There is something peculiar about the west. Although days sometimes feel too settled and perhaps even a bit boring, suddenly something just fuels up everything and you realize that ‘damn, this place has pretty much all I ever wanted’. One of the things café racers need around here, is a proper haven where you can go and talk bikes, fool around, wonder how your GS will look with a new seat and stuff like that. The custom scene offers a dozen places like that on the east coast, but not so much here in Perth. Well, all that was about to change, the day 66 Motorcycles decided to share their Street Tracker builds and custom building adoration with the rest of the world. PCR was invited to join on the opening BBQ night, drink beer and, yes, talk bikes.
^Street Tracker, anyone?
So, in north Freo I got to ogle on a handful of custom builds of the 66 team, which consists of Peter, Duane and Stef. Between beers and hotdogs, we managed to have a chat with Peter about why the hell they called it 66 Motorcycles. Was it an ‘I got 66 problems but the motorcycle aint one?’ situation? Nah. It was the year all three were born.
Why open the shop now? I mean, is this a 'better late than never' situation?
I wish it was our combined age, there always seems so much to do and not enough time, and are you suggesting we might be over the hill? Why now? Well, why not. You have all heard of the gunna's, gonna do this gonna do that. At the end of a great ride while draining a few beers we said lets start building bikes to sell and create a great little shop and get a social riding group together and ride across Mongolia and go to Lake Gairdner etc. Well the beers flowed and the plans got bigger. We had all heard stories of dudes wanting to do this type of caper but never bit the bullet. A short while later we leased some space, had five builds on the way and actually had a business of sorts. It is a creative release for me. The process of designing, fabricating and piecing together something which brings enjoyment to a new owner is very fulfilling and is why I’m doing it.
^First bike one spots when entering the shop. Not bad at all.
I see your custom builds are named after legendary femme fatales of the golden age of movies. What’s your favourite movie, what is the one, best, all time classic killer movie moment with a hottie?
Well this is actually Duanes' fetish, chicks with big breasts beating up dudes. I can see the attraction but to be honest i'm more into spaghetti westerns, The Good The Bad The Ugly variety. I was pretty partial to Jane Fonda in Cat Ballou come to think about it.
Do you believe the scene here in Perth is established or this is a significant moment where it is starting out?
If you talk to the people who have been knocking skin off their knuckles and brushing off polishing dust for the past few years they may have said the scene is established, and rightfully so. But the whole custom bike scene is rapidly evolving in Australia and overseas and Perth is no different. More and more people want to experience the excitement of riding an individualised Cafe, Rat, Street Tracker or what ever gets their blood pumping and get away from their daily grind. Perth is a small market. I remember 20yrs ago when I had a windsurfing business that WA was (and still is) the premier sailing destination in the country but the local market was only 10% of national sales. I expect the same thing with bikes. We're bloody enthusiastic but there's not many of us. There will be more builders opening their doors creating their own twist on design which is great, because essentially we are all brothers creating rolling road art.
^Work in progress
So what's the deal with Bali? Are you ever in the 'office' here in Freo? Will you start carrying surfboards as well?
Bali is where it all started, the idea to build some bikes to explore the island. So after draining those beers mentioned earlier we set about putting together a small fleet of 66 Streetrackes to hire. Forget the step thru's, if you want to carve up the back roads and arrive at your favourite restaurant in style you want one of these babies. In 2013 we will kick off our three day guided rides around the island then later in the year Lombok tours. These rides will be for small groups of six all on 66 Streetrackers and a guide to make sure you don't get lost. And yes the bikes are being fitted with board racks. I have plenty of surfing still left in me.
^Doctor's orders: new tank, seat, paintjob, the works.
So, what is it all about mate?
Essentially it's about simple clean elegant lines with a smattering of hand made parts, a contrast in surface finishes and a purposeful look. Then let the engine breathe, sort the suspension and you have a bike you would feel very proud to have built or own and want to twist the throttle all day every day. We are building some diverse bikes at the moment which will give us the opportunity to show what we can do. There are two Street Tracker 600 big bores, a GS 1100, GS650 , XV 1000 and three more 225 Street Trackers. Stay tuned.
Wanna check them out? Go to http://www.66motorcycles.com/ or just drop by the shop Wed-Sat for a cuppa.