I BUILT THAT!
Back Street Heroes|September 2020
I THINK EVERYBODY HAS A LIST OF THINGS THAT THEY WANT TO DO BEFORE THEY DIE, A BUCKET LIST IF YOU LIKE. WELL, MY LIST DOESN’T INVOLVE VERY MUCH, BUT AT THE TOP OF IT WAS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, BUILD MYSELF A BIKE FROM THE GROUND UP.
SIMON HORSBURGH

I didn’t want anything fancy or radical – no nine-foot-long forks or two-foot-wide tyres, just something that looks okay, is rideable and, most importantly, a bike that I could stand beside and happily say, “I built that”.

Although I’d already altered several frames, adding mono shocks and/or hard tailing stock frames, I’d never started one from scratch so, a few years ago, I built myself a frame jig. Once it was done, there it sat for another eighteen months or so while other projects were finished. Then one day I thought, “If I don’t get on with it, it’s never going to happen”, and so the hunt was on for a suitable donor bike. Having a soft spot for Yamaha’s XS650 (this is my fifth) that’s where the focus lay, and I found a runner (bonus!) and just up the road from me.

Next up, the wheels – a pair of sixteen-inch spoked Harley wheels turned up on everyone’s favourite auction site, and they even had tyres on them. I used a pair of Bandit Twelve forks, and the basics were soon sat in my shed propped up on blocks.

An awful lot of measuring (and some guessing) later, I had some idea of what I was going to build. With the motor in the jig, and the headstock cut off a perfectly good frame, it was off down to Bodmin to buy some rather expensive seamless CDS tube from Phil at Walker Lines Steel – a fine man, and always willing to help!

One of the odd things about building a frame is that if you want the wiring to run through the tubes, which is just about the last thing to do on a build, then you have to think about that before you start doing any welding, and where to drill the holes, etc.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BACK STREET HEROESView All

IN-YER-FACE 'ONDA

BACK IN ISSUE 420, IN THE H-D SUPPLEMENT WE DID FOR THAT ISSUE, WE INTRODUCED YOU TO KNOCKER, AND HIS NO-NONSENSE IRONHEAD – A BIKE THAT GAVE THE FINGER TO BOTH TRADITIONAL BSH CHOPS, AND THE NEW SKOOL RETRO-CHOPPER CROWD TOO.

4 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

THE SHINY SURVIVALIST

THERE’S LITTLE DOUBT THAT 2020 DIDN’T REALLY TURN OUT THE WAY THAT ANY OF US EXPECTED, OR HOPED, IT WOULD. MIND YOU, I DID WONDER IF THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC MIGHT’VE INFLUENCED BIKE BUILDERS IN A MORE VISIBLE WAY THAN IT SEEMS TO HAVE, AND EXPECTED A RESURGENCE IN THE BUILDING OF ‘SURVIVAL BIKES’.

4 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

MONTANA REO

MANY YEARS AGO I BUILT TWO FXR SOFTAILS – MINNESOTA FATS (A SORT OF SUPER FAT BOY), AND DAKOTA BLACK (A PROPER CHOP), ONE FOR ME AND ONE FOR MY MATE JIM. WE’D DREAMT UP THE NAMES IN THE PUB ONE NIGHT AS PART OF AN IMAGINED SERIES OF BIKES – THE NORTHERN STATES SERIES. THEY CAME OUT WELL, AND WERE FEATURED IN BSH 170 IN 1998.

5 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

MORTICIA

I BUILT THIS CHOP 38 YEARS AGO (THE DRY BUILD WAS IN MY BEDROOM), AND I TRY TO KEEP IT LIKE IT WAS WHEN IT WAS FIRST FINISHED. I USED TO PRIDE MYSELF ON IT STARTING FIRST KICK, AND NOT LEAKING OIL – IT STILL STARTS FIRST KICK (OCCASIONALLY SECOND), BUT THERE IS NOW, NEARLY 40 YEARS LATER, ONE SLIGHT OIL LEAK…

4 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

UJB UNIVERSAL JAPANESE BOBBER

ONE OF THE WORST THINGS TO HEAR WHEN OUT AND ABOUT AMONGST ANY GATHERING OF MOTORCYCLE TYPES IS A SLIGHTLY NASAL VOICE SAYING, IN THE PAUSE BETWEEN PEOPLE SPEAKING, ‘DID YOU KNOW THAT…’ BECAUSE YOU KNOW, YOU JUST KNOW, THAT YOU’RE GOING TO TURN ROUND AND BE CONFRONTED WITH AN ANORAK.

4 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

LONG SHOP MUSEUM BIKE SHOW

THE THIRD BIKE SHOW AT THE LONG SHOP MUSEUM IN LEISTON, SUFFOLK, WAS HELD ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 13TH. IT’D BEEN HANGING IN THE BALANCE, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THIS YEAR, BUT UNLIKE MOST IT, WAS DEEMED OKAY TO GO AHEAD, DESPITE CONCERNS OVER LIMITING NUMBERS AND KEEPING EVERYONE SOCIALLY DISTANCED.

1 min read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

THE REWARD...

AS I’M SURE YOU’RE AWARE (IF YOU’RE NOT, REALLY? WHERE’VE YOU BEEN? DOWN A WELL?) OUR CHOSEN LIFESTYLE IS, AS ELIZABETH BATHORY MIGHT SAY, IN DIRE NEED OF AN INJECTION OF FRESH BLOOD BECAUSE… WELL, WE’RE ALL GETTING A BIT OLD, A BIT PAST IT THESE DAYS, AREN’T WE?

3 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

FACTORY CUSTOM

DURING MY VISIT TO MUDDY BEACH CUSTOMS BACK IN AUGUST, WHERE I TOOK THE PICS OF CHRIS LINDSAY’S CUSTOM CHAMPS-WINNING S&S (AS FEATURED LAST ISSUE), GUS, THE MAIN MAN, ARRANGED FOR A WHOLE LOAD MORE SCOTTISH BIKES TO ARRIVE TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED TOO. AS WE DON’T GET UP ACROSS THE BORDER THAT OFTEN THESE DAYS, I GOT ‘EM ALL IN THE CAN, AND YOU’LL SEE ‘EM IN A FORTHCOMING ISSUE.

3 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

HOT ROD SHOUEL

IF YOU’RE A LONG-TERM READER OF THIS AUGUST PERIODICAL (AND THE ONES PUBLISHED OTHER MONTHS TOO), THEN YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE BIKES, OR AT LEAST THE KIND OF BIKES, BUILT BY A GENTLEMAN BY THE NAME OF VINCENT SUMMERS

6 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021

AMOC CUSTOM SHOW

AH, THE JOYS OF A SEPTEMBER MORNING – STILL SOME OF THE SUNSHINE FROM SUMMER, BUT THOSE SOFT TONES OF EARLY AUTUMN COMING IN, WHICH MAKES FOR A PERFECT COUNTRY RIDE... MIND YOU, I’M NOT SO KEEN ON THE BARRAGE OF CONKERS AND ACORNS WHICH SEEM TO MAKE A BEELINE FOR THE HELMET.

2 mins read
Back Street Heroes
February 2021
RELATED STORIES

The Next Generation

The big car companies refresh their lineups on a pretty regular schedule. Honda, for example, brings out all-new versions of its models every four to five years, and it makes smaller upgrades and improvements in the years between the big changes.

9 mins read
Sound & Vision
February - March 2021

Captain Hook

Peter Hook gets his own signature Yamaha BB bass.

2 mins read
Bass Player
February 2021

ALTERED STATE of ADVENTURE

Smaller ADVs, bigger rewards.

9 mins read
Cycle World
Issue 4 - 2020

ADDING A DIMENSION

We send our motorcycle-loving car racer to the Yamaha Champions Riding School so he can learn to think outside the, ahem, box.

7 mins read
Cycle World
Issue 4 - 2020

YAMAHA SLB300 Silent Bass

An electric upright that assembles in 30 seconds? Jon Thorne sets his stopwatch...

4 mins read
Bass Player
Holiday 2020

YAMAHA TENERE 700

The wait is finally over. The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is probably one of the most anticipated bikes to come out of the Yamaha factory in quite some time. Yamaha teased us with what appeared to be a production-ready model three years ago and every model year came and went without show. We were starting to wonder if it would ever show up on the showroom floor. Well folks, the day is finally here, and it was worth the wait. The middle-weight class has been gaining a lot of attention over the last three years and is likely to be the most popular segment for years to come.

7 mins read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
November - December 2020

Wrap Music

Olivia Anna Livki offers essential advice for all budding bassists

1 min read
Bass Player
September 2020

Yamaha WR250R Long-Ranger

Smaller bikes—in the West they’re something of a sacrilege. But in most parts of the world, a 250cc is considered “big.” I personally haven’t owned anything under 650cc in so many years that I’d become accustomed to manhandling big adventure bikes. I’d also forgotten just how practical smaller dual-sports can be. But… a recent extended trip to northern Thailand forced a re-think. While there I had so much fun on 250cc and smaller dual-sports that there was no way I could return without indulging.

6 mins read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
January-February 2020

A-Mazed

Claudia McKenzie of 4th Labyrinth ended up as a bass player by accident—but it yielded results, she tells us

2 mins read
Bass Player
Holiday 2019

Hells Angels Meet Housewives on Harleys

How bikers turned into their parents and turned off their kids

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
October 2019