When I swung past Sydney a few weeks back I had a chance encounter with Brad Bennett, a member of the Sydney Cafe Racers, who was riding a particularly good looking Moto Guzzi V7. I snapped a quick photo and posted it to the Return of the Cafe Racers Instagram and it went bananas...so I knew a feature was in order. Here's how Brad turned his run of the mill V7 into a blacked out, Italian beast.
"Brian Crane is a retired fiberglasser who lives in Wilberforce outside of Windsor (New South Wales). His shed is a beautiful mess of Cobra car bodies, boats and stacks of old molds for motorcycle fairings. In his time Brian has improved the aerodynamics of countless race bikes and was even involved in making body parts for the bikes that appeared in the cult Australian motorcycle movie, Stone."
"Over a few cold beers I started telling my buddy Steve (the same guy who shots these photos) that I wanted to make a fairing for my 2013 Moto Guzzi V7. While I usually ride my bike to work, most of its kilometers come from speeding on country roads with my partner, Kristi-Anna, on the back. The idea of adding a fairing was to cut down on the wind buffeting during our longer rides (Yes, I understand a touring fairing would have been more practical, but I still wanted a café stance to keep it fun in the corners.) I’m not sure how Steve met Brian, either way, he took me up to Brian’s place a couple months back to rummage in his shed with the aim to satisfy my fairing desire. At first Brian didn’t seem terribly interested in my project until we started talking about the details. Once I described the shape I was after I could see the excitement building as Brian’s mind scanned over the piles of stuff he had stored in his shed. Eventually he pulled out a mold he had cast decades ago from an early 70’s Kawasaki H1R and to my pleasent surprise it looked like it might actually fit."
"Brian is an amazing craftsman who also be rather generous, as I found out when he cut me a great deal on the fairing. After he'd prepared the fiberglass and perspex I took my new fairing to DNA Customs on the other side of Windsor for mounting. Darren at DNA is one of the most spatially creative people in Australia. He cut the fairing to fit the Guzzi (needed to make room for the engine heads) and then made all of the brackets with the CNC router and lathe in his garage. I think he enjoyed the challenge of making his own headstock bearing mount for the cross bar and (thankfully) Darren also liked my idea to off-center mount an aftermarket headlamp from an R1."
"The next round of customization will involve two things. First, I need a better paint job for the fairing. The current shade of black was applied via rattle can in my shared parking garage to the dismay of my neighbours. I also want to put progressive springs in my front forks to improve handling in the corners. "
Brad admits that he's more of a "wrench, ride, repeat" guy rather than a "knock it on the head in one go" builder when it comes to customising his bikes. The fairing has been the latest stage in his ongoing build, but previous mods to his V7 Guzzi include Tomaselli clip-ons and an Acewell guage (a modification prompted by to an unfortunate collision with the rear end of a car), Agostini mufflers, sensor compensators, custom injector covers, a MAS fender eliminator kit, Bitubo piggyback rear shocks, factory rearsets, Rizoma mirror, low profile blinkers and the removal of almost anything with chrome on it. It's a great looking daily rider and I have no doubt that if Brad keeps making modifications as tasteful as the ones he's already completed, his bike is going to be a top contender for the best looking V7 downunder.
SYDNEY CAFE RACERS | Photos by Stephen Broholm
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