Length: 318.77km / 199.23mi
View all routes from Juliann
In the custom world, stagnation is terminal. Which is why top outfits like Auto Fabrica are constantly evolving. And their new Yamaha SR500 ‘Type 7’ builds testify to this.
The new Yamahas pictured here are the Type 7D (metallic black, above) and 7E (gloss white, below). Like the 7X, they’re both built on SR500s—but they’re devoid of the 7X’s complex bespoke tank, and its integrated exhaust heat shield.
Why the simpler design? “The Type 7X was a concept,” explain Auto Fabrica. “The idea of running the pipe high and integrating it into the bodywork was always appealing, and building around obstacles offers great opportunity to design and create something awesome.”
“The Type 7D and 7E are built as a more cost effective option to the Type 7X, taking the off-road adventure theme into adventure reality.”
Both these bikes started out as 1980-model SR500s. AF started by stripping them down, and rebuilding their motors with new bearings, high-compression pistons and gas flowed heads. Both are running Mikuni VM34 carbs with foam filters too.
The engines look brand new too. That’s because they’ve been aqua blasted, and the bare aluminum treated to protect it from the elements. AF also stripped out all the wiring, replacing it with fresh, modern components. (The ignitions are now hiding under the tanks.)
The frames were de-tabbed, and then cleaned up at the rear with a new loop to match the new seats. Like the 7X (but unlike earlier Type 7s), the rear light is a petite LED embedded in the frame.
Both bikes wear their stock tanks, but they’ve been liberated of their seams, and treated to custom filler caps. This sort of consideration for small aesthetic details is rampant throughout Auto Fabrica’s work.
It’s especially reflected in the seats: the 7D’s is wrapped in black suede, and the 7E’s in a dark navy, water resistant canvas. Both are capped off with metallic AF badges.
Then there’s that scrambler-ific exhaust design. “Like The 7X, the bikes have bespoke, hand-made sand-bent exhausts,” AF tell us, “running up high, so the bikes can wade through high rivers and greatly improve the ground clearance, making this a real go-anywhere machine, as well as a distinctive design feature.” Custom heat shields and black ceramic coating help to reduce heat.
Taking the off-road theme further, AF have wrapped the SR’s stock 19F/18R wheels in Mitas trials rubber. Look closely, and you’ll spot drum brakes up front—a particularly classic touch, thanks to the addition of Yamaha XT500 hubs.
The suspension’s had a bit of a boost too, with Hagon shocks out back and stiffer springs up front. Hand-made aluminum mudguards at both ends keep muck out of the rider’s face and away from the intake.
Up top, each SR500 is sporting a super-sano cockpit, with Renthal bars, leather grips and a min speedo on a custom bracket. All the switches sit on single, left-side switch clusters. AF have even added oil temp gauges for day-to-day practicality.
Sprinkled throughout the bikes you’ll find neat details like tiny barrel turn signals, upgraded rider and passenger pegs, and leather wraps on the kick-start levers.
The new SR500s are as classy as we’ve come to expect from the London shop—right down to the subtle black and white paint jobs. But they also look like they’d hold up pretty well to some off-road shenanigans.
And while the 7D and 7E might not be as elaborate as the 7X, they’re just as cool. Which leaves us with only one question.
Would you take the black one, or the white?
Lightning ridden by Rollie Free in 1948 across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. If you attend Vintage Rally 2018 on June 23, 2018 you can enjoy a bike show, swap meet, special guests and the…
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This actually took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars; then insured them against, among other things, fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against…
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Building a street-going dirt-track duplicate
How Harley’s most rider-friendly scoots stack up
This route passes through: S. Austin, Travis Heights, E Austin, Campus, Rosedale, E. Austin
Tagged with: On Road, Offroad, Scenic, Rough, High traffic, Unsafe, Urban, Poor visibility, Poor surface
Length: 51.33km / 32.08mi
View all routes from texmostrogal
Softail pipe round-up
It’s still winter here in Alberta, Canada and it’s been a longer and colder one this year with more snow in March than usual. For us northern motorcyclists impatiently anticipating the arrival of our short riding season, it’s pure agony.
The sensible thing to do while your ride is cooped up in storage? Spend some time adding “farkles” or add-ons to it, while it hibernates. I’ve picked out a few items that I haven’t had the chance to test yet, but our team is working on making contact with the manufacturers in order to get these products in my hot little hands.
It’s the perfect time to feature a short preview leading up to the actual road testing – hopefully, to come in the near future.
You’ll perhaps recognize a couple is upgraded versions of previously tested products while others are all new to WebBikeWorld. Let me know in the comments which ones you’re most interested to read about.
Ever since I traded my 1999 Harley Ultra Classic for a much newer 2014 KTM 1190 last year I have really missed having cruise control on long rides. I contacted my KTM dealer and KTM Twins to inquire whether it could be added to my bike by them since it’s a throttle by wire system and the newer 1290 Adventure comes equipped with cruise control from the factory.
No dice… but happily, after searching deep in the bowels of the internet I came across people mentioning an Australian company called MCCruise who since 1997 have custom built units to fit just about any bike on the market!
Putting safety as priority one the brothers (Tony and Frank Guymer) who founded the company build the cruise control units specifically for each model of motorcycle.
They offer a system that can be continually improved and adapted over its lifetime and so potentially could be the best unit available in motorcycle cruise control tech. This isn’t a throttle lock, this is a cruise control system that works perfectly on your bike – Tony says ‘better than the system in your car does’ in many cases. Hitting the brakes or actuating the clutch shuts it off and there are push buttons to turn it on, set it and allow for increasing or decreasing speed too. Nice!
The MCCruise company makes the following impressive claims about the product:
The SnapJack is a small, folding, portable jack for the bike’s rear wheel, designed to lift under the rear swingarm just enough to barely raise the rear tire off the ground. It allows you to clean and lube your chain anywhere, anytime. Very handy to take on long trips or just have in your garage at home because finding a good jacking point on a fully faired sportbike lacking a center stand can be challenging.
It’s described as much easier and safer to use than a rear wheel stand is by the inventor Basil Paul Andrews. Basil says it can be difficult and a little risky to put a tippy sportbike on a rear stand by yourself, but the SnapJack makes it easier and safer.
Watch this video to get a full demo of the SnapJack V2 in action. https://youtu.be/fVEtRmbPPXE
Three years ago we reviewed the original SnapJack made by Tirox and our tester liked the idea but had some concerns about it too. Original review here. The inventor took our reviewer’s critique constructively and made improvements to the design, which makes us very happy. So happy that we want to bring it back for another look.
Our tester originally pointed out the non pivoting head and base of the first SnapJack being a potential safety concern because the contact patch between the bike and jack would be limited. Ditto for the base and the ground making the whole thing tippy.
The new version of the jack addresses this by making both base and head pivoting.
The other main concern was that the jack didn’t have a locking mechanism to keep it from folding back on itself once in place holding the wheel off the ground. The new version has a locking pin.
It’s intended use is primarily for sportbikes and sport touring machines lacking a center stand. When you consider a decent quality center stand adds a lot of unwanted weight to your crotch rocket the SnapJack seems to make sense. Not to mention how much less expensive the $49.95 US price is comparatively.
The SnapJack V2 has a date with my Kawasaki ZX6 and its dirty chain if I can get my hands on it.
If you search the WBW archives waaaay back to 2007 you’ll find a review we did of the Tourmaster Synergy heated vest. Review here.
This was a vest that plugged into the electrical system of the motorcycle and drew power from it to warm the rider.
Our tester really liked the fit, finish, price and the fact he couldn’t keep it on the highest setting very long because of the ridiculous amount of heat it generated. He concluded with the statement: “The Tourmaster Synergy has the market cornered.”
One of our readers named Jim who hails from Minnesota recently sent a request through the WBW Facebook page asking whether we could review the new battery operated Tourmaster Synergy 7.4v vest because he was interested in it, but couldn’t find a good review of it anywhere.
Well played Jim. It’s like you waved a red cape in front a bull saying something like that to me… I’m on it like white on rice.
The new vest sure looks like a big improvement over the Synergy V2 Vest on paper. I love the idea of “cutting the cord” and having a rechargeable battery pack so long as it’s small and lasts a long time while keeping me warm.
How warm will it be compared to the plugin kind of vest? That remains to be seen when I get to test drive one in the near future. I can’t picture it being quite as good since the battery will eventually die, but the temperature numbers in the stats below look good. I’ve highlighted some significant ones to keep top of mind.
Here are the details of the Tourmaster website for the new Synergy 7.4v vest.
All this for $181.99 US:
Men’s: S – 3XL
Women’s: XS – XL / Plus S – L
New four-level push button 7.4v design
I’m very interested in the notion that a rider could carry an extra battery or two with them for this vest to use after draining one down. I’ll definitely have to confirm whether or not it can be swapped out easily once I get to try this vest out.
I am going to remain objective and not pass judgment yet, but it’s hard not to get excited and think this new wireless Synergy vest might hit the same mark as its Grandfather did in 2007.
For some reason, I was immediately smitten at first glance with the new helmet Husqvarna and Shark have produced together to compliment the new line of Husky street bikes due out this year. Perhaps it’s the striking two-tone color scheme, the motocross styled goggles or just due to my love of Star Wars bounty hunter characters, I’m not sure.
The white front section contrasts the rear black area in a way that gives the illusion the rider is wearing a hockey goalie mask out of a Friday the 13th movie.
The helmet looks like it will fit very snug to the rider’s head and won’t feel bulky as some other helmets do… but that too could be an optical illusion.
The pilen (Swedish for arrow) is a handsome looking helmet equipped with a removable set of goggles Husky claims will accommodate glasses wearing riders better than most helmets do.
The visor plastic is thick, scratch resistant and can be quickly changed when necessary. Considering how long they’ve been building excellent off-road bikes I’m guessing Husky put all that knowledge into producing a terrific visor lens.
Add to this a micro lock chinstrap mechanism and a large vent on the top of the helmet and I’m all in for a hands-on review of this beauty.
How much will it weigh or cost? We’re not sure at this point, but it’s supposed to land in the North American market in the next couple of months.
I came across this seemingly small riding gear company based in Nicosia, Cyprus called Siima about a month ago when I read a review of their Sibirsky super adventure gear done by ADVMoto recently.
In a market dominated by Klim, Rev’it, Rukka and other huge names, Siima stands as an interesting and much more affordable option for riders to consider.
The Sibirsky jacket is the one I was interested in testing for the WBW audience. It’s a modular design jacket according to Siima Founder and designer Giorgos Evripidou. The jacket has large, removable sections on the front and back lower portions equating about 80% of the surface area. When removed it exposes a mesh layer that allows for the most airflow in hot weather riding I’ve ever seen in a jacket. You can see it demonstrated in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=AJa1YqEzmm4
It’s not just about ventilation though, this jacket is built from 600D Ballistic textile and has removable armor in the elbows, shoulders, and chest rated CE Level 1 along with a Level 2 back protector.
You can get the jacket for 289 Euros or about $300 US and a set of matching pants for just under $200 US more. There aren’t too many complete sets of riding gear on the market boasting these features, let alone the modular aspect, so I’m very interested to get out and put this gear to the test to see how it does.
When I spoke to Giorgos about getting my hands on a Sibirsky he said he will even offer a discount to buyers if they’ll leave an honest review of his products on his website too! He’s very approachable and is easy to contact on Facebook under Siima Motowear or his name.
No problem, Mr. Siima!
I’m sure most folks have a ‘lottery list’ of bikes they’d put in their garage if they won big. And on my own mental list I have a restomod Commando from NYC Norton.
That might have to change though, because this Seeley G50 is even better. Kenny Cummings built it for the Custom Revolution exhibition at LA’s incredible Petersen Museum, and although it’s powered by a short-stroke replica Matchless Grand Prix motor, it’ll be made street-legal when the exhibition has run its course.
“With all the publicity around the Petersen show, I really wanted to submit a street bike,” says Kenny. “NYC Norton is well known in racing circles but the race market is relatively tiny.”
The story behind this G50 starts five years ago, when Kenny raced a 500cc Seeley Matchless G50 at Cadwell Park in the UK. He was impressed by the bike, despite being already familiar with the Titchmarsh Seeley MK2 chassis. (Kenny has won four American National 750cc Championships on his own Seeley 750 Commando.)
“The G50 was tight and very precise,” Kenny recalls. “But what completely blew me away was how much lighter and more nimble the little 500 was, compared to the 750—particularly in the tight stuff.”
“The torque and power curve was wonderful! It felt like a trout swimming upstream, effortless against the current.”
Back in New York City, Kenny [below, left] knew he had to get a G50 to campaign in the USA. And so he did. After a season of racing, folks started taking interest, and NYC Norton has now built a salvo of Seeley G50s for clients in the US and beyond.
“G50s are a still a small corner of NYC Norton, but not insignificant,” he reveals. “Their main appeal is to racers, of course, but we have a road-trim version in the wings.”
One of Kenny’s clients, Helmut Niederer, commissioned two Seeley G50s. And he also secured a spare ‘92 bore’ motor from Minnovation Racing, as insurance before a trip to Australia’s Phillip Island track—which is notoriously hard on engines.
“We made it back from Australia with zero technical issues, so the spare motor sat in its crate, untouched,” says Kenny. “We suddenly found ourselves with the world’s most exotic paperweight.”
Then Kenny received an email from The Vintagent himself, Paul d’Orléans, asking if he’d be interested in building a bike for the upcoming Custom Revolution show.
A call was put in to Helmut and a plan was hatched. “We’d shoehorn his G50 motor into a Seeley MK2 chassis in racing trim, and convert it into street trim once the show completes its run.”
Kenny acquired a frame from Roger Titchmarsh, the only frame builder recognized by Colin Seeley for continued chassis fabrication. Engine plates were made up, a TT Industries 6-speed close ratio gearbox was bolted on to the motor, and replica Ceriani forks were slotted into the triple trees.
“Our Seeley recipe is familiar, but each bike is hand made,” says Kenny. “No two are ever exactly the same. We put extensive time into engine/gearbox alignment, driveline alignment, offsets, fabrication, tuning, and so on.”
The Seeley took shape in short order—but the bodywork needed some consideration. “We love our shiny polished alloy tanks and black fiberglass racing livery,” says Kenny, “but this bike needed something more.”
“Helmut was always intrigued by our NYC Norton logo. Why did we choose a decidedly 1980s teal blue, as opposed to a more traditional motif?” says Kenny. “I could never answer this question. So a plan was hatched to color this bike in a pale blue inspired by our logo. ‘Blue Monday’ it became.”
Brent Budgor from The Vintage Vendor in Vermont shot the paint. “I have a tendency to micro-manage, but painting is not my skill,” Kenny admits. “I told Brent that time was short, so he dropped what he was doing and made it happen.”
“I never told Paul d’Orléans what color I was doing, though—he wanted pink! When I sent him photos, he was ecstatic.”
NYC Norton has always built bikes that prioritize function over form, whether they’re road-going Commandos or highly-specc’d racebikes. But there’s beauty in the details here, from the replica Fontana hubs to the custom-fabricated rear sets, and the high performance shocks built by Cogent Dynamics of North Carolina.
“We spend time to make our builds pretty,” says Kenny, “but they must first handle, then stop, and then go. This G50 is no exception. It’s ready to race, and it’s even safety-wired—just add bean oil and go!” And go it will: dry weight is a mere 245 pounds (112 kilos).
Paul d’Orléans knows all too well about customs and their nuanced forms, and this Seeley G50 will dovetail nicely with Alp Sungurtekin’s Triumph land speed racer—and Revival Cycles’ J63 bridging the race-to-street gap.
And when the lights are dimmed on the Petersen exhibition in 2019, the G50 will get a charging system, a headlight, and a brake light. And into the sunset it will go.
If your appetite is whetted, drop Kenny a line. After all, there aren’t many customs with a major museum pedigree—let alone ones that will also happily run on the streets.
NYC Norton | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Ryan Handt | Except carburetor image (shot #4) by Imogen Cummings, 10 | Custom Revolution Exhibition, Petersen Automotive Museum, opening Friday, April 13, 2018