TRF:Hi Bo. The first time I came across you was at The Bike Shed where your Peugeot bike got a ton of attention. It seems to have really struck a chord with the custom bike scene that is becoming so popular. What is the story behind the bike?
Bo:The Bike Shed event in london was its first public outing though its build has been running on my Instagram feed and website for a couple of years as a hobby extension to the day job of classics and historic race cars. Its an early 1930's Peugeot Racer 'evocation' in the style of the early 20's Boardtrack machines that are currently very popular with serious collectors and enthusiasts alike. I made it from the donor 1930 peugeot and its original parts, vintage components from the era collected over a few years, and a modern scale engineering copy of a ww1 aircraft radial engine.......... the fabulous loop frame and original teardrop tank were screaming 'race me' so the machine evolved from there..... Its still a 100cc 'autocycle' but now has 9 cylinders and period 3-speed gearbox rather than the very limp 100cc single-cylinder and no gearbox.
TRF:What struck me is that the bike wasn't really tarted up and made perfect, it seemed connected with it's history. Is that something that is important to you?
TRF:There seems to be a real trend at the moment for custom build bikes designed to be ridden off road. The new Ducati Scrambler, or many of the bikes on BikeExif. I wonder however how many actually make it off a tarmac surface though. You recently joined Herts TRF on a ride out on a bike that certainly didn't fit the picture of a modern trail rider.
And how did the day go? Did man and machine make it?
TRF:The interesting thing is that seeing your James Motorcycle on green roads is real link to the past, to the heritage of green roads and the way they would have been used in the past. Is this something that you are conscious of at all?
Bo:Yes, a good amount of smug satisfaction was gained thinking about how machines like mine were the commuter's machine of choice in the day with slightly tweaked versions being used for weekend sport and trial competitions, and being able to travel on roads that have been unchanged since well before those times that the James would have run on when new was just perfect.
TRF:So, will we be seeing more of you and your vintage bikes on the green roads of Hertfordshire? Would you ever be tempted onto a shiny new plastic one?
Bo:I think it is fair to say the appeal of the vintage machine will always far far outweigh any interest in a shiny plastic 'modern', and when the shiny plastic moderns are vintage in coming years you can be guaranteed machines like The Famous James will still be able to pop-pop-pop their way through anything that can be thrown at them while the 'plastics' will have long given in to electronic obsolescence or build longevity issues. Modern? Nah, vintage is modern enough for me.