The custom motorcycle scene can be a competitive game, for all the comradery and sense of community that makes the industry such a wonderful thing to be part of, businesses still have to make a quid. For the workshops that build custom bikes that means selling at least enough of them to pay the rent, it’s fair to say we all take a pay cut for our art, but a man’s got to eat. To achieve this Auto Fabrica from North-East London have created a series of bikes that act as rolling advertisements for the quality of their work and what they can deliver. Based on Yamaha’s SR400 platform their Type 7 series offers customers a versatile machine that’s as comfortable ripping up a rain-soaked field as it is posing for the cameras at the local bike show. Designed with clean lines, executed with quality workmanship and utilising the best parts around it’s easy to see why customers are coming calling!
“For us, the Type 7 really is the essence of what a motorcycle is; light, powerful and full of character”
“Since we launched the Type 7 last year, we have had an exceptional response and constant interest. For us, the Type 7 really is the essence of what a motorcycle is; light, powerful and full of character, a true riders bike that is as much at home on a country trail as much as it is taking a cruise through the city.” This fine example is the fourth build in the series and wears the code name Type 7C, offering a unique and personalised experience while still sharing kinship with its predecessors. Brother’s Gaz and Bujar always start with a clean canvas and taking the SR back to its barebones allows them to shed any unnecessary components. On the Type 7 this starts with the frame which has been smoothed out, detabbed and customised for their back to basics look. The rear subframe has been cut back with a new loop end welded into place and the rails modified to create a smooth and flowing arc that meets the tank in a seamless fashion.
The tank itself has also undergone changes over stock with the edges rolled and returned for an exceptionally clean look that also takes away any hard lines. The clean aesthetic is then finished out “painted a clean gloss white for an understated and yet bold finish”. That theme is continued with the fenders, the big stock chrome items ditched, in favour of handmade aluminium items front and rear. Functional and yet unobtrusive to the theme they are finished out in black along with the frame and swing arm that allows the tank and engine to take centre stage. Sitting neatly on the new subframe is the custom seat that offers plenty of comfort for a day in the saddle and still looks the part in black leather that includes the signature Auto Fabrica triangle in brown fretted leather at the rear.
While many leave the SR engine relatively standard Gaz and Bujar like to extract a few extra ponies and add years of reliability to their builds which can only come from a complete rebuild. Given that they also offer an aqua blasting service as part of their business it is no surprise that the engine itself is perfect in appearance but it’s inside that things get interesting. Along with the full rebuild and new gaskets and seals they’ve also given the cylinder head a mild upgrade for increased breathing ability. Supplying the extra air and fuel mix is a change to a Mikuni VM34 that draws its oxygen through a foam pod filter. The exhaust not only adds a brilliant sound and extra get up and go but the hand formed stainless pipe with custom internal baffle adds yet another custom touch for the eyes to feast upon without disturbing any of the uncluttered lines created in the body work.
If there is one aspect to the build that is anything but understated it’s the in your face, buzzsaw looking Maxxis rubber. Sure it might be best suited for when the customer is using the bike off-road and form has been given a little leg up over function in some aspects, but everyone does realise that in 2016 tyres can be changed rather quickly right? But before the big rubber bands could be fitted the hubs front and rear were treated to the quality Auto Fabrica aqua blasting and along with the other aluminium components on the bike come up like new. They’ve then be relaced to 18inch rims front and rear, a first for the Type 7 series, that creates a very neutral stance. To bring the SR closer to the ground the front end has been lowered 30mm while the rear end is now controlled by Hagon shocks with progressive springs to soak up the abuse any surface can throw its way.
Overcoming the clutter of the gaurdy twin pods that hold the standard instruments is the fitment of a Motogadget Motoscope “tiny” speedo which is as the name suggests is very small at just 49mm in diameter. With a small Bates-style headlight fitted lower down near the bottom triple tree the already ultra-light SR400 gains the appearance to match its very flickable and fun riding characteristics. The clamps have also been given the aqua blasting treatment with the risers holding tracker bars that feature stunning black grips and machined ends. The rest of the functionality is kept as minimal as is humanely possible while still being street legal with tiny indicators mounted front and rear and an old school tail light sitting on the new rear fender.
The end result is everything that the SR400 promises from the factory just done in a much better way with stunning looks to match. The already lightweight machine is now less than 150kg, the torque friendly thumper engine offering up even more fun with a twist of the wrist and the aesthetics taken from classic commuter styling to a no compromise approach to customised clean lines. When you’re tucking the seams of a fuel tank you really do take slick styling to a whole new level, which should come as a surprise given the design background of both Gaz and Bujar. With builds like the Type 7C rolling out the door and their catalogue featuring everything from insane custom builds to practical and personalised it’s easy to see why Auto Fabrica is not only paying the rent but delivering customer bikes that induce a very big smile!