There’s an intercontinental vibe to this week’s selection. We’ve got a Triumph Bobber from Beijing, a new sidecar rig from the French brand Mash, a pair of Royal Enfields from Bali, and a thrilling new motorcycle movie from Australia.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber by Mandrill Garage The Bobber has been a sales hit for Triumph, with excellent performance and surprisingly good handling. It’s also one of the most ‘custom’ looking bikes on sale today, but that doesn’t stop the occasional builder from having a crack at it.
The latest workshop to join this small list is Mandrill Garage, based in Beijing and run by Luo Hao. And it’s more than a cosmetic makeover: Luo has given the Bobber a completely custom girder-style front end.
“Triumph’s water-cooled generation is much better than before,” Luo tells us. “The frame, engine and details are all good, but it’s too ‘perfect.’ There’s nothing left to modify, so it’s very hard to custom build.”
Luo and has crew decided to go back in time, and give the Bobber a 1930s hardtail vibe. That meant designing and building a new front end with a modern shock, after an internet search for a high-performance aftermarket setup proved fruitless.
Luo also dismantled the bike and repainted or refinished almost every part, and upgraded many others using CNC’d one-offs. He’s managed to keep the original brakes, but installed a vintage-style air filter assembly, new switchgear, new lighting and old school badges.
It’s a low-key and well-judged transformation, and if the bike passed by at speed, enough to make some folks think it’s a true classic. Smart work from a builder who deserves to be better known outside his home country. [Mandrill Garage Facebook]
Mash Side Force 400 It looks like a Ural, but it isn’t. We were momentarily fooled too, but despite the sidecar and military vibes, this rather fetching rig comes from France rather than Russia. It’s based on the Mash Désert Force sold in Europe last year, a limited edition, military-themed 397cc air-cooled single that sold for a mere €4,995.
As a brand, Mash has been going for less than ten years, but it’s causing ripples in Europe. The bikes are actually built by Shineray in China, and keen pricing is matched to intriguing concepts. The X-Ride Classic, for example, uses the engine from the NX650 Dominator but looks more like the Yamaha XT500.
For the Side Force 400, Mash has bumped the Désert Force engine up to 445cc and 29 hp, and added an extra oil cooler and a reverse gear. Dry weight is a claimed 342 kg [753 pounds], which is a little more than a one-wheel-drive 749cc Ural. The Siberian contender squeezes about three more horsepower out of its engine too.
The Side Force is priced at €10,999, which would be around $13,000 if it was sold in the US. That’s about $2,500 less than a base model Ural cT. It’d be fascinating to put the Mash and the Ural up against each other in a comparison test; we suspect the Mash would be easier to live with and maintain, but the Ural would be more forgiving of extreme loads and terrain.
Either way, it’s good to see the sidecar market expanding. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if BMW, Royal Enfield or Triumph entered the fray with a three-wheeled version of their own retro-styled twins? [More]
Two new Royal Enfields from Smoked Garage The last time we caught up with Nicko Eigert of Smoked, he’d just finished building a wild Harley ‘neo board tracker’ for the monster Suryanation Motorland show in Jakarta. But Smoked are perfectly capable of quicker, lower-budget builds too, which keep the cashflow healthy.
They’ve just completed a pair of lightly-but-smartly modified ‘Off Grid’ Enfields: a Himalayan and an Interceptor 650 tweaked for fire trails and gravel roads.
Both designs are going into limited production, with different colorways to choose from. The Himalayan [above] gets a new seat unit with integrated luggage rack at the back, a free-flowing exhaust system for extra pep, flat track-style side panels, a low-profile windscreen and knobby tires.
The Interceptor [below] has more of a traditional scrambler vibe, helped along by high-riding new fenders above chunky knobby tires. There’s a high-riding new exhaust system to match, plus another redesigned seat/luggage rack combo unit.
Both bikes come with fresh paint and a numbered edition badge, and should be within financial reach of many Indonesian motorcyclists.
“Our inspiration was to create motorcycles that encourage riders to get out and get away from a year of lockdowns and computer screens,” says Nicko. That’s a sentiment we can totally get behind. [Smoked Garage]
Wide Of The Mark movie Motorcycles and movies are made for each other. If you can’t get out for a ride yourself, the next best thing right now is Wide Of The Mark, a new film from Australia.
It follows six riders on a two-week off-road adventure on board custom bikes. Their only guide is a rough map of the most testing (and awe-inspiring) terrain that Tasmania has to offer.
If some of the bikes look familiar, that’s because the film was made with the help of Tom Gilroy and his Queensland-based shop Purpose Built Moto. We’ve featured their builds in the past, including a Sportster that stars in the film.
WOTM is rolling out in cinemas across Australia right now, and will get its global digital release in mid-May. But if you live outside the Lucky Country and want to see it on the big screen, you can put in a request to host a theatrical screening at your local cinema.
In the meantime, get a taste of motorcycle adventure Tasmania style via the trailer below.