Retro bikes

The lat­est build from Fuel Mo­tor­cy­cles has cut its teeth in the retro Dakar rally

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By James Archibald JU­NIOR WEB PRO­DUCER @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

Su­per-cool cus­tom builds and must-buy rid­ing kit

A1999 Kawasaki W650 has proved to be the per­fect can­vas for Span­ish cus­tom kings, Fuel Mo­tor­cy­cles, as shown by their lat­est build – the Fuel Catalina GP. In­spired by the Tri­umph mo­tor­cy­cles that were typ­i­cally rid­den in Amer­i­can deserts in the 1960s, the bike has a dis­tinc­tive pe­riod aes­thetic, which oozes a charm and ap­peal that will def­i­nitely turn heads.

“The choice of the Kawasaki W650 was no ac­ci­dent,” says builder Kar­les Vives. “Kawasaki locked in the retro look so per­fectly that even Tri­umph fans of­ten need a dou­ble-take to dis­tin­guish one from a pe­riod Meri­den bike, so the W650 was ideal for our project.”

The original tank was kept and the seat unit was re­placed with an item based on those pop­u­lar at the time as it has plenty of pad­ding and gives room to move on the ma­chine.

Ad­justable fork in­ter­nals from HFS re­placed the stock items and give the bike bet­ter off-road ca­pa­bil­ity, while YSS took care of the rear shocks. Highrise en­duro han­dle­bars and hand­made off-road foot­pegs also help the bike’s han­dling when it comes to the rough stuff and al­low the rider to stand up for bet­ter con­trol.

“The paint­work and stick­ers were added with a patina that would come from the pas­sage of time, so you have the im­pres­sion of see­ing a bike straight out of a ’60s time ma­chine. “To get that vin­tage sled look just right, we also fab­ri­cated a pair of mid-height, shot­gun-styled ex­hausts that are com­pleted with in­ter­nal db killers,” said Vives.

Fin­ish­ing the bike is a lug­gage frame that will ac­cept a sad­dle bag for car­ry­ing those desert es­sen­tials, and off-road tyres helped to add that fi­nal touch to the 650.

Thank­fully there’s enough go to match the show. After its com­ple­ti­tion, the bike took part in Scram Africa – a 2500km tour of North Africa that takes on dirt, dunes and moun­tain roads – act­ing like a sort of retro Dakar rally. There are few sterner tests for it, and if see­ing it has set your mind on rac­ing, it’s up for sale over on www.fu­el­mo­tor­cy­cles.eu.

You don’t need any­thing more than a speedo...

It’s no show pony – this W650-based spe­cial is a desert racer Paint and stick­ers come pre-aged Deeply itemdeeply­deeply­padded­seat­mim­ic­s1960sitemspadded seat mim­ics 1960s items

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