Go bikes, not show bikes

A sig­nif­i­cant part of the cus­tom scene ap­pears to be head­ing down a form over func­tion dead end. Here at Bike we think this a bad thing. Spain’s Bottpower do too…


THE NEW BREED of café rac­ers and scram­blers are at risk of fol­low­ing the evo­lu­tion­ary route of chop­pers and birds of par­adise. As each builder strives to stand out from the crowd and at­tract a mate – in mo­tor­cy­cle terms that’s some­one who is go­ing to buy the bike or com­mis­sion a build – they be­come more out­ra­geous and only good at at­tract­ing at­ten­tion. The beardy cu­ra­tors and I are stunned by the cre­ations, but for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. They be­come aroused by the sheet metal work and lus­tre of the five-foot long dust­bin fair­ing, while I’m amazed that any­one thought 13mm of ground clear­ance was a good idea. I’ve seen bikes that ‘taste mak­ers’ fawn over, but make zero sense in dy­namic terms. Yes, weld­ing the carb to the in­take man­i­fold does away with the ‘un­sightly’ rub­ber and Ju­bilee clip, but how do you, ‘y’know, ser­vice the carb? The an­swer is, you don’t, and it doesn’t mat­ter, be­cause it’ll never be rid­den. The pro­lif­er­a­tion of point­less baubles by, and for, peo­ple who have for­got­ten the pur­pose of the mo­tor­cy­cle is on the in­crease. The Bike Shed-style cus­tom crowd have to check it doesn’t end up this way. The scene these pages of­ten con­cerns them­selves with started with peo­ple turn­ing unloved and de­val­ued post­clas­sics into ur­ban buzzbombs. To labour the bird anal­ogy, the scene be­gan lov­ing spar­rows, de­vel­oped a pen­chant for mag­pies and has now be­come ob­sessed with pea­cocks. The re­cent Down & Out/ Yamaha/bike project (p53) left some of the staff slightly un­der­whelmed where it had the opposite af­fect on me. I’m way be­yond sat­u­ra­tion point for show bikes. I’m in­ter­ested in go bikes. This view is shared by some, at least, and that has cre­ated the ex­cit­ing land­scape of cus­tom builders wish­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the herd by prov­ing the bikes they build haul ass. One such com­pany is Spain’s Bottpower. The name, I’m guess­ing, comes from an af­fec­tion for the Bat­tle of the Twins race bikes, noth­ing to do with flat­u­lence, be­cause Bottpower fo­cus on making chas­sis and body parts to trans­form fuel-in-frame Buells into spine-framed 21st cen­tury street track­ers. The com­pany is headed by David Sanchez, a WSB and Moto2 level teleme­try spe­cial­ist. His mod­est firm had sold dozens of the frame kits be­fore Sanchez de­cided to pit one of them against the daunt­ing 156 cor­ners of the Pikes Peak In­ter­na­tional Hill­climb. Reg­u­lar, road-go­ing Bott XR1S are de­signed to use long wheel­base XB12S as donors. They re­tain the en­gine, oil-car­ry­ing swingarm, wheels, brakes, front end and clocks, un­less the new owner wishes to fit dif­fer­ent cy­cle com­po­nents, then every­thing is fair game.

‘The pro­lif­er­a­tion of point­less baubles by, and for, peo­ple who have for­got­ten the pur­pose of the mo­tor­cy­cle is on the in­crease’

The Pikes Peak spe­cial uses the same huge di­am­e­ter spine frame, but the com­pany got hold of a pair of XB-RR mo­tors, Buell’s race-only twin, for this project. The XB-RR has down­draught throt­tle bod­ies. They caused prob­lems with the spine frame, but Bott solid­mod­elled, then 3D printed a so­lu­tion, be­fore hav­ing re­place­ments ma­chined. Con­sid­er­ing the chal­lenge of the race, a point-to-point time trial that ends at 4302m above sea level, Bott im­proved every­thing. The wheels are car­bon from Ro­to­box, the forks have com­pos­ite slid­ers, body­work is car­bon, but the Buell swingarm is utilised. These en­gines are dry sump and re­quire a sep­a­rate oil tank. What looks like the oil tank on this bike is car­ry­ing the petrol, the petrol tank is the air­box… The project was backed by Bri­tish lug­gage firm, Kr­iega, and the rider is Pikes Peak reg­u­lar Travis New­bold. He came sec­ond over­all in the mo­tor­cy­cle class in 2015, on an­other Buell-pow­ered odd­ball, the Ronin. This year, from a field of 29 starters, he came fourth over­all and first in his class. And the Bottpower XR1R looked fab­u­lous do­ing it. Re­mem­ber, make a bike shiny and the pub­lic will fall over them­selves to gawp, slack­jawed at it, but form with­out func­tion is mere tit­il­la­tion.

No ve foot long dust­bin fair­ing here Hi tech­ery for the high Peak

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