David Sutton from the Oily Rag Clothing Company has been designing and printing T-shirts and apparel in the U.K. for a few years now and he’s had two previous builds at our Bike Shed London events. In fact the Oily Rag Bobber was a standout build at the second running of the show in 2013. David was back last summer with an awesome KZ400 tracker and threatened further builds when time allowed. Good to his word this XV750 has been a while in the making.
Back in 2013 US based Hageman Cycles built a stunning XV750 which inspired a host of shed dwellers to sift eBay for suitable donors and emulate Greg Hageman’s stunning style. David liked Greg’s XV so much he decided buy an American spec version from 1983 and while away the evenings in the workshop.
First up on the chopping block were the gangly forks, three inches were removed in a bid for a more café racer stance and riding position. A set of rebuilt spoked wheels are lighter visually leaving the eye to dwell on that mass of engine.
The rear subframe and seat are one-offs for the project with the latter offering decent comfort and a balanced look, there does seem to be a tendency with XV builds to stick tiny seats on the back ending up with a stunted streetfighter theme. David has ignored this and the bike is all the better for it.
After a few fruitless months searching for the right Benelli fuel tank David relented to the allure of one of those cheap Indian made ones on eBay. “big mistake! I spent 30-40 hours on this tank only for it leak… it seems the metal is stretched so thin that the vapour made my carefully applied, nice paint job, bubble.” he vented.
The tank had to be blasted, sealed and repainted using the same cream as the previously mentioned Triumph T100 bobber but this time with a gloss clear coat finish.
With the inside of the engine being in fine fettle, thanks to the under stressed nature of the V-twin’s architecture and the donor vehicles set up being biased towards cruising rather than standup wheelies, so the cases were gently blasted and repainted, blending in with the freshly powder coated frame. Mikuni carbs feed the beast and bespoke stainless pipes supply the soundtrack.
Here’s David doing pensive bike builder and clothing mogul. His clever mate (not pictured, or drawn) at Bi-Product put together a new loom to work with the minimal battery box and cleaned-up cockpit. R6 controls further modernise the feel along with shedding a bit of weight.
David really does live the dream but slightly differently to the attempts made by a lot of hobby bike customisers. He’s built a successful clothing brand and supplements this with bike projects on the side. There isn’t a right or wrong way but he must be doing something correctly as his bikes are always really well finished and from here he looks to have added another success to the list. Watch this space as there are commission builds on the way, and if the tasty new lathe we’ve seen in his workshop is anything to go by, they’ll be worth waiting for.