The high degree of compatibility between the different components and models offers great scope for experimentation and many modification possibilities. This allows you to build a Harley with a ‘50s engine, a ‘90s gearbox, a frame from another era, all with updated performance. A mechanical LEGO to ignite your creativity. In his showroom it's easy to confuse the aesthetic year with the mechanical year. Harley is proving to be an excellent base for whatever you want to build. I see it as work-in-progress in the direction of a British-inspired Bobber.
This is also what defines David. Back in the States, for example, where I was able to visit Indian Larry Motorcycles and meet Keino Cycles, you go for a certain style. You buy what comes out of the garage, as it is. Here, together with David, the customer specifies what they want their Harley to look like, as well as the desired performance and riding behavior. There will always be an element of the ‘designer’s touch’, but in the end, everything is possible and it's the customer who has the final say. At least until today. For the first time, David is working on his own creation, a motorcycle primarily for himself.
He has also built three bikes in Portugal, which are street legal. So there are three 'David's Performance' motorcycles, built from scratch, on the road in Portugal. But this kind of adventure is too dangerous and too costly, so it will stop at these three.
Rumbling stomachs can be heard... It's time to ride. Manuel and I go to meet Jonny, who's waiting to have a light lunch with us. Jonny Cazzola, co-founder of MALLE – an independent British brand, well known in the motorcycle world, that offers a range of accessories, luggage, and clothing to accompany you on your wildest motorcycle adventures. MALLE is also the brand that organizes several crazy annual events, of which The Malle MILE must be the best known. Jonny decided to move to Lisbon, near Sintra, and operate from Portugal. And I suspect when I arrive, that this beautiful Honda XR600 in its original glory is his. My R nineT is not respectable, but I nevertheless decide to park next to it.
After lunch, we leave to join our new host. I can feel that Jonny is in a playful mood... that's good. I want to know what the R nineT has to offer after this meal. We look at each other... a small 'check'... a big smile and rooooar, full throttle towards the N6. A winding coastal road linking Lisbon to Cascais. We zigzag between the cars and enjoy the roundabouts and curves that the road offers, while taking the time to look at the beautiful landscape when the traffic and the road allow it. Things get even more fun when you turn left toward the heights. The curves and uphill bends follow one another and my smile under my helmet grows bigger mile after mile. No time to grieve at the end of the run, because here we are in front of the huge portal of Nirvana Studios. A portal, a place, as if lost in nowhere, that transports us into a new world.