She also came back to a changed bike. Bonnie Piper, named for Debbie's Scottish connections, was originally meant to be customised on a £3K budget but a serious commitment to a career/life change on Debbie's part saw that halved. This made the project a mission to get the most style for the least money. I'm pleased to say I think this was achieved. I'm also incredibly stoked to say that Debbie seemed to like what she saw as the bike came out of the workshop into the sunshine, with some AC/DC on the 'shop system providing the right vibes to complement the open 2 into 1.
Even the Chicken Shack Ducati came out to play...
On a minimal customising job like this, the seat and the paint job on the tank are the most important ways of making an impact. I cut down the seat base to extend exactly as far as the stock frame rails and no further, this to allow a shorter seat and a super short rear mudguard. It was also cut to be a lot narrower. I re-shaped the foam for a slinkier profile but to finesse it and cover it to the Chicken Shack design I turned to the pros. Similar story with the paint, I designed it but the pros painted it and advised, and so credit where credit is very much due:
The seat was work undertaken by Bradley at Viking Seats in Sevenoaks. Lee had done a fantastic job on the CSD, and Bradley was just as friendly, fast, and perfectionist as Lee. Stunning work and really fair prices mean they are my first stop for seat work, and they are proper bikers. They even run their own custom show on site every summer. Check out their site and their Facebook page.
The same has to be said for The Plastics Surgery, who advised me and painted the tank to my design. Luke helped me pick out Thruxton metallic green, the right pearlescent white and just the right gold for the logo shadow lines and the speed stripe outlines. Transparent pearl was then shot over the lot. The pictures can't do it justice. Steve and the lads are enthusiastic, ready to help you get what you want, and the results speak for themselves.
I'm bigging these guys up because they deserve it, I haven't benefitted in any way for praising their services. If you want a good job done check 'em out.
The CSD was a fairly minimal build as it was my first attempt, and I'd been determined to push myself on the next project. However, some big changes over the last three years, including the relocation of the Chicken Shack, a double house move, and the loss of my father-in-law, meant that another "light" project was probably a good thing. Bonnie Piper allowed me to ease back into things and regain confidence that I actually can do stuff like this, and that the CSD wasn't a fluke.
The Bonnie is mainly a styling exercise, with upgraded suspension and exhaust being the only performance changes. Obviously there's plenty of scope for tuning and brake upgrades later if Debbie fancies it. For now she has a sweet looking ride for not much outlay.
Now it's time for me to get back to the little Guzzi V50 I started taking to bits a couple of years ago. I've managed to arrange things so that I have a little more time for bike building. The plan is to make the V50 a much more ambitious project and therefore a steep learning curve. There may also be another Ducati Monster based project along the way too. Of course plans are just plans. Watch this space and see what really happens!