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The first thing to sort was the stance, which was lowered at the front by using a set of Ducati USD forks. The engine was in a real state cosmetically, so it was sent off to be blasted by MP Sodablasting, but the aluminium was so badly tarnished the crankcases had to be painted in high temp satin silver. The exhausts were hand made from tubular bends TIG welded together before being heat wrapped, for practical rather than cosmetic reasons. Thanks go to Black Shuck Kustoms, MP Blasting, Audrey Upholstery, Mark Bunning and Demeanour customs. Nice Job Old Empire: The attention to detail is fantastic and it must be noted well done to the client in letting you push the boundaries. After being completely stripped, there wasn’t much left of the bike except the engine, wheels, frame and tank.
With all this attention to detail going on the seat had to be a thing of beauty too, and following the Old Empire brand aesthetic it has been upholstered in the style of a Chesterfield sofa, complete with leather covered buttons.
Other features include the custom Old Empire MC battery satchel and custom electrics box, with embossed logo, plus new shocks and tail light.
Rims have been powdercoated and the engined scotched and repainted, and is wearing K&N filters. Thanks go out from Alec & Rafe at OEM to Jay Aldred of OEM paintworks, Demeanour customs. See more from Old Empire Motorcycles on The Bike Shed’s OEM pages and on their own Website. Such an amazing work on your Honda, specially on the frame, the vertical tubes just after the engine. Although this is their third Enfield based build it’s not down to their affordability or their abundance, but down to the challenge of taking a bike many people disregard and showing how much can be done with them once their potential is fully explored.
The same can be said of how bikes like the BMW boxer has been championed by the likes of Blitz, Kevils and UMC and Deus Ex Machina’s much emulated take on the humble SR500.
Polished cases boast British heritage – despite it being preserved in India, where the last of the old empire still casts a long shadow. We defy anyone to not look too-cool-for-school on a laid back, low slung bobber with fat Avon tyres and tucked-in headlamp that can be kickstarted into life. Check out more from Old Empire Motorcycles on their website, and you can see them in the flesh with a brand new build, (soon to be featured here), at the Bike Shed BSMC Event in Shoreditch this May 18th & 19th. Hi I would love to attend the event this weekend but having more tattooing done but please feel free to check out my artwork at the Beat of the Machine which I have showed at Vyner street and will be at the Art in the Park event Hylands House Chelmsford on the 20th of July.
Old Empire Motorcycles are anything but old, and it’s great to see up and coming builders creating classic machines with such refinement and attention to detail on the south side of their 40s.
The nacelle houses all the unsightly electrics perfectly and is complimented by OEM’s own custom bars which are designed to mimic the shape of the housing exactly.
The classic nacelle has been retained but the pilot lights have been turned into indicators while the the headlight has been tinted and peaked.
The bars might look like your usual ace bars but they’re hand made, nickel plated ‘Sturney’ bars made to fit the Royal Enfield housing exactly, incorporating a slight drop for a more racy riding position.
The Brooks saddle has been retained to keep the lines of the bike slim and uncluttered, and to compliment the leather kneepads and Brooks-wrapped grips. Well-hidden led indicators are tucked under the seat leading down to OEM’s handmade battery satchels and leather covered electrics box. The bodywork on the bike includes a highly modified Harley Sportster tank, with indents for the leather panels and OEM’s own weld-in brass filler caps, as well as short fenders, front and rear.
Other sweet details include a specially machined distributor cover to match the fins on the blacked and then polished barrel.
The guys tell us the Fox handles surprisingly well now the centre of gravity is lower and the suspension a little stiffer. This build also acts as a showcase for future builds beyond the Fox range, which they will be offering in staged levels for both the Electra X and EFI models.
This is one of the few bobbers out of thousands of pictures that I have looked at of others – that works. Are the brown tank knee pads and hand grips available from retail stores or did you have them custom made?

The customer for this commission wanted a bike capable of eating up continental miles in comfort, perhaps on something that would have enough torque to spin planet earth beneath him rather than use speed to reach a destination. Having removed the equivalent weight of normal motorcycle in plastics, pipework and cast wheels Alec and Rafe set about adding the OEM stamp of practical retrogression.
The swept back bars seemingly disappear behind the clocks, leaving a clear view of the dash, and give a relaxed riding position suitable for pounding the miles in comfort. Making modern machinery look simple is no easy feat as Alec goes on to tell us “The original subframe was removed so we had a fresh start at a new bolt-on section that needed to tie in cleverly to accomplish the simple lines of the concept, but retain a wide enough seat for all-day comfort. The original tank was narrowed and gutted and a new inner fabricated with balance pipes, a tap, internal breather and billet filler caps. As ever, Alec & Rafe try to utilise the skills of local businesses and craftspeople to achieve their goal of building truly individual motorcycles. The stubby brutish looks give the bike the stance of an angry cruiser-weight pugilist, waiting for the next round and another chance to give his opponent a bloody nose, but the short tail, truncated front end and lumpy Com-Star wheels are share some dainty touches, and a subtle retro offwhite paint, suggesting a certain amount of refinement: The gentleman boxer in a silk scarf, taking part in a backyard prize fight. Tucking the number plate away like this suggests a bad boy with something to hide, but apparently it’s completely legal. The donor bike didn’t make the task of rebuilding it easy either, with a wide rear end and too many fugly bits to list, so out came the grinder and after much chopping and slicing the guys lost 3 inches on the forks, and replaced the rear rails with a single looped sub frame. Flying Tiger took care of the paint scheme with a matte ivory finish on the tank and frame, plus the very tasteful logo artwork, which suits the bike to a T. This is no run of the mill build, and continues to propel OEM into the league of those few custom workshops with a clear brand vision, creating bikes that are designed rather than just built. Thanks go to Flying Tiger Paintwork, Demeanour customs, TEM Sport, Aerocoat powdercoating and Ekquire Motorcycles. See more from Alec & Rafe at Old Empire Motorcycles here on their Bike Shed OEM pages, or on their own Website. So when my friend Gina from Lady Goats wrote me saying, Help, Ana, I'm building in the rocks and dirt!
She wanted to use cedar, and I thought, what cheaper solution than cedar fence pickets for siding?
Gina is going to add a few fun things to the inside - like a mitersaw cabinet and some door shelves, so stay tuned as we turn this shed into a workshop! It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion.
I would advise to put some kind of liner underneath the shingles, especially if youve got powertools stored in the shed. I had some looong conversations with the people in the roofing departments in both Lowe's and Home Depot (made sure to talk to a lot of people, because it's hard to get accurate advice from one person that may or may not have done a roof!), and they all mentioned that the type of shingles I used, with the OSB, in my climate wouldn't require the use of another underlayment. Anna, don't have chickens as of now but l have 5 cats, my daughter renting front half of our duplex has 6 cats. Last fall bought 2 - 10 x 10 x 6 ft high dog kennel's for my 18 yr old sheperd to run free in no chain.
Just wondering if you have any plans for our cats who needs exercise and my de clawed cat who catn't run loose. I have been looking for something like this to build and put on my back deck for a potting shed.
The blunt end was raised an 1’’ or so using a set of custom Hagon shocks to get a more acute angle of attack. The original tank retains its front mounts but Alec & Rafe raised the back to get the top line running from the yoke down the tank into the seat and off the rear cowling. You can see more builds from Old Empire Motorcycles in the flesh  at the BSMC Event, or check them online on their Bike Shed OEM pages, or on their Website plus you can see how they work up their concepts Here. The USD forks were donated by an Aprilia RS125, while the rims were shod with a set of Avon Mk2’s. The Smith’s Instruments Chronometric electric speedo has been beautifully set into the top yoke, along with the warning LEDs. When we met OEM’s Alec we had been expecting a flat cap and deep grooved lines of experience around the eyes, but instead we were greeted by a cool young guy with tons of passion and enthusiasm, building a very cool business around timeless custom bikes. Acres of leather adorn the bike from the little leather knee pads on the tank to the handmade battery satchel and fusebox.

The bike has been lowered around 2-3 inches requiring significant machining on the front end to achieve the correct stance. The metallic paint finish and powdercoat was specified by the customer who wanted it dark blue, which works surprising well with brown leather and brass fittings.
If they transfer their passion, enthusiasm and attention to detail to all their gear then we expect them to do really well.
This 1650cc Victory Hammer by Norfolk young guns Old Empire Motorcycles is a transatlantic blend of modern brawn and nostalgia. Being a Brit, Alec Sharp, founder of OEM, likes an underdog so decided against the tried and tested Harley-Davidson platform and opted for the Victory.
For a more balanced look the super-wide rear wheel sizing was altered courtesy of an 80 spoke dual flanged rim with a hub machined by Harrison Billet to adapt to the standard pulley and incorporates a floating disc.
Although this sounds simple, an unbelievable amount of work is required to make the forks function properly yet sit lower. An added complexity was the twin spar frame design, with two top tubes splaying out from the head stock (imagine a Ducati trellis type layout) meaning that following our visual designs we would want to drop the tank nice and low to get that curvaceous line, reducing the fuel capacity from around 17 litres to around 4….
With a Power Commander installed the 1650 cubic centimetres of American muscle can be tuned to suit the more open filters and lightly baffled stainless exhausts. It must be working as the Gladiator’s owner has set off, roaring across Europe, and there are other builds in the pipeline to be featured here soon. Usefully, the owner was so chilled-out during his long wait that he moved to France to pick grapes with his girlfriend, so the guys decided to deliver the bike to him the hard way. Other details and hardparts include a Smiths Instruments Chronometric Speedo, New rear shocks, Rinders square headlight, the usual posh Brooks grip-wrap and a custom shorty exhaust (breathing in through K&N filters).
What makes this all the more interesting is that Alex & Rafe are young guys and this is just the beginning, We look forward to following them on their journey. My shed build 250n brat is nearly complete and I may have gone a diferent route if I had seen this first. As the custom scene evolves some of the stalwarts and long standing bikers out there are getting boring and moany.
Although the stock rims were both already 18’’ the guys installed a wider front  to accommodate the same size Coker tyres front and back for a proper brat look. The custom seat pan acts as the electrics box cover and handmade gussets also help keep everything flowing and in proportion. The casings were fine scotched, and the carbs were rebuilt and fitted with custom air filters. And in the patinated dark tan corner, weighing in at 650lbs, all the way from Dickinson County, Iowa; The Glaadiaatooooorr. Real world practicality with aggressive looks is achieved with Pirelli’s Scorpion dual sport rubber. The Cerakoted engine casings with brass detailing further testament to Alec’s fastidious attention to the most minor of details.
I would have definitely pre-built everything and assembled it after I got my HOA's approval if I'd have known! If you don't have one, nail one corner of an end board and squeeze the boards together while someone else nails all of 'em. They seem to have forgotten what it was like to be young, to be a rebel, to break the rules, do stupid things, to experiment and to be creative. The tank has indents which have been fitted with leather scallops while the bottom of the tank has a welded in skirt hiding the ugly box section top tube. Luckily not all of us are grumpy old farts who want to define (and police) some unspoken set of rules that box people in to pointless custom categories.

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Published at: Shed Blueprints

Comments »

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