which was encouraged to fit with a few mods, good behaviour was rewarded with a sumptuous paint job. In a break from the deBolex black the front half of the tank is metal-effect silver with multiple coats of lacquer over this and the deep cherry red metalic. Just under the tank is a meshed battery box containing slimmed down wiring and lightweight Shorai Li-Ion battery.
The now ubiquitous chop ‘n’ loop has a slight twist here, a pair of LED tail light housings are neatly grafted into the subframe. The holes you can see aren’t an oversight, deBolex don’t do oversight. Ricardo wanted to be able to whisk bikini-clad crumpet around the White Isle so a removable pillion seat cover was fabricated. A subtle cafe style tail, with practicality and simple installation. It took a few attempts to achieve a “duck’s beak look” whilst hugging but not touching the leather.
The colour scheme continues with a vibrant, diamond stitched medium grain leather seat, complete with a slight hump which looks better than a flat plank, brat-style wafer. The frame in silver powder coat sets of the red and the flakes in the red, as well as the aluminium castings on the rear shocks. If you know Calum you’ll know the colour match was no coincidence.
The Öhlins shockers don’t disappoint in performance or looks and the trademark anodised gold is picked-up on the brake caliber piston caps and fork adjusters. Attention to detail, we like that.
Dunlop Mutants are fast becoming a go-to tyre for builders wanting a very slight whiff off flat-trackery whilst keeping their customers in once piece, and more importantly in the queue for another build. So, ever the gentleman, and businessman, Calum fitted a pair. Tarozzi rear sets and pillion pegs are softly knurled to prevent wear to Ricardo’s dancing shoes.
Rebuilt carbs running handmade mesh filters, which match the battery box, fuel a standard engine but a far from standard exhaust. When asked to specify this component Ricardo simply said “short and loud”, so a nearly baffle-less 4-into-1 stainless system gives road users the heads-up “the sound, Wow! It BARKS, like a furious dog, haha, really noisy, but i love it!! There are some tunnels in the highway here, I cannot get tired of going there…” Mission accomplished!
After a few late nights the shipping deadline was looming, but good planning left enough time for a good road test. Calum left his shed near Croydon and went for a ride, with now real plan, just to put some miles on the clock. Sometime later he pulled up at CRC Motorcycles in Wembley. I know this because I had to down tools when I heard something loud and lairy roaring through the industrial estate. On a fine sunny autumn day the paintwork looked excellent and worthy change from the usual black.
The rest of the bike warranted positive comment from myself, CRC bossman Will and his crew; a really decent build, built for riding. Calum left us, still with no plan, and rode into the afternoon, through the night and into the early hours knowing he’d soon have to say goodbye to his endeavours.
But not just yet, a few hours later the DGR London kicked off from Borough Market under a scorching sun and the deBolex MK5 behaved in a gentlemanly manner through the throng of some 800 slow moving custom bikes. Riding alongside I was lucky enough to cop an earful of that exhaust going through the Blackfriars Underpass, Ricardo is right, a furious dog indeed.
Whilst Ricardo and his Honda enjoy paradise together Calum is back in his shed working on the build queue, and another exciting venture…more to follow soon. Keep an eye on the deBolex website and their Facebook page, or check out the latest video here.