Retrobike Issue 33

New to the retro scene? Retrobike is your lifestyle workshop manual with lots of good advice and plenty of inspiration for your next purchase or build. In Retrobike we focus on motorcycles with character and style, and the people who ride them. Everything from restored classics to late-model customs and most things in between can be seen between the pages of Retrobike. Every issue, (a true collector’s edition!), is packed full of content; covering interviews with motorcycling legends, the freshest lifestyle products and gear, trend-setting customs from around the world, restorations, retromods (old bikes, new gear) and modern classics (new bikes made to look old), plus shows, rallies, and runs, not to mention, so much more! The perfect mag for any passionate, enthusiastic retro bike fanatic. Purchase includes the Digital Edition and News Service. Please stay in touch via our Facebook Page.

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min

IF THERE are two common threads to my lifelong obsession with motorcycles, they are Nortons and Ducatis. Ever since 1978 when I upgraded to my first Commando, and 1982 when I bought my first 900SS, there’s almost always been one or the other in the shed with my name on it. Sometimes I get lucky and own both at the same time. So you can imagine my reaction when Darren Hill emailed me a photo of his just-completed ‘Norcati’ — comprising a 1983 Ducati Pantah engine in a 1964 Norton Dominator featherbed frame — along with a query, would Retrobike like to feature it? You betcha! My two favourite marques in the one bike! What’s not to like? There was a time when I might not have been so sure. I never…

5 min
salt shaker

IT’S fair to say that most clubman race bikes are built to do a job rather than win trophies in a concours, and land speed racers are no different. While there are enough exceptions to prove the rule, many race bikes pass the 50m test but present as cobbled-together dogs’ breakfasts when you get up close and personal. Adrian Braun is not your average motorcycle racer, any more than his BMW is your average land speed bike. Constructed over an initial two-year build period in the inner-city Melbourne workshop he shares with Ross Osborne — whose 149mph 2008 Triumph Bonneville salt racer was our cover bike on Retrobike #19 in 2015 — his stylish R80-based cafe racer wouldn’t look out of place in a custom bike show. Adrian calls his half of…

1 min

SKUNK Works is the official nickname of Lockheed Martin’s Advance Development Program established in 1943 and still going strong today. It is a place where small empowered teams think outside the box to create powerful engineering solutions, including a long line of ‘stealth’ fighter jets including the F-117 Nighthawk, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning. Victorian motorcycle builder and racer Colin Will was also well-known for thinking outside the box and coming up with powerful solutions, this time on two wheels. He came up with the terms Skrunk and Skrunk Works to describe his own not inconsiderable efforts. He owned many innovative machines, most notably the famous Corish Norvin — a race bike built by Keith Corish in 1964 comprising a Vincent twin shoehorned into a Norton Featherbed frame, and raced very…

1 min
retro specs

ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke flat twin; OHV, two per cylinder; 94 x 70.6mm for 980cc; wet sump; Omega pistons for 12.0:1 comp; 2 x Lectron carburettors; Schleicher camshaft; owner-built exhausts; cable-operated dry single-plate clutch; five-speed gearbox; shaft final drive; 90rwhp @ 8200rpm (measured) CHASSIS Twin-loop cradle chassis in tubular steel, gusseted; sub-frame ditched; Suzuki GSX-R750 forks, no front brake; BMW oil-head swingarm and diff; Hyperpro mono-shock; K100 wheels and rear brake BODYWORK Mystery fuel tank; owner-built seat in carbon-fibre; no-name mudguards MORE Follow ‘Skrunkwerks’ on Instagram and Facebook; BEST Innovative, stylish and seriously fast; high standard of finish; fantastic sound NOT SO GREAT Only get to ride it once per year…

5 min

THE revered Norton ‘featherbed’ frame has played host to many engines over the years, including a long line of single- and twin-cylinder Nortons, of course. But the urge to squeeze in something different between those hallowed frame rails has always been there. Triumphs, Vincents, BSAs, even Harley Sportsters. Now it’s Ducati’s turn. “THE 600 PANTAH ENGINE IS ARGUABLY THE PICK OF THE AIR-COOLED BELT-DRIVE DESMOS” Darren Hill is a Sydney mechanic with broad tastes in English, Japanese and Italian motorcycles, both classic and modern. “I like the idea of the original Triton in the mythic Norton frame,” he says. “But I wanted to build something different, a Brit bike without the oil leaks!” This is actually Darren’s second Ducatipowered Norton. “This all started in 2011 with the first one in France,” he says,…

1 min

PRIOR to WWII, almost all bikes had rigid rear ends. Most popular of early post-war attempts at rear suspension was the plunger style adopted by Norton, BSA, Ariel, BMW, Indian and many others. Its limitations were soon apparent, however, especially under racing conditions. Enter Belfast engineer Rex McCandless, who had modified his brother Cromie’s Triumph race bike with ‘swinging arm’ rear suspension controlled by dual springs with internal hydraulic dampers. In 1949, Norton contracted the brothers exclusively to develop a replacement frame for the factory’s plunger-equipped race bikes. The result comprised a twin-loop cradle mainframe with cross-braced headstock and swinging-arm rear suspension. Norton commissioned eight frames for its works OHC racers and was immediately rewarded at the 1950 Isle of Man TT, winning both the Senior and Junior TTs and setting…