And now for something completely different…

Racing Old School Flat-Tankers…

Söeköe Moto-Bicycle Company.

“I’m tearing along the Formula K track at a blinding arm stretching thirty odd kilo’s an hour, in tune with the machine, completely at one with the universe and grinning like an idiot.”

Spanjaard. Chain Wax. Chain Lube. Air Filter Oil Spray. Brake, Clutch and Chain Cleaner. Synthetic Fork Oil. Fork oil. Carb Cleaner.

You might have come across this lot before. We have, years ago, and for some reason, we just never got around to checking this South African fabricator out. This time around, we made the effort and trundled our way up Primrose hill to pay Desmond and his mates from the Söeköe Moto-Bicycle company a visit. We dragged along some friends – Your pal Al from mix FM and Singer songwriter Garth Taylor. Hell – what could possibly go wrong?

The shop is perched on the hill on the outskirts of Primrose. It’s got more of a museum feel to it – a petrol-heads paradise and an all round lekker place to visit. The reason we are here… ? Well the team builds custom old school motorised bicycles. Known colloquially in the old days as “Help my Traps”. Man you have to see some of these bikes. Everything that you can think of, they can do. Forget about the bikes of the past, each of these is properly unique, hand-made works of art. “Our builds and designs are steeped in tradition and the spirit of the very early 1900’s.”

And now for something completely different…
So many antiques to keep you intrigued.
And now for something completely different…
Moto-Bicycles everywhere.
And now for something completely different…
Rows of all different generations.

           Just have a look at some of the things that are possible with these bikes…

Custom designed, hand built frames and handlebars, seats and accessories are bespoke made from an eclectic mix of suppliers, making Soekoe Motor-Bicycles a one of a kind piece of kit. And that’s no lie. We wandered down into the basement workshop to take a look at where the magic happens. Row upon row of bikes greeted us and in the corner, master welder Sandile was busy manufacturing a frame.

Soekoe Motor-Bicycles have all the bells, the whistles and the kitchen sink, ranging from custom bags, leather stitched grips, saddles (leatherwork is outsourced to Stampede Leather) and three types of tyre’s which use a 12 gauge thicker spoke to handle the punishment of the drive system. The tyres on offer are cream, white, black and white walled.

New tech electric or old school 2-Stroke

We sat at the friendly pub with Desmond to find out a bit more – and we’ll post that video, but what started as a passion has turned into a lucrative business, with bespoke machines being built for national and international clients. They start at around the 25k mark – and from there, your imagination is literally the limit. You can get them in air-cooled two stroke, 50, 65 or 85cc variants. With the electric industry making noises, the guys have even sourced an electric powertrain – and they brought along a prototype for us to try out.

Back to the future...
And now for something completely different…
The electric prototype being tested by Tracy from Spanjaard.

Try out?

Ah yeah! We took them down to the Formula K track out Benoni way, where we pitted rider and machine against the elements and spent a fantastic few hours wandering around the track. Man, it was fun! And we’ll tell you that those bikes drew more admiring glances and comments than the very latest superbikes do.

How do they work?

Easy! Anyone can ride them. Hold the clutch in, peddle like crazy, drop the clutch, the little engines cough to life and – away you go! Rear brakes only and to use those, you need to reverse pedal, so that took some getting used to… for anybody under 50 years old, for those over 50 – well they just remembered why they are just tougher than the youngsters of today.

Forget ZX10 cup... This is racing!

Who won?

With any race you’ll want to know who won? In third place was our own Sean Hendley who spent more time pedalling than using the engine, mostly because he did not read the owner’s manual. Al Your Pal rolled in, in second place. His first race on the two-stroke was top notch, but his second run on the electric saw him throw in the towel. “I’m a petrol head. Don’t give me this thing again.”

The winner for the day – and he wowed the crowd with his athleticism and incredible competitiveness was singer songwriter Garth Taylor who took the chequered flag in the first heat and second in the second. This after falling his mealie off when his tenacity became too great for his skill. But he tore his pretty white jeans, won the day and got the girl! The other two racers, Tony and Desmond performed astonishingly well, but they only rode one heat each – that’s a DNF!

And now for something completely different…
Garth Taylor gave it his all and took 1st.
And now for something completely different…
Rolling into 2nd Al your Pal.
And now for something completely different…
Pedalling into 3rd Sean Hendley.

Why did we race them?

Well… we’re just boys is what our wives would say, and they’re probably right, but there was actually a legitimate reason for the race. Desmond, Tony and a few mates have set up a race series for these Moto-Bicycles and any motorcycles older than 1965, and they have come up with the coolest name – “The Sons of Speed”. They have secured a track, there will be proper marshalling, rules and classes and even prizes. While we were at Formula-K they were even invited to join FK’s night series races. This racing is just too cool, just check out these videos. Then start queuing outside Söeköe Moto-Bicycle Company, tap here for their address.

Old School Racing
Never before have such fast bikes been seen at the FK Track...

Video 1 – Racing at the Heidelberg Great Train Race

Video 2 – Some really old bikes racing in the veld

Guys. What a fantastic day out that was! Enormous fun. Everyone can ride one, it is still regarded as a bicycle legally so you don’t need a licence. These bikes are proper head turners, go and see them for yourself. 

Soekoe Motor Bicycles

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