The other day I received a note from Dolf Peeters in the Netherlands. He said he’s been looking at all of the custom builds on The Kneeslider and finally got the inspiration to make his own custom instead of dreaming of owning a “someday” bike. After a a little scrounging and trading he got to work and made a Uraldneprdafvwsuzukihonda, or what we might just call a “Bitsa.” What’s neat, is he put it together for the princely sum of 400 euro. It’s no show winning beauty, but what it does show is lots of skill and determination and what happens when someone takes an idea and turns it into something he can ride, which beats every someday bike or dream ride that never gets built. Yep, he’s a doer.
Dolf has a Russian sidecar hobby and looking over a big pile of spare parts, he figured he had just about enough to build a whole motorcycle. A friend offered him a DAF 44 (No, I didn’t know what it was, either) car engine that he had lying around, and after a trade for a bottle of whiskey which Dolf says is a popular swap for local motorheads, the engine was his.
Here’s how Dolf describes the build:
It took two Dnepr frames to accommodate the much wider DAF crankcase and out of an old basket there came a couple of VW carbs. The mating of a Dnepr 4 speed/ no reverse box with the DAF crank was not to much of a problem since I could use the lathe of a friend of mine. In order to make the connection plate between engine and gearbox I was very busy measuring things before I took my drawing to the local tool shop that could handle the size of the aluminum lump I acquired from eBay. The marriage between engine and gearbox went well.
In order to update the frame I installed a double monoshock system by using 2 Hagons and not thinking about spring rates and stuff. The front fork legs of BMW’s /5 and/6 series fit quite well in the Russian crown plates. It took only a bit of work. The front fender is BMW too. The back wheel came from the local motor salvage, it is a Suzuki GSX or whatever wheel with a home made insert to couple with the Russian shaft driveline. I just bolted the insert in the hub.
The tank came from the local motorcycle scrapyard. It is a Honda CB 900 tank or whatever. The seat is Russian. The rear mudguard is of unknown origin. The taillight is definitively Honda. Front brake is BMW ATE, Back brake is Suzuki GSX whatever. The exhaust system is made of stainless steel 45 mm pipe that came from a dairy works nearby. The tank emblem is inspired by the logo of the infamous Lilac motorcycles. The text on the tank stands for KMZ, Lievsky Motocycletny Zavod, or ‘Dnepr’ as they are called now. The general idea was that the bike should have rough Russian agricultural looks, and I am quite happy with the result.
The bike is now 95% ready. The engine had its first run and the brakes will be working soon! Oh; And the estimated total cost of the whole operation is now 400, – euro… If I fill her up, at current petrol prices, it might double the value of the bike!
When I looked at the photos Dolf sent me, I just smiled. I like this bike. It’s another example of just getting down to the business of building something instead of talking about it. It didn’t take a lot of money, just time and determination. Nice work, Dolf!