Oily Rag Motor Co

By day, Dave Sutton runs the Oily Rag Clothing Company. By night he builds bikes, using years of experience as a precision engineer to good effect.


Oily Rag Motor Co


Yamaha XV750


Cheltenham / England

“I started with a £400 XV and ended up with a cafe racer”

What inspired you to build a Yamaha V-twin custom?

I saw an XV750 built by Greg Hageman in the States and just had to have one! Previously, I had spent a day in the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham looking at engine design and was amazed by how something that does one thing – an engine – comes in so many different forms. Personally, I think engines tell a story just by looking at them and what’s bolted to it becomes part of that story. The standard XV isn’t the prettiest bike around but it’s cheap – this one cost £400 – and a great base to work from with the engine sitting there at the heart of a machine. 

You’ve built a Triumph bobber and a Kawasaki scrambler recently. Do you have other builds in mind? 

The evenings of 2016 will be busy in the Oily Rag workshop. We’re currently building our first customer bike, which is going to be another ’69 Triumph Bobber and we have half of a 1931 Norton to play with. I’d really like to do a Hinckley Triumph bobber. 

Do you build bikes to promote your motorcycle clothing line, Oily Rag, or because you want to create something you’d like to ride? 

Ultimately I build bikes because I have a passion for it and it makes me switch off from the corporate world. The offshoot is the builds are great for marketing our Oily Rag Clothing Company. The master plan is to have an Oily Rag store in every major town with one of our special one-off bikes taking centre stage. With a busy work schedule and the builds taking most of my spare time I really haven’t had much time to get out this year but when I do manage a ride out, usually our 69 Triumph T100 bobber is the weapon of choice for a blast around the Cotswolds.