The British Biker Build-Off is a televised competition among top U.K. bike builders that challenges entrants to complete a custom motorcycle from scratch to up, running, ready and rideable, in three months.
But while some of this year's competitors fast-tracked their efforts by using a proprietary custom frame, off-the-shelf wheels, store-bought headlamps and other ready-made items, Roger Allmond, owner of Allmond Cycle Design (ACD), built this stunning Victory-engined machine by fashioning all the aforementioned components himself.
The dark horse of the six combatants-two of the others had participated in last year's Build-off, No. 3 is a household name in motorcycle customizing, No. 4 has been building custom bikes for more more than 20 years, and No. 5 has been featured extensively in bike mags for the past couple of years-Roger Allmond had but one previous notch on his customizing gun.
That notch was the well-respected Ducati-powered T-Bob (Techno-Bobber) he'd exhibited at the AMD Pro Show World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Las Vegas last year, an event with a title about as long as the time it took Allmond to get there from Oxfordshire in the U.K.
Allmond learned the basics of his engineering and fabrication craft while serving a full-engineering apprenticeship with the Rover auto plant before honing his skills as a specialized contractor in the Techno-Valley area of Oxfordshire. This neighborhood, scattered with Formula One racing teams such as McLaren, Renault and Williams, lies within a 20-mile radius of Allmond's backyard workshop in a sleepy village with thatched-roof houses and a traditional English pub that serves warm beer and cold food.
Opting out of the pressures of the automotive rat race, Allmond decided he wanted to build custom bikes for a living (albeit very high-quality bespoke custom bikes). To show what he could do, Allmond spent two years building the T-Bob around a 996 liquid-cooled desmoquattro engine given to him by Ducati U.K., which had been impressed with his original concept for a Monster-based custom.
Approaches to Mike Pedlar at Victory Motorcycles met with the favorable offer of one of the company's 1507cc V-twin engines to power Allmond's proposed 2006 Biker Build-off project. A deal with XYZ Machine Tools saw some much-needed CNC machinery come into the Allmond workshop (the T-Bob had been built entirely without computer-controlled gizmos), the American Wheel Company provided a pair of wheel blanks, Metzeler stepped up with the offer of necessary black rubber, Earl's provided the hydraulic hosery, and Renthal pushed a pair of its Fat Bars Allmond's way. And apart from the GSX-R1000 fork legs that were scored from a secondhand source, a Harley Sportster fuel tank that was cut 'n' shut to house the electrics in a false base, and the big Victory speedo on the top, that was about it in regards to the total sum of the parts.
But as we all know (or should), with a custom-built motorcycle it's very often the case that the total is very rarely the sum of the parts-the rest of the bike was a 100 percent Allmond effort consisting of approximately $300 worth of aluminum, some stainless steel tube for the exhaust headers and a hell of a lot of skill, know-how and very late nights.
The frame itself is beautifully crafted from HE30 aluminum in two pieces that bolt together around the massive V-twin Victory engine for a super-snug fit; the duplex lower frame cradle bolts to the fabricated headstock housing with both upper and lower frame members bolted to the large engine casting behind the gearbox that also locates the swingarm and the rear shock absorber. That swingarm is another exquisite Allmond aluminum creation; although it's not single-sided like the T-Bob's, the more conventional Victory fabrication is also made from welded aluminum tubing. The large yet delicately waisted fork yokes came as the result of many hours of machine work, as did the wheels, which were both fashioned from blanks provided by the American Wheel Company. Bodywork, such as it is, consists of the aforementioned modified Sportster fuel tank and the beautifully sculptured aluminum center console and flat-trackesque seat unit.
The big, 92-cubic-inch V-twin Victory engine is just as Mr. Polaris made it, an overhead-cam, four-valve, fuel-injected, counterbalanced, torque monster that needs little in the way of extra tuning for its intended application in Allmond's XYZ, although a little remapping of the EFI was in order, due to the abbreviated, custom-made air cleaner and wonderfully short (and loud) exhaust system.
Although time was tight (excruciatingly so-the bike was "finished" for the cameras and exhibited at the 2006 Build-off, sans paint), rather than use a proprietary headlight that would have quickly shooed the job along, Allmond opted to make the effort to fashion the aluminum headlamp shell himself.A quick glance at the use of the original Victory switchgear, front and rear master cylinders and stock Victory black and chrome finish on the engine makes it clear, however, that Allmond didn't quite get to finish up all the details on the bike, thanks to the time crunch. What is intentional, though, is the raw, unpolished finish of aluminum components and the subtle, understated paintwork that only enhances the superb engineering and fabrication that has gone into the construction of this motorcycle.
The Ducati T-Bob may have shown just what Roger Allmond is really capable of, and the Victory XYZ may show what he is capable of in three months-but either way, as far as Allmond Cycle Design is concerned, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
SpecificationsOwner: Roger Allmond, ACD (Allmond Cycle Design), Oxford, U.K.
Engine: Victory 92ci (1507cc) Freedom 50-degree OHC V-twin with 4-valves per cylinder and 9.1:1 compression. EFI with 44mm throttle bodies. ACD air filter and stainless steel exhaust system
Frame: ACD in HE30 aluminum. ACD footrests and lever assemblies in aluminum
Front End: Suzuki GSX-R1000 fork legs. ACD billet aluminum fork yokes. Renthal Fat Bars. Victory master cylinder and clutch lever. ACD billet aluminum 17-inch wheel with Metzeler 120/70x17-inch tire. ACD brake disc with Brembo 4-piston brake caliper and Earl's stainless steel brake lines
Rear End: ACD swingarm in HE30 aluminum with Victory shock absorber. ACD 18-inch billet aluminum wheel with Metzeler 300mm rear tire. ACD rear pulley, belt guard and belt tensioners. ACD brake disc with Brembo 4-piston brake caliper, Victory master cylinder and Earl's stainless steel brake lines
Body Work: Modified steel H-D Sportster fuel tank. ACD seat in hand-formed aluminum. ACD seat pad
Electrics: ACD aluminum headlight. LED taillight. Victory switchgear and speedo/tacho
Engineering: Bike designed, built and all fabrication and machine work by Roger Allmond, Allmond Cycle Design, Oxford, U.K.
Thanks To: Mike Pedlar at Victory Motorcycles U.K., XYZ Machine Tools and All American Wheel