The Feeling Never Fades…
Longtime Kommune patron, Dirt Daze organiser, aficionado of vintage race bikes and a man more comfortable hanging it out at full bore on the dusty track than standing upright. We’re talking about newly appointed Moto Est manager Louis Reeves, who rolled into the workshop to service his SR400 pocket rocket yesterday and by the time old oil was flowing our conversation found its groove with the classic icebreaker “what are you thinking of getting next?” We all know the magic formula is N+1, amirite?
Smiling in the direction of the carefully organised parts from our Kommunal Kustom builds, Louis quietly revealed that he is in fact the generous benefactor of the ‘84 XT600, soon to be our apocalyptic desert sled. Huge thanks for your donation matey, we really appreciate it. The team has got a lot of love for this adventure machine and will continue its off-road legacy in style. It’ll be an honour to see you taking it for a spin like old times!
If you talk to enough people about enough bikes you’ll see a distinct pattern emerge, binding all the different anecdotes: people fall in love with a certain feeling that a certain bike gave them and it doesn’t go away even if the bike is long gone, written off or regrettably sold. Like the vivid memory of a steamy holiday romance, or ‘the one that got away’, the feeling never fades when you’ve gone places on a bike that made your heart sing like no other. One such bike that sparks heartfelt recollections across the board is the XT600, a no bullshit single-cylinder workhorse and the bike of choice for heaps of moto travellers in the 80s and 90s, especially for tough adventures across Europe, Africa and here on the sun scorched island we call Australia. Reliable, fixable on the fly, nimble on unforgiving terrain and with a kickstart like a wild horse, the XT will be forever championed amongst those for whom bitumen is boring and a big BMW is a burden. Next time you see someone on a XT, ask them about their time with it and you’re sure to get a wide eyed monologue of distant trails and forests and river crossings and maybe a busted foot from that bloody kickstart!
Hot Boys & Their Toys
It’s easy to take things too seriously when you live a leather-clad life on two wheels. You’re hustling through city traffic, you’re out in the elements, you’re up late fixing your machine when everyone else is tucked up in bed and while they’re still asleep you’re catching the empty streets at dawn. Even the most humble motorcyclist can’t help but let their inner badass off the leash every time they hit the road. However, let us remember that hubris is a deadly trap and it’s important to keep the ego at bay by having a laugh at yourself at least once a week. Take Jake for example, the very definition of a humble badass with nothing to prove and more butt-puckering tales than the rest of us could ever notch up. By the way, has he ever told you the story about taking Bill Murry for a spin in the Middle East? That’s a cracker. Anyway, Riz rocks up with a black lycra onesie, leather masquerade bunny ears and suddenly we’ve got Barry White serenading our mate as he crumps and flexes and makes love to his Harley, without so much as a blush. You’ll have to wait to see what these spicy shenanigans were all about but the point is, our workshop celebrates your eccentricities and we’ll always do what we can to help a mate out, even (or especially) if it means getting kinky.
Demystifying The Machine
Both teams are taking the time to recondition, clean and repaint their engines because we all know a radical looking bike is only as credible as the parts that power it. Valves have been de-carbonised, pistons have been polished, old gaskets have been scraped off, casings have been scrubbed and peace of mind for the longevity of our builds is being obtained.
Jack has boldly put his hand up to have a crack at relacing the Scrambler wheels with new spokes. Props to you mate, we believe in you! After a yarn with Paul, we reckon it’s best to strip the gold alloy rims because it clashes with the military inspired aesthetic, which Lydia was busy refining on the iPad. Despite fifteen long work days in a row, Michael showed his commitment to the cause and checked in with the crew to get a handle on the priorities and breathe in the collective enthusiasm that he’s been starved of. You are always here in spirit brother!
Oskar regaled us with tales from a recent off-road odyssey astride his trusty KTM and if you need any more excuses to get out into the Vic High Country, have a look at his photos from Craig’s Hut; cinematic perfection. Angelica got busy with the Dremel, preening the Flat Tracker engine after its first coat of paint and Jon went to town polishing the Scrambler frame to get it fully prepped for weld repairs before painting can begin. By the way, for all your painting needs, go and have a chat with Paul around the corner at Ideal Body. He did a sterling job recently on Toddy’s Harley tank and if you’re unsure what colours are right for your parts, he can pretty much mix up anything imaginable and will talk you through the options. A good bloke to know.
Super Social Moto Club
Next week (Thursday 7th April) a few of the crew are going to a screening of The Desert Said Dance at Cinema Nova. Check the trailer and grab a ticket while you still can. To account for fewer hands on tools than our usual Thursday night we’ve organised a couple of working bees: Sat 30th April for the Scambler and Sun 1st May for the Flat Tracker. Everyone’s welcome, the BBQ will be cranking and quite frankly we can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend.
Due to the Aussie GP, our Around The Bay In A Day weekend ride is now on Saturday 9th April instead of Sunday 10th. Plan A is heading around the bay for lunch in Sorrento, jumping on the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff and returning home via Geelong. All bikes are equal at Kommune, so it doesn’t matter what you ride. Just show up as yourself and leave the city behind for a day of moto meditation. Plan B, if sailing conditions are rough and the ferry ain’t an option: Melbourne to Sorrento loop, combining coastal cruising and inland roads. If we roll with Plan B, you’ll see updates on Kommune Social, Instagram and Facebook by Friday 8th.
Lee (or Cool Calm & Keen Lee as we like to call him) put a shout out for an Easter escape up to Broadford Bonanza. More vintage race bikes than you can shake an oily rag at, the option to camp and just down the road from Boogie festival. If you’re keen, the plan is to leave early doors on Saturday 16th, amble our way up via the scenic route, have brekkie somewhere, lose our minds over all the moto history, camp out overnight and make our way back to the big smoke on Sunday.
The Kommunal Kustom Build is part of our Kommune Konnections program funded by the DGR and Movember. If you’re keen to learn more, check this page and if you’re keen to get greasy, join us on a Thursday night from 6pm. Thanks as always to Jake Simkin for taking the time to photograph our motley crew and keep the sausage sizzle tradition alive.
Written by Tom Ansell