Sip the Kustom Kool Aid & follow the leader
It’s Week 12 and our teams are tumbling deep down the rabbit hole of creative self expression, from custom luggage racks to fabricating seat pans and tank restoration to a stator rebuild. Easter weekend means Broadford Bike Bonanza and it looks like Lee’s cooking up a campout for anyone who’s keen; hit him up for details next Thursday. The DGR 2022 is just around the corner, so the hustle begins to get bikes road ready, dust off the dapper threads, raise some dollars with the Kommune team and land some moto prizes.
Make your own rules
Despite being laid up at home, Steph is never off the clock and spent the week wading through YouTube, seeking inspiration and guidance for the Adventure Scrambler luggage solution. The brief for this section of the build is to securely carry enough gear for a lengthy self-sufficient road trip to places where servos and supplies are sparse. Hard or soft panniers? Modular or fixed? Top or side? Front and back? A rabbit hole within a rabbit hole! Given the scrambler subframe is a custom job, the team are pretty keen to fab up a custom luggage rack too, however, there’s also the option to get hold of a sturdy aftermarket setup and tweak it to the unique needs of a unique machine. Paul’s also been playing around with old military fuel cans and reckons the team could slice the top off and re-hinge it to form a lid. The final bike is going to look something like a retro enduro machine meets WWII dispatch rider, fit for all terrain and all seasons. Speaking of adventures, Leah was vibrating with joy after taking Al’s GB500TT for a hot lap, so keep an eye out for Billy riding pillion if she decides it’s The (New) One!
Jimmy jumped in with Michael and Tony to start rewiring the Scrambler’s faulty stator, once again shining a light on electrical components that have a tendency to distress even the most level-headed DIY’er. Kyle got stuck into some welding practice under the keen eye of Lenny, while Tookey and Leah got busy tidying up the Tracker frame. In Lenny’s words, the team “surged ahead” and requested a big shout out to Hamish for keeping morale high! The old tank and the new seat for the Tracker build are coming together, so it won’t be long before that freshly painted engine will be reunited with its fellow parts and they’ll have something distinctly rideable taking shape on the operating table. Next week, Paul a.k.a The Old Skool Perfectionist is doing a valve lapping demo, so if you’re around on Thursday evening swing by Kommune and bring a notepad!
Some of the Konnections crew took the night off to catch a one-time screening of The Desert Said Dance, a cinematic doco from Monster Children Films that follows a team who ran the Baja 1000 in 2019. Tell you what, there’s nothing quite like rolling up to the movies with your mates to settle in for a choc top and an armchair adventure!
Since 1967 the Baja 1000 has been the mother of all proving grounds for riders seeking enlightenment at the bleeding edge of desert racing, It’s one of the most challenging courses in the world and rattles seasoned riders without mercy. Baja doesn’t care how well your bike is built, it doesn’t care how much pre-riding you’ve done, it doesn’t care how many sponsors you’ve got and it doesn’t care how much you’ve laid on the line. This impossibly beautiful but totally unforgiving part of the world throws up soft sandy coastal trails, hundreds of bone jarring whoops in a single section, endless flats that warp a riders sense of time and space, dunes studded with rocks like landmines and the occasional stray cow. There’s also some, how do you say, ‘issues’ with fuel supplies that you might have to discuss politely with the local cartel. There’s also the threat of your comms going down so the chopper can’t find you, at which point you’re staring your mortality square in the face. The Baja 1000 is the world’s longest non-stop, point-to-point, off-road race and for the handful of hopeful riders possessing a deadly blend of bravery and calculated madness, the saying goes: “anyone can enter the Baja 1000 but not everyone will finish it. Some aren’t tough enough. Some don’t have bikes that are tough enough. Some cross the finish line, others prevail, but not all make it home.”
It’s difficult to grasp the speed these characters are travelling over terrain that us mere mortals would struggle to deal with at walking pace. Getting some insight from the film makers in a Q&A after the screening put the whole thing in perspective and we all walked out of there grinning like loons, planning off-road missions and feeling humbled by the endurance both cast and crew experienced.
There are no more public screenings in Melbourne, so if Kommune members are keen perhaps we could screen it at the workshop sometime. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and watch (or rewatch) Bruce Brown’s legendary On Any Sunday, the seed of inspiration for The Desert Said Dance and the kind of film that will forever unite motorcyclists of all persuasions. Some things never go out of style.
Before we sign off, props to Angelica for getting back on the bike and navigating the city streets solo. We all know how easy it is to lose confidence and how bloody difficult it is to regain it but you’ve clearly got it back because you looked super casual rolling through Abbotsford and out into the night like it ain’t nothing. Well that’s it for Week 12 folks, until next time tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbours and even strangers- the ride’s best when it’s shared!
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 to Nina for capturing our handsome crew!
Written by Tom Ansell