The Harrison Billet Custom Show brought together some of Britain’s most innovative bikes. Here are the ones we gazed at longest
Colin Moore, Moorespeed Racing, Bournemouth, England
We’re primarily a race shop but we were approached to become an Indian and Victory dealer three years ago. Our customers are always looking for different stuff. There’s plenty of Harleys out there so the stock Scout makes a change and is a nice bike, but people want modified machines. The great thing is that no one is doing one of these yet. It’s got a fly by wire throttle which I’ve made in billet but had to spend four days filing the inside because I couldn’t get in there with the CNC machine! Stanchions are in nitride black – we wanted to keep this one a little understated. Though we painted it yellow to be different…
The motor has a Trask air filter and we’ve fitted a Power Commander 5. The motor is set up on our dyno and with the changes plus our own pipes we’ve seen over 100bhp. These things go like fuck! The exhausts are handmade. I wanted something different for the ends of the exhausts and came up with the small cubes machined from billet then anodised. They alter the sound of the bike so that it’s more like a V8. It’s got K-Tech Bullit shocks and the stock Tracker forks but with K-Tech internal cartridges. Calipers are Harrison Billet, with Rizoma mastercylinder and Brembo levers. Tyres are Firestones.
The frame and swingarm are silver on the stock bike, but we stripped them back to bare metal then painted them black. P&M in the States do billet wheels but we’re waiting from them to do a pulley to suit the belt drive. But I liked the spoke wheels anyway for this bike. It’s got Stateside ’bars. We sourced the headlight from eBay – we wanted it as thin as possible. We’ve moved the switchgear – the starter button is on the right side cover and the horn is on the left. We’ve re-dyed the seat from tan to black for an aged look. We sell all the stuff you see on this bike and the great thing is you could get this look with the Scout for about £1500. That’s my aim – building modified bikes at affordable prices.
Piet Smith Nieuw-Vennep, Holland
I wanted to build a boardtracker of the 1920s/30s but with a bit of the future added. This bike is called Breakable for obvious reasons! The glass ‘fuel’ tank is hand blown and we did six to get one good one. It would have been fun to use the tank for petrol but if the bike falls over there’s the risk of fire. I can use it for beer instead because the actual petrol sits in the top tube of the frame.
Apart from the 1930 JAP engine with its exposed valve springs, Amal carb and BTH magneto, plus the tyres, I made everything. The frame is lugged – I make all the lugs, which are soldered and brazed and then polished [note the ornate detail in the lugs and the rear end of the hard-tailed frame – Ed). The forks are also handmade and the 26in diameter wheels have hubs that I made from billet. The front and rear wheels are shod with white balloon tyres from Germany and the perimeter brakes have specially-made, laser-cut discs. The brakes calipers and cable-operated, like a bicycle.
The oil tank is made from billet Plexiglas – the block was drilled and then milled on the outside to get the shape. Then I polished it for three days to get the mirror finish – the oil tank alone is two weeks work. Although the 500cc Excelsior JAP single has no gearbox or clutch there is almost too much power because the machine is so light and the rear tyre has so little tread. It spins up so easily! When I start the engine I have to pedal and as there’s no clutch, the engine stalls when I stop – it’s tricky to ride.
Larry Houghton, Lamb Engineering Wilton, Wiltshire
We wanted to have a bit of fun and put a smile of people’s faces. But I have to admit the project got a little crazier as it progressed! When we started, Tony [Larry’s right hand man] and I had the idea that we’d make the frame in wood like an old WW1 aircraft. But time restraints crept up on us and that meant we switched to carbon. And when the deadlines loomed we opted to fabricate the frame from metal so Tony could skin it in alloy just like an aircraft. The forks are billet, also covered with alloy. We’ve used carbon mountain-bike wheels shod with nice fat tyres. The motor is a Chinese-made Lifan 150. It’s the top of the range competition version with high-lift cam, high-comp piston etc. 16bhp! But then we added the smallest production turbo we could find which are normally used on snowmobiles. The mountain bike pedals aren’t just there for show either – they work. It’s just a moped really. Thing is though, there’s quite some potential because it weighs just 90kg and you can
tuck the thing under your arm and carry it if need be [which Tony did to move the bike during the photoshoot]. We’re hoping to take it to Pendine Sands this year and crack some speed records.
We started the build in January and finished it just before this show. Although we built it for fun, we wanted to show it’s possible to build a custom bike for very little outlay. You don’t need to have a high quality custom paint job like this
and you can get a basic Lifan engine for around £250. The wheels cost us £280 from China and we paid £300 for the brakes. But we reckon anyone could build something like this for £1000-£1200.
Kevin Hill, Kevil’s Speedshop, Paington, Devon
This is the second R9T we’ve built, having great success with our first one – a crazy old skool hot rod-inspired, red oxide painted ‘Rat Tracker’. This 2015 model is more of a cool gentleman’s scrambler and is my 2016 ride. It’s got a matt paint job, re-upholstered seat, Conti TKC tyres, our own aluminium headlight cowl containing a halo headlight and a Motogadget Moto Scope Pro speedo, silver powder coated yokes, rocker covers, footpegs, hangers and brackets. Fork tubes are anodized. Rather than a complete redesign, it’s all about retaining usability, retaining its value but making lots of small changes to give the bike a whole different look.
Vytautas ‘Vitus’ Puzinaoskas, London, England
I had the idea of a copper-plated, hardtailed bobber and asked my friend if he could help me. He went ‘bosh’ and here it is. I live in London but come from Lithuania and my friend back home, called Mita, built this for me. He’s not got a bike shop – he just builds bikes for fun and did the work for me as a mate. It’s based on 2004 1200cc Sportster Custom. I like the old skool style that he’s come up with. We used the original frame but Mita made the hardtail. The forks are replica Harley springers but the headlight is the talking point. It’s made from a wheel hub – I’ve no idea which bike it came from.
I’ve gone for Kustom Tech levers and master cylinder. They cost over £400 but they suit the bike so well – and the front brakes with the Flyrite caliper are good. All the copper colouring is real copper plating. Mita did the work on the petrol tank and, as well as doing the fuel gauge he also fitted a fuel tap that was originally on a Russian car. He made the exhaust too. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. He bought the silencer section from eBay and then fabricated everything else.
Danny Starmer, Fastech Racing, Newmarket, Suffolk
We design and make top quality parts for motorcycles of almost every make and model, working closely with top teams in road racing and motocross. We also make parts for the fast-growing custom bike scene – we made the yokes for Jamie Ireson’s Norton
street tracker [see Built #1] and do a lot of work for Down & Out up in Barnsley [also in Built #1]. This 1988 1200cc Sportster is a shop build to show off what we can do. The GSF1200 front end is fitted in our yokes. Rear wheel is off a GSF600 with a new brake linkage. We’ve altered the rear frame and totally rebuilt the motor. We made the exhausts, pegs, engine covers and clock-holders.
Bujar Muharremi, Auto Fabrica, Southend
Our inspiration spans machines from early 1910s to 1970s. This 1978 XS650 is known as Type 6 [the sixth bike built by AF]. The engine’s been rebored with 0.5mm oversized pistons and fully rebuilt. We wanted to give the bike a unique identity and the
single VM36 carb mod gives a visual balance to the bike, with the exhaust pipes running on one side and carb on the other. We sand-bent the exhaust pipes from 316 stainless. We’ve lowered the headstock and raked it out a few degrees.
Everything else has been tidied up. The front hub is off a Laverda, laced to a 19in aluminium rim using stainless spokes. The forks have been lowered with new springs and the fork covers are custom made by us in stainless steel. The rear end has a stock hub and an 18in alloy rim.
The fuel tank was manufactured in-house using 2.5mm aluminium – this is the kind of work we specialise in. Our local guy, Gary, applied the paint. We aquablasted the frame in-house then sent it for powder-coating. I bought it for £1800 from the States. With the freight and Mita’s work, it’s cost me around £5000. Imagine how much it would have cost if I’d sourced the bike in the UK and had the work done here!
Kevin Hill, Kevil’s Speedshop, Paignton, Devon
This is where bobber meets scrambler! We took a 1977 R80/7 and fitted a later lightened flywheel motor, Mikuni carbs plus later transmission and running gear for extra zip. A solo subframe was grafted on top with a hand-stitched leather seat. We’ve fitted our own handmade alloy tank with a vintage slogan painted on the top. The wheels are alloy five-spoke – very rare – and shod with block pattern pre-65 motocross-style tyres. To complete the look we fitted twin heavy-duty, fully-adjustable rear shocks. We added some extra details such as super-bright, discretely-fitted LED indicators and riding lights; one mounted under the bottom yoke, the other on the crash bars. The CNC billet top yoke, black bars and white retro grips, fork brace, and a host of other bits are Kevils custom parts. This bike has undergone a ground-up nut and bolt rebuild. The electrics are all new and upgraded, with Enduralast combined ignition and charging system, bespoke wiring loom, Dyna coils and a Valeo starter fitted.
Alec Sharp, Old Empire Motorcycles, Diss, Norfolk
We built this 1976-ish CB500, called Ripon, some time ago. The customer has had it all summer and fitted the TCF carbs himself. We borrowed it back for the show as we have several bikes on the bench at the moment but none ready. Ripon was our first build based on a Japanese fourcylinder and the aim was to keep the authentic classic lines yet add a healthy mix of unusual and modern. The motor is standard, as is the main frame but we’ve made an entirely new subframe. We ditched the original twin-shock rear end and added the simple but distinctive suspension set-up using a Buell shock and de-cluttering the rear of the motorcycle, whilst the angled seat unit flows seamlessly from the modified tank and into the minimalistic headlight shroud.