Having spent the weekend in a big tent with nearly 100 bikes, road and race, from Pre-war Indians to recent Daytona winning Superbikes, it’s easy to see how the custom scene takes inspiration from a wonderfully varied source. With the creative bar set so high nowadays sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of where it all began. Don’t worry, we haven’t gone soft and started allowing Frame Number Spotters Club of Dudley into The Shed.
Down Under and slightly to the right, Alan at Pacific Motorcycles Co. of Nelson, New Zealand recently received a once-in-a-lifetime haul of classic Brit bikes and parts. U.S.-based Zerby Motorcycles was closing down so Pacific’s owner Ron got his Southern Hemispheres out and bid for the lot. A forty foot container duly landed crammed with a chrome plated bounty to make even the sternest jaw drop.
20 bikes, mostly matching numbers, and crates of NOS parts were unloaded, along with this 1969 BSA Lightning Clubman, a bike that spawned the Café Racer era.
The engine was completely stripped and all cases were treated to a thorough clean and finally vapour blasted in house. The barrels painted black for contrast and outer cases polished. New pistons, rings, bearings, seals, valves ensured the inside was as fresh as the outside.
When the chrome arrived, the rebuild could continue, wheels rebuilt with new spokes laced to the vapour blasted hubs and a new custom exhaust was fabricated, a two-into-one with a reverse cone muffler. The chrome clubman handlebars from Jay at Lossa Engineering are about the best style bars for this cockpit setup and really show off the brand new speedometer and tacho.
A slightly less traditional candy red paint colour was chosen for side panels and to complement the chrome on the earlier ’67 tank, apparently “it literally looks a mile deep!”
The only thing that was cut up was the seat, its cover was beyond salvage and the inner foam had turned to powder. The base was ok and cleaned up well. New foam was added and sculpted to a traditional racer style with red stitched finished vinyl completing the look.
Custom rearsets were fabricated to emulate the Café Racer style with a retro look in keeping with the age of the bike. No brackets were cut off, ground or new ones welded on, using the pillion peg mounts will allow the new owner to return to standard if desired. Completely rebuilt front forks, with Hagon shocks and Dunlop TT100 tyres take care of the handling and road holding.
So, no skulls, fluro-flip paint, exhaust wrap or tyres from a 747, just an understated but well executed Cafe Racer that screams “ride me to the bridge and back before the music stops!” Mr Zerby of Spring Mills P.A. would be proud, nice work.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Lord of the Rings land and want something a bit special for winding through the epic scenery give the guys at Pacific Motorcycle Co. a call and check out their brand new workshops, with fabrication, machining and vapour blasting facilities.