Cookie Cutter Cycles would be a feasible name for some workshops out there in planet custom, so it's refreshing to see Chris Dekker of Tin Can Customs bucking certain trends and attempting to forge his way into the scene. Old fashioned home-brew mechanics, bodgers and make-do MacGyvers spawned the revolution many moons before I was even born and Chris feels that the roots of motorcycle personalisation should be nurtured and shared. From a dockyard workshop in Amsterdam, Tin Can Customs aims to bring together an existing community of shed builders, pros and enthusiasts to spread the knowledge and create a community of makers, be it bikes, furniture or anything that adheres a likeminded collective. The inspiration for the "Special Alloy" came from sepia toned days gone by; American board track racers, choppers and bicycles. Hardtailing a CB had always been on Chris' mind so when customer Coen Ruijter dropped his 550 at the shop the timing seemed perfect. Coen had other ideas for his steed but was steamrolled into an older way of thinking and some of Chris' enthusiasm for heritage rubbed off. A 1930's photo of a rust covered motorcycle, abandoned in a backyard somewhere far away was the final twist of the thumb screw, Chris got his own way and Coen was on board with raiding the accumulation of parts on the workshop shelves. The donor CB550 was Coen's father's back in the day and had been returned a little worse for wear after being stolen, so a degree of frame straightening was required before a new front end could be sourced. Again, timing right, a set of BSA girder forks became available and with some machining assistance form VVM Racing the theme was set for the rest of the build. Fabricating the hardtail section of the frame was Chris' biggest challenge, trying to keep lines organic whilst maintaining functionality. He's pretty happy with the result, and importantly so is Coen. The engine was refreshed and the carbs rebuilt. The exhaust is nearly all handmade and apparently rasps like a two stroke, complimented by the rush of air into the Steel Dragon Performance velocity stacks. Filters are way too modern an accoutrement for such a rose tinted machine. Initially the fuel tank was set to be from a Malaguti, but after a trade for some scrap steel this wonderful Zundapp unit was cut and modified to fit; complete with mini portholes for checking the fuel level. Friends over at Silver Machine upholstered the rather narrow sprung seat. Front and rear lights are the result of many visits to swapmeets, with the rear being modified to incorporate LEDs, capable of withstanding the rigours of being mounted to an unsprung rear end. The bars were bent in-house with end-mounted levers continuing the historical aesthetic. The rear wheel is a stock CB750 and the front a CM250 hub laced to a BMW 36 hole rim. Whilst emptying the bins Chris found a Special Alloy spanner so signed off the build by attaching this to the mudguard frame mount. The ride is firm to say the least and with a '50s girder front end, requires a degree of concentration but leaves the rider in no doubt that they are directly connected to the road. Coen gave Chris carte blanche with this build and the ultimate compliment was paid by an onlooker at a show saying "this bike was produced in 1976, built in 2014 and looks as if it came from the thirties" Mission accomplished. Chris is looking to expand his shop and community, now with his sister on board this will become a family business, with a leaning towards choppers and mechanical wonderment from the history books. Follow them over on Facebook for updates or get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org Photographs courtesy of Mark Meisner Motografie
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