By Gareth Roberts - 07 Aug 14
Steve isn't a man to rush things. He likes to take his time, think things through, think some more, and let a natural rhythm emerge. A keen hiker, when he's not building, he sets off for the wilderness, slowing time, giving himself the space for his head to clear, and to let his journey unfold. This is how he built the Gunshot. The R80 mono came to him around the same time as the R100 that became his Dales Tracker. So it was thrown under a tarp and forgotten about. When he finally returned and whipped off the cover, it's initial shabby impression was confirmed, so Steve felt no guilt in stripping it down. But when he started to open it up, under every cover a treasure was revealed; "...everything - the carbs, the rockers, shone in near perfect condition." This was one fine machine. As is the way with his builds, Steve was willing to live with it the raw for a while, pop a tank on, prop a tyre in the front, try these bars on, and stand around with mates drink beer, looking, tweaking some more, and occasionally catching glimpses of his better half shaking her head. "In truth the monos are a bit of a pig, it’s so easy to go one way or the other, try and cover it up, or expose it for all it’s glory." Steve pretty much did both, but in the end decided on a Burgundy RD 350 tank and a cream seat. So that was the plan. A few days later the R80 had had it’s wheels painted and new Scorpions, the mock up done ready for the strip down paint up, when the postman arrived with an Ebay purchase Steve couldn't remember buying. He opened it up, discovered the Husqvarna tank he'd bought for another project, and out of curiosity he popped it on the R80. "I saw the reflection in the window…the crown in the treasure chest. And the rest is history. The frame, wheels, engine… casings, everything just hummed nicely." The only thing that hadn’t found it’s way yet was the pipes. After working through the options, he realised he wanted twin tails. Back to ebay and a quick search turned up a set of beastly stainless GSK 1400 pipes "that could...maybe with that just there...work". When the package arrived Steve lobbed off a few good inches of the link pipe, popped them on so the two tails were visible from the side. "Urgh that ain’t working… just about to dump them when I twisted them sideways so it had a nice single pipe flow look from the side, took a look at the rear and that was it, I finally found something that could give the two lumps sticking out each side a run for there money." A few adjustments, some fabrication to make everything fit, and he turned on the fuel tap, a couple more tweaks, "I hit the button and ‘BANG’ a huge backfire and the Gunshot was born..." The seat is a "Yam type thing that gets used on the Virago XV750 cafes" with the rear hump cut off and the rear sub frame cut to suit. The handlebars are K series with two inches welded on for extra width. The brakes are all standard. Steve changed the coil to a K series for a better fit under the tank. The headlamp is from a Kawasaki VN and the shroud was manufactured from an old Harley mudguard. "Interestingly and a first for me, I had the notion to keep the original idiots and plug from the loom. Done this type of thing a million times, only to fuck up, put it down to another whim and a waste of my time, then buy something off the shelf…". But not this time. He took the clocks apart, removed the idiot board, trimmed and thinned, popped the light board sideways in the lamp, cut a viewing window in the shroud, plugged it back in "...and wouldn’t you know it, it worked." The engine casing has been cleaned to within an inch of it’s painted life, the '72 Husquvana 400 crosser tank bares all the scars of a life well lived, and in Steve's mind deserved to be left alone. The shock was wired and polished to reveal a lovely patina and the spring painted to pick up the red of the tank. The airbox was removed. "Everything has just stayed shy of being overworked and over thought, I could have taken it in a loads of directions but in truth it found itself. Everything found it’s own natural equilibrium". Steve hopes the Gunshot defines what Dust is all about: "Simple problem solving and allowing things to find their natural way".