Bates Baja Twins go Born Free 13
It’s been a long wait for Born Free, the world fair for wrenchaholics. But now we’re more than ready for round 13 of Born Free! You don’t have to be a futurologist to predict that again there’ll be an incredible accumulation of custom ideas. Telling from we saw these past few years, there’ll be derelict barn finds, semi transparent Harley engines and complete design disasters. There’ll be rabbit ear bars too narrow to pass a cigarette through and there’ll be forks longer than timber trucks and upsweep pipes menacing international air travel.
W&W @ BF13
So we thought, why not bring a couple of nice bikes of our own? After all, we here at W&W were born to free stock Harleys of excess weight, let them breathe freely and give them personality. In our warehouse and garage we found enough interesting parts sufficient for not one, but two choppers. So we decided to build them both as identical twins, but still slightly different. With the same Baja California dust eating chopper road movie spirit, and a good gulp of tequila and beer thrown in. In the end we had a pair of twins with a twist, a V-Twin heart, a lot of stuff sourced from our warehouse shelves and some really heavy handmade parts on top.
WRENCH RIGHT OR BUST
The man to do it was Mattias "LeBeef" Anderson, steel whisperer numero uno at W&W with the built in ability to create two very slick, very real bikes from hundreds of wacky ideas. There were the usual "man, why isn’t that working", "right, I’ll undo everything and fiddle with it some more and do it again the RIGHT way and then we’ll know" or "tomorrow’s another day – ouch, IT IS tomorrow already" moments, but from the start it was a fun project, ’cos wrenching on two identical bikes simultaneously is a mental challenge of the first order.
IT’S DONE WHEN IT’S DONE
After months of wrenching, welding, grinding, chroming, swearing, head shaking, more swearing and grinning the Baja Twins were ready to roll. With striking paint from Bob’s Custom Car & Paint, Tidahol, Sweden. The California Bear and the Mexican Eagle were hand painted by Annika Ljungberg of Duckstripe, Varberg, Sweden .
Apart from eagle and bear and the MexiCalifornian colour mix there are some more, very subtle differences that take a second look to discover. Your best chance to see them is at Born Free, happening 25/26 June 2022.
But bikes need to taste the open road. Before and after Born Free we want to show these two Shovels a little bit of their home continent, so Nobbi and Tommy took the finished Baja Twins for some serious test kilometers on German Autobahns, mountain switchbacks and rustic single tracks to make sure that they will stand the test of MexiCalifornian back roads. They only stopped when they knew: