By Ali Latimer - 26 Aug 14
A modern Café Racer will always divide opinion, much like many of the bikes that we feature, but what we hear more often is 'well that's not very practical' and 'you've gone for form over function'... and yes, that is often what custom bikes are all about, but this build is about function, purpose, ability and it just so happens that it does all that with style too. This bike started off as Husqvarna Nuda 900R and was a press launch bike, and that's the important bit here, due to being a press launch bike it is the R version, giving the standard bike fully adjustable Sachs forks and a swanky Ohlins rear shock. During the launch the bike was ridden by the wrong person and thrown down the road, so all of a sudden there was a brand new R version Nuda up for grabs and Marc seized the opportunity to get his perfect donor, the road tester had done a great job of damaging the bits that were not required and making the donor affordable; I wonder if Marc knew that road tester! Marc is no stranger to us and his last build was a lovely little SR500 with all the right bits on it, his ethos back then was to create a bike that weighed as little as possible and handled as well as possible, and he still has that ethos with this build, but in addition he wanted 100% reliability, which is often one of the first things we sacrifice in this scene, of course we want our machines to be reliable, but deep down we don't expect it and when they do break down, we're seldom surprised! Marc has done a bit of racing, firstly on MZ's; the perfect school for learning how to fix a bike; as the paddock probably had more rebuilds taking place than any other series, then he went onto the more reliable SV's, so it's the racer in him that desires the stripped weight and better handling... and the reliability comes from having a greater desire to ride than repair, and amen to that! So onto what makes this bike different and how come she's called the Huscati! Well, for those paying attention, you may recall I mentioned the R version comes with fully adjustable Sachs forks and Ohlins rear shock, this Husky; in café setup wears the front end from a shiny Ducati 1198s, complete with light weight Marchesini front wheel and Brembo M4 calipers, this isn't because the Sachs were ruined by the aforementioned tester, but because Marc wanted to match the rear shock and improve the front end, I say if you have a front end from an 1198s kicking around; use it, they look the business and work brilliantly. Yet the original front end is still used, Marc has gone for building a bike to fulfil all his needs, it is only in the above photo that we show you her in her café setup, the other setup is what Marc calls the Roadster, and he can swap between this and the café setup in about 30 minutes, Further proof of Marc's desire to use top notch parts is echoed with the LSL tank, seat and rear sets, none of which were available to the public when he got his hands on them, his SR500 build had been observed by LSL MD and he was so impressed that Marc jumped the production queue. The tank strap was made by local Brighton firm Born+Bred. When in Café form she has carbon fibre clip-ons, and is always dressed with red Venhill brake lines paired to Rizoma reservoirs. Billet alloy indicators nestle nicely into the trellis frame and a full Arrow exhaust system allows her to flow smoother and sound define. Paintwork has been done by one of our favourite custom painters, D, from D-Lucks; also down in Brighton. It had a metal flake, imported from America mixed to the chrome paint, and then she has real gold leaf, black and red for the Pin Stripes, within the tanks knee wedges she wears Marcs old race number, 77 in a matt shadow effect. Next up from Marc will be a GS550 Brat style bike which he's calling the "Trackbrat" which has got some serious trick parts and he hopes will feature on oldbikeshed.wpengine.com pretty soon, as do we. His next project will be to turn a brand new Yamaha MT-07 into a cafe racer - this another parallel twin which has the potential to make a very good little street racer. We look forward to seeing more from Marc, undoubtedly one of our most talented shed builders.