Left Hand Cycles Arctic Monkey
By Anthony van Someren - 01 Dec 13
Seems like 2014 is going to be all about the Tracker. Big Honda singles like the XL, XR, XT and NX/Dominator make for solid donors that are fun to blatt around on, and they're built to be tampered with. We're seeing them crop up everywhere. Many of these 80s bikes are retro-modded with a '70s silhouette, but this beast from Netherlands misfits Lex & Richard from Left Hand Cycles is more apocalypse-inspired, a hybrid of various components randomly put together to create, the "Arctic Monkey". The donor is a 1980s XT600 and the brief was to create an "unusual, rough, hybrid bike which you can both use as an urban traveler but also in the field." After stripping the bike the guys set about changing the lines by chopping the rear sub-frame for the must-have seat transformation, but rather than fitting a tank with smooth retro lines, like an XT, they switched it out for an XL, with it's exaggerated, bulbous lines. The wheels were swapped out for 18-inchers to give the bike more agility, fitted with purposeful chunky Heidenau tyres. A new seat pan was matched to the chopped subframe while rough real leather was used for the seat. Arctic blue and muted colours were chosen to give the bike "a winter character" (we'd imagined snow-camo when we read the teaser) and old belts and a German bread bag were fitted giving the bike more of an 80's Euro-punk vibe. The final touch was a lairy soundtrack, achieved by adding an oval Matchless exhaust, designed to help make sure your neighbors know they live next door to a biker. As we say in the UK, it's a Marmite bike. You love it or hate it, but you certainly won't ignore it. See more from Lex & Richard at Left Hand Cycles on their web site and more from them here on the Bike Shed LHC pages.