What better way to spend a Sunday than for MCN to sit down with a fellow biker for a chinwag about life and bikes, of course.
This week we caught up with tattooist to the stars turned custom bike builder Dan Gold at the 2017 Bike Shed Show in London, where he was displaying his first ever custom bike, a Honda Rebel.
So Dan, how did the customised Rebel come about?
I have no idea. Last time I spoke with you was in October just before I started painting a Honda CB650 for Motorcycle Live at the very beginning of my relationship with Honda. It was a huge success, Honda loved it and I think it was the most blogged about bike at the show.
What happened to that bike?
It got auctioned off for charity so a dealer has it now I believe. I was adamant nobody could make money on it since I did it for free. I painted another CB650 as well which took 120 hours to complete. That one's in a Day of the Dead style. So I'm pretty involved with Honda at the moment and it's working quite nicely.
And are you still commuting into London everyday on a Honda F6C?
I'm not actually, because the commute to build the Rebel was 153 miles a day Honda gave me a Crosstourer with the Dual Clutch Transmission. The day I took delivery of it I stuffed it into a field. I thought it was a Crosstourer so I took it off-road, except I have no off-road skill or experience and that’s a big old bike to take off-road with road tyres.
I went straight through a hedge and straight into a tree but luckily I didn’t damage the bike. I hit a tree stump and it took the sole of my riding boot clean off. That was close. Imagine if they’d been a little bit lower. I had to ask an Uber to drive to come in to the field and help me pick it up. It’s a heavy bike!
My Dad’s just bought a Crosstourer actually, and he really likes it.
Yea? I’d go for a standard clutch – I like changing gears. When you ride a bike your hands are really busy and your feet are not so it makes no sense to remove the gear lever from your foot, which is doing nothing, and move it to your hand which has already got loads to do. You’re braking, indicating, high beam low beam and then changing gears. It’s fantastic for the commute though and its fast.
Any plans on the Crosstourer this year?
I’m going to the TT this year, which is my first time so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going for four days with Honda so I’m quite enjoying all this. It should be fun!
No John McGuinness this year, though.
Crazy isn’t it? It's been a bad year for Honda and the Fireblade isn’t really performing is it? I’m not sure why or if it’s the competition but Shakey really thought the Honda was going to threaten him this year.
You're still riding every day?
Every day. I’m riding so much. I want to ride the Rebel but they want to take it to Wheels and Waves so I’m just trying not to crash it before that.
Talk us through the Rebel you've built
Basically Honda invited on the European launch of the Rebel and CB1100 and I thought it was great but the styling wouldn't go down well in the UK, you know, that kind of soft chopper look.
So basically the inspiration was from BMX bikes and I wanted to capture the feeling of getting your first Raleigh Burner. So it has a lot of Raleigh Burner-inspired parts on it liked the red anodised hubs and levers. They all remind me of BMX riding when I was a kid.
I just wanted to make a bike you could jump on and have fun on. Smiles per smiles. It’d be cool to go in the city with or if you want to take it off-road you can, with some stronger boots. I’ve bought some proper motocross boots now and there’ isn’t anything gunna go through those.
You can’t feel much can you as they're so stiff?
Yea, it’s like being Ironman, I don’t like them. I ordered them and now I don’t like them.
So what’s next on two wheels?
I don’t know. I really want to design another bike with Honda, and I think we’re going to. I really would like to do something with the CB1100, that’s beautiful, I love that bike. They’re amazing to ride. I don’t like the RS, though. That bike reminds me of '80s race bikes when you turn in and you're fully committed. The EX has bigger wheels that give a kind of floaty feel that reminds me so much of a CB750/Four I used to own.
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