Retrobike Issue 34

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

YOU don’t see a lot of Crocker V-twin motorcycles anywhere in the world. Just over 100 were hand-built in Los Angeles between 1936 and 1941, and maybe 65 survive. The last Crocker to sell at auction, in Las Vegas in January, went for $US704,000, or just under a million Aussie pesos. So regular Retrobike contributor Russ Murray was pretty excited to spy this immaculate Crocker in the pits, complete with racing number, at the Mount Tarrengower hill climb at Maldon, Victoria, late last year. Talk about ridden, not hidden! For those who came in late, Crocker is to the history of American motorcycling what Brough Superior is to the British. Elegant, stylish and guaranteed by the factory to be the fastest bike on the block, Crocker V-twins were built with little regard…

7 min
first time lucky

This stunning Honda cafe racer has all the hallmarks of a world-class professional build, but was owner-built by 34-year-old industrial designer Jake Rypien in a communal workshop in downtown Melbourne. Amazingly, it is Jake’s second-only bike and his first crack at building a custom anything. “IT RIDES LIKE A ROCKET AND PUTS A BIG SMILE ON MY FACE” Jake’s first bike was an Aprilia RS125 that he rode in Singapore, where he grew up. When he decided to get back into the saddle here in Oz, he found he had to start from scratch. “The CB400 was the most powerful LAMS bike I could get,” Jake says. “This particular model was also quite popular in Singapore. I didn’t really know much about bikes at the time, nor did I do much research…

1 min
four by four

THE original CB400 was a cool cafe-styled Honda powered by a sweet air-cooled SOHC inline four and manufactured from 1975 to 1977. It was replaced by the stodgy CB400 Hawk parallel twin, but the spirit of the original returned with the CB-1 in 1989 and the CB400 Super Four in 1992. Initially built for the Japanese market, the CB400SF was a huge hit in Asia and eventually made its way to Australia in 2008, apart from a steady trickle of earlier grey imports. By this time, Honda had added VTEC technology to the liquid-cooled DOHC 16-valve four, by which one inlet and one exhaust valve in each cylinder were closed to 6750rpm to boost low and mid-range torque, then resumed normal operation to maximise top-end power through to 11,000rpm. The other…

1 min
retro specs

ENGINE Liquid-cooled four-stroke inline four cylinder; DOHC, four valves per cylinder, with VTEC; 55 x 42mm for 399cc; 11.3:1 comp; Honda PGM-FI fuel injection with pods; wet sump; stock headers with Competition Werkes muffl er; wet clutch to six-speed gearbox and chain final drive; 53hp @11,000rpm CHASSIS Tubular steel double-cradle frame with custom seat loop; Honda CBR600RR forks and dual four-piston front brakes; Venhill brake lines; stock CB400 swingarm, shocks and 240mm rear brake; custom RAD Manufacturing (US) laced wheels with 17in Excel rims; Pirelli MT60 tyres (120/70 front, 160/60 rear) BODYWORK Stock fuel tank with keyless cap; owner-designed seat unit and taillight assembly; Bates-style headlight; Kellerman BL2000 indicators; no-name clip-ons, Motogadget speedo, ISR switchgear/master cylinders; Babyface (Japan) foot pegs; paint by KDS Designs; seat by Bitchin Stitch SPECIAL THANKS Partner Suzy for…

7 min

AFTER another brush with bankruptcy, MV Agusta has been acquired by Russian investor Timur Sardarov. His rescue mission will allow MV to continue offering a tantalising array of new models combining leading-edge engineering with arresting design for which it has become famous since its revival by the Castiglioni family 20 years ago. But 30km south of MV’s Varese base, the historic traditions of this glorious marque continue to be showcased in a modern context, thanks to the ongoing efforts of Giovanni Magni, whose Moto Magni factory at Samarate produces an evocative series of traditional-looking bikes powered by modern MV Agusta motors, matching the spirit of the past with the function of the present. It’s hard to think of any company more entitled than Moto Magni to use current MV Agusta hardware to…

1 min
original isn’t always best

MV AGUSTA made just 402 750 Sports between 1972 and 1975. They were fast for their day and always ultra-desirable, one recently selling in England for $172,000. That said, I have ridden a couple of original early-’70s 750S MVs in the past, but always found them distinctly disappointing, with a mechanically noisy engine and heavy steering, and the handling compromised thanks to the shaft final drive that Count Agusta, for some reason, stipulated should be fitted (leaving Arturo Magni to make a chain-drive conversion kit which sold very well!). The first time I rode one I was hugely disappointed that the performance failed so dismally to live up to the MV’s fabulous looks, and when I rode the second of the two bikes which were built up for Ago and team mate…