Ron Fairbrother of the UK’s Rocket Custom Garage (RCG) began building custom bikes after his early retirement from the military. We recently featured his incredible Bol D’or Guzzi 1000 Racer, inspired by his days racing through the hills of Southern France. But, before the Guzzi, Ron built a bobber inspired by the vintage glory of 1950s America. His vision was clear:
“The Flatlands Racer fulfilled my desire for a bike that wouldn’t look out of place sat next to a 50’s Chevy pickup in a diner parking lot.”
As Ron readily admits, there are tons of hardtail bobbers out there, and many of them are “fecked up.” Not this one. The bike has a vintage-inspired frame from the masters at Fenland Choppers, along with XLH1200 power, overly wide bars, 2-inch pipes, and a new set of our very favorite tires — the Bates Baja Tires from our friends at W&W Cycles — which we run on our very own Sportster.
This is one bobber we would love to ride. Below, we get the full story from Ron himself.
“Flatlands Racer” XLH1200 Bobber: In the Builder’s Words
The Flatlands Racer fulfilled my desire for a bike that wouldn’t look out of place sat next to a 50’s Chevy pickup in a diner parking lot. I’ve always loved the hardtail bobber look but so many are made and fecked up. There is some real crap out there, and hey, this one isn’t going to appeal to everyone out there, but from the reaction so far during it’s outings to Old Buckenham and Krazy Horse, this seems to appeal to most. I reckon the lines are right, from the hugging rear “fender” to the tank that flops over the engine and the overly wide bars. Car drivers slow down when they over-take on the A11 to get a better look, and to hear the raw sound of the open 2″ pipes.
Joe, the owner of Fenland Choppers provided me with the roller, all beautifully welded with a smashing shape, and great service to boot. The man to go for if you need a frame for your project. The donor was a reasonably priced XLH1200, in good nick and about 22,000 miles showing. The engine had virtually no corrosion too.
The engine was removed along with the loom and the remainder of the bike was sold, apart from the frame which was cut up and used as an engine support. The motor was stripped and inspected but showed little if no signs of wear, so all that was needed was new rings, gaskets, seals etc to freshen it up.
The chain guard was re-shaped and a few parts brass-plated and the motor had an uncluttered but classy look to it. The carb was kept standard to keep the costs down but rejetted to suit the 70mm velocity stack (45 pilot/175 main) and the 2″ pipework. At the ends of the pipes are the lollypops. A 1″ washer welded to a bolt to give a bit of much needed back pressure. She now pulls steadily from a standstill up to about the ton, but 70 is comfortable.
The tank is from the States with a flush filler that leaks like billy’o if it’s over-filled so I can get about 75 miles on a tank, which will do because there is no way I’m going to change the filler after Ty did an awesome job on the paint (Pageant Paint).
The seat is suspended using a small monoshock, which to be honest is a little stiff but looks the nuts so that is staying too. The bar controls are RSD in Brass with vintage look Italian-made brake and clutch levers.
This is now my favourite ride of the three, as it’s sooo laid back and chilled and just a joy to ride. I kinda love the attention too. A bike that is really easy to build, if I had the parts to hand I could build another easily. However, I think Joe has a long waiting list for his work and sourcing good Sportsters isn’t easy now.