First there was the cafe racer craze aping the home-built race replicas of the 1960’s. Now we are in a ‘bobber’ phase, copying the stripped down bikes from the immediate post-second world war period. But how far back can we go? Well, how about to the very dawn of motorcycling; the early 1900’s? And forget having to look to Europe or Japan; it’s happening right here in South Africa.
Travel to the bustling metropolis that is Fishershill, near Primrose, east of Johannesburg, and you will find a small, unassuming, but tastefully retro shop that is the home to the latest South African motorcycle manufacturer; the Soekoe Moto Bicycle Company.
Stepping inside is like stepping back in time and there is a mouth-watering display of ‘flat-tank’ and board-track racers, some looking as if they’ve just come off the production line and others as if they’ve just been pulled out of a barn after spending the last 100 years under a bale of hay.
They may look old but they are, in fact, brand new. More importantly, they look utterly fantastic. The frames and accessories are sourced locally - built to Soekoe’s specification - and all assembly and finishing is done in-house to an extremely high standard.
The single-cylinder, 66cc, two-stroke engine is installed in the frame in such a way that it looks completely authentic. There’s a stark simplicity to the machines that is a refreshing change to the massive complexity of the modern motorcycle; nothing is there that doesn’t need to be.
And, time seems to slow down when riding these bikes. Beauty on the move and beauty at standstill; it’s a rare thing that blends simplicity with beauty.
To ride one yourself or for more information: www.soekoe.co.za.