Inside a Builder’s Shed – Barbarian by Shaun Wainford

Barbarian by Shaun Wainford  well on its way to complete

Barbarian by Shaun Wainford well on its way to complete

All of those sheds in England must be absolute beehives of activity. After our article on the Enigma, we got a note from Shaun Wainford of Middlesbrough England who thought we might be interested in a little project he has underway. It's called "Barbarian." As seen here it represents about 3 years of spare time work. It's not quite done yet, but it's a great peek inside a builder's shed and gives us a glimpse of a project nearing the finish line.

3D rendering before the build began

3D rendering before the build began

Shaun runs a business from his shed, it's a CAD/CAM facility with full 3D modeling, scanning and machining capabilities, certainly a great way to keep yourself busy if making things is what you really enjoy. He figured a nice project would be a great advertisement, so after happening upon an MT-01 that had come to an untimely end, where only the engine survived, and even that was scratched from sliding down the road, Shaun had what he needed to start.

Rear view - Shaun built the wheels, too

Rear view - Shaun built the wheels, too

The bike began in Shaun's computer where he designed a complete 3D model, after which he built it, piece by piece, using his own designs he fabricated or machined just about everything. It's no parts catalog custom, this bike is the work of Shaun from start to finish.

The design is hard to categorize, neither street fighter or chopper, and Shaun did that intentionally. Though not to everyone's taste, it's something he likes, and being his project, that's all the justification necessary.

Building the frame

Building the frame

When a builder documents every step of his project in photos, as Shaun has done, it's difficult to summarize in words. The best advice is to browse through his site. You'll see he built the frame, the head stock, the yoke, the swing arm, the tank, the exhaust, his own rear air suspension system, all of the brackets, the foot pegs and mounts and levers and brake reservoirs, brake calipers and engine covers and ... well, you get the idea.

Fitting the tail piece and exhaust

Fitting the tail piece and exhaust

Shaun also notes that the photos make it look like the rake is rather extreme, but it was built with 10 degrees of adjustment and can be changed in about 10 minutes. A nice touch.

Yokes installed

Yokes installed

Shaun says:

I still have a little work to do, i.e. finish making the brake master cylinders. The bodies and levers are done, I just need to make the pistons, I could probably finish it in a couple of weeks, but the weather here is crap, so will take my time until the spring, in the mean time I am also working on the designs for my next project which includes making the engine!!

That first on the road report should be interesting and, for Shaun, very gratifying. Nice work, Shaun!

Makes me wonder what else is hiding in all of those other English sheds!

Link: S.W. Engineering Services

Wheel hubs machined from billet

Wheel hubs machined from billet

Engine plates

Engine plates


  1. B50 Jim says

    When you consider the Norton “factory” was little more than a row of sheds housing steam-era equipment, I have to be very enthusiastic and hopeful about what the English can do with a shed full of CAD-CAM machinery!

  2. Hawk says

    Interesting what you say about Norton, B50 Jim. I was speaking with Ian McGuffie the other day …. He rode the IOM TT in 1950 on his private Gold Star. Told me that he had ordered a Manx but when he went to the “factory” to pick it up, was somewhat disallusioned by what he saw ….. and the fact that they hadn’t started on his Manx yet.

    Went over to BSA in Birmingham and bought the Gold Star. Oh yes, Ian is Jim Moodie’s uncle.

  3. davidabl says

    If those TV show folks have any class at all a producer will come knocking on this guy’s shed door.
    I’m not sure who’d agree to compete against him.

  4. GuitarSlinger says

    OK so the Enigma resembles a Buell and this one is looking an awful lot like a Confederate Hellcat

    Both nice efforts , but where’s the originality ?

    • Ola says

      I don’t agree with you at all. Even though there’s a slight resemblance between this bike and a Hellcat both are also sharing traits with lot’s of other naked bikes. This bike seems much more solidly engineered than the Hellcat though, the frame is very different, and lines are flowing in totally different ways. The stance is also different, in my opinion.

      Even so, is originality a requirement before you start building your own bike? Maybe you just want to do it because you like building stuff.

      • Greybeard says

        A frame, a motor and two wheels.
        How derivative.
        Why…it resembles a motorcycle.
        Where IS Shaun’s creativity!?

        Good thing they weren’t this crafty during the Revolution.

      • says

        Time for a coffee or beer depending on the time of day.

        Shaun’s done an amazing job. I love the attention to detail.

        As for the Enigma looking like the Buell. Yep I see it, underslung muffler, radial brakes, trellis frame nope… trellis frame looks more Ducati. As I look for similarities to the Buell I find there is virtually nothing.

        Personally I always thought the Buells had character (really another word for ugly or a child only a mother could love – but they grow on you). The Enigma doesn’t look ugly at first look. Don’t get me wrong I like the Buells and would own one if I had longer legs.

        It’s an enigma that someone would compare the Enigma to the Buell. i’m also a doer with a too many bikes, and either have money and no time or time and no money. If only I could get those two to match up.

        Props to Shaun. Clearly a talented engineer with a eye of beauty. A rare talent.

      • David says

        So how does one obtain a Buell? How does one obtain a Hellcat? A piece of plastic is all that’s necessary.

        Building the whole damned thing yourself is a whole different animal than just BUYING something, styling cues be damned.

        I’ve gotten pretty tired of people who just BUY whatever they thing will gain them entry into “Coolsville”.

        As a toolmaker/CNC programmer with 30+ years experience, I have the utmost respect for what this guy has done.

  5. B50 Jim says

    C’mon, guys, how much can you do with two wheels, an engine and a frame? It’s all in the details and passion you put into it, and this bike has plenty of both. The components machined from billet are enough to light my fire. They look like some aerospace parts I’ve seen. Well, those were machined from titanium, but who knows? That might be next.

    Greybeard — they really WERE that crafty during the Revolution; their problem was they were overextended in several actions in the Colonies and Europe (the French were a real problem, and the Spaniards caused trouble at different times) — and after a few years they had to give up on some of it. If they had only the Revolutionaries to deal with, they would have kicked our butts right into the Atlantic. As it was, we simply got too expensive, and they couldn’t devote enough resources to the revolt. We won a few too many battles and they finally got fed up and quit, figuring they could take us on later, which they did in 1812 but by then we had our act together well enough to make a good showing, and the rest is history. If they had motorcycles then and had to depend on those old pushrod engines, we would have kicked THEM into the ocean.

  6. Scotty says

    Thanks for the reminder Paul, …the only thing better than a ‘Do-er’….is a Do-er that inspires others to also ‘Do’!!!!

  7. says

    Really great to see this. Shaun’s work is quite impressive.

    I like the overall concept as it seems to incorporate a steady blend of sport and cruiser concepts of the day. I wish we would’ve got the MT-01 here in the US, I wouldn’t mind riding one to see what it is like.

    • zipidachimp says

      CABLE TV distraction? wow, you hit hit nail on the head.
      as a perfect example, I can only look back and cringe at all the wasted hours. I shoulda been pounding nails and making sawdust.
      now trying to correct my misspent youth.

  8. Klaus says

    I really like the choice of engine, here some details:
    Air-cooled 1670cc 48 degree V-Twin with a 97mm bore and 117mm stroke; eight push-rod operated valves; a bit under 90hp at a super low 4,750 rpm; 111 lb-ft of torque at only 3,750 rpm. The stock version goes 200km/h if you can hang on to the handle bars at that speed. With the stage 3 ECU chip the right rider can do the standing quarter mile under 12 seconds @ 180km/h.
    Says a lot about the builder to choose this engine over a Harley’s!

      • Marvin says

        Most of the UK bike press that I saw poured scorn upon this engine as being conically underpowered for its size and the weight of the bike when the bike fist came out partly out of disappointment because of what a great looking bike it was but mainly because our press have a HP obsession that you would not believe.

  9. Grant says

    I’m curious about the frame design, especially where the milled aluminum plates attach to the tubing of the upper frame and (I presume) the engine. I would expect substantial loads from the rear wheel getting translated to those points, and it just doesn’t look quite beefy enough to me. Could be just me, though. I cringe when I see a swingarm pivot going through the engine cases too, and that design has been used sucessfully.
    Amazing work, Shaun. I salute you!

    • BigHank53 says

      Go take another look at any literbike: those big frame members are all hollow. The heaviest casting in a GSXR has a wall about 6mm thick. Shaun’s rear frame uprights could half the thickness they are (or less!) and they’d be just fine. Most of the loads from the rear wheel come through the swingarm pivot and are transferred to the engine cases.

      • Grant says

        Not worried about the aluminum engine plates, not worried about the tube frame parts. More wondering about the connection between the two. Look at the aluminum engine plates. The three points that connect the plates to the engine and frame are in (not quite a) straight line. Agreed that the loads from the rear wheel translate to the swingarm pivot, and that the forces from the drivetrain and from braking will be well handled by the existing structure. My concern would be side loading such as would be seen when encountering bumps while cornering.

  10. coxster says

    No matter what it looks like, the WORK alone deserves respect. I 2nd B50 Jim completely on this one

  11. harley says

    I have just got into motorbikes, and only just got my first decnet running bike been through hundreds off bikes from 50’s 125’s 400’s and 600’s, but this build is one of the COOLEST bikes I have ever seen, this is the kind of project inspiring me to start engineering and mechanics. Very impressive build!

  12. says

    First off thanks for all the compliments, it humbles me.

    I will try to answer some of the comments below, and some I get asked by others, I like both compliments and criticism it all helps the project move forwards and evolve.

    I suppose the question I get asked the most is why?, Well I used to work overseas most of the time but then I had to stop to look after my wife who was terminally Ill, that’s when this project started, in fact she suggested it, believe me you need something to take the mind elsewhere in these situations.

    Second is why so raked out? :) Well a few reasons, I like the look “on this bike”!! however the rake is adjustable by 10deg, as it is now its at its most radical, in addition it must be kept in mind this bikes function is two fold, both as a rolling advert for what I do, and for me to ride! I could easily have built a chopper and gone real radical, but then the street fighter boys avoid me, and or vice versa, same goes for classics, I like all bikes, my preference is simple, two wheels and loads of power :) I tried to make this bike fit all and none, I also wanted to use both steel and aluminium, hence the hybrid frame and swinging arm, all component parts are fully FEA Analysed to ensure they are up to the job, the rear engine plates are fixed at five points not three, hidden at the bottom inside is a steel structure that ties the engine plates frame and rear shock. (incidentally I have made another front end, billet girders, which I might fit on occasion for a change).

    The rear tyre is a 240 yikes, ah ha! but I have another left hand rear slim rim, hence the offset wheel centre, so I can if I decide fit a 190 tyre.

    How much will it weigh? about 235KG, this is a lot, but its a lot less than a standard MT-01.
    Engine mods are High comp pistons re profiled cams some head work and stage II ECU with PC III.

    by the way everyone that has seen the bike are amazed how small it looks in the flesh, and that the pictures don’t do it justice, I just try to make every part as good as I can, and hope it all gels in the end.

    I have other bikes i.e MV F4, Triumph Trident, BMW, + another projects on the drawing board one of which includes my own engine!! and another that has active geometry i.e, alter the rake ride height etc on the fly, but not on the move :), transformer like (scary)

    How much time have you spent on it??? I have absolutely no idea but loads :) although it always take second priority to paying work, I do try to work on it every day, but get pissed of now and again and leave it for weeks until I get re inspired.

    How much did all that equipment cost, lol, well this is a long story but not much in money, but loads in time, you see my CNC miller I got given because it was wrecked when it had an accident with a fork truck, I replaced all the electronics with my own design and used PC based software to control it, both lathes are collage surplus, bought at auction, I repaired them, the other miller I bought second hand from a modeller friend, the spark eroder I made, the Tig set I bought new!! the other stuff is a life times worth of collecting tools, I wrote a lot of the software I use myself, I have no formal training in CNC I taught myself, for the Tins I use only hand tools, hammers, files, shot bag, I don’t use a buck I do it by eye.
    I did think about some fancy graphics, I used to do air brush art, years ago but in the end its about the whole bike not just the paint.

    Will I build another?? It depends!!, all the CNC code is done and the jigs are made so I could do one in a year if someone was seriously interested, at what cost I don’t know I would have to think about it :)

    long winded or what!! :) but now you know, from the horses mouth.

    Shaun :)

    • Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

      The way you came to have the tools and skills you do is one of the best parts of this whole story, … find, fix, modify and learn. It’s a method too few use, but one that should be widely adopted.

    • Thoughtless says

      A lot of superb work, insight and ingenuity. The best part, regardless of purpose, is that it is unique unto itself. Keep it just so, and should the call come for another build (hope it does for you) keep the next just a bit more or a bit less, and let this one remain unique.

      • says

        Hi Thoughtless, the initial intention was / is, to work with the client to build the bike more or a less as it is overall, but with some subtle changes to the detail work, that way they can have input other than simply picking the paint scheme, I can only do this because I make all the components myself and therefore can make changes quite rapidly.


  13. says

    Hi, I have been a friend of Shaun for many years. (He doesn’t know I am writing this)
    The photos do not do the bike justice. In the flesh the bike is stunning and the workmanship is second to none. Shaun has helped me a great deal while I have been building my ’51 Triumph bobber. He made me a great set of yokes (triple trees) and rebuilt my magneto after ‘specialists’ warned me not to touch it and quoted scary prices and a four week turn around. After recieving the parts Shaun fixed it in half a day! Outstanding. I like to watch Shaun work, while I will shout at inanimate objects when something goes wrong, he will just get on with it and figure it out.
    He also done a killer airbrush job on my norton chopper about 25 years ago.
    We are both products of the same strict 1960’s-1970’s catholic education system, I think the nuns must have beaten Shaun with the ‘clever stick’, and me with the ‘enough to get by’ stick. LOL.
    Thanks for the help Shaun, see you In the pub!