This was the beginning of his trouble with the Swedish police. They pulled him on his way back to Sweden from Denmark and declared that the bike was unfit to ride due to what they decided was too much trail! They were actually right—Hasse knew 100mm of trail was best and his 20-inch overs were sitting at a rake that went way beyond this, but she looked really cool! Even in Sweden 20-inch overs were not common then and that’s what drove Tolle to develop a working long fork, complete with the correct trail. Famously, Tolle challenged cops to compete on a designated track on their best police bike against him riding his long forked BSA—and he won! (That old BSA still exists by the way.)
Hasse deraked his frame and fitted 12-inch overstock forks—still radical for the time—but the police had the young Dane in their sights and frequently stopped him. But help was on the way when, in around 1981, a new group called SFRO was formed by dedicated bikers who would work with the authorities to help homebuilders get their bikes legal on the road. To date some 20,000 bikes have been registered using this assistance.
Around this time Bosse Jensen painted the bike while Hasse named her ‘Capricious Delight’ which was a reflection of the old Shovel’s unpredictability. As fellow lovers of the Shovel motor we can relate to that, while many with peanut-sized tanks will also appreciate the mileage he has done on the bike with its limited 9-litre capacity tank. It spent ten years in the 1980s and ’90s touring through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France and even landed at Harwich to visit Stonehenge and on to the Channel Islands where he likened disembarking the ferry to riding up a wall on the chopper! Caprice was no show pony.
Meanwhile in UK we read the story and studied the pictures that kickstarted a soulful journey with idea as to where or when it would end or take us. But while we were self-learning in Scotland and trying to build our own Swedish choppers, poor Caprice had actually broken her neck! On the way back from a European tour, the frame snapped at the front tank mounting, meaning that Hasse had to destroy Bosse’s sweet paint in order to repair the frame and replace the tank.
As I mentioned before, Hasse, along with five others, still to this day lobbies the Danish government in a similar fashion that the Norwegians did some years ago, resulting in more freedom for homebuilders. Now, I guess some may say these strict customising laws are there to prevent accidents caused by inexperienced builders, but today’s customisers not only have more funds to do things right, but access to a wealth of free information available on the internet—some good, some bad, but nonetheless informative, which is something we never had back in the day.
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Over the last couple of years, very few if any motorcycles have inspired such bafflement and scratching of heads as Dan Duggan’s Honda CX500
Every project starts somewhere and this one began at the Bike Shed Show at Tobacco Dock in London or, to be more accurate, when my mate Matt Donaldson turned to me and said, “I bet you can’t build a bike good enough for here.” Well, that set me to work!
Jarno comes from a family with petrol in their blood. His father races classic motorcycles and Jarno was raised on a farm where the barns are full of motorcycles instead of cows! This is his very first project, the Jarno Bastian Special
CUSTOMBIKE Messe Bad Salzuflen, Germany
Sometimes what is missing from a show is more interesting than what’s present. With the German show Custombike celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, the event remains a showcase for European customising in all its diversity— with the additional benefit of a focus on parts that are homologated and approved for Europe
It’s not often that I have to sneak in and photograph a motorcycle without the owner knowing anything about it—something that was made tougher in this case by the said motorcycle being kept at said owner’s house
Spike And Bob's Big Swedish Adventure: Part 5
In 1979 Hasse took Caprice to the Norrtälje show for the first time, but he had changes for the bike in mind and, during the winter, he picked up a jammer frame and a set of 20-inch tubes.
There's No Place Like Chrome
When settling down to write a feature for a magazine, it’s necessary to have two things, nay, three things in front of you. A computer is useful, it saves all that messy ink and blotting paper that we used in those long gone school days, a strong hot mug of tea should also be on the desk (goes without saying), and finally, a set of scribbled notes that a couple of months ago resembled a detailed description of a motorcycle, but that by now, are largely illegible…
Over the last few years Death Machines of London has produced a number of pioneering builds, some of which you will have seen in these pages, not least the Air Force One Moto Guzzi from the cover of 100% Biker #231. Just when you think they can’t possibly surpass the last build, designer James Hilton of DMOL and engineer Ray Petty of Ray Petty Meccanica raise the bar just a little bit more. And that’s just what they’ve done again…
Today motorcycle customizing is a phenomenon that spans the entire globe, of that there can be little doubt. However, it’s still all too easy to think that building custom bikes is primarily confined to Europe and the United States and often, even in these days of social media and instant information, we don’t hear about what’s going on in other parts of the world
After the Harley-Davidson Sportster, I would wager that the Yamaha XS650 is the most popular choice for a custom bike across the world