The Baja Twins go Matchlight!
If you look for long enough into the rearview mirrors of our Baja Twins, you’ll discover derelict barn finds, forks longer than timber trucks and upsweep pipes menacing international air travel. In short, our MexiCalifornian duo of Shovelheads is covered with the dust and the memories of last year’s Born Free Motorcycle Show.
Born Free is arguably the global centre of Wrenching Culture, drawing us in like moths to the light. So we thought, why not bring a couple of nice bikes of our own? We checked our warehouse for interesting parts and found enough sufficient for not one, but two Shovelheads. 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.
Dances with wrenches
Mattias "LeBeef" Anderson is our man at the workbench, steel whisperer numero uno at W&W with the built in ability to create very slick, very cool Shovel choppers from our original concept idea.
Mattias worked his magic on the LED headlights he incorporated into a set of wicked hand-built nacelles to achieve that slick enduro look, or rather, Baja style. Also the custom built (ever tried to build two identical sets of pipes?) exhaust systems for the two Shovelheads. Did you notice the footrests? The foot controls? Better take a second or third look: all custom-built as custom-built can. This is all top drawer.
There were the usual "man, why isn’t this 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 – oh nooo, 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.
Here’s the master’s words:"When you do the first part, it’s a lot of experimenting, trial and error and so on. Once you’re there, you almost start all over again, and are comparing the parts, so they are as close to the first part as possible. It would be easier to make 100, because then you would build tools and fixtures …"
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 Garage, Tidaholm, Sweden. The California Bear and the Mexican Eagle were hand painted by Annika Ljungberg of Duckstripe, Varberg, Sweden
Baja Twins are go!
Bikes need to taste the open road. Before Born Free we showed these two Shovels a little bit of their home continent, so Nobbi and Tommy took the finished Baja Twins for some serious testing kilometers on German Autobahns, mountain switchbacks and rustic single tracks to make sure that they would stand up to the MexiCalifornian back roads. After that, they went straight over the Big Pond to Born Free California. After the show they were flying their Mexican-Californian colors across America to Born Free Texas and the Paradise Road Show. Now they’re back on their home turf, with the Matchlight Show Eindhoven (at Radio Royaal) scheduled for another chance to check out their immaculate build …