‘My R80’s pipes were so high I kept burn­ing my legs’ Adam Kay, Cus­tom King

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK - By Jor­dan Gib­bons MCN SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Q1. What are you cur­rently rid­ing?

I’m still rid­ing my BMW R80 from 1979, which was the first bike I ever cus­tomised. I bought it from Rex [Adam’s busi­ness part­ner] and he didn’t tell me at the time he’d swapped the front end af­ter a crash. He wrecked it af­ter com­ing off on a diesel spill, got it back to the garage and swapped the whole front end overnight as he was off on a tour around France the next day.

It’s been in three in­car­na­tions since, in­clud­ing one with high pipes that I rode to Wheels & Waves. It was so hot it was in­sane, I kept burn­ing my legs. I’ve also got a Honda Cub but it’s so slow.

Q2. Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

John Sur­tees be­cause he won world cham­pi­onships in cars and on bikes.

Q3. What’s your worst rid­ing habit?

I look in cars far too much to see if peo­ple are on their mo­bile phones, so I end up not look­ing at the road to see if other peo­ple aren’t look­ing at the road. I’ve had ma­jor ar­gu­ments with peo­ple – I had one guy get right up in my face, so I’ve toned it down a bit now.

Q4. If you could have one su­per rid­ing skill what would it be?

My rid­ing is av­er­age so just be­ing able to take cor­ners a little bit faster and a bit safer would be great. Although, one skill I would love would be to di­ag­nose an en­gine just from lis­ten­ing to it.

Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

I went over 100mph on an old Mon­ster I had and that was enough for me.

Q6. When were you last scared on a bike?

Be­cause I ride around Lon­don a lot, some­times it can just be quite mun­dane things that are scary. There’s a re­ally bad junc­tion near my house that I’ve had loads of near misses. I’ve had a few heart-in-mouth mo­ments on twisty roads where my skill hasn’t been as good as my brain wants it to be.

Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?

I ac­tu­ally worked this out the other day. Just over 3000 I think.

Q8. What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

I’ve never done any­thing mad.

Q9. What ir­ri­tates you most when you are out rid­ing?

Driv­ers us­ing mo­bile phones.

Q10. You’ve got two weeks off - where are you go­ing?

I’d ride around the Alps: France, Italy and Switzer­land. Then I’d head down through the Pyre­nees to the coast of Por­tu­gal.

Q11. Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Just take it easy, you’ll get there in the end, so don’t bother rush­ing.

Q12. Ever fallen off some­where em­bar­rass­ing?

Yes. I dropped my Guzzi V11 Sport do­ing a U-turn out­side my house while my wife was watching.

in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

My Davida hel­met.

Q14. Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day blast?

My friend Lu­dovic who bought our first bike, Hugo who runs Un­ti­tled San Fran­cisco, my friend David and Rex as he’s a me­chanic who could help us – although I broke down once and he aban­doned me.

Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live with­out?

Vernier calipers.

Q16. Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?

Never, I’m just not a good enough rider to no­tice.

If you could have just one of your old bikes back, which would it be?

My orig­i­nal Yamaha Ténéré.

Q18. What type of bike would you never buy?

You can make any­thing good.

Q19. Which road (or track) would you build on your desert is­land?

The Route Napoleon – it’s about 60 miles long in the Alps and there are no turn­ings off it.

Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

I’d stop mo­bile phones from work­ing in­side cars ex­cept in an emer­gency.

‘I broke down once and my busi­ness part­ner Rex aban­doned me’

Bol d’or is in­spired by en­durance rac­ers of yester year Raw II is an ur­ban scram­bler us­ing an R80 boxer en­gine

Adam started cus­tomis­ing bikes be­fore it was cool...

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