There comes a point when it’s time to take the next step with your business. To not move forward and grow, is to sit and stagnate. For many bike builders this point is going from personal or pet projects to commissions. Sure, it provides an element of relief for the builder, a guaranteed sale and a brief to follow. But with it comes new pressures. You’re now building to a spec, another’s idea of what perfection is.
How do you do this while maintaining the style and integrity you’ve based your company on? If you’re fortunate, the client will come to you because of your reputation and the bikes you’ve produced, and they’ll let you crack on. If not, then do you risk turning away a commission because it’s not the right fit..?
Fortunately for Arpi at Mokka Cycles in Hungary, his client shared the same crazy vision he had and trust was implicit from the off. With a number of small capacity builds behind them it was the perfect time for Mokka to step up and tackle a big build, the business growing with the cubic capacity.
The BMW R-series is still a darling of the Alt.Custom world, but a Brat seat and lashings of matt black spray no longer cut the mustard. To redefine the bike would mean changing the familiar silhouette and replacing the domineering BMW tank; something with it’s own character would be needed.
So it was with the discovery of a well used Husqvarna WR tank, that the rest of the build gelled. From that point on each part of the bike was shaped and styled to match and flow with the lines of the Swedish statement piece. And thankfully, it was left in all it’s original glory, Arpi modifying the frame to fit the tank rather than vice-versa.
Regardless of your opinion on mixing up brand names ‘twixt chassis and tank, I think most would agree that repainting an original Husky WR tank would be a crime. Besides it’s iconic red and chrome colour-way, the shape is also instantly recognisable, so to try and disguise it is a futile act.
As with all Mokka bikes, the mechanicals haven’t just received a coat of black paint and a blessing. Engine out and stripped, the tired R75 lump received new pistons, rings, bearings and significant machining of the heads to help it box-on for a few more years. As Arpi challenges himself ever further he made the neat Enduro style exhaust from Stainless steel, swinging up the left side of the bike and out of a drops harm.
With the CNC machine fully fired up, Mokka’s range of custom parts is growing. Besides their beautifully simple handlebar switch gear on the braced bars, the Huskymer features some bar-end turn signals. Made at the client’s behest, they are ‘Bright as hell!’ according to Arpi and will be in the Mokka shop imminently. There’s a whole lot more satisfaction in making items like these rather than just clicking ‘Add to Basket’.
The new subframe stops the black fluted seat abruptly; the main stays rise through the loop to cut it off at the suspensiuon pickups. As the tank sits a little higher than the original the seat swoops upwards with vintage enduro vigour to tie into the slope of the tank.
The bunted seat affords the rear portion some useful storage space, a tin of beard oil and some organic Quinoa can be held in place with the leather strapping if that’s your fancy.
With the engine back in the bike and the chassis built up with refurbished wheels and suspension, the brakes needed a good going over. Fully rebuilt, the calipers got new pistons and seals, while an Accossato master cylinder fires fluid through braided lines. Clamping down on a new Brembo disc, the stopping power should no longer be a white-eyed issue.
Alloy mudguards, a new cloth wrapped wiring loom and minimalist lighting all work together with the tank to give a mid-seventies enduro vibe to the big bad boxer.
The blending of two iconic designs certainly takes chutzpah Getting them to work in harmony as Arpi’s managed with the Huskymer means that Mokka’s first big-cc build will be far from their last. If the reception the bike received at the London Bike Shed event is anything to go by, commissions will be the new norm for Mokka from now on.
Keep an eye on Arpi and Mokka via their FB page for all the latest build updates.