Retrobike RCBE #30 WINTER 2018

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

“I’m often asked which bikes might make good investments. What would I know?” THE 1951 Vincent Black Lightning on which Jack Ehret set an Australian land-speed record of 141mph in 1953 ("Survival of the Quickest", Retrobike #27) set another record in January by achieving the highest price of any motorcycle ever sold at auction. An unidentified Australian collector bid $US929,000 ($A1.16 million) for the mechanically restored but externally untouched bike, with Jack’s son John Ehret reportedly thrilled the bike is heading back Down Under. Ehret Snr paid 500 pounds ($1000) for the little-raced Vincent in 1952, more than he made in a year as a fitter at the Garden Island naval dockyard in Sydney. Vincents have always been wickedly expensive, especially Black Lightnings, of which only 33 were built over four years and…

7 min

PLAN B Motorcycles is a small ‘neo-cafe’ custom workshop in northern Italy, owned and operated by the talented Christian Moretti. The workshop’s name comes from Christian’s preference for starting with what he calls “old bikes only good for trash” and giving them a second life as a custom. No two are alike. “Every project is a new trip,” he says, “and every bike is made by exploring shapes and materials, mixing technology with tradition. We build handcrafted motorcycles with a racer soul, like it was, like it should be, created around the rider like a tailor-made suit.” The donor bike on this occasion was an unloved Benelli 354 (350cc, four cylinders) of indeterminate vintage, even if most of it would be consigned to the cutting-room floor. Its small dimensions and Italian heritage…

6 min
dirt racer

“PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES IS WHAT GIVES CUSTOM ITS MEANING” ONE of the things we like best about the modern custom scene is that many builders — amateurs and pros alike — aren’t too fussy about what they start with, so long as it’s cheap. Old unloved dungers destined for the scrapheap get a new life as cool streeters, each one an expression of the owner’s personality, creativity and skills. Daniel Thomas is the 20-something proprietor of Lions Den Motorcycles just outside of London in the UK. A few years ago, he acquired an untidy 1988 Yamaha XT600 dirt bike as a commuter hack, but closer inspection showed it was in worse shape than it appeared. “To be honest, it was downright bloody dangerous,” he says. So instead it was hoisted onto a…

8 min
fantasy island

“ONCE THE AUSSIES GOT THE JUMP IT WAS VERY HARD TO CLAW THEM BACK” THE Island Classic, held each Australia Day long weekend on Phillip Island, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018 in fine style. With more than 300 racers entered on over 500 bikes, it is one of the most popular race meetings in Australia of any sort and one of the biggest classic bike race meetings in the world. The event kicked off in 1994 with avid support from then Australian Motorcycle News editor, the late Ken Wootton. AMCN remains the naming rights sponsor to this day and Ken is remembered through the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy for the rider who scored the most points in the four-race International Challenge, which has been the main feature event of the Island…

6 min

“I WAS FASCINATED BY THE BUELL’S EXAGGERATED PROPORTIONS AND ITS STRONG PERSONALITY” PAOLO ‘Tex’ Tesio has a day job as an automotive and industrial designer in an engineering firm contracted to a major Italian auto manufacturer. By night he dreams up custom motorcycles on his computer in three dimensions and then uses his own 3D printer to manufacture many of the parts. Best known to date for his work with Ducatis, Paolo switched his attention to a 1200cc Buell Firebolt two years ago and this incredible creation is the result. “For a long time I’ve been trying to get on the American twin-cylinder Buell,” Paolo says. “I’m fascinated by its exaggerated proportions and its strong personality. It’s full of more-or-less logical and functional innovations which make it unique.” First job was to strip…

10 min
the fredder

“THE ENGINE IS A REPLICA OF THE MANX NORTON ON WHICH GEOFF DUKE WON THE 1952 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP” CALLING a bike a bobber nowadays has become as ubiquitous a term as cafe racer or street tracker. But Fred Walmsley is old enough to remember bobbers the first time around, after they were invented in the USA post-WWII. He’s toyed with the idea of building one for 50 years, and he’s finally gone and done so in the well-equipped workshop on his farm in Lancashire, England. Except, it’s not a bobber, he says. It’s The Fredder. As in, built by Fred, not Bob. This Anglo-American concoction sits well with Walmsley’s 1952 Chevy pick-up and 1931 Model A Ford parked nearby. But the 71-year-old hotrodder is better known for the succession of Manx Norton…