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My latest creation....

Happy hour starts in 5 minutes

Miles Monroe

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Those that know me, know that I have a passion for motorcycles. I've been into building Caf'e racers long before the craze hit the main stream. Time and miles have taken their toll physically, so I came to the conclusion it was time to step away from the Caf'e.

I wanted something somewhat unique. This year, Triumph came out with a Steve McQueen limited edition Bonneville, with a military flare to it. For those who loved the guy for more then his movies, this bike was a poor offering. Many don't realize the the bikes in the Great Escape were actually Triumph's in German clothing, and McQueen did the majority of the riding, as his character, and as the Germans chasing him.

None the less, another custom bike also helped with my inspiration. While nicely done, it just didn't do it for me. A picture formed in my mind, and I puled the trigger so to speak. My goal was to build a bike with a retro military look, but completely functional as a traveling bike set up for camping.

Here's what I started with, my 2005 790cc Bonneville Kaf, better known as Espresso.


Looking high and low, I slowly acquired some of the specialty parts to make the bike far more unique then the McQueen, and the custom scrambler I saw on line. One of the items was the headlight shell. Old school Brit bikes often had the spedo in the headlight housing.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/14.jpg[/media]

The stock rear fender just didn't have the old look I was shooting for, nor did the tail light. So I went with a completely new fender in the rear.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/7.jpg[/media]

The tank would be unchanged, as would be the front fender, and side covers. Of course, everything had to be OD green.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/12.jpg[/media]

One thing I've learned over the years building bikes, and modifying customer bikes, it's the details that make the project. Even though turn signals weren't a feature on most bikes between WWI and WWII. I had to have signals, and something that stood out, but not over the top, and found some license plate lights from an early 50 dodge. Two would be my rear turn signals, and one as a marker / black out light for the front fender.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/9.jpg[/media]

For the front signals, I went with a common fitment for euro bikes from the 60's and 70's, bar end signals. They actually serve as front and rear.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/21.jpg[/media]

Things were really coming together, but I wanted even more of a dramatic visual effect, so I went with external conduite for some of the lighting. I also went with a vintage replica tag bracket and light.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/24.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/29.jpg[/media]

I had to have a solo seat, old school on springs.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/6.jpg[/media]

Then it was time for the last thing I wanted for the base bike, and horn. I went with a delco 6V off a 34 GMC pick up truck.

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/10.jpg[/media]

At that point, I had to stop working on the bike to have my gallbladder removed. Go figure, two days later, my 91 toyota van blew the head gasket, and was destine for the scrap yard. I had to throw the bike together... forced into service. After a month, and a new vehicle for the wife, and me inheriting the FJ Cruiser, I was able to lay the bike up, and continue the work. I added a jerry can that is actually a storage unit, that holds all my emergancy goodies, cooking gear, and assorted other stuff. On the left side, I went in the style of vintage Brit military bikes, and went with a removable pack. The brit stuff is too costlty, and not too common, so I went with what I knew, an ALICE pack. Hidden behind the ALICE pack is a Swiss Army survival stove with 1 liter of water. I added a set of leather pouches designed to hold mags (Russian 7.62) on the right side of the tank, and a mag holder for a STEN gun on the left side. Again, being this bike wasn't built a a show queen, I added some driving lights. I had a choice of 3 sets I had stashed, and the Clearwater brand LED set had the best look and function. The luggage rack behind the seat will hold 100 lbs.

At this point, I ran out of funding to finish the bike. A few months, and I should be able to have the rims and hubs powder coated to match the paint, and black out the rest of the chrome, along with a few more little touches.

I give you my "Fatigued Bonnie"...

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/32.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/35.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/34.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/33.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/38.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/36.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/39.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/40.jpg[/media]

[media]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/Extremeskins-102/spy%20photos/37.jpg[/media]

Being 44 has always been my number, I did the standard markings for a recon regiment, blue and green, and the 44th. The 44th recon did serve in N Africa, and the Italian campaign during WWII, and looking through lots of info found at least two TO&E lists with motorcycles as part of the list for the scout platoons. Sure, they generally used BSA's, but again, I needed dependable, not vintage.

In my spare time, I'm building a replica STEN gun for display at bike nights and other events. I'll also be adding a E tool, and a nice length of siphon hose. She will still bust the ton (over 100 mph) with a full load, and as dependable as they come.

Hope ya like my new toy...
 

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Jugband McGillicuddy

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That is absolutely stunning. Impeccably well done. I know next to nothing about bikes. But you NAILED that old-school military flair. Thanks for sharing it with us!!
 

Boone

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You are an artist my friend. How can you not love this thing? I envy guys like you that know how to create something mechanical, functional, and beautiful - amazing - and something I could never do.

I haven't ever even been on a motorcycle as an adult. I think I want to be you.

Awesome. Except for not putting an old school USMC logo on that fuel tank :(
 

Burgundy Burner

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Brings back wonderful memories of The Great Escape. It looks just like it - awesome job.

Echoing what Boone said. I have very little knowledge of motorcycles - cars are more my speed. Well done.
 

Elephant

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Great job Pete! I have a friend up here in MD who is an avid Triumph fan and rebuilder of bikes. I am going to turn him onto this thread.
 

Miles Monroe

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Thanks folks, I means that much more to hear from non motorcycle people.


Awesome. Except for not putting an old school USMC logo on that fuel tank :(
Brother, you don't know how hard I struggled with that. Right down to doing the art work for the 2nd Marine Air Wing, which dad served in, and globe and anchor.
 

Miles Monroe

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I'm not really a motorcycle man. I'm more of an artistic man. So the first thing I noticed was the amazing photography. Who took the pics ? And what kind of camera ?
LOL... The progress shots are with my point & shoot (Canon power shot D10), and the finished photos with my Rebel and an ultra wide. Brain isn't working right now, so I can't give ya the details on the model of the body and lens.
 

servumtuum

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Miles, that bike is gorgeous. The detailing is super-helluva job on that one.
 

riggins44

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Awesome job, Pete. If ever have the time and decide to restore or rebuild a car...I know who to contact.
 

Neophyte

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Pete, I'm not a motorcycle guy this makes me wish I was. In fact, something like this actually makes me reconsider my position on the subject.

What a cool project. Great work, sir. Like Boone, I'm more than a bit jealous.
 

Miles Monroe

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Pete, I'm not a motorcycle guy this makes me wish I was. In fact, something like this actually makes me reconsider my position on the subject.

What a cool project. Great work, sir. Like Boone, I'm more than a bit jealous.
We all have the things we're good at. You can actually buy bikes brand new similar to this project, and for a very reasonable price. Royal Enfield makes a wonderful small displacement bike, and very popular as a "milk run" weekender. Great for entry level riders.

That being said, don't let something like this change your position. The trick to motorcycles is loving them so much that you resign yourself to the fact you can get killed at dam near any moment for countless reasons.

I've lost friends, and customers over the years. What I call love, most would call stupidity.
 

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Man - those Royal Enfield bikes look cool as hell. And at $6000 and up, that's putting thoughts into my head whether you like it or not Pete :)
 

Burgundy Burner

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Pete, sorry to hear that you have lost customers and friends. Late yesterday afternoon, two local firefighters (from Pemberton Twp.) were killed when they crashed on a rural road while on a motorcycle. High rate of speed was probably the cause.
 

Miles Monroe

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Man - those Royal Enfield bikes look cool as hell. And at $6000 and up, that's putting thoughts into my head whether you like it or not Pete :)
LOL... Hey I just let people make their own choices once they have real information about riding.

Aren't those honey's. There such a great little bike, and since they went to electronic ignition, and fuel injection, there fairly problem free. Made in India for over 50 years. Lot of bang for the buck for an entry level bike. Excelent bike to commute with, as it will get fairly high mileage once it breaks in.

The biggest problem with the Enfields is the dealer network. Dealers are few and far between. Same goes for Ural, the Russian bikes also making a military style bike. Here's a Ural.


I'll say the same to you I would to anybody looking to get into it. Nothing can replace seat time. The motorcycle safety training class is worth takiing. Always keep the mind set that every vehicle on the road doesn't see you, and if they do, they don't care anyhow. Just like they say to fighter pilots, keep your head on a swivel, eyes moving constantly. Never try to keep up if it has you pushing your limitations, ride your own ride.

Riding can be one of the greatest pass times if you're smart about it. There's a lot to be said about experiencing the landscape instead of just driving through it.

Pete, sorry to hear that you have lost customers and friends. Late yesterday afternoon, two local firefighters (from Pemberton Twp.) were killed when they crashed on a rural road while on a motorcycle. High rate of speed was probably the cause.
Ya, it sucks, but something you have to accept. It's a dangerous pass time. Speed is intoxicating for many, so ya, it's often a contributing factor in crashes. Big problem is mass production and technology has put very powerful bikes, for little money in comparrision to 20 years ago, in the hands of people who have little to no seat time. You never know whats around that next corner. Had on customer total his bike hitting a cow in the fog. More then one got taken right off the seat by hitting a buzzard as it tries to get off the road. I've encountered wild hogs well over 200 lbs, cattle, farm machinery, shattered water melons, and other produce. Had the visor on my helmet cracked by a green tomato that bounced out of a truck heading for the processing plant.

We have people who have never owned a motorcycle come in and buy bikes with almost 200 hp. The bikes are often unforgiving, set up on a razors edge. Even parents walk in, and dam near sign a death warrant giving their kid a modern sport bike they don't have the skills to ride safely.
 

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Hey Pete - am I reading their website correctly? It looks like the only 'dealer' in the US is in Minnesota...is that correct?

Can you 'order' a bike and have it shipped, or is that cost-prohibitive? I really love the look of the Royal Enfield....

I love the look of the Triumph 'Bonneville' bikes...probably more practical to look at that option. I may be calling on you for guidance my friend. My brother and I are in full blown mid-life crisis mode :)
 
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Miles Monroe, brother...man, I'm literally speechless.

First of all the testicular fortitude to tear apart an already gorgeous bike, to the average eye anyway, and modify it in a way rendering it completely transformed into an even more gorgeous bike deserves the greatest of praise. You Sir built a masterpiece!

I for one started my adult life as a metal fabrication specialist in the USAF; MIG, TIG, stick and oxy-acetylene gas welding, cutting, fabricating...man I love it all! I've built a couple cars, shoehorned a 350 in an S15 truck, removed an entire front clip from a wrecked unibody German spec Ford Escort, fit and rewelded on a new one; but I've always wanted to build a bike!

To me OCC and the others have kind of made the "chopper" too ordinary so I've started to gravitate toward the cafe's. Some of the bikes I've seen are stunning and I kind of see myself as more of a cafe guy than a harley guy. Since I just retired a little over six months ago and started a new job it's going to be a little while but I'm going to get around to it, if it kills me! lol

My question would be this though; I'm not a small guy, average height but pretty big otherwise. Guess what Im getting at is I don't want to look like one of those big guys riding around on a bike that makes them look like they belong in a circus. Is the CB750 the platform that I should be looking for or is there a more suitable platform to build off of? With my background in metal fab and welding I'm not afraid to chop some bikes up and build a Frankenstein! What say you?
 

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