“This Aprilia was not something I was expecting to see amongst the chops, street trackers and cafe racers which dominate the viewing at the Down and Out open days.”
Words and images by Kevin
There must be something in the water in South Yorkshire, there is quite the concentration of creative builders down there; from guys like Lloyd Williams and his brother Adam, tinkering away in their respective garages creating some of the coolest chops around, heading down the road to the infamous and instantly recognisable bikes Down and Out Motorcycles.
It was at the Down and Out open day where I first set eyes on this impressive build by Gareth Bolsover. The Aprilia RSV Mille roared past me as I walked into the car park, commanding my gaze and stopping me in my tracks. I immediately dumped my back pack and fumbled for my camera, running over to get some photographs. Once I’d got my fill, I marched over to Arnie from Pro Kustom to find out if he knew who built this impressive steed. Arnie knows everyone, he does the slickest paint you’ve seen and if you think you’re not familiar with his work you’ll be wrong. If you’ve seen a Down and Out build, you’ve seen Arnie’s paint. I’m betting that Arnie works 29 hours a day, getting up half an hour before he went to bed to go to work. Anyway, I digress.
It turns out Arnie did know the owner of the RSV, he was sat right next to him. The chap who is now under fire was Gareth Boslover, hailing from (you’ve guessed it) Rotherham in South Yorkshire. I take a seat and enthusiastically question him about the build.
Gareth tells me that despite it’s aesthetic nods toward both tracker and street fighter he thinks of it more of Super Moto due to the way it rides and handles. The RSV has an unmistakable tone coming from it’s 1000cc V-twin engine, blasting out though its straight through pipes. It sounds like a “lion growling”, you can hear the pride in Gareth’s voice as he carries on: “I can estimate the BHP but all you need to do is ride it to find out just how fast it is!”.
The pride is clear to see in this machine and it has been something which has at the forefront with every inch of this build. Rightly so too, I would never look at an RSV Mille as an obvious choice to start a build of this style and I believe (but may be wrong) a lot of builders wouldn’t either, that alone is a testament to Gareth’s imagination and skill-set.
Tackling the majority of the fabrication and paint himself; done without any of that fancy pants stuff, a hammer and a vice does the job when it came to the metalwork. Although you’d expect a hammer and vice to yield a rough finish, this bike’s finish is anything but rough. You can spend as much time as you like pouring over the build, every bit of it is finished to such a degree that’d be hard pushed to find anything that looks slightly untidy or out of place. When you look at the bike as a whole it shows you only what you what you need to see. It’s clean as a whistle with no distractions, no wires, cable ties, rough bits of welding which you sometimes see “hidden” away. On closer inspection there is no exposed wiring at all as it’s all cleverly boxed in beneath the fairings, through the bars and under the seat unit, only accessible through a hidden latch, allowing the seat to detach from the unit, giving generous access should it be needed.
The real gem for me is Gareth’s paint, absolutely spotless and something you would expect from a pro, the battleship grey and surf green is a perfect partnership giving it a utilitarian and purposeful look with just a hint of fun. The fun you’ll likely have when you wind on the throttle and feel the 128 horses firing you off like a bullet from a gun. Those eagle eyed of you will spot some original features such as the air intakes and the clocks which now given a new look and with it a new lease of life, becoming some of the most distinctive and recognisable elements of the bike. The clocks now flush into the tracker front number board and the intakes used to help reshape the bone line on the bike and also balance the proportions when viewing from the front.
Overall this motorcycle is a total brute. A proper ASBO mobile and I love it! Gareth tell me he has another bike in the pipeline and if he executes it to the standard of this, it’s going to be something very special indeed. I for one cannot wait!