The fine line: Handcraft as a value - Hookie Co.

The fine line: Handcraft as a value

Building motorcycles from scratch isn’t an easy job or an afterwork tradition. It’s rather a fine line between your limits, technology and mostly your personal talent. On every build we push ourselves to learn and benefit from every single part of the project. Our last project “Falcon” – a R Nine T – was one of our personal challenges. It was Nico’s goal to build the fuel tank and tail entirely by hand and also in aluminium. He actually did some stuff out of aluminium before but never a complete fuel tank with a custom injection flange and other details.

Why aluminium? Aluminium is a very difficult material. It isn’t easy to weld and it isn’t easy to bend or shape. On the other side it’s a material that creates an awesome pure and minimal look. It’s very light and stable and as it dosen’t rust you can polish it, you can satin it or just leave it like you build it. But in this case the weight was one of the main reasons to make all parts on the “Falcon” from Aluminium.

How to start with a custom fuel tank? Mostly we start with a research on current builds and do some moods about what we want it to look like. For the “Falcon” we were very inspired by the look and feel of a Brough Superior SS100 – a long and flat line covers the motorcycle and creates a minimal and “silent” look. After some scribbles and a short chat with the client, we went on to the construction of tail and tank. This is the moment you have to choose a direction for your best personal workflow. You can work with foam for the prototype, you can do a computer aided 3D model (and then maybe print the tank ), or you start with a quick and easy wireframe made of wilding wire. For the fuel tank we needed a complete new tunnel design. Unfortunately the R Nine T comes with a lot of black boxes, control systems, wires and parts under the fuel tank. So it was not an easy job to construct a useful tunnel. It took 3-5 days for the construction and many more days of welding, grinding and testing. As soon as the tunnel was ready and we could go over to the next part – defining the line and shape. It’s a very creative and abstract part. You see nothing but edges and boxes, but you have to imagine what it will look like when it’s finished. I like to work with welding wires – it allows you to check proportions, shapes and forms very easily and quickly. You don’t need special tools excect the wires and a welding machine (preferably TIG). It takes 1-2 hours and you get a frame of your idea. You can walk around it, check it, hate it or love it, remove a wire and replace it and of course sleep over it for a few nights.

As it looked and felt good and we started with the fab time. First step was to make stencils for the metal parts we needed. After that there was a very long period on the english wheel and planishing hammer. This part is very time consuming and characterised by test fits all day long. Finally all aluminium parts were fixated with some welding dots.

As we ourselves are focused on handcrafted goods, we also love to work with highly talented crafters from other branches. Here we want to introduce two of them, who are also located in our hometown Dresden.

First there is Guido from Hardcore – Kustoms, who fabricates all of the upholstery and leather goods on our Hookie bikes. He has over 10 years of experience in his business and works together with his father, who is 80 years old and still works day in day out in his metal body shop.

The other one is Adrian Flor, he is our painter of trust. After he started to paint and also to airbrush gas tanks as an additional income, he by now is well known in the scene and makes a full living on it. As he is highly specialised in unique paint jobs he (like us) tries to push it from project to project.

It’s great to work with an inner circle of partners and keep the fine line between uniqueness and mass production. 


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