Maria Riding Co. Spitfire
By Ross Sharp - 02 Mar 15
Living close to the sea is good for the soul, it reminds us that as humans we are fairly insignificant and vulnerable in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps this has an impact on the ability to rationalise first world problems and leads sea going folk to a more chilled existence. When you land on the Maria Riding Co. website you're greeted with two options, "Road Riders Go Here or Wave Riders Go Here" and a reminder that "Because you used to have fun, remember". Flicking through the fluro surf boards and previous bike builds list it's clear to see that the guys from Lisbon aren't afraid of a splash of colour. Some of their bikes have featured here in the 'Shed and more recent designs have stood up against the ratty, pipe wrapped trend, instead choosing vibrant and matching powder coatings on rims and cam covers. This latest build, Spitfire, was commissioned by a customer that wanted a military theme, but without the whole matt Nato green thing. Hinckley Triumphs are Maria Riding Co.'s usual canvas of choice and this donor is a 2005 Bonneville T100. The co-saviour of Europe in World War Two, the RAF Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane supplied most of the inspiration for the colour scheme whilst the remainder of the project followed founder and head mechanic Luis Correia's tried and tested formula. Wheels have been rebuilt with stainless spokes and dark green powdered rims whilst Continental's venerable TKC80s bring the flying theme back down to earth. The stock motor required only a service, and a carb tune to cope with the thundering Arrow 2-into-1 stainless exhaust system. To make the most of a smaller headlight and neater dash set-up an LSL ignition relocation switch kit has been installed, keeping wiring and dangly bits out of sight. Whilst filling their virtual basket at the German purveyors of properly engineered trick parts, a pair of LSL bars and sprocket cover were ordered. Vintage style grips are by Posh. These days chrome plating is seen as an unsightly hanger-on at the custom party, luckily it hides more precious metals beneath. Buff through the chrome, then the nickel and you'll hit copper; which is exactly what the guys have done to the stock fuel cap. Far more stiff upper lipped RAF than glitzy chrome, wot wot. Whilst on the subject of plating, all fasteners were removed and yellow pasivated - a form of zinc galvanising. Not only does this look better than stock but should keep effects of the salty breeze at bay. The subframe has had the usual chopping treatment to cater for the new seat, which is of course handmade and rises to meet the tank, covering the void neatly. The rear fender is aluminium, under the gloss black. The side panels are of the same material and hide the boring bits nicely. A black powdered bash plate should keep the sump safe in the event of a scramble, both types. Chocks away! The customer is delighted with his new urban weapon and glad he chose Luis and the guys from Maria Riding Co. to bring his ideas to reality. If you get jealous easily and aren't happy with your landlocked, beach-free lifestyle perhaps avoid the company's website and Facebook page. But if you can grit your teeth through the envy and like pictures of sun, surf, bikes and fun take a look at their previous work and what's in the pipeline this summer.