The Whippet… i get asked a lot, why its called the whippet, as well as people posting some old song by Devo to me,
well, i’m a Yorkshire ld, i do wear a flat cap but i don’t like dogs! so there you go.
i started building this bike way back when we still thought the world was flat, or so it seems. id got bored of the usual sports bikes and street-fighters and craved something different. my last real project was a 1985 GSXR that i built as an endurance replica, it was stolen and id been looking for a new project for a while. Hard up choppers were fresh on the scene when i first saw their frame for the GSXR engines. i wasn’t confident enough building my own frame and since the engine of choice fit straight in to these, it was a no brainer.
by the time i got around to beginning the build, HUC had taken off and become more common than the cold, and increasingly difficult to build a custom, since all these customs looked the same now. intended to be a fast 6 month project
…. but then i had the bright idea of fitting a TD04 turbo from a Subaru Impreza. unfortunately the turbo wouldn’t fit where i wanted it without fouling the wheel, which led me to stripping the bike and a 6 inch goose-neck put in. fast forward a while after i had either got bored or annoyed with it and put it under a sheet for a while, and the turbo had gone – hey its a 1200cc in-line 4 in a hard-tail frame with nitrous,
its already overkill without the turbo!!
i just wanted a simple no fuss chopper that looked cool. ive never been a fan of telescopic forks, they leak theyre a pain in the ass to change the oil, so i had a set of girders made, unfortunately the “professional” job turned out to be a cowboy job, so the whole bike ended up going to a friend who i looked upto in the building world, always a fan of the radical extreme builds of Robbie Robinson, i trusted he could fix the fuck-ups created, and deliver he did! we got chatting about the many of his crazy bikes he had built and somehow i left with a single SU carb conversion replacing the bank of 4 mikuni and a rather funky exhaust system too, a few late night chats with another great builder, the great Twizzle, and he posted me out a vertex magneto to do away with all the wiring and computerised gadgets. my friend and another great
builder Mark Nadin popped over for a look and measure up and fabricated the covers and brackets to mount the vertex, and some famous engraver – Tony or someone? took away my clutch cover, and returned it with the fantastic artwork you see before you and the rest is merely whiskey induced ideas and crazy ramblings with crazy friends putting silly ideas in my head. it looks radical but its basically a sports bike with no suspension, an ignition system from the 30’s a carb i took out of a 60’s car and stuck it all together in a Heath Robinson kind of way.
i’ve been told its daft, stupid… i’ve been told its cool
i’ve been “advised” to do things differently but i’m not building this bike to please anybody, to hunt for trophies or to appear on the pages of every magazine that will print it, i just wanted to build something that i liked, that appealed to me. i’ve learnt a lot and made some fantastic friends along the way. its been an emotional ride, but one i’m glad i took.