Drifter Bikes GB500
By Ross Sharp - 30 Apr 14
Paul Stanner from Sydney is one of those guys who, by the sounds of things, has life pretty dialled in. By day he's a Land Surveyor, probably measuring up pieces of ground wondering what sort of amazing workshop could be constructed or whether a dirt oval would fit between the perimeter fences. When Paul isn't surfing, being the family man or making music he can be found at Drifter Bikes HQ, in the backyard of his house letting loose with the tools. He refers to himself as a 'jerk', but he must be a competent jerk as Deus awarded his SR 'Buckshot' 1st prize at Festival of Thump a few weeks ago. As if Ozzies weren't lucky enough, blessed with awesome weather, fantastic country roads, wonderful beaches etc etc, they are also close-ish to Japan and there's a more plentiful supply of donor bikes that are relatively rare on UK shores. (All of the stingy and bitey things over there is just plain karma). This Honda GB500 TT was in a pretty sorry state when it reached Paul's shed and the brief was "racey, nuggety and for everyday riding", so there was a fair bit to do. Google Foreigner reckons nuggety means a stocky person so we'll assume fast and fat with a metal flake paint job was what he meant. As standard bikes go, the rear of a GB isn't too cluttered but Paul wanted to hide some wiring under the seat so looped the rear of the frame and buried what he could beneath. Eastcoast Trimshop stitched a Tuckroll seat cover with closed cell foam inside, which doesn't soak in the water like the reconstituted stuff. Not that Paul need worry, he'll see that round, yellow, hot thing in the big blue sky which will dry out even the most absorbent of foams. For us Pomms, I am referring to that thing called the sun. The original tank offers pretty good capacity, handy for getting around spread-out Sydney, so Smith Concepts were given free reign to work their magic. The tangerine metal flake and scales look really rather good, perhaps even nuggety. The less fancy fluids are kept down below, a custom aluminium battery box and oil tank are hidden as well as possible. Ditching the electric start was not an option as nobody likes kicking over a hot half-litre single when it's 40 degrees in the shade. The exhaust has been soda blasted clean and lightly sanded for a matt look, with a GP Extreme muffler knocking off just a couple of decibels. The engine was also blasted and given a coat of clear corrosion resistant lacquer due to the proximity to the coast. Seriously, dry seats, electric start, seawater-proof engines, you lot down under really have it tough. The wheels had their turn in the blast cabinet before powder coat and fitting of a fresh set of Pirelli Scorpion MT90s. Fork internals are new and the front mudguard has been on a diet for a sleeker look. The headlight and speedo are new, as are the clip-ons. Overall the stance is more squat and purposeful with the rider sitting more in the bike than on it. Paul is keen to get back to the bench and build another bike, and we'd love to see the finished article in The Shed. Take a look at his website for pictures of previous builds and a heads-up on the next project. Oh, and Paul, when it's grey and wet here in London and you're downunder there with sand between your toes, grease under your nails and sun on your back, we think you're a jerk too.