Auto Fabrica, or ‘The Perfectionists’ as they are commonly referred to here in The Shed, are back with Type 2, another exquisite piece of engineering art, this time built around the SR500. A punchy lump chosen for it’s solid, reliable track record and it’s willingness to being stripped back to the barest of bones, ready for a ground up re-build.
Auto Fabrica’s mission was to create something that hadn’t been done before, easy to say but harder to do when so many people have used the SR for builds in the past. Of course, the simplest way to make a bike unique is to do something outlandish just for the sake of it, but that’s not AF’s style. They wanted to make a totally individual looking bike, while still adhering to the understated style they are renowned for. Not easy.
The look is a perfectly balanced blend of old school and modern design, a nod to the past but with a firm focus on the future. To create the one-off tank AF fired up a huge industrial English Wheel, once used to form aluminium sections for aircraft wings. This beast was used to roll the 2mm ali’, before it was panel beaten into it’s final form. The aim wasn’t just to create a pretty tank, it had to be functional too. It had to take into account the ergonomics of the rider, have a decent range (15 Litres) and it had to fit perfectly with the frame and everything else that had been created.
Aluminium was the metal of choice on this build. Chosen for it’s light weight, higher quality, better strength, and how much easier it is to work with. The seat unit in particular shows it was the right choice. Sleek, simple and home to the rear light too. AF consider the stance of the bike to be the most important thing of all to get right. It determines how the bike is ‘read’. To achieve the perfect stance they dropped the forks 2 inches and sourced a set of 325mm Marzzochi shocks to raise the rear. A lot of the guy’s time was spent reducing bulk, shaving off all unnecessaries to create the desired minimalist effect.
Natural grey was chosen for the majority of the tank to do justice to the clean look. But a large chunk of white has been used to subtly highlight the shape. The natural properties and finish of materials were mostly left untouched, like the exposed welds on the exhaust and the aqua blasted and polished parts on the engine. The seat is upholstered in a natural tan coloured leather, as are the other rider touch points. Performance has been improved by re-jetting the carb to make sure it’s in balance with the new exhaust system (which was also made in house). Other performance improvements come from the dropped down riding position and the huge weight loss.
Type 2 is another killer lesson to us all. Just when we think our own bikes are beginning to look quite sharp, along comes a build from Auto Fabrica that slaps us hard around the face and says, ‘try harder’. Keep on making us feel inadequate guys, it’s character building. To see more face slapping work, contact AF at [email protected], or find them on Instagram and Facebook.