Custom Cured Custom Motorbike

“I haven’t ridden with a 300 rear tyre before,” Steve acknowledges. “It’s a bit like a boat; it’s got a mind of its own…”

AMONG the many weighty matters debated in the world today, some just seem beyond mortal resolution. Sitting somewhere between Johnnie Walker vs Jack Daniels and Arabs vs Israelis is an equally vexing question: the moment in time at which a previously customised bike is reworked to the point that it can be considered a different bike altogether.

This motorcycle is a case in point, with one of the parties involved thinking it’s essentially a bike bought from interstate then modified and tidied up a bit; the other has the view that the amount of modifying involved was extensive enough to consider the end result a very different bike to the one the project started with, a bike the previous owner would not recognise.

No hints from me on who has which view (Steve the owner, or Pro Street Cycles who worked on it), and there’s certainly no acrimony about it… but read on and make up your own mind.

Steve wanted a chopper. “When I was younger and first started riding I had three RGV250s, then I went to a Honda Fireblade 900, then a 95th Anniversary Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. I wanted to try everything: I’ve raced boats and cars and just wanted to dabble in everything. I had the Fat Boy in my wedding, then went from that to a Ducati 996 from Dr Desmo’s, then a 998 I pulled apart and polished. And now there’s this bike here.”

He located the bike in a Queensland motorcycle business: all intact, in good working order and well priced, so a deal was struck and the bike duly found its way to Steve and then on to Nick at Adelaide’s Pro Street Cycles.

The frame, which had to be modified for SA registration, is the 300 rear Max Series Soft Tail from Maximum Motorcycles Incorporated, which integrates the frame, that long overhanging fuel tank that threatens to engulf the front of the motor, the swingarm, oil tank and rear guard. The RC Component wheels, 124 cube S&S motor and carby remain as they were apart from some cosmetic work.

“I haven’t ridden with a 300 rear tyre before,” Steve acknowledges. “It’s a bit like a boat; it’s got a mind of its own. I’m taking my time and getting used to the bike. This is only the second time I’ve ridden it so I don’t know any different. It’s still all the same fundamentals of a normal bike, but I’m being very careful at the moment.”

The wide frame made the seat look oversized, so after originally trying a black suede seat, Steve and Nick looked for alternatives.

As Nick puts it, “To try to break it up, we put in three different layers. There was the silver to lead it into the silver paint, then an ostrich insert on the outer and a stingray in the middle to give it three sections so the seat itself didn’t look as wide and as big.” Jeff’s Motor Trimmers at Port Adelaide provided the expertise for this job.

The bike has Performance Machine hand controls and Arlen Ness forward controls. It’s got an exhaust system that Pro Street ordered from America; it didn’t fit with the 300 rear so they had to modify it. It’s got a Baker six-speed, right-side-drive gearbox, and a Spike high-torque starter.

The handlebars were specifically made for this bike with the long swoop in mind by Burleigh Bars in Queensland. 

The forks were shortened by Nick at Pro Street who’s one of those creative thinkers who always keeps one idea firmly in mind.

“It’s pretty important in my opinion to have a bike you can ride without forever looking over your shoulder for fear of being pulled over. So we make all the bikes as legal as we possibly can, then the owner gets to enjoy them,” said Nick. It’s been built up here to comply with Australian Standards; as an example, it’s got a BDL open belt primary—we had another outer cover made, plus the wire-hoop guard over the top, to make it all comply because legally they have to be guarded to get them through the Standards. When the rear guard came it was too short and legally they have to be 45 degrees off the rear axle, so we extended the guard and put on the legal tailight and indicators so Steve could ride it around.”

The front suspension is American Suspension with a Phantom caliper which is part of the fork legs to give it a streamlined look.

The rear brake is a DNA set-up with the rear caliper enveloping over the rear pulley to open up the left-hand-side of the wheel to give it a lot of depth when viewed from that side of the bike.

As with so many of SA’s best customs, Troy from Nightmare Designs was the man to design and apply the paint. Steve had some ideas in mind but needed expert guidance. “I wanted to stay away from black and red like everyone else had. I wanted something electric blue on a silver frame with silver flames going through the blue. I spoke to Troy and we just went through it all; worked out how many flames we wanted, what colour, all that sort of stuff and went from there.”

Now the bike’s finished, Steve plans to “Keep it as it is, just clean it and enjoy it, and when it’s time to build a house, I’ll probably have to sell it. Most of the time I build up toys and keep them for a little while then move on to the next thing.”

And moving on is something he knows about. Notice the personalised plate, CURED?  “I went off the beaten track for about 10 years; I got into the drug scene, just mixing with the wrong people, and eventually found my way into rehab. Over three years clean now, off the drugs, and life couldn’t be better. I’m an Adult Apprentice, things are good with my wife and my kids, and this bike is a fruits of recovery sort of thing. Things are going well, like it used to be.”

Words & pics by Chris Randells

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