When Confucius said “all good things are difficult to achieve and bad things are very easy to get,” he might not have been talking about motorcyclists, but I’m sure he’d agree Stuart’s story fits the bill. Having pieced together a very tasty Triumph Thruxton, Stuart, a Sydneysider originally from Switzerland, was minding his own business when cruising the CBD on his bike when a tourist in the harbourside city came straight through a red light and took him out. Both man and machine were in a mess and although Stuart would ride again, his number one steed had to be put down. Six weeks in a wheelchair and three months out of action to recover gave him a lot of time to think. And rather than waste drinking beer and playing Xbox, Stuart used his recovery to imagine his motorcycling resurrection, a raging BMW R nineT.
Yamaha’s MT range is a funny old thing. With a single outing in the noughties in its ‘MT-01’ guise, the segment seemed to be pretty much done and dusted with Yamaha’s announcement in 2012 that the model was kaput. With the GFC barely over and Japan still reeling from the tsunami, few expected Yamaha to replace this ostentatious, genre-defying brute. And yet they did just that. 12 months later and hey presto, we get the MT-07 & MT-09. Well, not so much ‘we’ as ‘they’ because we’re guess there’s not too many Pipeburn readers who’d be desperate to own one. But now Yamaha has tried to redress that with their XSR700 & XSR900 bikes. With similar underpinnings to the MT models, they’ve enlisted the help of Shinya Kimura and Roland Sands to appeal to ‘us’ and the new-school custom scene as a whole. So, have they succeeded, or have they flunked out? Step into today’s class and let’s find out.
The holy celebration of everything that is custom, otherwise known as Throttle Roll, is about to hit the streets again, and this time quite literally. Overgrowing it’s home at The Vic Enmore, Throttle Roll has now secured an entire street to play with in what will be the street party of the year. Celebrating its fourth year, the Throttle Roll Street Party will overtake Railway Parade Marrickvile on June 12th this long weekend with all the bits and pieces that have had the event such a success, along with so much more.
It took the sacrifice of a 30-year-old comic book collection, over 7,000 comics to be precise, for Dave to appease the Motorcycle Gods as he sold one hobby to fund another. This one had a little more action and little less action heroes, however. A 1980 Yamaha SR500 would be the machine of choice to pop his speed demon cherry, but this wouldn’t satiate his appetite as he craved more from his machine. “The SR500 was so much fun to throw around, but I never felt I could trust it not to break down 50kms from home. Carbies became the bane of my existence. Since I’m not mechanically minded, fixing it on the fly wasn’t much of an option for me. I had had enough…”
An event like the 2015 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is always going to attract lenses. Whether they be of the mobile phone variety, the video sort or good old-fashioned SLRs, you can bet there’ll be a veritable avalanche of photos to capture the event for posterity. But it’s not all tea and cakes. The hard truth is that for the most part, the average Joe or Jane’s shots are anything but distinguished. But then again, Sydney’s Joshua Mikhaiel isn’t just any average lensman.
The custom bike scene, like any other art form, often finds itself bending to the will of fashion. But there’s no shame in that – music, painting, dance and almost any other genre you care to name have to endure the same challenge. And while in the heat of the moment a certain trend can seem to the viewer to be very ‘cool’ or ‘exciting’, it’s often only a matter of time before the truth becomes apparent. That’s when cool becomes lame, exciting becomes humorous and your wardrobe full of flared trousers becomes an embarrassment. But what happens when time doesn’t weary? When something improves with age? Well, that’s when timeless happens. Classic happens. This happens.
Words Pete Cagnacci | Photos by MyMediaSydney
The growing juggernaut that is Throttle Roll was on again for it’s 3rd year, along with it’s sacred mantra; amalgamate Sydney’s colourful bike community and showcase it’s unique builds. Music, food and booze are of course essentials in this holy event.
The day starts early, with 300+ riders meeting up at Harry’s café De Wheels. Coffee was being poured down throats as everyone poured over each other’s bikes. The excitement for the day was high and it was time for the ride. The crew headed off south to the Royal National Park, with more riders joining on the way. Soon the group swelled to 500+ bikes. There was now a mass of exhaust and a thunderous roar heading down the Sea Cliff Bridge. It’s always a tough task keeping together such a large number of bikes, often peeling off into several groups, but there’s a ride leader, markers, tail gunners and support vehicles. The battalion of bikes all gathered at Bald Hill car park, soaking up the sun before making the pilgrimage back up to Enmore for the main event. Park up, drink up, and party.
Consider, if you will, the pitiful life of the average pogonophobic. ‘What’s a pogonophobic,’ I hear you ask? A pogonophobic, dear reader, is a person with a morbid fear of beards or facial hair. How quickly their daily goings-on must transform into nightmarish, hair-filled scenarios brimming with unimaginable terrors. The accidental glimpse of Tom Selleck while changing TV channels. Waking in a cold sweat with a head full of Ned Flanders. And what could be worse than a monstrous craving for fried chicken only to flee in fright at the Colonel’s wondrous white whisker wings? This is what; a veritable ‘perfect storm’ for pogonophobics the world over. They call it hell on earth. We call it ‘The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’.
It’s not every day that you find out the the largest private collection of original Crocker motorcycles – in the world – are being stored in a warehouse/cafe just down the road from where you live. These beautiful ‘Icons of 1930s Los Angeles’ have found a new home in a small Waterloo cul-de-sac nestled in one of Sydney’s latest gentrified areas. The owner of these exquisite motorcycles, Chilli (as he’s affectionately known), has set out to “preserve a rare piece of automotive history by offering the same bespoke experience as back in Crocker’s prime at 1346 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles” – hence the name.
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As promised, here’s some footage I captured from my recent stint moonlighting as a director on a motorbike with the GoPro Hero HD. Seventy eight separate clips and over two hours worth of HD rushes edited down into three minutes and twenty one seconds of something that I hope you’ll find mildly amusing. In case you’re wondering, the song is “Black Rice” by Canadian band Women.