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Interview: Nick “Much Much Go” Eterovic

Posted on December 7, 2010 by Andrew in Other. 14 comments

Smartly, Nick decided against riding the bike seat-less

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? How does your profession overlap with building bikes? I’m an industrial designer currently working in the automotive industry. There are parallels but not many overlaps. Like any designer, I get paid to have a good eye for detail and proportion but I certainly don’t fabricate at work, nor do I get to work under such open-ended circumstances. The two courses I did last year (welding and panel beating) helped with the build more than anything!

We’ve all seen “Much Much Go” – can you run us through the build? What was the original bike and where did it come from? My friend had offered this 1979 Honda CB250T to me before, but I was daunted by its cobweb and dirt encrusted state. Without instruments, carburettors, throttle, chain, lamps nor most of the body it was an unknown entity that looked more like a money pit than anything else. When the call-out for the competition came I found out a little late and when I struggled to find another donor bike (possibly requiring a little less work) I took up the offer and was left with 55 days to build the bike. I liked the look of the bike – it had a big tank, a substantial block for a 250, and interesting wheels which we don’t see on many customs.

An original CB 250T in its natural environment – an early 1980s paved driveway

The first few days were spent stripping down the bike and coming to terms with what I had. I wanted to keep faithful to the brief – “making the most with the least”. The brief didn’t mention that the bike needed to be roadworthy which opened up possibilities and kept me from needing to spend money to replace the  missing gauges and lamps. I have chopped the back of the frame off and mounted shorter suspension struts in a way that allowed the bike to be dropped about 175mm at the rear. This naturally rotated the frame and raked out the front end but it wasn’t enough, I wanted a more balanced look of the motor sitting equally between the wheels. To achieve this I cut a wedge out from the neck and raked the forks out further. I made my own seat pan and subframe to get the cantilevered look which would keep the visual mass of the bike equal between the wheels.

The dinted tank was reshaped to fill in the missing flip-up cap that was a styling feature of the original bike. The handlebars have been mounted under the top bridge and the footpegs set back to the pillion position. I made my own linkages. I wanted the exhaust and intake to sit high and match so all the tubing was gathered in and around the motor, in one continuous form. $735 was spent in total. The rest was time, hard work and plenty of late nights. Luckily I had lots of good advice and a helping hand when I needed it.

All hail the lord of the comstars

What inspired the bike’s design? How do you do your concepts? Sketches? Photoshop? Overall, I wanted this bike to be a nod to Japanese customisation, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be like any bike I’d seen before. During the first week I did a Photoshop rendering of the bike to nail down the details like the exhaust. For my previous project, an SR, I did lots of hand drawn sketches but there just wasn’t time for that approach here. Many of the ideas seen on Much Much Go were floating around in my head and sketchbook for years and have come from many sources, which I think is key to coming up with something a little different. What’s the story behind the tank artwork? The spectacled guy with the anti-gravitational hair is based on a sign that I photographed in Tokyo many years ago. To me he symbolizes the Japanese whole heart adaptation of cultural movements.

Did you really have a bald front tire on it for the show? Why? It was just a little bald – but that’s the way it was when I got the bike and changing the tires for the show would have been a disproportionate expense when compared to how much was spent on the rest of it. I wanted the wear on the tires to provide some of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ contrast.

What’s it like to ride? I’ve only ridden the bike as a mock-up – the final bike was assembled just a few hours before it was driven to Sydney. The seating position is comfortable and for me familiar as I set the seat and foot pegs to match my SR, but with the higher handlebar position, Much Much Go should be comfortable!

Much Much Stop – the bike in it’s original condition

What’s some of your all-time favourite bikes? I like Ducatis of the ’70s and ’90s, ’60s BSAs and custom bikes from builders like Gravel Crew and Heiwa in Japan. I also like motorcycles with interesting motors like that of BMW and MotoGuzzi – these bikes have great potential for customs.

Sydney and Deus get a lot of limelight in terms of Australian custom bikes – what’s the scene like in Melbourne? Motorcycle building in Melbourne is harder to define because few big players have emerged that can claim to categorise the scene. Customising is alive and well, just a little further underground.

What other bikes have you built or are you building? What other bikes do you own? I have a Yamaha SR400 cafe racer. It’s on a silver frame with a raw aluminium tank and side covers. It’s very metallic looking but a much less ambitious bolt-on custom. Before customising the stock SR I restored a 1969 Honda CB175 which I still have but no longer ride. Much Much Go is the third bike I’ve worked on but the first bike I’ve taken a grinder to – in a way, it’s really the first bike I’ve built. I’ve learnt so much doing this bike.

Nick dotes over his new beast on the day of Deus competition

Obviously you can’t ride M.M.G. on the roads; what are your thoughts on “functional” bikes versus “show” bikes? I have a fascination with show bikes because they are an opportunity to express imaginative solutions that are not restricted by the kind of rules that bring a sameness to most bikes. I have more of a problem with the ‘theme’ bikes that we see on reality television.

What’s your next project going to be? I would like to take the ideas that were rushed into Much Much Go and refine them further. Many of the ideas seen on the bike have been in my head for years and I know I could do them further justice.

Finally, what’s your favourite bike film? I like Girl on a Motorcycle – the soundtrack is great too.

  • Emaychee

    Even though I appreciate the concept behind 'pure' show bikes, I feel part of the appeal is missing.
    The best show bikes are those you actually want to ride, and no doubt, I do want to ride this – it's just a shame that the aesthete came first. I have no qualms that this is purely an 'imaginative solution' to the same two-wheeled question – but to my mind, to fulfill such a selective 'brief', focus also lies in satisfying the end-user's requirements in terms of those things we have to abide by to be 'road-worthy'. Otherwise it's just a transportable sculpture. Though again, arguably, that's what most current show bikes are..

    I suppose I'm just born from pragmatism.

    As ever, an interesting and enlightening interview. Keep them coming Andrew!

  • Excellent interview and details Andrew!

  • KIK

    a lot of attention to detail on parts but not on the overall design,..

  • Bob Hesh

    Forget a lot of the comments concerning the realistic ride-ability of this bike, it was created as a concept for a competition that left a lot of room to create. Besides, I like it and I understand it. Some of us just do thing to do it, practicality can always come later.

    What I really wanted to say was simply this, "Great interview guys."

    I usually look for something like this on 'bike exif' but then here comes Pipeburn with a truly developed interview and photo shoot. I like being impressed and I never mind letting people know. Great job guys, I look forward to more stuff like this in the future.

    Bob Hesh
    Racer and riding enthusiast

  • Andrew

    @Bob Cheers – Glad you like it!

  • rafe03

    Hi there Nick & Andrew;

    Great interview! Good to hear the back story of a striking sculptural motorcycle.

    So if I use some of the ideas, concepts, cues from MMG on the 450 Rebel thats in my mates basement, is that plagurizing, copying, borrowing, stealing, or imitating? I love the basic stance & balance but I'd have to be able to ride it on the road. Good geometry (not a chopper flopper please) adequate brakes, them little bits to keep Big John away, etc. Sort of the difference between the concept show car & the one that ends up in production.

    But MMG itself seems to me to be a finely built & very well tailored fit into the Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build guidelines (too loose to call rules, I think). I can already see a plinth in the Gallery of Modern Art.

    Thanks for doing it!

  • SportsterMike

    I like the bike ..but not the unroadworthiness of it
    The Bulldog Bash and the earlier Custom Shows run by the Hells Angels here in England have a rule,
    if your bike gets awarded a prize you have to ride the bike to the stage area.. if it doesn't get there under its own steam you (the bike) don't get the prize..
    One poor sod last year couldn't get the bike started.. kicker only .. so no go (flooding etc) and while everyone was watching him even more no go!
    Eventually, a couple of hours later (after a plug change etc etc), he pitched up at the stage – he got given his prize!

  • KIK

    @ sportster mike,.. them rules should apply to everyone .

  • DJ

    Great bike and I agree with all of these opinons, true custom builders like Nick just know.

  • drek

    Not that I don't like the finished bike, but the picture of it before paint and finishing–the lead in pic–is my favorite one. I dunno about "rideability" as that's a subjective term, but I'm sure making it street-legal wouldn't be that much more effort or money, and wouldn't change the look of the bike one bit.

  • Motor

    Is it me or does it sound like it doesn't even run???? Sure, I can see form over function, balancing the visual weight of the bike over a centered motor. I can see ignoring the lighting for the competition…but not even running? Why not just use some spray painted foam board, shaped to look like some futuristic motor instead of the CB engine?

    I liked this bike much more before I read this interview. 🙁

  • another

    @ motor – the bike did go. Though the brief said the bikes didn't have to be road legal, it did say that they had to start up and idle. Which this did.

  • Does any one know what would have to be done to achieve roadworthyness to a bike such as this? I understand it would need lights and indicators but what about the modifications to the frame and lowering?

    Great interview. Its really helpful and interesting to have a bit of background about the designer/maker to go with the bike. Congratulations Nick, your intake/exhaust design is a thing of beauty.

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    To the question of 'roadworthiness'… Lights, of course- can be done with minimal impact to the overall 'look'. A small-ish 4" light, mounted to the lower tree, an LED tail attached to the seat… Signals? Bah! Not really needed… But- if wanted, could be added via small LED spots. Exhaust- simply insert some small baffles into the pipes. The 'issues' some people think there is with the rear frame: a simple hoop run between the shock mounts would suffice, and not interfere with the 'look' of the rear-end. The only issue that is really a problem, is the intake tubes. Velocity into the carbs WILL be affected by those. Shortening them up a touch, and flaring them into velocity stacks will help. A simple fin mounted to the added frame hoop will deflect road-debris from entering the carbs, again- with a little creativity and thought- will not affect the 'look' of the bike. I currently have a CB450T in the shop that the owner wants to style similarly to Much Much Go. Think of MMG as a Design Concept. Excellent style… Wonderful departure from the Norm. Slight tweeks to make an everyday bike- MANY props to Nick…. Stunning job.