THE old corrugated-tin shed on Hampton Road is old-school: a nuts and bolts mechanical workshop where the bikes being worked on are mostly classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“We can service your brand new pride and joy or get that old barn find running like a dream again — in fact the older models are our specialty,” says the webpage for SixtySix Motorcycles.
The guys running the show are passionate about bikes and scornful of today’s training.
“They teach them to take an old part out and replace it,” co-owner Scott Heckingbottom scoffs. “This is real old school mechanics.”
What he means is, he and his boys make their own parts when necessary, on a circa 1942 metal lathe.
You’ll find plenty of Kawasakis and Hondas, and a few Italian bikes, but no Harleys.
“We don’t touch the American market, the big V-twins…we’re not interested, we don’t like them, we don’t ride them,” Paul Smith says.
His interest in bikes stems from his grandfather, who rode and raced them.
“I used to pit crew at 14…as the years went on I owned a lot of older bikes.”
Heckingbottom had a passion since an early age but getting a toe in the door as an apprentice proved hard: “So I got my training on cars.”
“I started on lawn mowers,” Mr Smith chimes in with a grin.
Mr Smith’s preference is to race the lightweight cafe racer bikes at Barbagallo race track, while Mr Heckingbottom prefers trying his luck at land speed records, and is hoping to break one at Lake Gairdner, South Australia later this year.
The South Fremantle workshop was licensed off from parent company and custom bike shop SixtySix in North Fremantle last year.
Peter Ellery and Duane Smith (no relation to Paul) started the business, which continues to customise bikes, and now also hires out a fleet of bikes in Bali for escorted or self-drive tours.
The bikes were built by the pair for Bali and while new, are basic and easily serviced by any of the multitude of small garages around the Indonesian island, Mr Ellery says.
Check out SixtySix Motorcycles for a heap of mouthwatering photos of old bikes.
by JENNY D’ANGER