Inspired by Dave Helrich's Triumph Streetfighter, 52 year old builder Chris Atkinson spent 3 months building his first motorcycle. Recently, Chris shared his project with Her Majesty's Thunder.
Chris tells about his build, "I saw Dave Helrich's, ( Helrich Custom Cycles ), Streetfighter and fell in love with it. Contacted Dave with the hope of him building me one, but the import regs over here in Australia don't allow modified bikes or cars to be imported. So I built one myself, with some help from Dave. I bought a stock 1971 Tiger and went from there. Got it on Ebay from a an old mate of mine I hadn't seen for around 15 years, blew us both away when Dave opened his door.
It has a rigid frame from Factory Metal Works, 4.5" longer and 2" lower, stock motor, stainless drag pipes, tri spark electronic ignition and rectifier, high voltage coils, hand made aluminium guards from 7 Metal West, original wheels powdercoated and stainless spokes, ceramic coated brake hubs/cover plates, aluminium coated tank with 2 days sanding and polishing, Mooneyes spinner cap to lock the tank down, brass inspection caps, MonsterCraftsmen chain tensioner, Biltwell seat mount, custom seat from Helrich Custom Cycles, original front end with progressive fork springs, Woodcraft clipons, lots of hand made brackets, battery box etc. All new wheel bearings, brake shoes, cables, guages, vintage cloth covered wiring, all stainless bolts/nuts. Lots of parts were sourced from Trojan Classic Cycles over here in Australia as well as Lowbrow Customs.
The build took me around 3 months, great fun. I am a beater and painter & usually muck around with cars, so this was a lot easier than doing a car. I have never ridden on the road before until I built her, still on my Learner license at 52 years of age. The coolest learner legal bike around. I love riding it, heaps of fun and a real blast.
I wanted to disappear this past weekend. It was sort of a last minute thing so I drove instead of rode, but I visited a few beaches down the east coast (USA) and spent some extra time in Daytona Beach, FL, the legendary location for motorcycle sand racing. Daytona Beach is the only beach where you can still drive (and ride) on the sand beside the shore. While there I happened by Robison's Motorcycles (also known as Robison's Harley Davidson from 1962-1992). I wandered in just to look around and found the legend Joe Robison himself sitting there on a couch, enshrined by walls of motorcycle racing glory. I asked if they minded if took some photos and they immediately offered me a tour of the entire shop including the back areas where the speed bikes of yesteryear were brought in during the days and nights before the big races to be carved, molded, and cast into the iron racing demons of the historic sand tracks. Looking at that endless beach, I ached to grab my own bike and tear out along the water's edge with nothing in my way... into oblivion.
Here are some vintage photos of Daytona motorcycle racing from the old days of Life Magazine .
Below are my own photos of my visit.