Retrobike Issue 20 - Spring 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

4 min
editorial spread the word

WELCOME to the fourth edition of the relaunched Retrobike, marking the end of our first year. Life’s been good so far, with our sales on the right track and more importantly a lot more feedback coming in from you lot. Magazines can do much to foster a sense of community amongst like-minded folk, and we seem to have at least sown some seeds. My main partner in crime, designer Jarrad McCallum, has shot through for an extended European vacation, his big shoes ably filled by Alex Casey. Also new to our ranks this issue is Jamie McIlwraith, who has been writing for motorbike magazines even longer than I have, including a stint writing a column for Streetbike when I was the editor in the early 1990s. He’s a smooth quick rider…

6 min
return to eden

WHEN Herschel Smith from Sydney’s northern beaches decided to return to motorcycling after a lengthy spell doing other stuff, he was keen to pick up where he’d left off. “I had a 1972 Ducati 750 GT when they first came out,” he says. “I was a student and bought it as a wreck; it wasn’t hard to fix. I remember my first ride and thinking, bloody hell, this is terrific! I’d had Hondas before that. “I rode it into the ground over the next four years, then sold it after I finished uni. I got out of bikes, married, had kids. So I hadn’t owned a bike for more than 30 years when I got back into it in 2011.” Herschel bought a 620 Monster to test the waters and joined the Ducati Owners…

8 min
to the manor born

THE MODERN passion for political correctness has much to answer for, not least the decline in the great British tradition of eccentricity. Today’s Orwellian insistence on conformity has resulted in an increasingly bland global society where the art of the individual is much less practised. Fortunately, the world of motorcycling is one of the last bastions of political incorrectness, and nobody epitomises that better than Henry Cole, co-creator of the Gladstone No.1 bobber on sale to discerning hooligans at almost $40,000 a throw. Just 10 will be built, nine of them for customer sale, of which eight have already been spoken for, he says. Henry is an Old Etonian and thus very much a prima facie member of the British establishment. David Cameron, the 19th former Eton pupil to become British…

3 min
rumble in the valley

ABSA Gold Star kicks into life first stab and sends a ripple through the crowd. It sets off a wave of different sounds as others follow suit; airhead boxers, a couple of Guzzis, some Ducatis and a bunch of retro Triumphs, including one that engaged in a valve-bounce contest with an XJR1300. We called it a dead-heat rather than see a dead engine. The call had been put out by Perth Café Racers for all bike owners to smash the silence and simultaneously start their machines. And with that, Rumble in the Valley was born. The noise of laughter replaced the noise of singles, all varieties of twins and a gaggle of Japanese inline four-cylinder engines reaching for their redlines while remaining stationary. Cheers and applause from many in the 10,000-strong crowd…

6 min
the heinrich maneuver

FROM its inception almost a decade ago, Deus Ex Machina has been all about setting the style of custom bikes, not following it, so it was anyone’s guess how their take on the new BMW R nineT would turn out. We’ve learned to expect the unexpected from the House of Simple Pleasures but few could have anticipated anything as left field as this. “The R nineT has been fettled by some of the world’s best production houses since its release in late 2013,” Deus’s Carby Tuckwell says. “When BMW Australia asked if we’d be interested, we jumped at the opportunity. The bike is already a modern classic so the challenge was intriguing. “Custom bikes can often sacrifice function for style and we wanted this to be an everyday motorcycle. We wanted to…

6 min
frog stomper 1976 kawasaki kh500

IT WAS “the sound of that evil triple” that first attracted Craig Johnston to the world of high-performance air-cooled two-strokes, in particular this stunning 1976 KH500 Kawasaki cafe racer that he has owned for almost 20 years and affectionately calls Kermit. “I bought it in 1996 from a mate of mine who had cafe’d it previously but had to sell it due to other commitments,” Craig says. “It was in this basic layout but a bit rough around the edges. I rode it for a few years and it was always a blast with its raw power delivery and sometimes interesting handling. But then things started breaking and, being pretty much pre-internet days, it was near impossible to find parts for it locally. “So I parked it in my father’s shed for…