Sometimes in life, you come across objects that urge you to get out your purse and do stupid things even though you know you’ll never use them. Either because they are impractical, unfit for your purpose or you simply don’t have the slightest need for them. But hey, WTF, you just want them! A certain juicer, standing peacefully on my shelf at home, comes into my mind. I never made freshly squeezed orange juice in my life, but I can’t take my eyes off of that thing. Or the Bell Custom 500, dangling on a hook; did I mention that I don’t wear open face helmets anymore? What about the WWI Bayonet or the Single-Person Raclette-Maker? Or the stupidly heavy, cast-iron barbecue in the garden? Ask my wife, she probably could make this list considerably longer that I like to admit. But I don’t care, because all the ignorant people out there do not understand that these seemingly useless things make my existence much more satisfying.
I don’t know if the owner of the bike featured in this article bought it just to stare at it like I do with my juicer or if he actually gives it the beans. If it happens to be the former, I’m pretty sure he got a wife behind his back rolling her eyes. But me, my juicer and probably a lot of you guys out there feel him, don’t we? But if anyone of you sees this bike on the streets of Dubai, let us know, because that’s where the bike actually found a new home.
The bike was actually built by Switzerland based Young Guns Speed Shop. More precisely, it was built by Nikolas Heer and Fabian Witzig, hence the name Fabilas. Remember the crew that stirred up the Sultans of Sprint-Series with their freakish Moto Guzzi racer called 'Ferdinand the Sparrow'? Yes, that’s them!
The Fabilas is based on a 1947 AJS 350 and was built for the Swiss Bike Expo. The board tracker was born from the ashes of an engine and a frame that was displayed as decoration in the Young Guns’ workshop. The first step was to lower that frame for 8cm and stretch if for 12cm in order to give the bike a low slung stance.
The Girder-style forks as well as the handlebar are handmade out of 26 parts. This includes a magnificent set of levers meant to adjust the ignition as well as the carb while riding. The grips are wrapped in Brooks leather. Take a closer look at this part of the build and you’ll understand what I tried to describe in the opening of this article. I bet the owner’s uncomprehending wife secretly marvels at these fine pieces of machinery as soon as her hubby left the house.
A Smith headlight is mounted and hidden under a number plate manufactured from 0.5mm alloy. 4 slats are incorporated into that plate that can be operated by a lever to bring them in a horizontal position, allowing the headlight to shine through the plate. A handmade oil tank is fabricated and sits low in the frame, right behind the transmission. The gas tank was made by the Young Guns as well and completes the picture of the bike. It comes with an incorporated Smith speedo and a leather-clad flap that hides the gas filler cap.
The wheel hubs are narrowed by 3cm in order to accept the skinny Avon Speedmaster tires and thus making for the perfect board tracker look. The engine as well as the transmission got overhauled, a narrowly fitting exhaust fabricated and an elaborate carb manifold machined.
The Young Guns admit they were quite reluctant to sell the Fabilas, but in the end, they had the same reasoning as many of us have with finished projects. Sell it in order to get enough dough for the next project.
All pictures by Lorenz Richard.