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Tuesday
Mar152016

Charlie Stockwell | Battle of the Kings

During my recent visit to London I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Stockwell, the head designer for Warr’s Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. While touring Warr’s, it was quite apparent that each of Charlie’s Harley-Davidson design builds were redefining the traditional view of a Harley and breaking them into custom urban bikes. I must admit that his designs changed my view; to see Harley as not a bike of the past, but a strong contender for riders of all future generations. I needed to know more about these designs and what inspired each meticulous detail Charlie put into his latest build for the 2016 Battle of the Kings.

When asking Charlie what inspires his builds, he passionately responded "I strive to keep the tradition of an urban racer vibe that matches my signature within every build". This signature comes from his experience growing up within a motorcycle racing scene while working at Warr’s since he was 16. Taking these two experiences, he blended the design and function of urban racers with the steadfast traditions of Warr’s Harley. Surprisingly, he has always had the design for the "Warr’s Rascal Racer" but never found the perfect timing or client to make the build a reality until this years Battle of the Kings competition.

Battle of the Kings is an annual competition in which the top Harley-Davidson builders, from select countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, are pitted against one another to be crowned the “King of Customs”. Curious about the competition, I asked Stockwell to explain the rules. To become the representative for the UK, each of the 30 UK and Ireland Harley-Davidson dealers are tasked to design and build a custom Sportster Iron 883 with a budget cap of £12,995 ($18,395). This cap includes the price of the new bike alone, £7,495 pounds ($10,600), leaving the dealer with only £5,500 ($7,800) for parts, accessories, fabrication, paint, and labor; a pretty tight budget! To make things even more challenging, Harley-Davidson directed that over 50% of the parts and accessories should be genuine and Harley-Davidson branded, which helps show every day riders the possibility for customizing their own bike.

In past competitions, some dealers, and even the viewing audience, failed to understand the rules and that caused an unfair balance between builds and voting. Because of this, the rules are being strongly publicized this year and strictly enforced. If a build goes over budget, not only will they lose points for the competition but the dealership will also lose money when the bike is sold under the actual cost price. Each build must be completed prior to public voting, which runs from March 15th to April 18th. To see this years submissions, all bikes are uploaded to the main voting hub on found here. On April 18th, the public vote will end and the top 5 bikes will be advanced into the final round. These bikes are then placed on display, which this year is being hosted at The Bike Shed. A select panel of judges made up of motorcycle personalities and journalists will make the final vote to determine the winner. The winning bikes from each European & African country will be then displayed at the Wheels and Waves bike event in Biarritz, France where they will be competing for the overall crown of Europe & African “H-D King of Customs”.

Charlie Stockwell was crowned the “King of Customs” last year and it will be interesting to see what this years competition will have to compete against the Warr’s Rascal Racer. Each year he never fails to present a bike for the “Battle of The Kings”, despite a full workload of his ongoing 27 commissioned project bikes. As the mastermind of design and custom for Warr’s, Charlie never seems to panic with what some would consider an overwhelming workload. It has been quite the learning curve over the years, but now he has established strong relationships and trust within his team and specialists that can provide the high level of quality he strives for. He has surrounded himself with the best environment and team possible, who are there throughout the entirety of each build. When looking at each of his designs, the handwork and dedication put into each build by Charlie's team could easily be overlooked. It’s impressive that, with all of these prestigious titles and builds, Charlie remains to be one of the humblest individuals I have met. Be sure to check out his current entry for the 2016 Battle of the Kings and cast your vote!

-Marie Kifa (Guest Contributer for Cafe Racer XXX)

 

 

BIKE INFO:

Bike Name: Warr’s Rascal Racer

Donor Bike: 2016 Sporster Iron 883

Design and Built by : Charlie Stockwell -Head of Design and Custom

 

BIKE SPECS:

• Engine & Trans: Stock H-D Sportster 883

• Chassis & Swingarm: Stock H-D Sportster 883

• Suspension: Stock H-D Sportster Iron 883 spec

• Wheels & Brakes: Stock H-D Sportster (wheels painted)

• Tires: Dunlop 502 for Harley-Davdison - Front 110/19 - Rear 150/16

• Handlebars: Reversed stock Sportster bars

• Grips: H-D Burst Collection

• Footpegs: H-D Burst Collection

• Shifter Peg: H-D Burst Collection

• Front Sprocket Cover: H-D Edge Cut Collection (modified)

• Speedo: H-D Digital Speedo/Tacho

• Headlamp: H-D LED Spotlamp

• Rear Lights: Stock

• Turn Signals: Stock

• Gas Tank: Stock H-D 883 Iron (modified)

• Saddle: RSD

• Seat Unit: RSD (modified)

• Front Fairing: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

• Front Fender: N/A

• Air Intake: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

• Exhaust: Vance & Hines 2-1 Upsweep Black

• Paintwork: Denim Black and Gold

 

CREDITS:

Web: www.warrs.com

Instagram: Bubble_Visor

Facebook: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

SnapChat: Bubble_Visor

Photography: Charlie Stockwell and Nikkasit

Monday
Mar072016

Harley Low Rider S

This past week I spent a couple days getting to know the new Harley Low Rider S, and some of the designers who helped create it. This is the first time Harley has approached Cafe Racer XXX to test ride one of their machines and I think it's clear they are broadening the scope of their target customer. Full disclosure: I haven't sat on a Harley in ten years, and I haven't seen one I'd pony up and buy since the Nightster. For a long time, the aesthetic of Harley was turning me off, but that's because it wasn't aimed at me. With the Low Rider S, Harley maintains it's grasp on it's base consumers--the hardcore Harley purists--by creating something performance-based and typically badass.

 

 

The Low Rider S Harley manages to hit another demographic within their target audience, the 18-34 year old crowd. The design team reached back and found elements of their poorly timed and not well received, cafe racer-esque 1970's XLCR model, and put them to good use. This bike is, for all intents and purposes, a “two-fer,” combining old time-y Harley nostalgia with hipster appeal. Those Harley lovers looking forward to the return of the “legendary” FXR models will be satiated as well. Really, who can argue with black on black with a little smattering of vintage design flair? Not this millennial. I believe that the design of the Low Rider S, and the throwback to a beloved Harley model might unify both hipsters and old school Harley purists, if nothing else does.

 

The bike fit me perfectly. I'm 6'2” and the aggressive riding position was ideal. When we hit the twists of the LA mountains I was happy to find that I was able to use my feet to assist turning the bike. Typically I'm used to “lowriders” having forward controls and consequently feeling like I've been kicked in the spine after every ride. Because of the mid-range controls on this cruiser, I had my feet pretty squarely underneath me and there was a general feeling of full body participation. For me, it was a very heavy motorcycle, as I'm used to mid-size Japanese bikes and my '73 BMW. Despite the heft, the weight distribution was low and evenly distributed. We hit some debris and pot holes along the way, and I was hardly aware of it. The small fairing was not helpful, but the cool factor was noted and appreciated. I was still taking air in the head and chest. Ideally I would have liked something a little taller if I actually wanted it to screen wind. As it is, I was unable to tuck into it's protection. 

 

 

The engine has so much power it is almost ludicrous, boasting a Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 (over 1800cc), in a Dyna frame. This is currently the largest-displacement engine you can get from the Harley factory. Just in case that's not powerful enough for you: they offer a performance kit to boost your torque and horsepower, though they don't make any promises that it won't also boost your passenger off after installation. The good news is: with all that power they also threw on some seriously stellar dual front breaks with ABS. I had no problem slowing down at any point.

 

I'm mildy ashamed to admit--though my mom will be happy to read--I never got it into 6thgear, because we hit traffic on the highway and during the mountain twisties I didn't get the opportunity (or have the guts). Honestly I'd be surprised if anyone on the press ride got it into 6th gear that day (but it's still nice to know that it's there when you hit an empty highway in the future). This ride was merely a little taste of Harley, a glimpse into their very large world, from an outsider's perspective. I'm looking forward to exploring Harley more thoroughly in the future, and getting into 6th gear as soon as I can.

 

-Trinia of Hinterland Empire (Guest Contributer for Cafe Racer XXX)

 

Tuesday
Jan052016

“BIG SID” BLACK SHADOW up for auction at Bonhams

Built by Matthew Biberman to celebrate“Bib Sid” Biberman’s love of Vincents

1951 VINCENT 998cc SERIES C “BIG SID” BLACK SHADOW

Upper and Rear Frame no. RC7754B

Engine no. F10AB/1B/5854

Estimate $125,000-$150,000 

(Photos by Bob Hower/Quadrant Photography)

This numbers matching Black Shadow left the factory in January 1951 consigned to the Indian Sales Corporation, taking delivery in New Orleans. Much later it was sold by Ed Bibelhauser to Larry Elmore on a bill of sale dated August 17, 2008, and in turn sold to Matthew Biberman on October 10, 2011. The son of legendary Vincent tuner Big Sid Biberman, Matthew has re-built this Black Shadow as a tribute to his father.

After Sid Biberman died on June 23, 2013, Jay Leno observed "the motorcycle world lost an icon." Heartfelt tributes followed in Cycle World, Classic Bike, Cafe Racer and Motorcyclist. In the book, Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History, John Stein notes that in the sixties “Big Sid Biberman’s Vincent ‘The Rattler’ was one of the quickest in the country.” In the August 2013 issue of Classic Bike, Mark Chapman writes that “at the end of its evolution, in ’63-’64, The Rattler was capable of 10.5 second quarters and trap speeds in the low 140s.”  In the Louisville Courier Journal's obituary, Matt Frassica adds that Sid “collected 40 trophies” before explaining how Sid then chose to retire from racing and turn his attention to servicing motorcycles in his own shop.

Sid spent the next 40 years working on any motorcycle a customer would entrust to him. During this time Sid's reputation really grew. Chapman explains the legend spread that "Sid could listen to your motorcycle and tell you which tiny seal had moved on a shaft and was now chafing against a cog deep in your gearbox.”  In 1991, a Rapide and an Egli Sid had built won top prizes at the Daytona spring bike show, (the Egli was also featured as the centerfold in the October 1993 issue of Classic Bike).  In 1998, Sid published a book in which he offered his personal account of the Vincent - its development and its notable achievements.  He called it Vincents with Big Sid, and Leno wrote a moving introduction to it.  A few years later the Vincent Owner’s Club made Sid an honorary member, and he is a current nominee for induction into the AMA's Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

In 2000, Sid relocated to Louisville, Kentucky where he lived with his son Matthew who then spent the next 12 years learning Sid's craft. In addition to working with Sid to repair or restore approximately 40 Vincents, Matthew wrote a widely acclaimed and very successful memoir, Big Sid’s Vincati. In it Matthew recounts their efforts constructing one Vincent special in order to tell the story of Sid's lifelong fascination with motorcycles. This book remains one of the most positive and most prominent accounts of motorcycling to break out into the mainstream in recent years. The media attention devoted to Sid increased once more after his triumphant return to land speed record attempts.  With Matthew as crew chief and Logan Robison as pilot, “Team Big Sid” went on to set seven records at three American venues. As evidenced by the appearance of the Vincati on the cover of the UK's Classic Motorcycle Bike Guide in June 2015, Sid's status as a motorcycle icon today seems bigger than ever. He has now been the subject of three episodes of the hit TV show Café Racer as well as lengthy interview for the website Jay Leno's Garage. 

Matthew bought this Black Shadow shortly after he and Sid returned from Sid's record-setting at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The previous owner Larry Elmore had known the Bibermans for years. Having now abandoned his dream of building up the bike himself, Larry sold the bike to Matthew so that, in his words, "he could become part of the Big Sid story."  Sid was actively involved in the purchase of the bike, as well as prepping the bike's components for reassembly.  In December 2011 the motor was shipped to the Biberman's good friend Steve Hamel in St. Paul, Minnesota. Arguably the top Vincent engine builder working today, Hamel rebuilt the flywheel assembly and fettled both the bike's lower end and heads. Unfortunately Sid died before this work was completed in November of 2014.  Carrying on with the assistance of Logan Robison, Matthew built up the machine in “true Big Sid style.”

Although the motor and the rolling parts have been repainted, the bike’s hardware and components have been refitted without cosmetic alteration. This decision extends to refitting of the period chrome pieces. Wherever possible the pieces original to this machine have been retained. One prominent exception is the Grimeca dual throttle. As was Sid’s preference, Matthew has set up the bike without the factory two-into-one throttle cable set and in so doing he has incorporated the throttle Sid had set aside from The Rattler. The result is what Sid called a “rider’s mount,” a Vincent that not only looks like a fitting example of the breed but one that can validate the legend through its performance.  

As a way to honor his father, Matthew debuted this machine at the July 2014, North American Vincent Rally where he rode it on the group ride and for the filming of an event documentary. The bike was also featured in the 2014 Kentucky Kickdown motorcycle show where it led over 50 motorcycles on the third annual Big Sid memorial ride. In conjunction with this event, the Big Sid Black Shadow was featured in the Louisville Courier Journal:

(http://www.courier-journal.com/story/life/2015/09/10/motorcycle-legends-son-rebuilds-iconic-bike/72027148/)

With now than more 200 miles on the bike, Matthew is proud to bring this Shadow to auction. With a newly rebuilt magneto and generator by Doug Wood, the bike is easy to start, shifts slickly, and delivers true Shadow performance. Clutch action is good, as is braking and handling. The 6-volt electrical system is fully operational, including the horn. The bike comes complete with the tire pump under the tank and a tool tray outfitted as per the factory’s provisions. Literature includes Vincent Owner’s Club Dating Certificate, Works Order Form, Road Test Report, Despatch Check Sheet, and Completion note as well as a rider’s handbook, and signed copies of the Bibermans’ publications.

Sid would indeed be very proud to see what his son Matthew has made of this, his very last Vincent.

 

Tuesday
Dec292015

10 Training to Train Three High Profile Female Motorcycle Ambassadors  

(Photo courtesy of AMA Pro Racing/flattrackfotos)

You can join 10 Training’s Johnny Lewis (AMA Pro Flat Track national number 10) as he trains three highly decorative female motorcycling ambassadors in a two day off road training class. The three ladies are: Sasha Valentine, owner of Cafe Racer XXX who supports the motorcycle culture (builders, riders, products, events & racing) heavily with her amazing website (www.caferacerxxx.com ) and social media feeds including her 216k Instagram followers. Leticia Cline a former SX/MX announcer, now journalist for some of the top motorcycle magazines and blogs (www.leticiacline.com) with a huge social media following as well with 70K plus Instagram followers. And Kerry Sano owner of Tar Pit Cafe (www.tarpitcafe.com), a motorcycle inspired coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York. Kerry is also the Service Director and a Master Tech at Ducati Triumph NYC. She has been wrenching for over 10 years with roots at performance shop assisting with race bikes. She has also taught classes that empower women to wrench on their own bikes. Seven years ago, she used to race flat track and is happy to return to the dirt for some skill improvement.    

These three ladies will take part in a 2 day specialized "Off Road" training program, not just your typical flat track training program but amped up with more off road “cross training” techniques added in. Cafe Racer XXX's Sasha Valentine adds,”The dirt skills I’ve previously acquired have saved my tail multiple times in a tight spot on the asphalt. Training is king and key to excelling as a motorcyclist. Ego aside, there is always improvement to grow and better yourself so I called my good friend Johnny Lewis to put this program together for me and two of my friends looking for the same training as I am”. 

The training will take place at the 10 Training Facility in Ocala, Florida February 6-7th on 10 Training prepared 150s & 230cc training bikes, the ladies will also be given the opportunity to train on 10 Training’s flat track 450s. From flat track techniques to motocross style training 10 Training’s Johnny Lewis has prepared a program designed to put these riders in more control then ever on any motorcycle in any form of riding whether it’s on or off road. 

“I’m excited to work with these ladies not only because their amazing support to the industry that I love but because just like me, they are ready to develop their riding skills even more. Whether it’s sliding around the Indy Mile at 140 mph or off road riding in the woods, the techniques I learn and program into my riding only help progress me as a rider,” stated Johnny Lewis.

Two additional spots are being offered to join these three ladies in the 10 Training “Off Road” training program, these spots are open to only female riders. The cost is $600 for the 2 days including training, use of training bikes, and meals throughout the day. If you are interested in joining these three ladies in the 10 Training program on February 6th & 7th, 2016 please contact Johnny Lewis at johnnylewis10@live.com . More information on 10 Training can be found at www.Trainingby10.com .
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