MEET THE MAKERS #1 FABRICATION
Behind the scenes on the Budvar Bike.
JAKE ROBBINS, FABRICATOR
Vintage Engineering, Hastings, UK
It won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows the Budvar story that we have something of a passion for people whose work – just like our brewing – involves true dedication, skill, mastery of craft, respect for tradition and going the extra mile to deliver perfection.
One of the great things about our partnership project with BOLT Motorcycles is that we get to meet a whole bunch of inspiring and gifted craftspeople currently working on the Budvar Bike. As you can imagine, turning the raw ingredients of what was a boxy old 1980’s model JAWA CZ into a thing of beauty requires some serious skills. And as well as the skill and vision of Andrew and Simone at BOLT, the bike’s customisation is giving a glimpse into some incredible traditional crafts, like fabrication, leatherwork and sign-writing.
In this mini-series, we’re following Andrew around the workshops as the bike is being transformed, catching up over a cold Budvar with each of the makers working on it. First up is Jake Robbins from Jake Robbins Vintage Engineering in Hastings, the metal man and master fabricator who’s transforming the bike’s frame.
Q: IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT WORKING ON VINTAGE BIKES THAT’S SPECIAL?
A: Absolutely. Purely from an aesthetics viewpoint. In those early pioneering days of motorcycling there was a huge amount of experimentation from engineers and designers, all of which gave rise to many unique designs and styles. It’s always great to work on them.
Q: WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU FIRST SAW THE JAWA CZ?
A: I actually owned one of these JAWAS in the early 1990s. They have a great utilitarian quality to them but with this vintage heart, so I was excited to be involved with the project.
Q: TAKE US THROUGH THE STAGES OF FABRICATING ON A PROJECT LIKE THIS. WHERE DO YOU START?
A: With the Budvar Bike I was given a design drawing to work with from Andrew, so I started by stripping all the extraneous components and working out which parts could stay, which parts would go and which parts we could modify to suit the look and feel.
Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN MOTORCYCLE FABRICATION?
A: I have been fabricating motorcycle parts for 30 years or more now, one way or another.
Q: WHAT GOT YOU STARTED? ARE BIKES SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD A PASSION FOR?
A: Well I started motorcycling off-road when I was 9 years-old and that was when the obsession started. I’m a complete motorcycle addict and not picky either. I love all types, all sizes and all ages.
Q: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET TO THIS POINT? DID YOU TRAIN AS A METALWORKER?
A: I’ve worked on motorcycles really since I started riding them. I grew up without much money but loads of space and freedom, so I learned to fix my own knackered off-road bikes. I am completely self-taught, which meant a lot of trial and error in the early days. And a lot of dedication.