V.I.S.I.T: A Chopper That's Hardly Davidson…

20140421_161256 Brighton, on the south coast about sixty miles from London, is one of the most fashionable places in Britain. It’s so fashionable, in fact, that I was concerned that I could have been ejected from the city without a moments notice for failing to meet this nanoseconds exacting sartorial demands. It’s also the kind of place where you can’t possibly guess what you’ll see around the next corner. Here’s what I found parked outside one of the trendy clothing emporiums that I would have been shot on sight if I had attempted to gain entry to. Actually, I did have a plan in place in case I should be challenged by one of the City’s many immaculately turned out police officers on the ground of unfashionableness; I would simply state that I was dressed ironically. My two year old jeans, yellowing sneakers and heavily over-washed (but cherished) North Face fleece would never be suggested as an ensemble by anybody right-minded, so I am actually elevated beyond the mere fashion-conscious. I was anti-style. 20140421_161423 And doubtless that was the ethos behind the creation of this; a chopper that is somehow the antithesis of anything Harley inspired. For a start; that’s a Ducati Vee mill in there, definitely a leftfield choice for a custom bike. Running the plate tells me that the thing is still registered as a Ducati, an 860 built in 1975, though there’s precious little of the original left. Everything rearwards of the engine has been thrown away; the spindly tubular frame now being strictly hardtail with absolutely no concession to rear suspension apart from the flex in the tyre sidewalls. It has a nicely home-brewed personality to it, exemplified by the original wheels still being in evidence rather than some outlandish set of chromed billets. This is a very down-to-earth creation and in general I’m very much in favour of this kind of one-man-and-his-shed tinkering, moreso because I find its ingredients more intriguing than yet another modified Milwaukee Monster. 20140421_161412 Yet somehow this bike somehow has me a little on edge, as if there’s a barrier between me liking it and loving it. 20140421_161159 For a start, it has a coffin-shaped fuel tank. Now, I know that fabricating anything from steel is easier if you avoid curvature as best you can, but that coffin-shape is also a bit too obvious as a statement. It’s a bit to intentionally hard-rock, don’t you think? And the mirrors, too, are each shaped like half a Maltese Cross, which kind of goes hand in hand with the Gothic “Ducati” script on the tank. It’s pretty fair to guess that the owner of this bike is a fan of the most metallic of heavy metal, which is cool enough, it kind of goes with this area of two-wheeled culture. But it’s a bit of a cliché, and it’s a shame that all custom choppers have to conform to the same stereotypes. And then, of course, you’ve got the fact that it used to be a Ducati 860, which would have been quite a nice bike to own in its own right before being chopped up. Over to you guys to decide whether this labour of love is righteous or repulsive. Personally, I’m glad it exists, but could so easily have loved it. [Images Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Chris Haining]

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