I may have discovered the 1st Custom Builder installed and doing business in Hong Kong (If there is anybody else, please contact me.) Intrigued, I asked Benoit Barras, a French born, to explain to me how he ended up creating his shop called “Angry Lane” in a city-state (with a high degree of autonomy even after its return to China in 1997) where 90% of daily travels (11 million) are on public transport, the highest such percentage in the world… Doesn’t sound to me like the best place to wrench motorcycles, but…
Benoit admits that the Hong Kong scene is quite difficult, not easy to find parts, do chrome or even a nice paint job. He came to Hong Kong in 2006 to join his brother Guillaume who launched a company doing garment trading for the action sports industries, He first joined as a designer/art director. Back in the days in France, both brothers got their first PW50 Yamaha when they were 6 years old, then much later rode big bikes with the HAMC Paris. Business in sportswear trading not being very good (traders buy a price not a well done garment), they closed the business, created the Black Needle brand, doing Japanese denim, tees and exotic leathers. Being hooked on motorcycles they also started a distribution in Hong Kong for Japan Easyriders parts while keeping in mind to launch one day a cool brand around motorcycles and its lifestyle.
Two years ago, a guy contacted them -James Dixon- for his SR parts. They clicked, and they decided to become partners and launched the Angry Lane brand, both a retail fashion & lifestyle shop and a workshop for custom bikes.
Their first creation is “Black Needle” based on a 1973 500 cc Daytona Triumph. So good for a 1st try that they immediately got orders for 5 builds, a SR Cafe Racer, a CB750, a HD 883 with big bore kit engine, a CB400 and a W650.
Wow, a French installed in Hong Kong building one-off motorcycles for Chinese clients. A first… Angry Lane Hong Kong (Photography Jason Bonello courtesy to Cyril Huze)
Bike name: The Black Needle
Year & make: 1973 Triumph
Model: Daytona 500cc
Design: Angry Lane – Benoit Barras
Fabrication: Angry Lane – Geoff Giles
Assembly: Angry Lane – Geoff Giles
Time: 6 months to find arts / 10 months on and off
Engine Year: 1973
Ignition: Boyer Electronic
Engine: Stock but rebuilt
Primary/clutch: Bob Newby England Dry belt
Carb: Single AMAL 626
Air Cleaner: Ebay found no brand
Pipes: Angry Lane – Geoff Giles
Transmission: Dry belt Bob Newby
Shifting: 4 speed, right side.
Front end: Original 1973
Hardtail: Builder David Bird (through Lowbrow US)
Frame: 4″ stretch, 1″ drop
Bars: Easyriders Japan 7/8″ straight Zbar 1″ up, shorten by 2″
Risers: Yamaha YZ refurbished
Levers: MX bike
Switches: Go through levers mount and bar (Posh Japan)
Throttle: Amal 364 Replica Aluminum
Fenders: Rear ribbed fender and aluminum front by Easyriders Japan
Headlight: Original Bates 369, indicator light from Triumpg headlight, housing brass, 5.3/4″ with cateyes
Taillight: Round aluminum by Easyriders, modified with LED, front brake switch with Ducati connector in levers
Speedo: Mini speedo Easyrider / brass plate mounting and cable conversion
Gas Tank: Motorrock Japan Wassell / peanut
Gas Cap: Vintage style high repro
Oil Tank: Aluminum Oil tank Cali Choppers
Battery box: Custom
Battery belt: Black Needle buckle and Custom embossed leather belt
Seat: West Eagle mono modified, Black Needle covered
Pegs:Angry Lane – Geoff Giles
Brass: ngry Lane – Geoff Giles custom, lot of them..
Painting: Cast parts in black (need some pinstripping so as nobody does that here, I started learning it..)
A big thank you. My bro Guillaume Barras for buying me the bike, Geoff Giles our fabricator and partner, Jason Bonello form Velocity Images for photoshooting, Tosh at Easyriders Japan, Dean & Dan from Dice (let’s party in Yokohama this year), Cole Foster for answering my questions and being so cool, Max Schaaf for the Sarah’s bike inspiration, the Japan scene etc…and of course Cyril Huze for the good work in his news magazine, always cool stuff and fresh news!!