I first met Hayden at Mid Life Cycles in Cremorne where he works as a mechanic working on a range of bikes from classics to custom built café racers and everything in between. Being a Tassie lad, and the nephew of the shops owner Michael, I knew he would be a great contact to have for someone who knows very little about motorbikes. Getting to know Hayden it became clear that Harleys were his thing. Hayden is currently in the process of building a pretty nice chopper for himself.
Tell us a bit about your project…
It is a 1973 Harley Davidson Sportster XLCH. I have completely rebuilt it, including the motor. I wanted to build a traditionally themed chopper (think Easy Rider) while keeping it simple and clean with some modern perks.
Is this the first build you’ve done for yourself?
Yes, through MLC I have had the opportunity to learn how to modify, restore and rebuild many different motorcycles, however this is the first I have undertaken as my own.
How long has this particular project taken so far?
I bought the original bike in early 2014 and pulled it apart after only one ride around the block. Nearing completion it has taken over 12 months with around 120 hours worth of actual work done to the bike.
What was it about Harleys, and in particular this model/ year that made you want to put your own together?
It started when I was a kid, I would go to the Toy Run (a Christmas charity ride) with my dad and check out all the bikes and one memory remains embedded in my mind from one of those events. I was walking around the car park among a sea of new Harleys and modern Japanese bikes as the announcer came over the PA system that the ride would be commencing and people should make their way back to their bikes. Not 30 seconds after he had finished speaking a bike very close to me started up, shaking the ground and startling my young self. Here next to me thumping away was an old navy blue, rigid frame 70’s era Harley Davidson Sportster, its owner sitting astride it, tattoos, denim and an old German war style helmet with the SS logo displayed vividly on the back. To this day I’m not sure if I was scared or intrigued but as he rode off I knew I had to have one.
Have you always been into bikes? Where did your love of motorbikes come from?
Throughout my teens I enjoyed motorcycles but was more of a car guy, it was only when my Dad got his bike license and an old Kawasaki Z650 that I became more interested. I actually didn’t get my license until I was 21 and then the old Kawasaki was mine to ride. It was actually riding that was my first love before getting more invested into the aesthetics and personality of customizing them.
Have you had any crazy experiences on a bike?
I was 21, zero riding experience, riding Tasmanian roads by myself on a 1979 Kawasaki that was 650cc. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. Sorry Mum.
Tell us about Lucky Six Motorcycles.
Lucky Six motorcycles is my own personal project. It allows me to share motorcycling experiences as well as my personal work through social media while being a platform for me to build on in the coming years. I am extremely excited as it has already led me here, I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Have you noticed a big rise in interest in the bike scene lately? Is that Deus fault?
It has definitely been on the increase over the last few years and continues to grow. I don’t think you can say it is anyone’s fault but some companies are responsible for sure. The increase in interest has led to a greater awareness of motorcyclists both on the roads and in the community. Yes, some aspects of this can be negative, but only the so-called “purists” really get their knickers in a knot. Motorcycling for me is something that brings people together, if it weren’t for this community in Melbourne I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now nor would have made the good friends that I have. I am all for the growth and as far as the “custom scene” goes, the end products of blood, sweat, money, tears, late nights, and all the rest that comes with it (did I say money?!) will always sort the men from the boys.
Are café racers the new fixies?
You cannot really generalize however it seems that the term “café racer” gets thrown about loosely these days. It is very trendy at the moment, but that just means to me that when the trendy people get over it, guys like me get to snap up their left over unfinished projects cheap.
Was it a big switch to move over from Tassie to Melbourne? Can you see yourself moving back there one day?
The move from Tasmania was daunting, but necessary. I moved over here with my girlfriend, Erin, and we are really starting to make a neat little life over here for ourselves. I love Tasmania, I even have a tattoo dedicated to my home state, but it isn’t a place to further my dreams and aspirations both in my personal life and my career. Many people say “Oh, you’ll move back to have kids won’t you?” and I usually answer them with “Why would I move back, when they could grow up in the best city in the world with the best opportunities at their doorstep.”
Anyway enough about kids, they are expensive and I have bikes to build.