A.B.C WAR

A.B.C WAR

ABC WAR bike
I picked up this Kawasaki VN800 Drifter back in 2012. Whilst building mostly show bobbers and cruisers, I wanted something a little different and less high maintenance for myself. The Drifter was in a sorry state when I rescued her from a Scouse bloke in Wales. Straight out of a TV reality show the imminent heart attack of a man showed me round the bike, lovingly crammed in a shed full of old Britt classics, with his hive of kids swarming over them. The Drifter model of the VN range holds its price more than the standard Classics, so although saddened that the bike was in a sorry state, I still paid over the odds for a bike much in need of someone to give a shit! So I rode her home. Beige and black paint, to mimic the old Indian Chief that the Drifter model had been based on. Highway Hawk long pipes and a personalised plate for ‘Micky Gold Tooth’. These Drifters look pretty fuckin sick (as in vomit) when original. Naff fishtail pipes. Pram bars. The most humongous seat which looks like it’s been stolen off a GS500 and grafted on a foot above the bike! And those bloody massive fenders. The beige and black paint didn’t compliment the bike, especially as some had peeled off or just faded away. So I rode home from Wales with my eyes shut and my head down, in fear someone may see me on Mickey Gold Tooth’s steed. Once safely home and out of public spectacle, I stripped her straight away.
In the words of Swiss Tony. “Building a bike is like making love to a beautiful woman… First you’ve got to strip her down, give her a wash, then get your tool out.”

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So bars, seat, pipes & bodywork stripped down, it became apparent that although the engine, fuelling and electrics were all good, everything else needed repair or replacement. Joy!
Working through the bike replacing bearings, pads, seals, filters, oil, battery, Chain and Sprockets, tyres and hoses. She was restored to the reliable and solid VN that had been advertised. Now all I had to do was work out a look for the bike… I lie, I’d already had an idea. Having previously built another Drifter, the A.B.C Slug. I knew that behind that naff, plastic, Indian insult, lay a lot of potential. Loving the early Indian and Harley styles, but not Kawasaki’s take on it, I wanted to create a 40’s style cruiser along the lines of the Scout and the WLA. I particularly like the look of the WW2 military bikes. Maybe it’s the black & white war films of my youth, or the rough and ready to ride anywhere attitude they front. So I was set on military themed classic yank look. The VN is perfect for this with the swing-arm and frame designed to hide the monoshock and give the appearance of a hardtail. The Drifter having the most ridiculous fenders ever seen on a Jap bike, also styled after the Indian Chief, just adds to that old bike look, so I kept them.. Although these bikes look so cool with the fenders off!! Arghhhh the decision.. But I’d bought the Drifter with the fake Indian look in mind, although even if you bob these bikes they are worth the extra cash. The Drifter model comes with a rear disc brake unlike the Classics drum. There are other features, different engine casings, upgraded switch gear and black yokes, forks, shrouds and indicators. I had seen an old bobbed Harley with a red oxide primer tank with black engine and frame, it knew this was the way to go but I wanted some sort of military decals. The bodywork was first sprayed matt black, then coated with the oxide primer and sanded back. I then had the decals printed, sprayed them on and sanded back. Although building a military looking bike, I didn’t want to give off the impression that I think carpet bombing orphanages is a good thing. And so being the ‘old hippie’ I am (according to my Brothers), I decided to go with a few anti-war slogans. So if you are interested in this bike, you’d better read them first!
The pipes were made on spec by Didz at Dave Warrender Customs. A long straight through stainless pair I sprayed black, baffled and wrapped. The seat is a cut down mould of a Harley Springer saddle. Upholstered in distressed leather and to state the obvious is one of the key features of the bike. Mounted on a post which sits on a fibreglass one off cover. The wide Beach bars are also Harley, with the classic grips and wrap adding to that long gone era of real men wrestling their bikes, or something like that. The engine bars complete the ready for action look, although that action had better not involve any real tight twisty fast bends, as those big buggers will hit the black stuff before anything else! I’ve always intended to fit sliders onto them but never got round to it. Finishing touches were the frame and side mount army issue canvas bag. The Ford tail light and custom reg plate. The ornamental horn sat in front of the bars. It’s ornamental as it’s just shit! There’s also a siren fitted which of course has never been used on public roads as that would be a heinous crime.

ABC WAR bike

ABC WAR bike
So once built I took the newly christened A.B.C WAR bike out for an MOT and of course a play. Had I expected this bike to handle like a modern jap commuter, tourer or sports, I’d probably have just crashed into Joan’s house down the road. Old bid that feeds my cat fuckin prawns when he’s ill. Resulting in explosions with a fishy aftermath. Still my boys a fuckin tart and a greedy fuckin tart at that. So luckily knowing I hadn’t unwittingly created the world’s latest GP bike, Joan’s roses were safe. I didn’t expect the WAR bike to handle so differently than my previous Drifter or for the engine and exhaust note to be unlike the other. I had however built a bike that looks like Steve McQueen would give the Germans a run for their money on. A bike that actually rides how you would expect it too when looking at it. Ok it’s got modern tyres, brakes and suspension. Yet you get the feel of stepping back in time. When 100mph on a bike was for heroes. When bikes were built to be ridden anywhere and last forever. There is maybe something romantic or nostalgic about riding this motorbike. The riding position sits you upright and higher than other cruisers due to the seat post. The bars are wide and comfy, though a bitch for u-turns! Your feet are forwards chilling out on the footboards, so much better than pegs, and there sits the toe & heel shifter for lazy gear changes. This also enhances the by gone bike feel and look of the bike.

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Safety notice: An approximate 70% of motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver emerging from a side road after failing to see the motorcyclist. So what is the answer?
1) Driver education (can’t teach an old dog new tricks).
2) High Visibility clothing (look like a fuckin traffic warden & only 60% efficiency)
3) Positioning in the road, eye contact and anticipation.
4) Buy the WAR bike!
Yea that’s right, number 4! Well ok its number 3 and 4. Seriously though, you get seen. Drivers see you, Bikers see you, Cyclists and even bloody pedestrians see you! Kids cover their ears and cry (not the cool kids). It’s big, it’s loud and everybody wonders what the fuck you’re riding and if a tank is about to follow down the street?! I’m not an attention seeker myself, but this shameless hussy, this westernised oriental whore just can’t get enough! Seriously it gets boring. The WAR bike has been on the road for two years now and you cannot go anywhere without someone feeling the need to comment. You pull up at the lights and every truck driver in the area hangs up his call to lean out of the widow and tell me how nice my Harley is. The drivers sit at green lights wishing they were man enough to get on 2 wheels. If you park up then you come back to learn that an Indian like this hasn’t been seen for a while. When told it’s not an Indian they of course happily admit that they thought it was a Harley after all. I’ve left the Kawasaki badge by the rear light in plain view next to the 2001 registration plate, so as to avoid confusion. And so then you get “wow, that’s a really old Kawasaki”. Ermmm no but thanks. I built this bike for myself and have never considered selling before. Ironically the WAR bike has ended up winning more awards at bike shows than my other ‘Show’ bikes had. It doesn’t even fall into a ‘Custom’ category. One thing is apparent, both bikers and those other weird lot living half-lives, all seem interested and the style appeals to all types of rider and ages. I could go on, but I didn’t build this bike for the attention it receives or the trophies won. I built it to be a practical, everyday bike, which had to be fun. Well I can honestly say in 2 years the WAR bike has never let me down. I’ve recently replaced front and back brake discs and the oil, filter & plugs are replaced at regular intervals. This is a solid bike and can be used, just not on fast twisties!
The overall condition of the bike is really good, with the worn paint in places a feature, as opposed to a sign of neglect. If you want a pretty candy and chrome ‘iron horse’ you can polish more than ride. I doubt you’ve got past my first paragraph. Regardless if you’ve got this far whatever your taste in bikes, I commend you Sir or Madam for your persistence and perseverance of the perverse and pointless ramblings of an idiot.

ABC WAR bike
Fight War, Not Wars.

ABC WAR bike

DSC_1909 copy

ABC WAR bike

ABC WAR bike