Heaven, must be heaven


Unleashing a vintage motorcycle on the winding road to St Albans, parking in the front driveway and ambling into the 1840s vintage pub for a cold ale. I couldn’t think of a better ride one could take.

can anyone recognise the bike on the right?

With thanks to Google Maps, for letting me roam the world while being stuck at my office desk.

A Wolf in wolf’s clothing


Although a Sportster by name, today’s feature bike is very much a sporting machine far from the chrome laden highway cruiser guise it left the factory in. Built by Jeremy Hudson utilising a 2006 model Harley, the bulk has been stripped back, and a cafe racer aesthetique built around the big American V twin.


Taking the Sportster back to bare bones, a raw aluminium fuel tank and rear guard were fashioned up. To keep the ride looking lightweight and ready to take on the track, it only features a solo seat. Following the concept of raw aluminium features, the front guard is also fashioned up in the same material.


To offset all that shiny aluminium, the factory paint job has been retained on the engine, with the polished fins breaking up the bulk of the black power plant. Featuring moon disc wheels, the whole bike has a futuristic look to it, while still paying homage to the cafe racers of old.


From chrome laden highway hauler, this Sportster has had a full overhaul, and come out the other side as a bike with touches of Kimura styling, without the price tag to suit. Currently on the floor for sale at Gasoline Motor Co at Alexandria in Sydney, this amazing one off build could be yours, and there is no chance you will pull up next to another one like it on your next ride. Check out the listing here:



With many thanks to Jason from Gasoline Motor Co, who have the coolest range of big toys for big kids.

A fortunate life

Sitting in a lounge room on the outskirts of Sydney, with a pile of primary case gaskets and a Joe Hunt magneto sitting on his coffee table, you can tell Peter Courtney is a bit of a bike fan. With over five decades experience on two wheels, Peter has been there and done it, and he has had some cool rides along the way.

So Peter, how did it all start?

I remember when I was six my mother gave me a jacket that had a picture of a motorcyclist on it, riding along a straight road to the horizon. I reckon I spent more time paying attention to that picture than I did to the schoolmaster. After that I remember my scoutmaster having a Triumph bike and sidecar, I had a ride in that and knew first chance I got I would have a bike.

What was the first bike that you owned?

On my seventeenth birthday I bought a two year old Triumph 6T. I bought that bike not even knowing how to change a spark plug, but I found I had a feel for the mechanical aspect of owning a bike. That thing was quite a bike, but I liked the Triumph bikes, still do now. I owned a 49 Speed Twin once, don’t know what was done to it but I could keep up with later model Bonnevilles up to about 60 mile an hour.

So you had the need for speed?

You could say that. A few months after I purchased my first road bike, I bought my first race setup. It was a Vincent Black Shadow sidecar outfit, bought in pieces for 65 pounds. There were boxes and boxes of bits with it, but luckily the owner supplied a parts catalogue and workshop manual with it. So much detail in the manuals in those days, if I had two bolts of similar length but didn’t know what went were, I could consult the parts drawing and match the number of threads on the drawing to see where the bolt went. I spent that winter sat next to my kerosene heater, polishing until the wee hours of the morning. I ended up having to sell that bike to pay for my speeding fines.

So you were a bit of a Vincent fan?

Definitely, I have owned 6 Vincent motorcycles all told, with two being Black Shadow model bikes. I used to race Vincent sidecar outfits whenever I could, I just came across a pair of Vincent intake manifolds in my shed the other day. When I owned a Vincent Comet, the 500cc engine bike, I would drape my army greatcoat over the back end of the engine so people would think they were drag racing a Black Shadow.

How many bikes would you say you have owned all up?

I’d definitely say over forty, easily.

Got any bikes you have owned that stand out in your memory, either good or bad?

I owned a 1946 Indian Chief, 1012cc ex cop bike. Most fun clunker I ever had. It was fitted up with a sidecar, and because of the left hand throttle, if you took a corner too quickly you could jump over into the sidecar, yet still have easy access to the throttle so you could stay on it coming out the corner. Useful thing that bike was, when I had to transport my AJS competition bike I would take off the sidecar body and mount up some flat boards. Then I would just have to strap the ‘compy’ to the boards and I could ride up to Moorebank to race.

One bike that the memory haunts me was a mid 70s Husqvarna 360 automatic. Rare as anything, but I could understand why they were, as I could never get the thing to run right. Even when I could get it up to speed it had no engine braking capability so it was no good for anything exciting.

How much had changed since you started riding?

Well back when I started riding, I always saw the motorcycle cops as nothing more than ‘bikies with badges’. I remember getting yelled at by a police cyclist while I was riding my AJS ‘compy’, getting told it was too loud. He had completely disregarded the fact I was 10 miles over the speed limit. That AJS was a hoot to ride though, one night I blew through two bikes sitting at a set of lights thinking they were my mates, turns out they were bike cops.

What about later on down the track?

I was the proud owner of a Kawasaki Z1R, I remember watching them in the Castrol 6 Hour and thinking ‘my bike can’t do that’. I pulled into a dealership not long after that and while talking to the service advisor had another fellow interrupt us, to tell me to ‘get rid of those Japanese Julius Marlowes and to get a decent set of shocks’. I took his advice, and I took some rubber off the footpegs getting the compound going in the rubber. Worth it though, it was like riding a different bike. It could lean into corners and handle, it was something else alright.

So you got a hang of the technical side of things?

Racing the Vincent bikes and the AJS helped a lot, but owning so many bikes helped out as well. I’m a truck driver as well, so being mechanically adept is handy as well. Sometimes I used what I had learnt in one area and utilised it in another. When I learnt I was going to be taking my truck to an area that is notoriously dusty, I got UniFilter up at Gladesville to build me a foam filter I could oil up, a much better option than the paper filter offered by the truck manufacturers.

So what is your current ride?

My bike at the moment is a 1956 Triumph T100. I picked it up last year at Shannon’s auctions, it’s just what I was looking for. Pre unit with TR pipes, the bike looks like it is going 100 miles an hour just sitting still. It came by way of Singapore, it was first sold in 56 through one of Triumph’s dealers over there. I’m a big fan of the Triumph bikes, and this one is definitely a beautiful example of a Trumpy.

What are you working on right now?

I have a lawn mower fitted up with a Villiers engine, just trying to put the last touches on it to get it to run right. I’m also working on my Kenworth truck, just picking away at what needs to be done to the old girl. The Triumph is just getting some electrical parts rebuilt. She will be as good as new, probably better.


This interview originally appeared in Retro & Classic Bike magazine.

Ode to a small displacement


Short of having an autobahn to ride on, it seems beyond me that people need big displacement bikes to enjoy the world of the motorcycle. I admit, the Yamaha R1 is a cool bike, as is the BMW S1000RR, however where is the place for such machines in any environment where you can really just get around in first gear.

Personally, and this is just my belief, but surely it would be more fun to aim for a smaller bike, or an older bike, to enable one to be able to push a machine to its limits in a corner? Less horsepower requires more thought before taking a turn at a cracking pace, and these new breed of super bikes make it too easy to for one to be able to ride like an entrant in the Isle of Man. It also allows people to over estimate their ability to ride. Traction control, ABS braking, stability control, all these add to the confidence one may have while riding.

Of course they can be helpful in a dangerous situation, but they should be fall back positions, not badges of honour for one to be able to push their super bikes to the limit.

Take your time, don’t take the easy route into motorcycling and go for the biggest capacity bike you can get. Get a bike you can push to its limits safely, something that isn’t going to get you featured in the newspaper for having an accident, don’t get the style of bike that Hunter S Thomson once described as a ‘sausage machine’.

Like a kid in a candy store

It’s not often one could describe a motorcycle dealer’s stock lineup as being the ‘stuff dreams are made of’. However, in the north of France, in the town of Lille, one such place exists. Legend Motors is a place of pure and beautiful motorcycles, with a product lineup to make any classic bike fan salivate. From BSA to Kawasaki, Harley Davidson to AJS, the shop contains a wide range of machines to suit the different tastes of motorcyclisti. I can’t say too much, I will let the product images speak for themselves.

Merci beaucoup to Christophe, with many warm regards from hot Australia. You can browse their amazing stock list here:




Strip down rebuild of C10 distributor


1. Consult numerous sites and books as you feel lost when it comes to anything in the realm of the auto electrical.

2. Print out comprehensive guide from bsac10c11c12.co.uk

3. Curse the printer for making the pics so dark.

4. Pull distributor from shipping package. Marvel at how well the seller packed it, and how far it has travelled yet is still in one piece. Clean up polystyrene that has gone everywhere.

5. Clean distributor of all polystyrene in all nooks and crannies. Look at guide from BSA forum. Wonder if your distributor is the same because it doesn’t have everything in the pics.

6. Remove the screws that hold the thing to the base plate. Refer to Draganfly website for exploded view of distributor. Pick polystyrene out of nose. Find out the thing is called the contact set. Still no idea how this thing works.

7. Coffee break. Study C10 distributor breakdown and realise you need more parts to rebuild this thing properly. Which is isn’t easy at 9pm on a Friday night.

8. Assemble distributor and put away. Start scouring Draganfly’s site for parts. Pick polystyrene out of hair.