The same scenario could be applied to Sol Invictus Motorcycles but it’s still early days for this fledgling manufacturer. As far as affordability goes their motorcycles are some the cheapest around but are they any good? To find out we sat down with Tom John of Queensland’s Purpose Built Moto to hear about his experience converting a Sol Invictus ‘Nemesis’ into this tidy cafe racer.
“Sol Invictus is a fairly new player to the bike scene in Australia, and there are a lot of opinions flying around about their bikes,” Tom explains. “Purpose Built Moto is also in its infancy so I was stoked when one rolled through our garage door.” The bike’s owner, a recent adopter of two-wheeled transportation, purchased the Nemesis as his first ride and decided it needed a little extra “spark and excitement” and he decided Tom was the man to realize his wishes.
The Nemesis is Sol Invictus’ latest model boasting a 400cc power plant, classic looks and a modest 26bhp. It’s an entry-level motorcycle with unmistakable vintage style and modern technology that’s priced very affordable. The bike runs a disc/drum brake combination similar to Yamaha’s SR400 and you get an electric and kick starter like Kawasaki’s old W400. The big differentiator though is that the Nemesis costs a touch under $7000 (AUD) making it the cheapest option by far. Tom’s customer came to him with a Scrambler version of the Nemesis which bares MX style handlebars, upswept twin megaphone mufflers, chunky rubber and a few off-road inspired accessories.
Tom started the build with a customary tear down to see exactly what he had to work with. With the bike split into its main components it was decided that the rebuild would see this Nemesis transformed into a cafe racer so the first task was to fit it with clip-on handlebars. Tom then cleverly repurposed the bar mounts on the stock triple clamp to hold an aftermarket digital speedo. To complete the decluttering of the front end a shallow Purpose Built Moto Flashpoint LED headlight has been tucked in close to the frame and tiny LED beehive indicators have been mounted beside it.
“Thanks to the bikes nicely hooped tail end my task of building a custom rear cowl and seat pan was made simple”. Rear lighting is now handled by an integrated LED brake light and another pair of beehive indicators hang off the number plate bracket. The focal point of Tom’s design was the seat which has been wrapped in black Alcantara. Leather details were added to compliment the new paint scheme. The original fuel tank has been stripped raw and clear coated with only a black stripe added to tie the front and rear end together. To keep the bike as slim as possible Tom also fabricated a set of alloy side covers that match the brushed look of the tank.
With everything appearing a lot more exciting than before all that was left was to add that “spark”. To free some extra horses from the 400cc single a set of 2-into-1 headers were fitted along with a PBM Highball muffler. According to Tom, the PBM Nemesis is a “great commuter and fun around town, but point it at a hill or through some tight corners and it really comes alive!”.
It can be tough for a new brand to establish themselves with consumers, especially in the “affordable” automotive market. When I had just finished my secondary education a new car manufacturer appeared on the market that went by the name of Hyundai. The car they hoped to tap into the Australian market with was the Excel and it was met with mix emotions. While many people jumped at the opportunity to own a low-cost car, others avoided them like the plague. In Hyundai’s case the Excel was their test bed and while it can be said that certain aspects of the early Excel were a ‘you get what you pay for’ scenario they served a purpose and fulfilled a market need. Now years later Hyundai sit comfortably alongside the likes of Toyota and Ford.