Written by Martin Hodgson
The last time we caught up with Kiwi Mike Andrews he’d finished building his epic Honda Muscle Racer and after its Pipeburn feature he was looking forward to clocking up the miles before retiring the bike to his living room. But life has a way of turning the rudder for us and sending us on a path totally planned. For Mike that meant the sale of his beloved creation and major surgery, but always setting an example for his boys he’s back with another blacked out custom creation. Now working under the name Bonnievill he’s turned out a sleek and slick 2011 Kawasaki W800 to get him back on the road in style.
It’s the unwritten rule of all sheds. For every few complete bikes you stash in them, you also should have one that’s been completely disassembled and stuffed into old cardboard boxes. Which is exactly how New Zealand mechanical engineer Mike Dodd first found this Suzuki DR650…
“It’s hard to say what style the bike is. Maybe a reverse restomod?” It’s a seemingly innocuous statement, but New Zealand’s Mike Dobson and his Two Cats Garage instantly had us hooked. Most of us will know what a restomod is, but a reverse restomod? Well, it’s taking a modern bike with all the bells and whistles…
Motorcycles are more than just moving pieces of metal or basic transportation, for those of us who truly love the two-wheeled world, each bike becomes a chapter in our life’s tale. And so it goes that from the land of the long white cloud one man experienced the best and worst of life as he built his dream machine. The result is this low and lean beast that started life as a 1997 CB1300 X4.
If there’s one thing that Burt Munro taught us, it’s to never underestimate New Zealanders in a shed. So when our mates from Auckland’s Earnest Co. said they’d been messing around with some new moto gear designs in between custom bike builds, we knew it’d be decent stuff. And it looks like we were right. So in the spirit of helping out a mate and giving a little exposure to some guys who really deserve it, here’s a quick look at their shed-made ‘Tasker’ moto work pants.
When you think about it, there’s some strange parallels between drifting a car and flat tracking a bike. First and foremost, there’s the complete disregard for traction. Then there’s the loose rear end. Hell, we’ve been to drunken college parties with less swinging rears than these two genres. So it should come as zero surprise to you that there’s quite a few drift builders out there who are also trying trackers. Our mate Nigel Petrie from Engineered to Slide is one. And here’s another – New Zealand’s Adam Hedges. With his C’s Garage drift shop, he’s teamed up with his brother at Earnest Co. to try his hand at a custom tracker build. And what a build it is.
It may not have a local motorcycle industry to call its own but if one country could lay claim to be the kings of the home-built motorbike it is the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. I tender two pieces of evidence, the World’s Fastest Indian, built at home over a 20 year period by Kiwi Burt Munro whose near 50-year-old record set on the Bonneville Salt Flats still stands to this day. Second, John Britten, the greatest motorcycle builder of all time, who not only designed and built his incredible V1000 at home but even made things like the engine cases himself, cooled from his wife’s pottery kiln with water from his swimming pool. So beloved are his creations that decades later they still feature on the covers of the world’s biggest magazines and riders like Valentino Rossi and Guy Martin consider them the greatest machines ever built. So it should come as no surprise to find out that this Kiwi custom, a stunning Scrambler themed 1981 Yamaha TR1 was built entirely at home in.
It’s difficult not to love Yamaha’s timeless XV750. It’s a bike that was intended as a cheeky Japanese tilt at America’s star-spangled Harley market, but now-a-days it can take on pretty much any custom role assigned to it with mucho aplomb. Café racer? Bobber? Tracker? The bike’s been there and done that. And add that to the fact that the bike used an engine-as-stressed-member design, a rear mono shock and adjustable pneumatic suspension and you have a bike that was light years ahead of it’s competition. Speaking of which, it’s time to meet the builder of this rather charming ride. Introducing New Zealand’s David Sinfield and his very clean DS Design ‘81 XV.
You know what they say. “It’s the simple things in life that are often the best.” And nothing represents that more perfectly than today’s bike. It’s a beautifully simple, perfectly restrained Moto Guzzi from the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. With not much more than a new seat and a perfect eye for clean lines, Michael Dobson from Raumati’s Two Cats Garage has helped this rather maxima Italian beast shed more than a few pounds and become the svelte, beautiful bike she somehow always should have been.
The city of Auckland is commonly known as the ‘City of Sails’ because there are more yachts in the harbour per capita than any other city in the world. After our recent visit to the impressive Deus store and workshop, I think they should rename Auckland the ‘City of Classic Motorcycles’. We were blown away by the number of beautiful bikes housed in this huge warehouse, from vintage Vincents and Husqvarnas, right through to brand new Triumphs and Harley Custom Bobbers. Incredibly this huge warehouse is only footsteps from the heart of the city – and dangerously close to the Sky City Casino. To find out where they are, hit the jump.