Someone once said “Live life as if you were riding a motorcycle”. Presumably they meant just get on with it, keep moving and don’t look back, or you might fall off. Jez from La Busca Motorcycles up on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is doing what he enjoys and is enjoying what he is doing. This is reflected in his recent builds which have not only sold quickly but have led to further projects. This Triumph Bonneville was the result of successful sale of a Honda VRX based custom, El Cangrejo. We’ll let Jez take over from here.
“This bike was commissioned by ex pro cyclist Tim Merrell and the story goes back to my second build, El Cangrejo, which was purchased by Tim’s wife Katja. While delivering the bike Tim and I discussed an idea for a machine he was after, namely a Triumph Bonneville T100 in a desert sled style that would be capable of taking Tim to the far reaches of the globe. The concept for this was too good to pass up and within a short space of time the ball was rolling on the design”.
We’ve heard that one before, a customer yearning for the sprawling Mongolian-esque landscapes of EwanBoormanland, but read on as this is one scrambler destined for the real deal.
“The brief was fairly straightforward, high quality parts and real world usability, the looks and finish would draw from the spirit in which the early sleds were built, merging with performance parts while retaining a hand finished feel. The wheels were built by Doug Richardson and sport Mitas tubeless enduro tyres; this set up drops the bikes weight considerably and gives good all terrain capability. To really move the ride on, Ohlins TR538’s were fitted to the rear with Hyperpro progressive springs installed in the front forks to balance out the shift in suspension performance. The ride and handling are superb and on this front alone the bike delivers in a way that never fails to raise a smile”.
“Right from the start Tim expressed the desire for luggage capability so the rear sub frame had to undergo some changes. A new loop was fabricated, sleeved and welded in place with the length of the sub frame allowing room for gear. I wanted to give the bike an old scrambler style solo seat and knew that anything too low profile would compromise the ride position, especially the leg room. With this in mind, an old Harley sportster seat that had real depth to it was re upholstered in diamond stitch leather with a low profile pillion pad sitting behind it. The pad can be swapped out for a rack and for longer journeys, pannier frames are added to keep luggage clear of the shocks”.
“To get the straight through look on the exhausts some simple slash cuts with some seriously re-engineered baffles give the bike a really nice exhaust note, and again, keep the weight low. This system involved re-jetting the carbs and running a Pipercross filter in the original air box, a decision of functionality over form as there are some hard miles planned ahead for this bike”.
“The headlight is from an early Aermacchi, hand finished with built-in LED dash lights and a protective grill. Stopping power up front is thanks to a Nissin 3-pot caliper which is well matched to the master cylinder, a huge improvement on the OEM set-up. The rear brake has been kept as standard. The bike is hand finished in a clear coat epoxy which is then lacquered to provide UV resistance, it’s not the easiest method to employ but it does provide excellent protection to the bare metal finish”.
“All in all Jawbone has been a very rewarding project, the challenge of getting high end parts to merge with a home-made desert sled feel and have them sit well together proved both satisfying and testing, at times in equal measure. Tim picked the bike up at Bike Shed London 2015 and from there he’s off to Wheels and Waves on it, then LA and next year a full South American tour. The knowledge that the bike will be hitting the roads and doing these kind of distances is testimony to a machine that was made to be ridden”.
“And the name? Most La Busca builds seem to have a soundtrack so here’s a clue, if you cross the great divide, eventually you get there”.
Keep an eye out for this bike as we’ll be following Tim’s progress around the world and hopefully he’ll be taking some decent photos to document the trip. In the meantime Jez has a workshop full of builds and we have news of another VRX in the making. For more details and to get in touch with Jez, the La Busca Motorcycles Facebook page is here.