Slowly slowly we are seeing the Cafe Racer DIY (do it yourself) trend being implemented on the Modern classic bikes within our gang of awesomeness. There are a few members who are taking to their shiny newish bikes, pulling them apart, modifying them and in doing so creating Cafe Racers that are true to the modify the fuck out of it yourself philosophy. It is a trend we love seeing. Take a perfectly good bike and make it an extension of your creative self!
Ross Osborne from our Melbourne Chapter is the proud owner of this Thruxton, he is also the founder of Supacustom
Can you tell us about yourself, hobbies and business?
I work as an engineer in the Aerospace Industry during the day and spend almost every other waking minute dreaming about bikes, riding bikes, building bikes….I am totally addicted. I run a blog (supacustom.com) that is dedicated to the type of bikes that I like and have recently added an online store. I plan to stock a range of products that will appeal to the garage builder, we are just getting started at the moment but keep an eye on it as the product range will grow dramatically towards the end of this year. Outside of bikes I like classic cars, bicycles and just about any form of motorsport.
How long have you been riding and what got you into the two wheeled world?
I definitely caught the motorcycling bug from my old man, he has been riding all his life and is still into bikes today. I think I started riding when I was about 12years old, haven’t stopped since. I raced bicycles for quite a few years as well so I am into pretty much anything with 2 wheels.
How many bikes have you owned and which is your favourite?
I have owned 6 bikes, still got 3 of them. I started out on a Yamaha TY175 as a kid, it was an awesome bike and I have many fond memories of thrashing it around the property that I grew up on, my first wheelie, my first crash…good times. My first road bike was a 2008 Aprilia RS125 Casey Stoner Replica, I eventually traded that bike in on the 2001 Triumph Bonneville and the whole Café Racer adventure began. More recently I have been getting into riding Trials bikes, I started out with a 2009 Beta EVO250 and then swapped that for a 2011 Ossa TR280i. The latest project I am working on is a 1972 Ossa 250 Mick Andrews Replica trials bike. Aside from the bikes I own I am lucky enough to occasionally get out on some of Dad’s classic British bikes which is always great fun.
This build is incredible, can you take us through it?
Thanks, the bike started life as a 2001 Triumph Bonneville, I bought it second hand with low k’s, it was completely stock and in mint condition which is why the guy at the bike shop thought I was out of my mind when I told him I was going home to cut it up… despite many people telling me not to do it I had the angle grinder out on the first day of owning the bike and from that point on I was 100% committed. Just to be sure that there was no chance of changing my mind and turning back I sold a good portion of the bike on ebay in parts, pretty much everything except the frame, engine, wheels and forks. I used the cash I got back from those parts to invest in a pair of Ohlins rear shocks, a set of Keihin FCR39’s and the 6 pot Berringer front caliper. These were by far the most expensive parts of the build, everything else I picked up cheap on ebay or fabricated myself.
The frame has been shortened (much to my girlfriends disgust…no room for a pillion!) and all brackets and tabs removed, I took off everything that didn’t need to be there including the pillion pegs. The engine is stock with the exception of the FCR’s and the shorty reverse cone megaphones. I am running Woodcraft clipons, a Nissin radial front brake master cylinder from a Kawasaki 636 with a matching cluth lever. I designed the rear sets in CAD and got a friend to machine them up out of 6061 Aerosapce Grade Alloy, the rear brake mastercylinder is off a Ducati 916 and is mounted to the rear sets. The battery is a small sealed Yuasa and is mounted on its side under the tail unit, I relocated the ignition switch under the seat and fitted a military spec starter button along side it. The tail light is a LED strip mounted near the rear sprocket, the indicators are Hein Gerricke parts that I found in a bargain bin at a bike shop in the UK and the headlight is a universal 7” chrome light. The biggest most time consuming part of the build was the fabrication of the tank and seat. At the time I couldn’t see anything on the market that really fitted the bike so I decided the only way to get the look I was after was to build it myself. I made a plug out of balsawood, filler and fibreglass. From the plug I built a mould and finally the actual parts – its like building the tank 3 times over… This was a massive job but well worth effort.
The final task was the wiring loom, I threw away the original loom altogether and designed/built a totally new loom to suit the bike. I removed anything that didn’t need to be there and relocated pretty much all the components in the electrical system to keep as much hidden as possible. This was quite a daunting task at first but with a little help from a few mates we had it sorted out. Since finishing the build I have just ridden the bike, no more mods, no changes, just heaps of riding. It runs really well (75hp at the wheel) and has clocked up almost 20,000km over the last few years.
Any plans for future builds?
There is a long list of plans for future builds! I’d like to build a dedicated track day bike, something with a lot of style and performance to match. The idea of a Vintage MX bike is pretty appealing too, then there is the big HP 80’s superbike that I have always wanted or maybe a Moto Guzzi café racer….I could go on! The 1972 Ossa I am currently restoring is almost finished so as soon as it is cleared off the bench I’ll get started on the next project.
What does the term Café Racer mean to you?
For me a Café Racer is a bike that is true to the original philosophy of taking parts off your bike with the goal of making it look cool and go fast! It has to have clipons, rear sets, loud pipes and loads of character. If you build it yourself the satisfaction you will get from riding it will be immense, that’s something that you can’t buy and in my mind an important part of the whole café racer experience.