A Lifetime Custom Job

July 10, 2019 | By Mike Seate

In our current issue, we’re pleased to bring you proof that you needn’t buy a new bike every few years. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve developed a habit of wanting to try out every cool new retro roadster that comes down the pike and, as a result, I sometimes realize I’ve sold off a motorcycle I actually enjoyed in search of the next big retro thing. Over in the UK, we’ve been fortunate to meet plenty of riders who remain dedicated to their custom bikes come what may. They’re unmoved by trends, technology (for the most part) and the latest offerings from the OEMs. Instead. blokes like Ray Hatt build cafe racers once in their lives and then remain true to that singular machine for decades. Hatt is one of a trio of riders we met during the most recent Ace Cafe Reunion weekend who have owned their machines for longer than most of us have been riding. The seriously special hybrid of Triumph engine and BSA frame that Hatt so proudly displayed at Kent’s Brighton Promenade is a study in perseverance, old school tech and plain old stubborness. The bike has so many ad-ons, upgrades and seeming crazy custom touches that we had to pull our cameras away after realizing there were many more bike to scope out. For example, instead of purchasing a new set of cushioned handgrips, Hatt simply wraps the existing grips in electrical tape at the end of each riding season, creating a low-buck and very low-tech solution to addressing the inherent vibration of classic British parallel twins. Weird, wacky and wonderful just about sums these bikes up.

Read all about this rare dedication to one’s ride in the June/July issue.