As a teenager growing up in London in the 1970s, a quick flick through Motorcycle News revealed machines with chest thumping names like Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Triumph et al.
Motorbikes were de rigueur. Barry Sheene risked life and limb on the track. Evel Knievel jumped over things. Peter Fonda stretched cool to breaking point with his stars and stripes chopper, and Steve McQueen … well, he could read the phone book and still be cool!
Extending the tradition of motorcycle cool into 2016 is Ellaspede, West End’s very own one-stop shop for motorcycle enthusiasts looking for striking designs and customisation.
Online and marketing manager Hughan Seary explains, “We are always looking for one-off design ideas. We take customers’ bikes of all makes, shapes and sizes, draw upon our in-house designs and then shape the bike with our own products.”
Ellaspede’s origins are in industrial design for a variety of products, but it was the search for that one-off, showcase design that really got the customised motorcycle wheels turning. In 2011, the Brisbane Floods dampened the burgeoning business, but a move to West End has meant that the name now means more than just quality, unique motorcycle design and manufacture.
Directors Leo Yip and Steve Barry are looking understandably satisfied as they sup a coffee from their ‘race style’ barista outlet. “Our designs improve the aesthetic and performance unavailable in normal factory design. We consider engineering excellence, safety and convenience. It’s about creating a unique design, rather than meeting a historical expectation.”
But why Ellaspede? “It’s about that combination of beauty and functionality in the fast lane. The bikes have to look good, but they also have to be ridden.”
Demand for their designs and fabrication comes from all over Australia, as well as the US, Europe, Asia and Russia. Of all the client supplied bikes given a design and specification overhaul, the one that sounded the most intriguing was a cruiser scooter converted into an Easy Rider chopper with a sound system where the engine should be!
Outside of the shop, Ellaspede proudly hosts the annual Dust Hustle Dirt Track Day, where ‘weird, wonderful and woefully unsuitable motorcycles’ display ‘appropriateness’ (or otherwise) on the famous flat track. The latest event was at the Mick Doohan Raceway on Saturday 3 September.
Another coup was the arrival of Steve McQueen’s Triumph Bonneville Sled. The bike that has recently been privately purchased by an Australian buyer had never been seen outside of the US, and it was a proud feather in the cap for Leo, Steve and the team. “It is a true classic motorcycle that encapsulates the McQueen legend like no other.” With a pedigree like that, we watch with interest as to what the next drawcard will be? I’m hoping it will be Judge Dredd’s lawgiver, but then again I’m on my own there I suspect!
For more information about Ellaspede, visit www.ellsapede.com
Words and Images by Colin Bushell