Bones Re­turns!

Heav­ily mod­i­fied frames util­is­ing scooter en­gines and other parts have al­ways had a po­lar­is­ing ef­fect and this beau­ti­ful chop­per is no dif­fer­ent. But if any chop­per could win over the most stead­fast of ‘orig­i­nal’ scooter­ists, it’s this one. Bones Re­turns…

Scootering - - Contents -

The sec­ond rein­car­na­tion of this well put to­gether chop.

Scooter-pow­ered chop­pers al­ways pro­voke a re­ac­tion – they prob­a­bly have equal num­bers of lovers and haters within the scene. De­bates on pros and cons have been, and will con­tinue to be, heat­edly dis­cussed. No need to con­tinue the de­bate here though, as most in­di­vid­ual opin­ions re­gard­ing rad­i­cal ma­chines are set fast in con­crete. But for me per­son­ally, I can say I love them; par­tic­u­larly the thought which goes into a good one. One thing which has al­ways struck me about scooter chops, es­pe­cially Lam­bretta-based ex­am­ples, is that in sil­hou­ette they ex­ude some­thing of a skele­tal ap­pear­ance. A bare and sim­ple beauty un­cov­ered.

Blast from the past

Spook­ily, Northum­ber­land-based scooter­ist and engi­neer Tony Bowey has twice owned this par­tic­u­lar ma­chine. Back in the 80s when it was first chopped and chris­tened Bones, and now, hav­ing re-ac­quired, re­fur­bished and re­built his old steed. To­day it’s sim­ply named Bones Re­turns, and the name fits like a glove. Af­ter it was found by a friend of Tony’s, al­beit only as a frame and forks, Tony was given the heads up. He got first dibs, bought it for the sec­ond time and set about build­ing THE cus­tom chop­per that he would’ve had 30 years pre­vi­ously, if he’d had the cash to lav­ish on it back then. Hav­ing the abil­ity, con­fi­dence and en­gi­neer­ing knowhow made the phys­i­cal makeover of Bones Re­turns a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward task.

The fab­ri­ca­tion work went pretty much as planned. That said, Tony did find hav­ing to wait for parts to ar­rive with him a bit frus­trat­ing. He told us: “Fab­ri­cat­ing, build­ing and put­ting it all to­gether, in­clud­ing hand mak­ing a be­spoke loom all went ex­actly as I wanted, wait­ing for parts was a killer. I was im­pa­tient wait­ing for them to ar­rive.”

Pocket-rocket from the crypt

When scooter chop­pers are built to be rid­den (not hid­den) it’s al­ways a temp­ta­tion to splash out on a pow­er­ful en­gine (same with any scooter I sup­pose). Tony ini­tially fan­cied an AF fully race-tuned mo­tor for Bones Re­turns but sen­si­bly the chaps at AF Rayspeed man­aged to talk him out of that idea. In­stead he chose to go with a tour setup RB250 unit (see spec sheet). Tony told us: “I’m glad I was talked out of hav­ing a fully race-tuned en­gine. It would have been too much for a chop. Even with the tour­ing spec RB250, which I’ve yet to open fully, it is still too pokey for a chop­per if I’m hon­est… though it is a fun en­gine! Plenty of power there, right through all the gears.”

It’s al­ways handy, ir­re­spec­tive of the style of scooter you’re rid­ing, to have a bit of ex­tra power on tap if and when needed. Though chop­per scoot­ers are more about ap­pear­ance and vis­ual im­pact than they are about brute force ac­cel­er­a­tion and top speed. As for one-off and spe­cial items fit­ted to Bones Re­turns with prac­ti­cal­ity in mind, there are a few fea­tur­ing as part of the ma­chine. For ex­am­ple, the Harley springer forks grafted onto the front end have made the han­dling fairly de­cent, for a chop­per; a def­i­nite im­prove­ment over the han­dling from ex­tended Lam­bretta forks. A skull head­lamp was sourced from Elite Cus­tom in Amer­ica, and slightly tweaked to fit by Tony.

From the ashes

In the phoenix-like res­ur­rec­tion of Bones Re­turns, Tony had to farm out three el­e­ments in­te­gral to the fin­ished ma­chine that he wanted. For the art­work, paint and air­brush work went to Wiz­ard and East Coast Air­brush re­spec­tively. “When I went for a chat about the mu­rals I had a few loose ideas but noth­ing too def­i­nite. I asked for a reaper mu­ral on the tank and gave them a free hand for ev­ery­thing else. I’m well pleased with what Kev at East Coast Air­brush did.” Plat­ing of var­i­ous fix­tures, fit­tings and in­te­gral parts, in both chrome and gold, was shared be­tween Mi­das Touch and Qual­ity Chrome. All the in­tri­cate and il­lus­tra­tive en­grav­ing was en­trusted to the man whom Tony, and many oth­ers, refers to as ‘The Master’ – Don Block­sidge. Ad­di­tional gold plat­ing to front and rear wheel hubs, as well as one or two other parts, is planned for the very near fu­ture. “I like the vis­ual con­trast of en­graved gold plat­ing off­set by chrome, I think it both sits and looks right.”

The end game

Tes­ti­mony to Tony’s en­gi­neer­ing and build skills, Bones Re­turns sailed through its MoT af­ter com­ple­tion. “Ev­ery­thing went to­gether as it should when I was do­ing the fi­nal build, no prob­lems at all. Ev­ery­thing was 100% right first time. When I

took it for the MoT, apart from the tester hav­ing a ‘what’s that’ mo­ment, there were ab­so­lutely no prob­lems.” One of Tony’s re­quire­ments for build­ing Bones Re­turns was that he wanted a show win­ning scooter chop­per. Granted, win­ning sil­ver­ware at any shows can be hit and miss, with show judges’ own per­sonal tastes sub­jec­tively com­ing into play.

First time out show­ing Bones Re­turns is on Tony’s cal­en­dar for Scar­bor­ough: “That will be the first time I’m go­ing to put Bones Re­turns in a show. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how it goes down there. I’m more look­ing for­ward to Kelso, which is bit closer to me so a less painful ride. I’m not as young and daft as I was back in the 80s.”

Not that I’d ever try to sec­ond guess show judges’ de­ci­sions, but I’ve a feel­ing that at some point soon Bones Re­turns will see Tony’s am­bi­tion to build a show win­ner re­alised. Words: Sarge

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Gary Chap­man

Bones is back...

Out­stand­ing de­tail­ing.

De­cent sus­pen­sion unit, nicely cus­tomised.

Happy as a pig in...

Stun­ning art­work.

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