1967 Triumph 650cc engine Steve McQueen Desert Racer replica (with road pack)
Dakar Street scrambler. 1980 BMW R80/7 scrambler conversion. BSA Bantam tank, X75 Hurricane handlebar, bespoke lighting, wiring, switches, fuel lines, cables, controls, speedo, rear fender etc. Electronic ignition.
I have been invited to ride 2WheelsMiklos’ extremely interesting collection of classic and custom motorcycles, from which I will be publishing my findings and thoughts. I am just a guy who enjoys riding and am in no way a professional critic so these thoughts are purely my own personal opinion. They have a 30 strong classic collection with some mind blowing pieces like the Munch Mammoth. On top of this they run a restoration and customisation outfit which is producing some very interesting machines.
First off, I had the privilege of riding two very different scramblers, and not the scramblers that would come to most minds.
The Metisse Desert Racer is a machine that was popular during Steve McQueen’s hay day and in fact this bike is an almost exact replica of the one he rode with great pride. It is a very light machine with a custom frame designed by the Rickman Brothers and a fairly high compression single carb Triumph 650cc engine. These have recently become available to the public again following the rebirth of the company and a find of a large number of the original frames. The guys putting these together have gone through a lot of effort to source original engines and to make the fibre glass tank and body parts using the original mouldings.
I have seen this bike in the 2WM showroom, and always wondered how it handles, myself tending to be a rider of much larger and heavier road bikes and how it sounds with those short sweet upswept pipes.
On the road this bike handles well for a scrambler, and really does turn heads. It has a road pack (speedometer and lights) fitted and hence is road legal. The engine sounds amazing, shattering car windows at a twist of the throttle and delivering more than enough power for the little bike. The knobbly tires however were clearly made for the dirt with high acceleration leading to some interesting slides.
Once I got this into a field though, it all came into its own. The featherweight bike was easy to throw around and tackled anything I put in front of it. The Metisse has its gripes, such as inadequate oil breathers leading to oil leakage once it had really heated up (fixed by the 2WM mechanics by repositioning and extending the breather) and a kick start that can be a beast. But this thing is pure fun with great looks.
Second up was a much stranger bike that Miklos had customised from a BMW R80. The Dakar Street Scrambler, in its baby blue and chequered paint job looks entirely unique. It has been heavily customised with a huge amount of weight dropped and, again, some very knobbly tires added.
The guys at 2WM have really done something special here, under the custom paint and 27 front plate there’s a X75 Hurricane handlebar (there is actually a X75 Hurricane in the 2WM collection which I hope to ride and review later in the year) and bespoke, well pretty much everything, with special mention for the upside down exhaust pipes, Bantam tank and amazing paint job - and the interesting part, it all seems to work unlike a number of other customs I have ridden.
The name really does it justice, the Dakar is really at home on the road due to its seating position and bigger engine, though it does this very well off the road as well. If you are looking for something that catches people’s attention, this is it.
The bike is much easier to manage, with an electric start and very visible indicators, however due to its hidden front lights it isn’t designed for night riding.
I am looking forward to continuing these trials, up next I have been informed is the 2 Litre club, with Triumph Rocket 3 and a Viper Diamondback, both sitting well over the 2000cc mark.
2WheelsMiklos are the Southern England Metisse agent and the Dakar is available to purchase along with their customisation and restoration services.