Sideburn's art editor, Andy Garside, is getting back onto two wheels. You can read about his youth in the dirt here. He's currently going through the arduous process of passing a UK motorcycle test, and in the meantime wrote this post.
Andy lives in a Mercedes Sprinter van with his partner and two lurcher dogs. You can follow his nomadic van life, on instagram, at @andyrgarside. Take it away, Andy...
I’m currently in the process of getting my full bike licence. A long, long overdue accomplishment that should’ve happened decades ago, but didn’t. Anyway, Gary has asked me to list 5 custom bikes that I’d want to own/ride after passing my test. Few off-the-shelf bikes get me excited, so custom bikes are an obvious one for me. I’ve never really been a fan of choppers, I’m from North Wales not the States, and have always been around dirt bikes of one kind or another so my money-no-object-wish-list reflects that here.
Renard Speed Shop BMW R80 ‘Six Days’ Replica.
I love old BMWs. My uncle has always ridden them and we used to hassle him to take us out on his when we visited. There are loads of custom Beemers about these days, some better than others, but this one’s a real standout. With a look that harks back to enduro beasts of the early ‘70s it sits just right. It manages to look bulletproof and also like a work of art at the same time. The high rise pipes that tuck so neatly out of the way, the sculpted number plate, the offset headlight… lovely. Swapping out the iconic square tank was a brave move that works. And the 21/18” wheel choice adds to the authenticity.
Fuel Royal Rally 400
The Royal Enfield Himalayans are good looking bikes in their stock form, but just running a little short of that ‘look’ for my liking. This lovely rethink from Fuel changes all that. Ditching all the unnecessary stuff: headlight fairing, tank guards, low front mudguard, all gone. Seat, mudguards, lights, bars, controls, all swapped out for more purposeful kit.
With some dirt-worthy rubber in the mix it suddenly looks like a lot of fun.
Revival Cycles Royal Enfield Desert Runner 650
1960s desert sleds, who doesn’t love them? Another Enfield here, this time based on the lovely Interceptor. A great basic starting point for a scrambler. It’s all about that straight line across the bottom of the tank along the seat. None of that fancy ‘ergonomics’ stuff here, just function. Those lovely twin exhausts running neat and short, protected by that beefy bash plate, the chrome guards and the wide, high bars… all spot on. Personally, I’d have left the suspension lower, more in keeping with that genuine ‘60s vibe.
Swoon! This is such a pretty and very sympathetic rebuild of a stock TY. It’s not a million miles away from the Majesty 200 I used to ride. There’s absolutely nothing here that’s not needed. Running the exhaust that short, without the usual tailpipe, makes such a difference to the final lines too. I can’t find much tech info on this as their site is down, but aesthetically it’s hitting all the right spots.
2Loud SYM Street Tracker
I love the look of street trackers, especially the 1970s style. There’s something about them that remind me of early trials bikes I was around. The simple styling, the lack of faff, the high swooping bars… and the 21/18” wheel setup on this beauty only adds to that trials feel. There are plenty of amazing examples about, but this little 190 just shouts FUN!