A bent, shaped and beaten dream machine

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2013
Richie Waters
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

Wallacetown motorbike enthusiast and engineer Richie Waters shows off his self-made custom-built machine.

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Burt Munro Challenge

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In a small Southland shed, Richie Waters has spent hundreds of hours building his dream motorcycle.

He is closing in on a life-long ambition.

"It's been a childhood dream to build exactly the bike I wanted," the Wallacetown man said as he rolled out his custom-built 1340cc Harley Davidson-powered custom classic.

The monster machine was built in a tiny 3-metre by 2-metre shed after work and on weekends, with the blessing and support of his partner.

"I must have spent nearly 300 hours during a four-month period working on the bike," he said.

An engineer, Mr Waters bent, shaped and beat the metal into the design he had spent years drawing up.

"Everything except the engine and forks was physically shaped by being hammered on an anvil," he said.

It was a labour of love, he said.

Being holed up in his shed conjured up images of famous Southland motorcyclist and innovator Burt Munro, Mr Waters said.

"I suppose Burt was a bit of an inspiration, especially what he achieved from an engineering and mechanical point of view."

The motorcycle had to meet several criteria, Mr Waters said.

"It had to handle well, it had to look really good, and other people had to appreciate it," he said.

"I think it has met those ideals. I see it as a moving piece of art."

The motorbike just needs a paint job and the legal paperwork to hit the street.

Now that he has built his dream machine, Mr Waters has his sights set on building custom motorcycles for others.

"I would love to make bikes for a living," he said.

"This bike is one of many I have in mind. Hopefully, this is just the start."

If Mr Waters does get to build custom motorcycles, at least he won't have to do it in a tiny shed.

"I have now got a three-bay shed in Otatara," he said.

Mr Waters will be putting his bike on a trailer and showing it off during the Burt Munro Challenge, which starts today.

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- The Southland Times

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