Retrobike Issue 35

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
g'day with geoff seddon

PUTTING the feature together on Bob Prior’s Suzuki GT750 on page 28 brought the memories flooding back. My first road bike was a GT750 that I bought secondhand in 1977. It was nothing like Bob’s in appearance or performance, far from it, but it was the bike that changed my life. A dirt-bike hobby became a road-bike lifestyle that I have lived, eaten and breathed uninterrupted to this day. I didn’t know much about motorbikes when I bought it. I thought the Suzuki was a handsome thing and I liked the idea of it being a two-stroke, as that was what I knew from my dirt-bike days. It had had a hard life, evidenced by missing side-covers and a universal tyre on the back, which was the real reason I chose…

5 min

YAMAHA Viragos are almost made for customising, especially the first mono-shock models from the early 1980s. Plentiful and cheap, especially in Europe, they are nicely-proportioned bikes with simple, mostly hidden frames and soulful torquey engines tuned more for grunt than speed. “WHEN I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE PERFECT CAFE RACER, IT WAS ALWAYS A YAMAHA XV920” The only hassle is that it is becoming ever more difficult to come up with a fresh take on modifying them, a bit like CX500 Hondas for much the same reasons. Tom Moose’s solution was to build a pair, more complementary than matching, although they are certainly very similar in construction and finish. Built as cafe racers, Tom also uses the term ‘cafe fighters’, acknowledging the street fighter influence. The white bike he calls ‘The Good…

1 min
hog slayer

YAMAHA’S XV750 Virago was only the second Japanese V-twin ever when it was released in 1981 (the first was the Honda CX500 in 1978) and the first Japanese bike designed from the ground up as a cruiser. Conceived as an affordable lightweight competitor to Harley-Davidson, the XV750 featured shaft drive contained within a then-radical cantilever-style mono-shock swingarm which, at first glance, looked like a rigid. But with just 51hp on tap, it was maybe a little underdone in terms of grunt. The XV1000 (XV920 in the US and some other markets) released alongside it was more conventionally styled as an all-rounder and was chain-driven, although still with the rigid-look mono-shock rear. The low-revving but torquey 75-degree V-twin made 69hp at 6500rpm (65hp for the 920) and some commentators likened it to…

1 min
retro specs

ENGINE Air-cooled four-stroke 75-degree V-twin; SOHC, two valves per cylinder; 92 x 69.2mm for 920cc; 8.3:1 comp; 2 x 40mm Hitachi carburettors with K&N filters; electronic ignition; custom exhaust; five-speed gearbox with shaft final drive; 65hp @ 6500rpm (stock) CHASSIS Box-section pressed-steel mainframe with engine suspended beneath; Kawasaki ZX6R/ ZX10R USD forks, 2 x four-spot Tokico calipers and 310mm rotors, 17in cast wheel; triangulated cantilever-style swingarm with Sachs mono-shock, stock Virago drum brake and 16in cast wheel; Metzeler tyres BODYWORK Repositioned fuel tank; custom seat BEST “A good custom must look perfect both up close and from afar” NOT SO GREAT Having to choose between the two…

5 min
the flying kiwi

EVER had that niggling feeling that you wish you hadn’t sold a favoured bike in the past, or at least had a strong yearn to do it all again with something similar? “I owned a McIntosh back in the mid to late 1980s,” Tony Bianco says. “It had been damaged by fire. I rebuilt it and rode it around for a couple of years.” Tony has owned more than 100 bikes over his lifetime, which means most of them got turned over to fund something else, and the McIntosh was no different. “Twenty year later, I wished I had it back, but McIntoshes don’t come up for sale very often.” Auckland-based Ken McIntosh is these days best known for his replica Manx Norton race bikes, but made his name as constructor of…

1 min
original isn’t always best

THE two big motorcycle events of the early 1980s were the Castrol Six-Hour Race and the Easter meeting at Mount Panorama, the premier race of which was the 81-lap Arai 500. In 1982, the bikes to beat at Bathurst were Rob Phillis, Mick Cole and John Pace on 1100 Suzuki superbikes, and Andrew Johnson and Greg Pretty on Team Honda CB1100RCs. Kiwi Ken McIntosh had built a radical tubular chassis to house a Yoshimura GS1000 superbike engine that Kiwi racer Rodger Freeth had acquired. It contained the engine as a stressed member, with a perimeter-style mainframe going around the outside of the engine to connect the steering head and swingarm pivot, and was measured as three times stiffer than a production chassis. The combination dominated NZ F1 racing, encouraging Freeth and…