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Custom of the Week: Sam’s ‘Best Scrap Available’ BSA Tracker




Bikes, beer and welding, sounds like the perfect day to me.

Sam from Scotia Welding spends his days fabricating equipment for the micro brewing industry but has form when it comes to bike building. Back in the nineties he competed internationally in sidecar racing and even achieved the accolade of best newcomer at the Isle of Mann TT – hat’s off Sam. Five years ago the custom itch needed scratching again and after a couple of Ducati restomods he found himself at a mate’s house staring down the barrel of this bastard of a project.

Said friend was getting rid of a Yamaha XT600 so Sam snapped up the engine and let the rest go the way of the eBay. The intention was to knock-up a fresh frame but history played a trump card,

“I had a 1971 BSA B25ss oil-in-frame chassis in the back of the shed which had gathered many years of dust and rust. I bought this bike in 1978 as a 250 after seeing it when I was on my paper round but it disappeared, a year later I got a milk round (better money at £10 a week) and was delivering in another area when I noticed the bike lying against a wall in a sorry state. Next day I slipped a note under the seat asking if it was for sale.

A month later I bought the bike for £100 but it turned out it had run the big end, so this was to be my first introduction getting inside an engine. I approached a local lad who was into British bikes to teach me a bit of mechanics. After 18 months I finally had the bike ready for my 17th birthday. After passing my test I fitted a 5TA 500 Triumph motor into the chassis, then a 441 Victor. Eventually the project was broken up and sold-off but I kept a hold of the frame.”

A few decades later, inspired by café and tracker builds he’d seen Sam got stuck into the BSA once again. The chap who’d shared his mechanical knowledge all those years ago had a BSA A65 with the slimmer, more attractive fuel tank from an export model, a similar unit was hunted down which set the rest of the build in motion.

The XT engine was stripped, soda blasted and painted externally. Inside the bores were rehoned, pistons received new rings and a fresh timing chain installed just to be on the safe side. Joy Engineering reprofiled the cams and the head was treated to an enlarging of the inlet and exhaust ports by local tuner Geoff Bell. Allen’s Performance supplied Keihin CR carbs, the stock ones were knackered, along with handy setup knowhow.

The stainless exhaust was a bit of a busman’s holiday according to Sam “I am surrounded by pipework on a daily basis when building the breweries, instead of going for the normal route and making a 2-into-1 I opted to take the headers from 1″ ¼ to 1″ ½ to allow the engine to breathe,  finished-off with a small pair of reverse  megaphones which I formed over an old fork leg.”

Once running properly the XT motor was fine tuned on the Dyno at Ian Murray Motorcycles in Edinburgh.

The subframe is T45 tubing, bent to allow for a decent amount of rear wheel travel which comes courtesy of a rising rate swingarm from a 1984 Kawasaki GPZ. This wasn’t guess work but a recommendation from flat track champ Stan Millard. Sam chopped through the rear pivot enabling it to be mounted to the back of the engine and therefore did away with the monoshock setup. Hagon specced a pair of adjustable, custom 2810 shocks to match the progressive fork springs. The fork itself is a Paoli 35mm conventional setup from a Ducati Pantah, left over from a previous project but now re-chromed and rebuilt. The lovely gold wheels are also from the Pantah, wearing Avon Road Riders.

Unfortunately the Pantah’s brake discs were long gone and seeing as they’re so expensive a pair of Brembos from a Monster 620 were modified to fit. Master cylinders are from a Triumph Sprint with levers and reservoir from the Far East. The rear master cylinder was liberated from the Monster and adapted to work with the Pantah disc and caliper. The floating caliper mount and rose-jointed torsion bar are Sam’s own work, as are the alloy rear sets.

Motogadget’s M-unit system is at the heart of a new harness, complete with Motoscope Mini speedo and M-button switchgear, all powered by a lithium battery and Dyna coil. Small LED indicators are modern, as is the 4½” Hella headlight but that blends-in thanks to the Ceriani brackets. The rear light is grafted into a scalloped section of 60mm tubing.

Finally the paint scheme was chosen, Grabber blue (Ford Mustang) for the fuel tank and Wimbledon white (Ford Transit) for the powder coated frame. Everything else has either been anodised black or zinc passivated. You won’t hear the sound of a rattle can in Sam’s shed.

Next up on the bench is a Ducati TT2 which will feature Sam’s own T45 tubed chassis and a 600 Pantah engine. We can’t wait for that one and will definitely report back when it’s finished.

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl




FOR WALT SIEGL, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.

This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! and Rizoma brands in the USA. Jamie owns a significant collection of race bikes, European sports cars and American muscle cars, but they’re more than just show pieces: he regularly pilots his rare factory racers at AHRMA events.

That makes him the perfect client for Walt. “I’m thrilled that I could build this bike for Jamie,” says Walt from his New Hampshire workshop, “because I know he will ride it and enjoy it.”

Each Leggero is hand made to order with room for customization, but the building blocks are always the same. It starts with a Walt Siegl Motorcycles 4130 chromoly steel frame, created in-house and weighing just 15 pounds.

Walt slots in a two-valve Ducati motor, rebuilt and blueprinted by Bruce Meyers Performance. It’s then finished with top-shelf components, and custom Kevlar bodywork.

On this build, the donor motor came from a Monster 1100. It’s been blueprinted and bumped to 1125 cc with Mahle pistons, warmer cams, ported and flowed heads, and titanium valves. The carbs have been ditched in favour of the fuel injection system from a Hypermotard, and the bottom end has been lightened too.

Since Jamie’s pretty serious about actually riding the Leggero, he wanted top spec chassis and suspension components too. The lightweight chromoly Leggero frame is matched up to an aluminum subframe, and a Ducati S2R swing arm.

It would take days of careful study to spot all the details on this Ducati, so we’ll just run through the highlights. The custom-built, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust is stunning, right down to its carefully placed heat shields.

The cockpit’s pretty slick too, and includes a racy Motogadget tacho bearing the WSM logo. And there’s a sprinkling of carbon fiber and Rizoma bits, to drive the performance ethos home.

When it came to the final livery, Jamie’s hobby provided all the inspiration needed. “Jamie wanted to incorporate elements from the early muscle car era in my Leggero design,” says Walt, “which is decidedly European, if you will.”

So the white ceramic coating on the exhaust system references early Shelby Cobras, and the frame’s been nickel plated, as a nod to the 1960s and 70s.

The primary paint color was sampled from a car in Jamie’s collection. “Jamie has a 1968 Corvette in Laguna Blue,” says Walt. “For that series Corvette, it was a one-year color only—painted by Peach Pit Racing.”

Now we’re really jealous.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Bike Exif. It is republished here with permission.

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Idiot thieves steal electric manufacturers’ bike whilst they were on ‘theft tracking’ test!



Motorcycle manufacturer Zero had their own bikes, actually stolen – for real – during security testing.

Bike thieves are the worst.

Not literally – we’re pretty certain that there are some certain individuals on the world stage that could put a petty motorcycle thief into perspective – but they’re ‘up there’ on our list alongside people who use their mobile phones on speaker whilst sat on public transport and most of the contestants from TV’s Love Island.

Bike thieves are also pretty stupid. None more so than the ones who tried to make off with a couple of Zero electric motorcycles recently in London.

What made these thieves particularly stupid we here you cry? Well, how about trying to nick a couple of electric bike maker Zero’s actual bikes whilst they were undergoing actual theft-tracking device testing with British bike security firm Datatool?

“I have been testing the product for several months now”, said Zero UK’s manager Dale Robinson, “but the ultimate test came last week, when two of our bikes were stolen from the back of a van in the London area.

Ironically we had just been introducing the partnership with Datatool to our dealers at a conference the day before, but I hadn’t expected that we would have to put it to the test when I got up the next morning.”

Yep, you read that right. Literally the same night that Zero and Datatool had introduced their partnership at a dealer shindig, somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the battery-driven machines.

But did the freshly installed system actually work?

“I reported the theft at 8.00am and the data confirmed that the bike was stolen at 3.37am. Datatool collaborated with the Met Police’s stolen vehicle squad, and the bikes were tracked to within a metre of their actual location, under a tarpaulin in a timber yard.

The police extraction team commented that the information given to them, in the form of a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates, was the most accurate they had received and I got a call to come and pick the bikes up a few hours later.”

Some people pay thousands for that kind of PR. All Zero and Datatool had to do was get drunk and leave a couple of bikes in a van on a London street overnight.


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