Retrobike Issue 19 - Winter 2015

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

5 min
editorial people like us

SOMETIMES it’s about the bikes, other times the people, but mostly it’s about both. It’s been a busy few months at Retrobike, and our heads are still spinning from all the great bikes we’ve seen and the interesting people we’ve met. I kicked off with a run to Canberra for the Vintage Japanese Bike Rally, before heading further south to Victoria for the Broadford Bike Bonanza soon after. Meanwhile Simon Davidson was embedded in the South Australian outback for the salt racing, while Russ Murray returned to Phillip Island to showcase some classic Italian eye candy. Closer to home, I joined the Sydney-based Throttle Dolls for a gentle Sunday morning cruise to West Head and, just as we were going to press, was swept up in the insane inner-city custom bike…

11 min
tres hombres

LIKE many others who share a newfound passion for cafe racers, trackers and scramblers, I arrived late to the whole modified motorbike thing. I didn’t get my rider’s licence until I was 38, but have made up for lost time by owning 15 bikes in the five years since. These three Hondas were built in my garage over 12 months. I have no formal training, so am typical of the new breed of self-taught owner/builder who make up the grass roots of the modern cafe racer movement. The reason I focused on early 80s DOHC Hondas was simple – they are plentiful and cheap, and parts are interchangeable between variants and with later Hondas, which means you can build bikes like these for just a few thousand dollars. For canny builders who…

8 min
taglioni's dream ducati 900ss

ASK ANY punter to list the five most beautiful motorcycles of all time and you’ll likely find at least one bevel-drive Ducati sportsbike. They have the three Ps – performance, proportion and poise – and in their day were the finest examples of minimalist high-performance motorcycling on the planet. They were also the inspiration behind Barry’s Beltvel, a Ducati special that combines a 1976 900SS bevel frame (and period bodywork), a 1996 900SS belt-drive engine with reversed rear cylinder head, and modern running gear. It was 1997 when Barry French decided he wanted a new bike, but Ducati weren’t building any he liked. He toyed with the idea of a 916 but his wife wouldn’t tolerate the pillion seat, and after owning two beautiful Ducatis he couldn’t bring himself to…

4 min
revenge of the rice burners ugmc national rally

WALKING around the VJMC show’n’shine at the National Museum in Canberra was like walking through the early days of my motorcycling life. Over there, my first proper road bike, an orange Suzuki GT750L just like the one I bought secondhand in 1977 and rode to Queensland. Not far away, a handsome green ’76 Z900 Kawasaki, identical to one I rode in the early 80s. Behind that, a beautiful blue XS650C Yamaha, a million times nicer than the old smoky dunger I commuted on a few years after that. Memories. I was wishing I’d kept them all when a chrome-tanked Hodaka Wombat 125 stopped me in my tracks. It was my very first bike! My parents wouldn’t let me ride it on the road but it got me hooked on a lifetime…

7 min
the world's coolest indian

THE REBORN Indian Chieftain evokes the style and spirit of the revered postwar side-valve Chiefs, which is all well and good if you want to ride from Melbourne to Darwin in comfort and style. But to former US 250 GP champ Roland Sands, the original Indian marque is more fondly remembered for the purpose-built race bikes of an earlier generation, lithe innovative hot rods forever locked in often mortal combat with Harley-Davidson on the timber boardtracks of 1920s America. “The new Indians are well-built bikes and have a lot of soul,” the head of Roland Sands Design in California says. “It would be cool to see people want to customise them. Our inspiration came from a drag bike rendering that Sylvain from Holographic Hammer sent to me. I ended up tweaking…

4 min
broadford bike bonanza

THE Museum & Heritage Committee of Motorcycling Australia is not the kind of name you’d normally associate with one of the most fun weekends on the calendar. Now in its seventh year, the Penrite Oils Broadford Bike Bonanza in regional Victoria has established itself as the must-do Easter event for pre-1990 motorcycles, attracting record numbers of entrants from as far afield as Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane. Formed in 2006, the Committee has been active in locating and preserving motorcycles that are important in our heritage, including the 750SS Ducati that Mike Hailwood rode in the 1978 Castrol 6 Hour race and the XS1100 Yamaha that won it. Some bikes are donated but most are purchased, and so the Committee established the Bike Bonanza in 2009 to not only raise funds to…