The Sideburn is a dirty bike lifestyle title that celebrates the stripped-back, bull-free, go-fast, turn-let ethos and aesthetic of dirt track racing. It also digs improbable road trips; widowmaker hillclimbs; shed-built; home-brewed racebikes; have-a-go heroes; hopeless zeroes and unearthing stories no one has ever written or read before.
As cults and previously niche styles are co-opted by the mainstream and made ordinary by social media repetition, the desire to customise everything only seems to be growing. Looking to capitalise on this custom explosion, UK company MotoTattoo are offering a new, and affordable service to customise helmets with a factory finish. The graphic is a mock-up as an example of what can be achieved, and this is what MotoTattoo say...
Founded in 2017 by creative artists and motorcycle industry professionals with over 30 years front line experience in motorcycle helmet design and manufacture. A team with a true passion for design, bikes and customisation.
MotoTattoo brings a revolution in individual, personalised and limited edition helmet design. Unique, personalised and hand crafted products....our design, or your very own design can now be applied inexpensively and quickly to any helmet.
Permanent, Safe, Beautiful Hi-Res Quality and Finish, any Colour, inc: metallics, chromes, fluos and special finishes such as distressed, vintage looks etc...Everything is possible.
Use our online design tool to design your very own helmet, or work with our design team to help you create your masterpiece.
MotoTattoo Ltd, Design studio, workshops and production facility is based near Wrexham in Wales. Our internal design team and studio work in conjunction with many talented artists to bring you an endless stream of ever changing designs and art vibes.
Our own “of the shelf” collection, changes month to month with new additions weekly.
Our motto....”Choose well, buy less, own fewer better quality things and make them last a long time”, even a lifetime. Thats why if your MotoTattoo product breaks down, send it back and we will either repair it or replace it with our 5 year warranty.
We back our products and services with a full 5 year warranty and a 5 year crash insurance at no extra cost
All our products are designed and individually hand decorated by our own designers and artists at our headquarters here in the U.K.
Hand Crafted with a Passion for Excellence
Pricing: Our Fully Decorated Helmets range in retail price from only £150 to £399
The main players in the current pro flat track scene, H-D and Indian, along with American Flat Track, are in a marketing space race that is putting the sport in front of more people than it has been for decades. Crucially, they're not simply preaching to those already involved with the sport.
Indian's involvement with Travis Pastrana's Evel Live jumps, completed on a 2018 FTR750 flat track race bike, will undoubtedly have sparked conversations along the lines of 'They race those things? Where?'
American Flat Track spent last weekend in the UK at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed with top riders Mees, Shayna, Carver, Baker, Cose, Bauman and Brindley, reminding motorsport fans about flat track, meeting potential series sponsors and, hopefully, laying the foundations for a European stadium round of American Flat Track.
Harley-Davidson might be getting a kicking from Trump on Twitter and Indian on the racetracks, but they're still marketing the pips out of the sport. This weekend will see the fourth annual flat track race at the X Games. There's a twins race for invited pros and a hooligan knockout that was so popular it required a pre-qualifying race in Idaho to progress to the Minneapolis event (look at the amount of hooligans in pits in the film below. Jeremy 'Twitch' Stenberg is a freestyle MX star and X Games Gold Medallist).
Flat track's inclusion in this hugely popular televised, crossover event, the Olympics of extreme sports, is solely down to H-D. Some woefully uninformed so-called flat track experts are publishing dumb comments about non-Harley racers being excluded from the race, when a simple look at the invited athlete entry list shows exactly who has invited, and there are more Indian racers than Harley riders - as anyone who has seen a single AFT race this year would realise. Additionally, there are Kawasaki and Yamaha riders. How could the grid be filled with regular Harley riders when there is only three factory riders, plus Carver and perhaps Pegram and Bauman, who have easy access to a race ready Harley? The invited list is not the final entry list and perhaps there will be some political (with a small p) pressures put on riders to not attend, but an X Games Gold Medal is a big deal in the US and all the riders will want one, especially in a season being dominated by Jared Mees - there are slim pickings for bragging rights in 2018. Bryan Smith, Jared Mees and Sammy Halbert have one gold each. No flat tracker has two yet.
I understand the tribalism of the Indian v Harley or the 'Anyone but Harley' negativity of some people, but if you're making out you're a voice in the sport, at least try to have a grasp on the facts.
On the Hooligan front, this stepchild of the sport doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down. The entry list is packed with familiar names from the US hooligan scene, plus stunt legend Robbie Madison.
Go to xgames.com to find out details on live feeds. The racing takes place on Sunday between 10.30am and 13:00 Central time.
If you've seen On Any Sunday (OAS), Bruce Brown's 1970 feelgood jolt of moto celluloid, you know the scene: flat track champion Mert Lawwill; moto all-rounder and bike shop owner Malcolm Smith and actor Steve McQueen meet up to show just riding around the countryside on their bikes is a fun time, you don't have to be a competition rider, like all those others the film focussed on, just go trail riding. The American public didn't need telling twice and there was an explosion in off-road play riding.
The bike McQueen rides in that scene is currently owned by Jason, a friend of mine who has been a constant through the life of Sideburn, having more bikes featured in our 32 issues than any other individual. I say currently, because it's coming up for auction at the Bonham's Auction at the Barber Museum, Alabama in October.
Jason bought the bike knowing it was an ex-McQueen 400 Cross, then through detective work, discovered it was the famous OAS Camp Pendleton beach bike.
What's more pleasing, and a true measure of Jason, is that even though he knew the bike was a McQueen Husky, he has raced it at two different Snow Quakes.
Forget Ronaldo joining Juventus, the biggest signing of 2018 is Lewis Leathers' securing a sponsorship deal with Jet Rock legend Guitar Wolf.
The London-based manufacturer has been outfitting motorcyclists, aviators and rock and roll stars since 1892, and recently opened a successful store in Harajuku, Japan, so a tie-in with cowhide enthusiast, Guitar Wolf is well timed.
I met the company's owner, Derek Harris, at this weekend's Assembly Chopper Show, where I took these hasty snaps of the Guitar Wolf replica, and he explained the jacket is based on an existing design, the Memphis, but with changes requested by Mr G Wolf, namely khaki main and cuff zips and belt studs. The special edition is named the Memphis 723 - G being the 7th letter of the alphabet, W the 23rd).
This in from one of the first company's we promoted back in the early days of the Sideburn blog, Omar's/ Phil Little Racing. They've come up with a kit for steepening the steering of certain Sportsters, specifically for Hooligan racing, but it would also give street trackers a more racery stance. It seems pretty expensive, though.
Phil Little Racing sells a ton of Sportster and street tracker parts. This is what Phil says...
The Sportster Racing QuikTurn 27˚ Steering Kit is a new corner handling product for those who race 1988-2003 Evo Sportsters in the Hooligan dirt track class. The kit reduces the fork angle to 27˚. The kit works with stock triple trees and in future Weiss and Durelle trees. This kit fits inside the steering head.
The current rage of Hooligan racing (big twins on short tracks) is the reason this project was undertaken at considerable cost. Sportsters are heavy (550 to 590 lbs.) They have a long 30o fork angle designed for stable straight line road riding.
An attempt to use a stock Sportster on a short track will yield awkward and difficult handling. Stock forks tend to self-straighten (push) in corners and limit the effect of counter steering.
Triumph America have belatedly joined the 2018 Super Hooligan series, with a handsome Street Scrambler and a former AMA Pro and, predictably, it’s put noses out of joint.
Last year, Triumph came within one race of being inaugural Super Hooligan National champions when they paired Joe Kopp with British Customs (read how the deciding race panned out in our special 16-page Moto Beach Classic event supplement, free with SB31). Now they're back, three races into the 2018 series, but with a more concerted effort.
The new bike first. It’s a 2017 Street Scrambler, with what looks to be a stock tank and a neat variation on the typical rear fender, with a small vintage MX style blade fitting to the seat rails.
The mid-level exhaust is by Vance and Hines; R6 forks are in Co-Built yokes; Fox supplied the rear shocks; flat track racing 19in wheels have a front spool hub and rear knock-off hub.
It was painted by Ornamental Conifer, prep was carried out by BA Moto in Long Beach and the project was managed by Deus Ex Machina, Venice for Triumph America. It looks just about as purposeful as any hooligan bike out there.
Now the rider: It's only former national number 11, Scott ‘Big brother of Brad’ Baker. Baker isn’t racing many, if any AFT races any longer, but he has the skills and speed to put the right bike in a 2018 main, so the whole ‘Keep pros out of hooligan racing’ argument has been reignited. I’ve written at length about my thoughts about hooligan racing in Sideburn 33, but here’s so more of my opinion for nothing.
When a series starts it often has a club feel and riders who do well at it, like the feeling of doing well, but racing is all about competition, and unless you’re Marc Marquez or Jared Mees, someone is going to be quicker than you, get used to the feeling. I have.
There is an argument that hooligan racing is a victim of its own success. Some of the pioneers don’t like being beaten by the former pros, who have been attracted by decent prize purses. Some riders, like the Rusty Butcher (who I like and admire as a rider and businessman) says it should still be dirt track racing for dirt bags, but then he has a sponsored team with free shocks, free engines, free exhausts, sometimes even free bikes, that have been sent to him because he can get the companies involved good coverage. That’s how it works. But then, it's easy to argue, you can’t keep the club exclusive when the very explosion in interest that is feathering your nest attracts other cuckoos who want the goodies, prestige, coverage. Life doesn’t work like that.
US Hooligan racing has already grown to the point where there is often a pro ‘Super Hooligan’ class and ‘fun’ class for amateurs who just want to race their Sportsters, at the same meetings. Doesn’t this solve the problem? It seems not from the social media discord I've seen.
Triumph USA don’t give a damn about what the established faces of the Super Hooligan scene think of them muscling in with a hot shot racer. They just want to win races for their brand in an effort to sell more bikes. Hooligan racing has become so big that that is a legitimate possibility. We'll see if they can
//The Triumph Hooligan has its public launch at See See in Portland tonight, Thursday. It debuts at the Wild One Super Hooligan round on Saturday, at Castle Rock, WA (which just happens to be Scott Baker’s home track…)
Baker tested the new bike at a Ventura. Like his younger brother, he uses the back brake as a tractin control device. Look at the rear disc...
Britain's premier motorsport garden party welcomes a number of AFT stars for this weekend's Festival of Speed. The FoS is the event where various historic and current motor racing vehicles parade up the hill, in front of a big crowd. There's more to it that that, but that's the gist. It's an non-competitive event. The Revival, later in the year, is the event where period costume is encouraged and pre-1967 vehicles race hard for honours.
Mees, Baker, Carver, Cose, Briar Bauman and Shayna Texter have come from the USA. Oliver Brindley is replacing Daytona 200 winner and AFT semi-regular Danny Eslick. Stevie Bonsey was supposed to be riding the Lloyd Brothers Ducati but was injured training and decided not to travel.
It means that there isn't one proper H-D representative. Eslick has been racing, and making mains, on XRs and XGs. So while it's great opportunity for young Brindley to schmooze, and we hope he makes the most of it, not having a factory H-D racer there does seem something of a missed opportunity. Perhaps Vance and Hines are using this break in a hectic schedule to get some testing in, for a second half of the season podium hunt.
The Festival of Speed appearance is a step closer to AFT honcho Michael Lock's plan to bring the AFT to Europe for a special round, spreading its reach beyond the lower 48. The flat track bikes, more than many other vehicles, will be fishes out of water, riding up a tarmac driveway, but it is nothing more than a shop window for the sport, and a chance for a handful of UK fans to meet the riders. There is no dirt track oval for them to ride on (this year, at least).
Tickets for tomorrow are from £57, for Saturday and Sunday they start at £69. If you can travel by two wheels, and aren't afraid to filter, do that. The traffic in and out of the venue can be very trying, to say the least. Goodwood FoS tickets.
If you're attending the FoS, and you see Jeffrey Carver, remember to get a photo pointing at the Sideburn logo on his sleeve.