Written by Pete Cagnacci of Throttle Roll.
It took the sacrifice of a 30-year-old comic book collection, over 7,000 comics to be precise, for Dave to appease the Motorcycle Gods as he sold one hobby to fund another. This one had a little more action and little less action heroes, however. A 1980 Yamaha SR500 would be the machine of choice to pop his speed demon cherry, but this wouldn’t satiate his appetite as he craved more from his machine. “The SR500 was so much fun to throw around, but I never felt I could trust it not to break down 50kms from home. Carbies became the bane of my existence. Since I’m not mechanically minded, fixing it on the fly wasn’t much of an option for me. I’d had enough…”
Now that Dave was firmly addicted to riding, he needed to find the perfect machine for himself. It had to be modern, reliable – and most importantly – powerful. “I had always like Triumph Thruxtons, so many people had either grabbed them or a Bonneville. I thought, “they must be a pretty solid bike, and they do look great when some solid custom work has gone into them.” But it wouldn’t be a British bike that Dave would end up with, as ‘Harley’ and Jeff from RB Racing ended up whispering in his little ear to tell him what’s what and show him some more ‘aggressive’ options. Some things need to be done right; if you’re going to steal a car, steal a Ferrari.
The final decision would come down to either a Honda CB1300, or a Yamaha XJR1300. Having already read the title of this post and seen the pictures, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which bike was chosen in the end. After pouring through reams of information and sitting on Harley’s own XJR1300, it was settled. “It felt great, and I knew this was the bike for me. I was sold.”
The build had a sole source of inspiration – and it involved hair metal. “Hell-hound, hot leather on your legs. That smokin’ powder keg you’re riding on is hell-bound.” So goes the wailin’ vocals of ‘80’s heavy metal band W.A.S.P’s song ‘Hellion’. Suddenly, the moniker for Dave’s Yamaha XJR1300 makes so much sense. Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ Rubber.
The block of marble was now chosen, but the final product was yet to be realised. Being a commercial illustrator by trade, Dave got to work with draft designs of who he wanted his new crotch-rocket to look. It was simple, really – it needed to be red, black, chunky and aggressive. With this sledgehammer concept set it stone, it was time to take it to Harley and get the wheels rolling. “The concept ended up having some slight changes, but nothing major. The paint design took the longest to get right, but doing what I do for a living, I knew that it would have to look killer.”
But is this a café racer? Is it a street tracker? Is it a street fighter? No labels for this bike seem to stick, as Dave and RB Racing concentrated more on making the bike just right. “The more that people tried to set the bike under a theme, the more we just steered clear of the labels and said “fuck it, it’s just a cool bike.” That said, if we were to try pigeon-hole this bike, Harley probably said it best, “It has all the hallmarks of a proper muscle bike, and it takes its styling cues from an early 80s superbike.” A little bit of identity crisis is never a bad thing.“I really liked Harley’s thoughts on the bike, and after a weekend out at the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, I couldn’t agree more. Now I love the bike on a whole new level.”
Two key parts of this bike really stick out; the super tidy tail and the bold exhaust treatment. “I got the tail from Dime City Cycles, which is no longer available. I reckon I got the last one! It fits the bike perfectly, like it was made for it.” It certainly compliments the profile of the bike pretty damn well, with the number 15 representing the year Dave’s daughter was born (that’s 2015, not 1915). The second is the Asahina Racing full titanium exhaust system. “It cost a pretty penny, but it was so worth it. The sound…”
Yes, we know “oh wow” doesn’t really do the pipes justice, more like “Hell yeah! Let’s ride this sexy metal steed into the fires of hell, sucker punch Satan in the goddamn throat and ride the fuck out of there with one wheel in the air and our hair on fire!” But that just might us…
[Photos by Pete Cagnacci]