Custom Bike Building In Hong Kong

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
Model: T100R
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
Grips:Renthal MX
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!!

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14 Responses to “Custom Bike Building In Hong Kong”


  1. 1 Bruce Oct 3rd, 2012 at 9:21 am

    The French Chinese Connection. Wow!

  2. 2 David Brock Oct 3rd, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Have been to Hong Kong 3 years ago. Love the place but it’s the absolute worst place to ride a motorcycle. So people ordering a bike from this guy are going to ride where? On China mainland? In japan?

  3. 3 Kirk Perry Oct 3rd, 2012 at 11:19 am

    The 650cc Triumph (stand alone) motor and separate transmission are bike-builder essential.

    Since 49 states allow special construction in the USA, manufacturing one model of old style

    motor and transmission and all of it’s replacement parts would set alot of builder’s free to

    style their own creed to suit their needs.

  4. 4 Kirk Perry Oct 3rd, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Let’s use the transmission as an example. What would it cost Baker, Inc. to replicate a 1961 Burman 4-speed box (case, gears and any release mechanisms) complete? Would they ever make a profit from the project?

    Same thing with the motor. Find an existing motor builder that’s already set up for metrics (India) and create a 1961 Bonneville 650 cc with a replica Amal slide-type carburetor.

    Replica Triumphs would be cheaper to build than a knuckle or pan. More people would ride

    motorcycles. Dealers won’t like the compo, but they don’t have the juice to embargo the

    hobby. It would send one builder to 3 or 4 manufacturer’s. That’s not a bad business model.

    Especially, since many of these projects end up as living room furniture and never make it to the road. Still, it’s something a man can point to and say, “This is my replica project I’m building…. etc.”
    And by doing so, you’ve kept customers “hands” in the deal and they’ll be customers for life.

  5. 5 richard Oct 3rd, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I kike this trumpet…However, I just do not “get” the gold/brass color on ANY bike. It is especiallyin conflict with chrome. Anyone else feel this way?

  6. 6 Shifter Oct 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Richard. Sorry you don’t get it. Chrome & brass or gold is the best combo…with black too.

  7. 7 GuitarSlinger Oct 3rd, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Brother ! Paint that front fender black as well and this bike would be as close to perfect as can be ;-)

  8. 8 Cory Oct 3rd, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Nice job guys. I will stop by the shop the next time I am in town. Take care G.

  9. 9 Oldude Oct 4th, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Classic, clean and crafty! Beautiful trumpet re do. Great work guys ……show me more!

  10. 10 Ali G Oct 4th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Lovely bike, but I was under the impression that Geoff Giles of ET Customs Hong Kong was responsible for the complete build? He has been in HK now for several years building bikes and has also made a couple of beauties back in Blighty, but that aside this Triumph is a stunning bit o kit!

  11. 11 Heavy Metal Oct 4th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    My job takes me to Hong Kong often. I’ve never seen a custom motorcycle there. What a crazy place to even ride a bike, in the culture with their hair on fire. Great looking bike.

  12. 12 Ben Angry Lane Oct 5th, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Ali G, I think Geoff might be a good friend of yours but you have not seen him for some time. He is 100% part of the Angry Lane team and get full credit about the amazing job he did. Keep your eyes open for the show in November you will have more surprises!!

  13. 13 D Man Nov 14th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I have been riding in HK 20 years and owned many bikes. Nice to see some more cool customs. There are a few guys around that do some cool stuff such as Geoff at ET, Ken the Slow King Custom who has won best bike in show every year entered in HK and a couple others… Great work.

  14. 14 MR SKIPP Jan 11th, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    I WANT TO FIND A CHINA SUPPLIER FOR SUZUKI PARTS SPECIFICALLY “CHROME SWITCH HOUSING COVER GOING ON HANDLEBARS OR ANY ASAIN SUPPLIER.

    THIS IS A COSMETIC ACCESSORY. I HAD A SUPPLIER HOWEVER SOME U.S. POLITICIAN MUST HAVE GOT INVOLVED (PAYED OFF) AND I CAN NO LONGER ACCESS HIM ON LINE??

    THANKS FOR ANY HELP FROM MISS., U.S.

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