Blitz: cycles re-cycled…


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There has recently been an upsurge of interest in special builds and builders – we’d like to think of stuff being created, angle grinder to hand, in sheds all over the country, but at least there is a definite and growing interest in ‘rolling yer own’.


On both sides of the Atlantic there has been a merciful release from the tyrany imposed by steroidal, chrome infested chops. Low riders, bobbers, cafe racers, flat trackers, street trackers, rat raiders – they are all grist to the new builder’s mill. The streetfighter – in all its varied and often tasteless incarnations – is the conceptual link between the traditional American custom build and the newer, and still predominantly European generation of trackers.  The streetfighter may have been the result of a union between a high side and and an insurance buy back, but crucially it opened  up the possibility of modding as something more fundemental than the addition of an end can to a new constituency, one which had previously been in thrall to the notion that the factory knew best.

True, there are still a lot of conservative looking bikes rolling out of custom sheds, many of them attuned to notions of display rather than fun.  And we’ve seen some disproportionate looking cafe racers out there:  that particular genre is feeling a bit well used at the moment, and a cafe racer can be every bit as impractical as a ape hung ironhead chop. Deus split opinion back home down under, but the Oz firm have done much to show that specials can be light weight, practical on and off road, and above all, fun. The tracker concept in particular works well: light weight, wide bars, decent travel suspension and versatile rubber have given a new lease of life to old XS and SR motors.  Lumps from W650s to airhead boxers are being recycled. What separates the Blitz stuff from many of their contemporaries is their used aesthetic – instead of respraying an old tank, they’ll simply lacquer the original thus preserving the patina, dinks and splashes included. Simply being French offers a degree of freedom from both dominant Anglo American bikethink and Italian design overkill. Their take is less precious than many a specials builder and their output all the more refreshing for it. Like most good things, they aren’t perfect – those Yam 125 motors look lost in the Blitz set up, like a children wearing ill fitting hand me downs – but  the world is a more interesting place with Blitz in it.


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