White Collar Barracuda
By Ross Sharp - 29 Aug 14
So this time last week over 5000 of Bike Shed's Facebook followers clicked the, I really frickin appreciate that man's skills button when we posted the White Collar Bike Thruxton. Whether to everyone's particular aesthetic taste or not was largely irrelevant as even the most vehement of haters had to appreciate the astonishing craftsmanship on display. This bloke isn't Roland Sands but a normal dude (We're not saying Roland isn't normal BTW) with a small design business and passion for bikes. So, in a polar opposite to the CNC billet-fest that was the Thruxton, here is Ram from White Collar Bikes and the Barracuda, wartime aviation style with old school rivets and hand-beaten panels. Actually, that's a slight fib, of course there's a load of high-end machining work mixed in with the rawness. Ram's buddy Cefi Duff, AKA Duff Rider, is the founder of Cafe Racer Indonesia and frequent visitor to the White Collar workshop. Cefi was completely fed up with his incontinent 1993 Honda CB 750 Night Hawk that had been customised by a local outfit. Oil leaked out of the bottom and smoke poured out of the back, some of his mates ribbed him for not only riding an fugly bike, but the only 2 stroke CB750 they'd seen. The mechanical embarrassment was deposited at Ram's place with a brief of "Do what ever you want with it". Ram duly posted back the parts that were not required; which was everything bar the engine and badly twisted and bodged frame. Having spent a small fortune already Cefi's heart sank, deep down into the bottom of the money pit this bike had become. After a few 3D renders though things started to look up and this jet fighter racer build could begin. 3mm aluminium sheet sections were hand cut, formed and riveted together; including the fuel tank, which required a couple of layers to ensure Cefi didn't end up with another leaking machine. The finish is care of gentle sanding to the sharp edges and the rest left raw and slightly scratched up, before hand painting the jaws onto the tank. To me the result looks somewhere between a Mig 15 fighter and a WW2 Mustang, and I'd happily fly either of those. After the old fashioned panel beating Ram couldn't help himself and got back to the CAD station to knock up some drawings for a host of billet parts. The swingarm is one of them, made from thick walled tube with machined mountings. Showa forks from a Ducati are clamped by custom yokes, which in turn have custom clip ons clamped to them and a custom throttle clamped to those and finally custom grips clamped to that. Foot pegs are GSXR and the hydraulic clutch conversion is aftermarket, phew, something us mere mortals can cope with. Wheels are Kawasaki Z1300, powder coated black and rolling on Bridgestone Battlaxs. Up front radial callipers are by Brembo and a Nissin at the rear. The exhaust is in an in-house effort with a Gattling gun style end baffle and a riveted heat shield. Velocity stacks are of course machined from solid. The stop light looks like an jet's afterburner and sums up this build. Serious engineering and stunning craftsmanship but with a fun and creative edge. I'm all for that approach, but wish I had the skill to amalgamate the two with this level of finish. Keep an eye on what Ram is up to on his Facebook page or just pop back to The Shed as we're sure to be featuring the next build very soon.