Wednesday, 21 March 2012

ROMEO-80 - Supertrapp Race Mufflers

Following the success of the new 2-1 exhaust and Supertrapp Muffler I put on Macbeth Bobber recently, I have decided to fit a pair to the new ROMEO 80 Bike, and they look pretty good.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Digger Bikes

I was reading Cyril Huze Blog the other day, and was really interested to read a post about Arlen Ness re-inventing the Digger Bike, which is basically a low slung drag style bike running matching 23" wheels, which is very much what I have been doing with the last 4 of my bikes (4,5,6 and now Romeo80) - although all with a different style.  Here is the Ness bike and its very cool.
Looking at this has got me thinking as the one bike I have built over the last few years that I have not been totally happy with is the Othello Bike 5, for 2 reasons, the first its anti-socially noisy and the second is that it has mini-apes which are very comfortable but dont reflect me or my riding style.  So I have been thinking:
  • Mount the headlamp lower
  • Put on some drag bars
  • Add a new 2-1 exhaust with muffler
Have a look at the pictures and let me know what you think?

Friday, 16 March 2012

My Guilty Secret - BIke EXIF

I have been a follower of the website BikeEXIF almost from day one, its run by an English advertising guy Chris Hunter who lives in Australia and has been going for about 4 years now - you must know it as its one of the top bike sites around.  Its raison d'ĂȘtre  is to show interesting bikes , combined with good photography (thats what the EXIF is about), over the last few years the comments section has been getting  more and more extreme and there is now such a clear division between the yea's and neh's, its worthy of a Phd or a book to get to the bottom of it -  Men are from Mars women are from Venus - or arty custom guys vs. techy mech guys.

I am an old rider now who has been on Harley based customs for 15 years  - and the reason I do is that I love the style and art of riding custom bikes  - but I do ride them everywhere, I might not get my knee down but I hit the speed limits, and I think I get about 80%+ of their ability most days I ride. This is important to me as so many of the dark side (of BikeEXIF readers) genuinely believe that customs never get ridden.  So my guilty pleasure when I read Bike EXIF is to "exasperate" me that people judge these bikes for all sorts of bizarre reasons which basically come down to the fact that they would not out perform a normal bike on a track day.  Now living in the UK where we have congestion, and CCTV this is bizarre - I swear I could beat a GSXR on a race to the centre of London - why? - well I know the way for a start, and day to day riding is not all about speed and sticky tyres.

So to get to the point if you hate these "art" bikes try not to visualise yourself ridding the Nurburgring on one, but see yourself riding la Croisette in Cannes  - you have probably not done either  - but if you do both then maybe you will finally get it.  In the words of my favourite Harley Davidson T Shirt "If I had to explain you wouldn't understand"

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Custom Bike Shows

I have to say I am a real sceptic when it comes to Custom Bike Shows, the judging criteria is always so subjective, and personal interests and contacts always seem to play a part.  Which is why after entering a Custom Bike Show in London last year when a bizarre collection of bikes got prizes (but not me...ahhh)  I vowed never again would I enter a competition - its a lot of effort for not a lot of return.

However last month I made an exception and entered an online Bike Competition organised by the excellent Choppertown Nation mainly as the only effort involved was an email, and also the competition is really for small builders you dont get dealer customs or the real high end one off masterpieces - its for custom bikes that are built to be ridden.

So it was a real treat and a surprise to find out I won first place for my Caesar Racer VI in the Cafe Racer division - I am particularly proud of this bike as I have owned it since new some 13 years ago and re-invented it a few times before the current version - and its a daily ride, that I love to get out and blast about on.  The judging was carried out by 10 independent people using the BORDA system whatever that is.  Anyway much appreciated and thanks; a little bit of recognition is always nice.  Someone made a point that I only won as my bike was a Harley  - which I hope isn't true - and maybe we will see next year when I put in my BMW Romeo 80.  Anyway check out all the great other bikes, and congratulations to them.


Finally to show the bike does get used I loaned it to my good friend Preben from Denmark last year when we rode down to the South West of England, and he put about 800 miles on it.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Harley Riding in Cuba

At the end of last years's riding season, I saw an advert in HOG magazine to ride Harley's in Cuba for February 2012 - now Cuba, is a place I have long wanted to visit, and ever keen to start riding in the heat at an early opportunity, it seemed an ideal kick off to this years rides.  I booked up the tour and persuaded two friends from the UK to join me (Paul Leeson and Gary France).  The tour was arranged by experienced  MC-Travel from Denmark, who provide tours all over the place - check out their website  run by Michael Christianson.

Being a communist country with a difficult relationship with the USA, its not easy to do anything in Cuba, and regular direct flights were the first issue, we flew from Gatwick with Virgin, but they only go Sundays and Wednesdays and the tour was from Monday to the following Tuesday, so we added an extra day each end to spend more time in Havana.  Joining us on the tour were, 2 Danish couples and 3 guys from Canada, with Luis a Harylista from Cuba as our Road Captain, Augustino our Tourist Guide (with Junior the driver, in the back up van) with Michael Christianson bringing up the rear.  Here we all are at a site in Santa Clara where Che Guevara blew up a supply train, wearing our tour T Shirts.

The tour covered around 1400km of riding over all sorts of roads, all with pot holes, horses and carts, stray dogs, goats, pigs, turkeys, cows and cubans, but other than in Havana rarely any other vehicles.  We stayed mainly in the West of the island and spent time in Cinefuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and of course Havana - rather than describe them in detail here watch the three videos below, the first by me made from my 15 mins of film on my Pentax, the second by Gary who must have filmed about 10 hours and edited it to this great film, and finally Paul's superb mix of stills and videos - both with great Cuban soundtracks

Highlights for me are without doubt experiencing the whole culture of Cuba, a land where time has stood still since Castro won the revolution in 1959, the building and cars are like no where else, and I dont believe will stay this way much longer as relations with the USA thaw and new investment will start to come in.  I also want to say how happy and well the Cuban people were, despite what appears to be an apparent poverty  they seemed content and looked after.  Its a great place - go there, ride the roads, visit the sites, drink Mojito's and smoke a cigar.