Hiawatha the Bonneville that’s Sharper than a Tomahawk!

Well, you see many different style of Motorcycles around the globe that have taken a good and strong foot hold on the Cafe Racer, Brat, Bobber, Tracker, Custom look, and this is no exception.


I obviously have been into these style bikes as a kid, when I was 12, me and my brother had a french Mobylette, Dad bought it for $20 and it had no seat, we removed the Mudguards, and headlight and fitted Dirt bike handle bars and use a skateboard deck for the seat and, a Brat was Born, and over 40 odd years later, they are still being created today.


Dubbed the “Hiawatha” after the native Americans the platform of choice was a 2007 Bonneville, Not the last of the Mohicans but, the last of the carburetor motors as in 2008 the Fuel Injected models arrived.


This bike was being built by the Ton up garage for a Client out in Lisbon, and a second hand 2007 Bonny was located as the Platform to create a unique Brat style machine for the Customer.


First off was to strip parts off the machine they no longer needed, the seat was taken off and the frame rails were altered to allow for a Custom seat base to be fabricated, once that was completed, it was upholstered with memory foam and stitched in the old school style Tuck n Roll, with a grey Naugahyde material for a long lasting comfortable ride, as well as being able to take his partner on the back as and when desired.


A set of much wider Western style Handlebars were fitted, as well as removing the old Master cylinder for the clutch and a hydraulic version fitted, this really cleans the front end up and with the smaller Speedometer and headlight, the bike has a really different stance.  Magura hydraulic master cylinder clutch and brake are a good quality set up and will help stop this machine way faster than the stock set up and with less hand pressure.


At this part of the blog I like to point out, “Each to their own” Some people will like what they have done, some may not, its all in the eye of the beholder, I hear many complain about the big bulbous tires and small head light, its a style, like some of you like wear hoodies and Converse, so give this bike a chance.


Many complain that it will ride so badly, well, unless you have built and ridden one, you will never know, I have built many and, although way different to modern tires, you get used to drop off in corners. This is a Custom Brat style build, not a T.T. machine, so a slower speed to take the area in, rather than a Ton Up Rocket.


I personally love this Custom created machine from a work of art, its unique and very well thought out, I love fat tires, just look back to early 1940’s Harleys, they had fat tires, I think that these do have a certain equal proportion to the machine and sitting on 16 inch tires will sit level now.


The engine had a little bit of tune up and then painted black, of which I like, the carbs were re-jetted as Up-swept Megaphones were fitted and the headers were wrapped for that old race track look, I like this too, many dont, like I said, “each to their own”. Also New K&N Filters were added to help these Carbs breath more easily.


The wire harness was modified and the battery was replaced with a smaller Lithium model and hidden with the rest of the electronics under the seat, this keeps everything neat and tidy and having the Rims and hubs painted Black sets the whole motorcycle off big time.


Suspension was sorted out with an expensive set of rear Ohlins and re-springed front end, made sure that this beast is a comfortable ride and soaks up any of the bumps on the Lisbon Tarmac.

Hand fabricated rear fender is Bobbed to make this machine look bigger and the small bates style tail light may be small but LED lighting is brighter than Einstein.

The Olive Drag green with a flattening Agent works well against the Silver Base and even though I personally am not a fan of Green, this works really well, I mean the Thruxtons  came out in BRG, and this color concept does indeed work very well against the Black of the frame, exhaust and wheels.

Thanks for looking and, if I can help locate or sell parts for you and your machine, just let me know.

carpy christmas







Steve Carpenter

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