Custom KTM – The HiRider

This is a bit of a throwback, every-now and then I save an exclusive project for a possible print media article, for as long as I can remember I have been excited about magazines, excited at the content thats inside them and the amount of ideas packed into a publication. It’s also a good way for Dean to earn a little more $$ and allow his skill in imagery to be printed on paper instead of pixilised in the digital world.

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To have a close friend thats a photographer is a huge bonus for me, Dean and I have a really similar view on the world, our skills and passions go hand in hand and we have a lot of fun with projects that appear in my garage. This project (as you will read) came at a time when we didn’t have a whole lot going on, the expedition to the Salt Flats was over, we were hunting for something new, something different, something free and something fun.

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To give you some insight into how publications work im going to post the article and the photos we took for the article below, our efforts to sell this one didnt pan out how we planned, in fact we couldn’t even give it away. You will see that it isnt for the fact of quality images, unique motorcycle, or the adventures we took it on.

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Every factory motorcycle has an intended purpose, entire design team’s work towards fitting out their showroom floors with motorcycles that complete an intended brief, but what if you’re a person that walks into the showroom and see nothing more than a heap of plastic covering the beauty within.

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Dean and I are such people, driven by the thrill of adventure we always set out to make the best of any situation. Mid way through 2015 Dean took on a job to photograph a subject for our friend Mike from Saint.cc, during the shoot Mike explained to Dean that a box in the corner of his office contained what looked to be a dirt bike and offered it to Dean to make something out of it.

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In no time Dean bought the pieces back to our home town in Geelong, he explained to me that he had a new motorcycle that needed work; he didn’t know what it was he just told me it needed work. That night he dropped it at my garage, knocked on the door and ran off.

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As I unpacked the boxes I checked off the things we needed, motor, wiring, frame, swing arm, suspension and a bag of bolts. It seemed to all be there, I pulled the rocker cover off the motor and the top end seemed to be alright, the engine had compression and after a quick pressure wash I fitted the frame in the motor, connected the wiring, cleaned out the carbie and it fired to life.

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I had a spare set of supermoto rims from my last bike, after fitting them up I realised the 17” rims with stock suspension height looked incredibly ridiculous. I sat the bike in the middle of the garage and put my thinking cap on, searching through my parts I found a seat from a 2012 KTM that I previously reconstructed, I propped the seat up onto the top tube and immediately saw a line that looked perfect, this project found a direction!

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Using 0.9mm sheetmetal I started to construct a pair of fuel tanks that would line up with the seat and wedge into the back of the radiators, with some time on the TIG welder and some rubber mounting bungs the fuel tanks took shape, flushing the tanks out indicated total fuel capacity to be around the 6 litre mark.

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With the seat in place I constructed a tubular mounting frame for the seat and radiators, it all removes easily and is rubber mounted for rider comfort.
We rolled it out of the garage, into the van and set off into the countryside for its first test run, it’s a simple bike, it’s not hiding anything and it gives the pilot a true indication of its potential to go anywhere you want.

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Every motorcycle has the potential to become exactly what you want, if you can’t buy it then you must build it, we took a box of parts and some sheetmetal and came up with a good time on two wheels, it’s as simple as that

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Bonus images and adventures

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The first ride took place out at the You Yangs, as the sun set after the static shots it was time to unleash its potential.

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Light and nimble, it really did feel like it was all wheels and motor.

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After replacing the fork seals the suspension was perfect.

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It begged me to push it harder.

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The next adventure took place at RidePark where Streetfighter was prepping the Flat Track.

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Its where Dean and I did more distraction than help.

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Taking the Hi-Line

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The stock suspension gave it a high center of gravity, monos where effortless.

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The big rear tread made lying the bike down predictable and inviting.

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Followed with stacks of 250F power on exit.

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Dean backing it in under full power, the guy dosnt just take a good photo….

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Next up we decided to check out a waterfall thats not far from our house, after taking a few wrong turns in the Econoline, meeting a man that lived in a tent in the bush and was building an S14 Silvia, we finally found our location, it was a decent trek in the rain and mud to get this shot.

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The very next day was calm and the water was like glass.

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Dean had some rope, a surfboard and his friend Matty that needed a tow.

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I tied off to the shock and we went for it.

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Matty was really getting it done.

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Sometimes.

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Lucky Finno bought down some refreshments.

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I took in a fair amount of water.

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And so did the bike.

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Its what I love about motorcycling, not taking things too seriously, making the most out what you have and expelling some creativity while having a good time with good people.