Back Street Heroes
JUST ONE MORE
FOR MANY OF US, OWNING JUST ONE MOTORCYCLE’S NEITHER AN OPTION NOR REALITY. WE’RE ALL AWARE THAT THE PERFECT NUMBER OF MOTORCYCLES TO OWN IS N+1, WHERE N IS THE CURRENT NUMBER OF BIKES THAT YOU OWN…
For Doug McCarthy, while his Triumph Scrambler was a great bike, he also wanted something that was a bit more of a ‘tourer’ and, as he really liked the Scrambler, it was an easy decision to make to treat himself to a Speedmaster as well. At that point, though, he’d got into the habit of reading BSH, and decided he wanted a chopper too.
Rather than head out and buy himself a third bike (that was to come later!) he came to the justified decision of chopping the Speedmaster, initially by hardtailing it. After a call to String at Raw Steel Choppers, he was booked in for a hardtail conversion, and the ball was set in motion. It actually wasn’t quite as straightforward a job as Doug (and String!) had initially hoped, for the simple reason that Triumph has fitted the engine in an offset position, so as to retain chain alignment with a fatter rear wheel than on other bikes in the Bonneville range. This caused some frustration with trying to get the rear frame rails symmetrical, and also in having exhaust pipes that run parallel with the lower frame rails, but String and Tony managed to get it nailed, incorporating a fake oil tank/battery box in there too.
The wheels and brakes’re as stock, as are the forks and yokes (there’s a new set of ’bars and a pair of fork gaiters), the rider/pillion ’pegs, the forwards, the fuel tank, and the little bellypan/chin spoiler, while the front mudguard and the seat, rear mudguard (which fits perfectly over the Avon Cobra tyre) and sissy-bar were all sorted out by Down & Out Motorcycles in nearby Rotherham. Once the bike was complete and ready for finishing, the issue of colour raised its head. Like many BSH readers, Doug watches a lot of American hot-rod TV shows, and liked the idea of a patinated rusty finish, and set about trying to find out how best to get that. He discovered rustypaint.com and its range of interesting paint effects and, after playing around
with a few test panels, he got a result he was happy with, and set to doing the entire bike. The frame, bodywork, bars, lights, everything got rusted with the exception of the engine, running gear, switches and fasteners, and gives the bike the look of an old bike that’s been fitted with a new engine, and with further reference to those TV programmes, it’s a bit like the classic American cars that’ve been fitted with uprated wheels, suspension and brakes, and a new fuel-injected General Motors LS powerplant instead of an original sidevalve V8. It’s brilliantly executed too – take a look at the way that he’s achieved a pitted look to parts that were originally chromed (or stainless or aluminium), and how they now look as though they’ve been rescued from a couple of decades at the bottom of the canal (the tank dash and petrol cap in particular). He’s also done the tank and rear ’guard to look as though it’s a worn and rusted flame-job, and all with no risk of any actual oxidisation/weakening of components.
Doug’s got no more plans for the
Speedmaster, other than to allow the rust paint to ‘mature’ a little more (and maybe have the seat remade so that it’s a little more comfortable for his pillion) but, returning to my first paragraph, he’s bought himself another bike – he’s now the owner of String’s rat-rod chopper, ‘Moonshine’, and has further plans to add to his fleet too!